Our watches are not just timepieces. They are heirlooms, items of significant worth both monetarily and emotionally and cherished memories. They tell stories of relatives, family events, successes and accomplishments. It is for these reasons, among others, that proper servicing of your watch is required to keep it in the best possible condition so its legacy can continue.

Depending on the type of watch you own and how often you use it, will determine how often it needs a service. Typically, a watch worn every day would require a service every 3-5 years, a watch worn purely for special occasions or not too often, means you could opt for a service every 5-7 years due to the reduced wear and tear. You should then also factor in whether your watch is quartz or mechanical. A quartz watch would require a battery change after 2-3 years while a mechanical watch can run for five years before needing any kind of maintenance.

Servicing mechanical watches

Mechanical watches require more frequent servicing than quartz watches. This is because of the intricate and numerous mechanical parts that make up the watch. They regularly need lubricating to ensure they keep time as they should. As they age, the lubricated parts dry out, and this can cause friction between them, resulting in a watch that stops working. It is commonly recommended to have a service on a mechanical watch every 3-5 years however this can vary between watch brands and models. A chronograph for example has more moving parts in it than a more basic mechanical watch and therefore may require more frequent servicing to ensure all the parts are working as they should.

Servicing quartz watches

Quartz watches are a little more simplistic than their mechanical friends. With fewer parts to service, they are generally less demanding. With movement powered by battery rather than the calibre found in mechanical watches, it results in more infrequent servicing. Whilst many manufacturers may state a service is needed every 3-5 years, you can, in many cases, service a quartz watch every 5-7 years. As we mentioned earlier though, the battery change will be much more frequent.

What determines how often you should service a watch?

There are perhaps three main factors that could influence how often you should service your watch. This is the same whether the watch is mechanical or quartz.

Amount of use

We touched upon this in the introduction. A watch used often will more likely require a service sooner than one hardly used at all. Daily wear puts stress on the movement and inevitably leads to general wear and tear. If this usage is reduced, there is less chance the movement will become worn. You should then also factor in where it is worn.

The environment

If you wear your watch in a host of environments, you could be exposing it to conditions it is not likely to benefit from. Moisture, dust, chemicals, excessive heat, and extreme cold could all hinder the performance of your watch and require it to be looked at more frequently by an experienced horologist. Mechanical fields also have a part to play, and these can be damaging to your watch. Exposure to them can see the accuracy of your watch affected and needs more frequent adjustments to ensure it keeps time correctly.

The brand and model

Some watches are much more delicate than others and may have a myriad of complex pieces that help them function how they should. This can alter just how often you should have your watch serviced. The guidelines stated by the manufacturer will give you specific guidance. However, should your watch be a vintage timepiece, this could prove difficult. Vintage watches are harder to service due to the infrequent availability of parts and the potential lack of manufacturer guidance. You should look to have vintage watches serviced routinely but the condition of the watch interior won’t be known until the horologist servicing it has taken a look inside. If they then find parts that are no longer available are damaged, you could be looking at them having to fabricate them to get the watch back in working order. And this can cost vast sums.

How do you know if your watch needs servicing?

Several signs may indicate your watch could be due a service. We have compiled a few of the most common.

Its age

If your watch is more than four years old yet is keeping time, overall, things are looking good. However, that is not to say that everything under the watch face is as it should be. You’d be floating in that area where a service could be worth having but is not essential. Unless of course there are some clear issues which you feel should be rectified, such as the chronograph not working (if it has one) or unusual ticking noises as the hands move.

If the watch is less than four years old, you are unlikely to need a service yet. Unless you spot some obvious problems with it that are hindering its timekeeping or seem to be otherwise evident.

A loss of accuracy or the watch not working

If you notice that your watch is not keeping time whether you change the battery or wind it up again, there could be cause for concern inside. You may find that your watch is running slowly, or even too quickly. This is a sign something is not right and that a part of the watch is not working as it should. You should also look beyond just the time-telling capabilities. If your watch is telling the time as it should and seems to be correct, yet other features are faulty, it could be due a service. Think about the date dial, the chronograph, the moon phase and any other features it may have. If any of these appear to no longer work, your watch would be better off with a service to ensure all parts are back in full operational order.

Unusual sounds

If your watch seems to tick out of synch, makes any form of grinding sound or even buzzes, you could have a watch requiring a service. For mechanical watches, such noises often mean the lubricants have dried up. For quartz watches, a part may have broken or worn down inside.

It hasn’t been serviced within the past 5 years, or at all

If your watch has never been serviced since you purchased it, and you have owned it for five years or more, a service would be highly recommended. Many manufacturers state periods of anything from 5-10 years but this can be risky. Where we have moved onto using synthetic oils in watches, damage can be caused without you knowing it is happening. This is because, compared to natural oils that would just turn into a gum-like substance and stop the watch working, synthetic oils evaporate leading to the parts still moving in your watch with no lubrication at all. This causes metal-on-metal friction that leads parts to wear down and break. You could wear your watch for years without knowing the oil has dried up, only to find out when it’s too late.

Visible signs of damage

If there are visible signs of damage, whether it be to the case, or the movement parts, a service may be suggested. Cracks in the case for example could lead to dust or moisture creeping in. Unfortunately, once they find their way in, they can be hard to remove leading to severe damage and costly repairs.


Regular servicing is vital to keep your watch in its best condition. At The Clock Clinic, we offer both clock and watch repair that enables your watch to be restored to its best possible condition. Contact us to see how we can help with your watch servicing needs. Our experienced team are on hand to help and can accommodate you with a personal appointment to ensure you receive their undivided attention with any questions or queries you may have.