The Ultimate Guide to Watch Repair

Wristwatch Repair Technician Works at a Desk

Watches are accessories that never go out of style and provide as much function as they do design and aesthetic brilliance. Many designer watches have been handed down for generations, adding to how special they are, as well as showcasing the incredible quality they hold. To uphold this unmatched excellence, it’s important to prioritize regular servicing and always fix a watch that has stopped working in a timely manner.

Man Wearing Watch

You may have some questions about watches and watch repair, which is what Fink’s is here for. Keep reading to learn all there is to know about watch repairs and how to keep your watch tick tock-ing for years to come!  

Types of Watches

When thinking about watch repair, it is important to know the type of mechanisms or movements a watch possesses and the type of display it has. Both aspects of a watch will help determine what type of repair you need and the type of repair expertise that is required.

The three different movements, or ways watches run, are:

  • mechanical
  • automatic
  • quartz

Mechanical Watches

Grand Seiko Elegance Watch with Black Dial
Mechanical watches were the OG of timepieces and contain a complex mainspring that powers the watch. The mainspring needs to be tightly wound to activate the wheels and other components in the watch. With time, the mainspring, which must be wound by hand, loses tension. Keeping the mainspring wound is how mechanical watches can continue to tick along.

Automatic Watches

These types of timepieces are also known as self-winding watches or perpetual motion watches. They are very similar to mechanical watches but have a self-winding mechanism that uses kinetic energy from the wearer that keeps the mainspring wound.

Quartz Watches

Quartz watches are what most people are familiar with. These timepieces have an internal battery instead of the intricate ways mechanical and automatic watches run. Quartz watches are typically the most affordable wristwatch option.

Types of Watch Displays

  • Analog
  • Digital
  • Hybrid
  • Tactile
  • Touchscreen 

How Often Should a Watch be Serviced?

Tudor Royal Watch m28603-0006

It’s likely that your watch was a significant investment, a meaningful anniversary gift, or a legacy piece that has been handed down from generation to generation. It is important that with such a fine piece of jewelry, the appropriate care and attention be taken to preserve its excellence and quality for years to come. Experts in the designer timepiece industry recommend getting your watch fully serviced every three to five years.

This is not only preventative but can also stop damaged or problematic components from creating further damage to other parts of the watch. Obviously, if your watch has stopped working or there are other repair needs, it is important to address those right away, even if it has been less than three years since it was last serviced. 

Common Types of Watch Repairs

  • Battery replacement
  • Watch link, bracelet, or strap replacement or resizing
  • Water damage
  • Crown or stem repair or replacement
  • Broken or damaged watch cover
  • Full service for mechanical watches

Need a New Battery?

Longines Dolce Vita Collection 20mm Ladies' Watch with White Dial

If you have a watch that has stopped working and it is a quartz movement, it is most likely that the battery needs to be replaced. As simple as this sounds, battery replacement is fairly technical and requires the watch case to be opened.

To ensure things are done properly and the integrity of the watch is prioritized, it’s recommended to have a qualified jeweler complete the watch battery replacement. If the watch is water-resistant or waterproof, it should also be resealed and pressure tested to ensure the repair upholds manufacturer standards.

If you’re unsure whether your watch battery needs to be replaced, some telltale signs are that you have a stopped watch, your timepiece is inaccurate, and the secondhand freezes or jumps.

Watch Link, Bracelet, or Strap Needs

Every wristwatch has some type of strap, whether it is a precious metal like gold, stainless steel, platinum, or something more classic like leather. When a watch has a metal strap, it is referred to as a bracelet. With regular wear and tear as well as fluctuating sizing needs through the years, watch link resizing or watch strap replacement is usually needed at some point.

Panthère de Cartier Medium Yellow Gold Watch

Qualified expert jewelers can refinish and polish bracelets as well as add or remove watch links to make your timepiece the most comfortable on your wrist. Replacing the bracelet can also provide the opportunity to change things up and try a different style, metal, or design. Watch bracelets are truly a way to help accentuate and personalize your watch to be perfectly yours. 

Water - a Watch’s Worst Nightmare

Water can do serious damage to watches and requires immediate attention and watch repair. If water damage and moisture are not immediately addressed, it can cause rust on the mechanics in the watch as well as the hands and dial. Rust damage due to water typically requires intensive repair and part replacement, which is expensive.

Typically, watches that have water damage need to be opened, dried out, and undergo resealing and pressure testing. Thankfully, all this can be completed at a certified watch repair jeweler; however, get there quickly to avoid further costly damage!

If you have recently submerged your watch in water when the crown was in the unscrewed position, or your watch was underwater, and you know it’s not waterproof or was more than what water resistance could withstand, it needs to be assessed for water damage by an expert jeweler. Common signs of water damage are condensation or small droplets inside the glass, the crown becoming hard to turn, or a completely stopped watch.

