A common question asked by those who have had a vintage watch passed on to them, or have spent a pretty penny buying one, is: how often should I have a vintage watch service? There’s a stigma about old mechanical items—be it a vintage Omega or a classic car—that says they will break down more often than a new item. While this may sometimes be true, it’s also important to keep in mind a vintage Rolex or vintage Patek Philippe are incredibly well made, by people who cared about their jobs and the products they were crafting by hand. There was no mass-production and workers carelessly clocking in and out when these watches were made. Because of this, they are often relatively easy to service and maintain when they do actually break.
The first thing to do is take your vintage watch to a store that deals specifically in that brand of watch and see what they recommend regarding service times. Most manufacturers advise a vintage watch to be serviced every five years, though this obviously varies from brand to brand and the wear and tear the watch experiences. Some watches can run seven to ten years without needing service, running like—a perfect time for the expression—clockwork.
However, as with seeing a doctor, a check-up every five years or so isn’t a bad idea. Oils can be applied to the inner workings of these vintage watches to ensure that a more expensive or damaging malfunction does not occur in the near future. Water resistance and amplitude of the watch should also be tested during this check up, to make sure it is keeping proper time and is not allowing water to get into it when you wash your hands. This type of basic servicing will help to ensure your vintage watch lasts as long as possible.
Eli K for Raymond Lee Jewelers, South Florida’s premiere source for buying and selling luxury watches and designer jewelry.