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SERVICING ANTIQUE AMERICAN POCKET WATCHES


The mechanical watch contains many moving parts which require good lubrication to prevent wear and reduce friction. Over time these lubricants deteriorate and break down also, as these early watches were not sealed like modern watches, dust and dirt from the atmosphere combines with these oils to form an abrasive sludge. This obviously wears the components but also causes drag which will slow and eventually stop the watch. So much like your car a watch requires periodic oil changes. 

This entails, first closely examining the watch and movement for any obvious faults requiring repair or adjustment and dealing with those. Then completely dismantle the whole watch and movement, again examine all of the parts for wear and faults, repairing/replacing as necessary. The components are then washed in cleaning solution, rinsed twice and dried (this is often done ultra sonically). Reassembly now commences with each sub assembly being properly lubricated, examined, tested and adjusted. Upon completion the watch is tested on the timing machine and finally bench tested over a period of days. As can be seen this is a fairly time consuming process, several hours per watch, so explains why servicing costs may appear high. 

I will service an American Pocket Watch for typically £80-£130 (some are more complicated than others)

Timekeping: As these are antiques one cannot expect the accuracy of modern day quartz, originally a railroad watch would have kept time to within a second or so per day but the original adjustments made to achieve that accuracy will have long disapeared. If, after servicing, the watch is running within a couple of minutes per day I am happy with that, so that is my target. Some of the higher grade watches can be adjusted to run closer than this but it is a very time consuming process and not commercially viable.

Only the owner can decide if servicing is a worthwhile expense. For my own part I believe these lovely old watches are worth preserving for future generations to enjoy, as a properly and regularly serviced watch will give decades of service, witness the number still going today.

I can repair pocket watches and some wristwatches please contact me for a quote. As many repairs require stripping the watch I would service the watch before returning it.


Turnaround time is typically 2 weeks from receipt.

I recommend servicing a mechanical watch every 5-6 years

    

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