Can VINTAGE watches be repaired? Top 5 Questions Answered

– When you’re looking
in the back of a watch, it takes a few seconds
to remove a case back. You can then look at it, and
you can go, okay, this, this, this, and this is okay,
therefore it can be repaired. (relaxing music) It’s something that, as a
watchmaker, you want to do. It’s more interesting in a lot of ways, more frustrating also in a lot of ways. It’s quite a specialist
field, and some workshops are more equipped to
deal with it than others. Yeah, everything can be
repaired, absolutely. Let’s take an example. I mean these two watches
here, one of which the balance staff, which is
probably the smallest and most intricate part of a watch,
is working perfectly fine, therefore this watch will be
reserviced straightforwardly. This one here, the
balance staff is broken, and that’s one of the parts
that would have to be made. And it’s smallest width is probably less than 1/100 of a millimeter. The first conversation
we will have when a watch is presented to say can
this be repaired, is, on initial inspection, we will
take a guesstimate of what the watch is worth and
advise the customer of this. And whether they’re happy
to proceed estimate stage, whether they want to have
somebody look at it at least to ascertain the exact value
of what the repair will be, is a question of whether
the watch is worth repairing versus what it’s worth in cost value. A lot of vintage repairs are
largely because of inheritance. So people often had
been passed down watches from grandparents or parents, et cetera. And this is where the
difficulty comes with regards to how much their watch
is worth, because often the vintage watches aren’t
what modern watches are, so they’re worth hundreds, not thousands. But the repairs can
run into the thousands. The view that a watchmaker
will take, certainly a vintage watchmaker will take,
is that they’re looking to restore what’s there
in the watch, not replace. So it is a question of
looking at the watch, can this watch be repaired to a level that we’re not simply
just changing everything. We are going to restore what’s
there and bring it back. Obviously depending on the
condition of the watch, that has to be said initially. But you have to bear in
mind the testing level that has to go into a vintage
watch, that once repaired, you then have to test it for
a significant amount of time to ascertain whether it’s
going to continue to work to the level that you want it to. And that does take weeks, not days. So the customer could be made
aware that perhaps they could take the watch if they’re
desperate for it in that time, and then perhaps return
it at a later stage if they find timekeeping
isn’t to their satisfaction. I think that’s fair to
say, that if a watch is to be done properly, and
they’re gonna pay the money, and it’s gonna be done to
the level that it should be done to, you have to spend the time and the testing to get it done right. So a good view to take would
be the view that Omega do, whereby they draw a line
at certain calibers, whereby they call them BN
calibers, and they will take a view as to whether
they can supply the parts for that caliber or that
it has to be returned back to Switzerland to be repaired there. Now that’s something
that you have to consider with all the watch brands,
that there are certain lines that are drawn where parts are available and then where they’re not. And also then, can you make the
parts that aren’t available? And if you can, how long would it take, and then the estimate has to reflect that. But it’s certainly a problem
with vintage watches that simply, the parts aren’t there,
so it’s a shortage, really. Yeah, obviously the answer is everything can be repaired, absolutely. The time it takes is the question. (relaxing music)

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