Industry standard stipulates that you should have your watch expertly serviced every three to five years. Beyond five years, it’s likely that even a very small bit of damage (think dried up oil, a misaligned crown, or internal water damage) will balloon into more damage that will ultimately cost you big bucks to repair.
An Overview of Watch Servicing
To properly service your watch, a watchmaker will open the watch to clean and oil the components and inspect the internal integrity of your timepiece, replacing any damaged or weakened components. After the watch is reassembled and polished, the watchmaker will cross-check that your watch runs smoothly and correctly.
Watches that Need More or Less Frequent Servicing
While experts agree you shouldn’t let more than five years pass in between servicing appointments, there are a few types of watches—like vintage timepieces and ones that you wear less frequently– that should be serviced more regularly:
Vintage and Antique Timepieces
By nature, vintage and antique timepieces are incredibly fragile; their components are likely very worn and therefore more prone to damage. Therefore, it’s crucial to have any vintage watch serviced every two years. To learn more about how to care for your vintage watch, check out this blog post on the topic.
Infrequently Worn Watches
Surprisingly, the more you wear a watch, the better. But if you have a watch that you wear only sparingly (a few times a month or less), you’ll want to have it serviced at least every 5 years. Never go more than 10 years before having a watch serviced as the oil can dry out completely or the components can rust.
Any Watch You Know You Damaged—Or Even Think You May Have
If you dropped your watch, got it wet, or incorrectly set it (it’s a red flag if your date window is misaligned or the date advances at the wrong hour), bring your watch to a professional. Some other tell-tale signs that you need to have your watch serviced sooner than later are: a crown that won’t fully close; a watch that no longer keeps accurate time; or if you can hear a sound inside your watch when you could not before.