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A fellow collector once said that if you can’t afford to maintain your watch then you essentially can’t afford the watch itself. There is a lot of truth in these words, but maintenance is often not at the top of people’s minds when buying a new watch. Once faced with a problem, they may choose the cheapest option, which is often the most expensive choice you can make.

I was reminded of this again when a local watch repair shop shared a picture of one of the watches they had on their desk. They refer to it humorously but aptly with the words, “when you let your local auto repair shop work on your Rolex.” As you can see in this article, the images show large amounts of the wrong type of oil and severe damage caused by using the wrong tools.

 

Oiling a watch is a delicate job and should not look like this.
What some people don’t understand is that a mechanical wristwatch is a lot like a high-performance sports car. Even with a 99.9% accuracy rate, it is still off by 1 minute and 27 seconds every day, which most watch connoisseurs find quite unacceptable. Instead, most watches are capable of running within +6/-4 seconds a day, which translates to 99.994% accuracy. To achieve this, lubricants play an essential role in keeping everything running smoothly. However, several different synthetic oils are needed, as components have their own requirements regarding the type of oil and the amount of oil needed. The wrong type or quantity can affect accuracy but also increase wear.

 

Using the wrong tool can destroy parts, as can this oscillating weight
Then there are the tools to disassemble and assemble the watch during maintenance. Usually, they are quite specific and are usually only produced for a single watch model. Getting all of these tools is a big investment but of vital importance, because when a tool doesn’t fit properly, you’ll damage the part. With those specific tools, you must also have the knowledge on how to use them correctly, which is another investment that needs to be made. This means there can be no such thing as cheap service and instead, you should focus on giving your precious watch the right service from an expert. It may seem expensive, but in the end, it is the least expensive route you can take, as it not only preserves the functionality of the watch but also protects its value.

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