A luxury watch is more than a timepiece. It makes a statement about the person wearing it. It often doubles as a necessary fashion accessory and great care must be taken so that it both looks and functions at its best. Expensive watches that are purchased straight from a jewelry store normally require a specific level of maintenance to ensure that they function properly. Most jewelers have a working knowledge of how a watch functions, but most do not have the right training to be a horologist. A horologist is a person who specializes in mechanical watch repair and calibration. A horologist can repair and restore wrist watches, pocket watches and other timepieces that involve extremely delicate mechanisms.
Traditional wrist and pocket watches contain several tiny components that work together to make a precision timepiece. Gears, sprockets, pins and dials all work together in precision movements so the watch will keep accurate time for a year or longer. A timepiece that is running as it should can keep accurate time for several years if it is properly cared for. A person who repairs and restores watches professionally understands how each of these mechanisms work and how to trouble shoot specific problems that may occur from the piece being dropped, exposed to moisture or wound too tightly. By understanding the intricacies of how the watch functions, the horologist can determine what is wrong and what needs to be done to make sufficient repairs.
Looking inside a watch is like peering into the inner workings of a miniature factory. There several gears, wheels, pins, brackets and other mechanisms that are constantly working together to move the hands at a steady pace and keep accurate time. If something goes wrong within that delicate mechanical machine, special tools will be required to properly fix the problem. Small screwdrivers, pin vices, keys, tweezers and specially designed jeweler’s tools are needed to be able to open up the mechanism and get to the cause of the problem.
Jeweler’s and horologists use special tools that are designed to work efficiently in areas where there is very little space to maneuver. When working on very small watches, most jewelers have a monocle or very strong pair of magnifying glasses that can help them see even the tiniest of parts. They are also necessary for putting the piece back together. Precision time pieces require precision tools that are used by master craftsmen who specialize in various types of watch and jewelry repair.
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
Once a wrist watch or other timepiece has been repaired or restored, the jeweler will commonly recommend some form of regular cleaning and maintenance schedule to ensure the watch continues to function as it should. Each jeweler is different, but most will recommend a good cleaning over one or two years, depending on how much the watch is worn and what type of conditions it is exposed to. With regular maintenance, costly repairs can be avoided and the timepiece can be used indefinitely under a variety of conditions.