All You Need To Know About Restoring & Repairing Vintage Watches

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Luxury vintage watches are highly sought-after, not only by collectors; some people love to complement their look with a classy Rolex or Omega. There are many reasons why you might wear a luxury vintage timepiece. If you have yet to see inside a top-quality chronograph, be prepared to be blown away; micro-engineering at its very best and this article introduces you to the complex world of luxury watch repair and maintenance.


It comes as no surprise that the person who makes vintage watches is also the one to turn to when repairs or maintenance are required. A watchmaker would be manufacturer-approved – Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, Cartier and Longines, to name but a few. A skilled technician might only work on a single brand and is certified to service and repair all models.

The antique dealer has a working relationship with many watchmakers and when a client has a need, the connection is made. All these rare antique watches for sale are serviced by certified watchmakers and when an enquiry is made with the antique dealer, the watchmaker offers a quote for the restoration/service. When you acquire a vintage watch, the owner’s manual tells you what you need to know about maintenance. It is critical that you have the timepiece serviced as recommended, otherwise the value might be impacted.

The Process

Opening up a vintage Rolex Submariner demands that the watchmaker knows which components are removed and in what order, where to lubricate and how to pinpoint issues. He uses a special magnification glass to see every detail of the mechanism. Special tools are needed to remove components, while attention to detail and steady hands are critical.

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The watchmaker has special pads, small platforms on which he can carefully place individual components, it might be necessary to remove 15 small parts in order to reach the component that needs replacing. Of course, the watchmaker can create custom pieces, which he would do when a component is unavailable. No one enters his workshop; this is his domain and he knows where everything is and he works systematically.

Steady Hands

Working on a luxury watch demands that you have a steady hand; you need patience in abundance when disassembling an intricate chronograph. The craftsman has his own routine to prepare for work; his workshop is well-organised and he works methodically, with care taken with every step. He has many watch manuals and makes good use of the Internet when necessary. Years of training combined with hands-on experience with specific makes and models gives the professional everything he needs to restore, repair and service selected timepieces. He would not work on anything unfamiliar and knows his limitations.

Genuine Parts

Of course, the watchmaker has a close relationship with the manufacturer, he can order any component and would typically have a stock of common parts that he adds to when necessary. The manufacturer has an entire department dedicated to supplying watchmakers with parts; indeed, the timepieces are designed with maintenance in mind; if you follow the service guidelines, the watch should outlast everything.


When you contact the antique dealer, he makes a connection with the right watchmaker, who examines the timepiece and quotes a price. In many cases, you deal directly with the antique dealer and the work is done in the background, which makes it simpler.

The watchmaker might make recommendations if there are options; he would guarantee his work and is happy to continue to service the timepiece on a regular basis.

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