Replacement or Repair of Watch Parts

Hamilton American Classic Spirit of Liberty Auto Chrono

Two common parts of watches that often need repair or replacement are the crown and the stem. The crown is the knob on the side of the watch used to set the time, wind the watch, and complete other functions depending on what type of timepiece you have. The stem allows the watch to be set and is attached to the crown, connecting it to the internal mechanics of the watch.

Over the years, the crown can loosen, detach, become hard to turn, or stop being able to be turned. If the crown is causing you trouble, most likely, the stem is also not operating correctly. If you are having trouble adjusting the date or time, winding your watch, the crown is not turning or has fallen off, or there is rattling inside the watch, the crown or stem of your watch is most likely damaged.

Watch Glass Replacement

Accidents happen, even when we try our best to take care of and be mindful of our most precious pieces of jewelry, like a designer watch. If you have found yourself in the unfortunate place of having dropped or knocked your watch into something, you can rest easy knowing that a cracked or shattered watch face can be repaired or replaced.

The watch glass is the clear cover over the hands, numerals, dial, and inner mechanisms of the watch. It protects it from dust, water, and general damage. Wear and tear can cause the glass of the watch to be scratched, chipped, or marked in some way. After a certain amount of time, this becomes so aesthetically unpleasing that it needs to be replaced, bringing your fancy watch back to its pristine condition.

Complete Mechanical Watch Servicing

Person uses tweezers to repair watch

Mechanical and automatic watches have complex inner workings that require trained and certified expertise. Timepieces like this are an investment and are meant to last forever, but it is important that consistent and correct servicing takes place. At Fink’s Jewelers, you can trust that your designer watch is in exceptional hands with our highly skilled and trained repair specialists.

Complete mechanical watch overhauls consist of multiple in-depth steps, from cleaning and oiling the internal mechanisms to replacing seals and performing pressure tests. Servicing a mechanical watch helps restore the timepiece to its optimal performance and ensures it will continue to tick for years to come!

How Much Do Watch Repairs Cost?

Each watch is unique, and watch repair costs depend on the type of timepiece, type of watch repairs needed, and if replacement parts are necessary. At Fink’s Jewelers, we complete a meticulous inspection in order to provide the most accurate estimate possible, which includes labor, materials, and shipping if necessary. When you leave the item for an estimate, your sales associate will let you know how soon you'll hear from us with the estimated cost of the work.

How Long Do Watch Repairs Take?

Oris Aquis Date Watch with Stainless Steel Bracelet, 41.50mm

At Fink’s Jewelers, when we call with your estimate of cost, we'll also explain approximately how long the repair will take and when you can expect to have the item back. Typical watch repairs take between two weeks to one month. Factors like acquiring replacement parts and the type of watch and necessary repairs play a big role in determining the time needed. Please let us know if you have special time considerations, and we will do our best to expedite your watch repair.

Watch Repair at Fink’s Jewelers

Most of our Fink's Jewelers locations have a skilled repair specialist on location to provide service for your designer timepieces. Regardless of where you purchased the item, we will be happy to examine the piece and provide an estimate for repair services.

We pride ourselves on the high-quality watch repair service our knowledgeable specialists offer. We believe in providing impeccable service and repairs for your timepieces. We aim to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

The Fink’s Guarantee

We value quality and integrity at Fink’s Jewelers. Most of our locations offer you the convenience of on-site jewelry and watch repair. Your satisfaction with our repair work is a priority. In the event you aren’t completely happy with your watch repair, come back and see us within one year.

Caring for Your Watch Between Servicing

OMEGA Constellation Co-Axial Master Chronometer, 41mm

To avoid frequent watch repairs, there are several ways to minimize the wear and repair of your designer watch.

  • Use a soft, lint-free cloth to remove dirt and dust
  • When not wearing your watch, store it in its box, a jewelry pouch, or a lined jewelry box. This helps protect it from harsh elements or accidental damage
  • Try not to place your timepiece on its face or side. This helps avoid scratches and damage to the crystal
  • Know the limits of your watch when it comes to water and take it off accordingly
  • Don’t try to complete watch repairs on your own; this often leads to more damage and issues
  • Remember to visit us with any concerns related to your designer watch. Our experts are eager to help, and no concern is too big or too small

We know how important your watch is to you. A designer timepiece becomes a part of you like no other wardrobe item does. Just like the care, effort, and attention to detail you took in selecting your perfect watch, the same attention needs to be taken to repair and maintain your watch’s excellence.  

At Fink’s, not only do we have an incredible selection of designer watches ranging in value, options, and style, we also provide unmatched, high-quality watch repair. Come see us today for all your timepiece needs!