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Why Timepiece maintenance is important

By Dr. Marton Gergely

Unfortunately, there is no right and wrong answer to the question of when you should service your watch. Generally, there are two schools of thought when it comes to maintenance. So, let’s hypothesize two individuals, buying the same watch, and see how each one would handle this issue.

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Mohammad just purchased a brand-new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch. He knows the manufacturer has recommended to service this watch every five years. Without fail, Mohammad pays $500 (or however much) for service through the authorized repair facility every five years, for as long as he owns the watch. The watch continues to hold perfect time, and Mohammad never has any issues… This, is the ideal scenario. However, this scenario cannot be guaranteed. Just because you pay for service, doesn't mean something won’t still go wrong with your watch. This is why the second school of thought exists.

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Joe also recently purchased the same brand-new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch as Mohammad. He also knows that the manufacturer recommends servicing it every 5 years. Nonetheless, Joe will ignore this, and continue wearing his watch without servicing, until something happens to it. This could be a small malfunction, like the chronograph stopping abruptly, or even a complete failure of the movement. At this point, Joe will send the watch off to the authorized repair facility, and pay, let's say, $1500 for the repairs. This kind of thinking becomes a bit of a gamble. With this $1500, Joe could have serviced the watch regularly for 15 years, according to the service timeline mentioned in Mohammad’s case, and perhaps then the watch would not have broken at all. However, this repair could have cost more or less. There are countless stories where people forgo service for decades, and never have any issues with a watch, in which case, why pay $500 a service if when in some instances it is not needed at all? To counter this argument, there are many people who say their watch was working perfectly fine until they sent it in for a regularly scheduled maintenance, and the watch never worked the same thereafter.

Of course, all of this still depends greatly on the manufacturer as well. For instance, Omega has different service intervals than Rolex. Rolex suggests their newer watches be serviced only every 10 years, while Omega (and most other major manufacturers) recommend servicing every five years. Further, it also depends on who is doing the service. An authorized service facility may be more reliable, but also more expensive. But, if a watch holds a fairly generic movement (like an ETA, or even the Lemania-based caliber 1861 in our Moonwatch example above), a third-party watch repair facility may be able to provide the same level service, at a far lesser cost.

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As I mentioned before, there is no hard and fast rule on when to service a watch. In essence, it is all a gamble. You can pay for top end service, and the watch breaks anyways, or you can skip every service and your watch runs for 30 years. It’s entirely up to you how you handle the situation. Personally (being that all of my watches are still under warranty), I still don’t know which camp I fall into.

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Dr. Marton Gergely is 

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