Even with all the latest electronics on the market, some people prefer simple gadgets. The problem is that repair professionals now know how to repair the most complex and complicated digital devices but sometimes don't seem to know how to repair the simple ones. Owners of windup watches come across this problem frequently. There are competent watch repairmen who are able to properly repair a windup watch, but they must be located. An understanding of how to find a good professional watch repairman is essential to ensuring that the watch is fixed properly.
Decide whether it's worthwhile to repair the watch. Many windup watches are antiques or family heirlooms, and their owners are willing to pay whatever is necessary to repair them. However, other windup watches are inexpensive and would cost far less to replace than to fix.
Take the watch to a good watch repair shop. Find a reputable repair shop through word-of-mouth or a search. The American Watchmaker-Clockmaker Institute maintains a list of watchmakers that lists repair shops by location. (see Resources).
Check with the Better Business Bureau (see Resources) to make sure that there are no problems or complaints against the repair shop. It is also possible to check with the local chamber of commerce to inquire about a shop's reputation.
Ask for an estimate before submitting the watch for repair. Dismantling a watch and diagnosing the problem can be difficult, and some watch repairmen will charge for the service. The charge is then taken off the cost of the repair if a repair is ordered. Decide whether fixing the watch is worth the expense.
Sometimes all that the watch needs is a good cleaning and oiling. In this case, fixing the watch is generally cost-effective.
Take pictures of the watch before submitting it for a repair. Write down any serial numbers and note any markings. Photograph its face and mechanical gears (ask the watch repairman to help with this). In addition to maintaining its security while being repaired, this is a good practice in general to help with future identification in case of theft.
- Fixing a watch is not a job for an amateur, especially if the watch is valuable or has sentimental value. Even a "simple cleaning and oiling" can go wrong in a second if someone who is not knowledgeable about the inner workings of a watch attempts a repair job. One extra drop of oil can ruin a watch, and if a part gets bent even a tiny bit, it will be unusable. Once you make the decision to fix a windup watch, take it to a professional watchmaker.