Friday, June 26, 2009

A repair job that could have been avoided

Rolex Datejust
An ‘unbreakable mechanical watch’ has yet to be invented.

Unfortunately, bad things happen to good watches.

Accidentally dropping a watch on a hard surface (tiled floor for example) is bad but in some cases even more damage is done after the watch has hit the floor.

For some reason, the watch owner, recovering from a state of shock, will pull the winding crown and try to turn the hands. By the time he realizes that the hands are ‘stuck’, it will be too late – the dial (and hands) would have already been scratched by floating debris of the watch crystal.

While crystal replacement is a relatively straight-forward and not terribly expensive job, a dial and hand replacement is, on the opposite, always a complex and pricey repair. A job that in most cases, could have been avoided.

So, if you are unlucky enough to have dropped your watch, do not make it worse. Here are a few tips to avoid further disaster:

  • shattered crystal is not the end of the world – it is reparable, so do not panic.
  • unscrew the winding crown and pull it straight out to stop the watch.
  • if the glass is only chipped or cracked, but not shattered (and the watch appears to be keeping time), DO NOT WEAR IT.

    Small crystal particles could still float inside the watch mechanism and will definitely cause further damage. Take it to an authorised Service Centre or an independent watch expert.
  • if you accidentally dropped your watch, but cannot see any sign of external damage: I would strongly recommend to observe its timekeeping for the next 24 hours. Make sure to carefully examine the watch case, crystal, bezel, pushers and winding crown.

    If you notice anything unusual or find that 'something does not feel right’, do the right thing: take it to a watchmaker for an expert assessment.

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