Watch Service & Repair
What we service and restore
The information we provide on this page describes our comprehensive approach to fully servicing watches including those we service for customers, sell, and have sold in the past. Our blog and Instagram page provide examples of customer watches we have serviced in the past.
We specialize in the servicing of modern and vintage watches including unusual and difficult-to-repair watches. We service personal watches you own as well as those we sell. We take a comprehensive state-of-the-art best practices approach to watch servicing. We provide performance measurements of your watch before-and-after service & extensive quality assurance testing. The movement inside your watch is fully and completely disassembled, parts repaired or replaced as-required, adjusted, optimized, cleaned, & lubricated. We clean the case and bracelet ultrasonically and by hand. We provide full transparency when servicing your timepiece. From estimate through final delivery of your serviced watch, your experience will be process-oriented, well communicated, efficient, and carefully tracked. Disassembly & assembly pictures are provided real-time through access to a personalized online portal where you can track the progress of your watch’s servicing and communicate with us. We service both wristwatches and pocket watches. Just a few examples of the modern and vintage watches we service and repair include Omega, Rolex including vintage Rolex watches, Patek Philippe, Jaeger LeCoultre, Universal Geneve (UN), Breguet, Angelus, Vacheron Constantin, Landeron, Valjoux, IWC, Tissot, Excelsior Park, Lemania, Tag Heuer, Bovet, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Zenith, Girard-Perragaux, Ulysse Nardin, A. Lange & Sohne, Breitling, Piaget, Venus, Gubelin, Baume & Mercier, Meylan, Eberhard, Doxa, Leonidas, Minerva, Gruen, Bulova, Hamilton, Benrus, Vulcain, Elgin, Seiko including Grand Seiko and King Seiko, Waltham, Wittnauer, alarm watches, chronographs, military & others. We service high quality quartz watches. We understand the importance, value, and sentimental importance of your watch. We have invested heavily in our skills, comprehensive workshop, and vintage parts inventory. You can learn more about our approach to watch servicing, restoration, and repair on this page and see examples of our work in the watches we sell and in our blog.
See the Support section of our website for information on our warranty and helpful tips on protecting and maintaining your watch. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for answers to common questions relating to watches we sell, shipping, purchasing, and servicing. Continue reading this page to learn more about our servicing philosophy, process, ethics, and approach.
Our philosophy, process, and ethics
Investment: We have invested heavily to provide you the best possible services leveraging the best of the past and modern tools, techniques, and technologies.
Innovation: We have worked to innovate and advance the way in which vintage watches and clocks are sold, serviced, repaired, and restored.
Processes. Quality, Predictability, and Transparency: We are process-oriented and have built our own in-house proprietary processes for managing workflow of servicing, repairing, and restoring timepieces from work-intake through state-of-the-art quality assurance and performance testing. We maintain a customer support portal providing a consistent, convenient, and well-documented interface with our customers and provide extensive digital photographs to communicate progress, work performed, communicate any concerns, and to document the finished work. A key ClockSavant distinction is the timepiece performance results we share with our customers. To see an example of these measurements, have a look at the watches we have for sale and see the performance results we provide. We will be upfront with you about what we can achieve, performance-wise, with your timepiece. We will never service your timepiece, bill you, hide the performance numbers, and leave it you to determine on your own whether it is functioning and running to your standards. If we can’t obtain what we consider adequate performance for a timepiece we are servicing for you, we will let you now and you can decide how to proceed.
Workshop: We maintain 7 unique and highly specialized workstations in our state-of-the-art workshop, each one dedicated to specific functions required to service, repair, and restore your timepiece. This allows us to prevent cross-contamination between stations such as dust from grinding or polishing and to also setup each station for its optimum purpose, saving us time, cost, and improving results. Each of these stations includes, where applicable, air suction for dust and debris removal, very high-power stereo microscopes, and high intensity lighting. Air cleaning and industrial HEPA and fume removal equipment has been installed alongside a broad range of watch and clock-specific ultrasonic and agitation cleaning and drying equipment.
Knowledge Management: State-of-the-art multi-gigabyte knowledge base developed by us over a period of over 20 years that allows us to pinpoint key information and knowledge related to optimal approaches to servicing, repairing, and restoring your timepiece.
Tools and Equipment: We have made a major investment in tools and machinery, including both modern and vintage tools.
Parts: While it would be impossible to maintain spare parts for every watch made, there are parts we can stock to avoid a “stop-and-wait” as we seek a part or a “no, not available, not possible” response to the customer. We have made major investments in stock acquisition. We maintain more than 10 stocked Seitz jewel cabinets as well as bulk jewel supplies. A majority of these jewels are no longer manufactured. We maintain thousands of watch stems for Swiss and American watches— this is a cross-indexed supply-house grade set of cabinets, not a random bag full of stems we purchased or one full of parts we’ll never use. We have a large selection of vintage and new watch crystals. We maintain parts where possible for a range of popular vintage chronographs. We have a large stock of mainsprings not manufactured any longer as well as balance staffs. If we need a part and have to find it, we have established an “underground railroad” of parts suppliers with whom we have an established relationship. These suppliers will work hard to help us find what we need. If we have to manufacture a part, we will consider that as part of the service if doing-so is economically feasible. While parts availability is a chronic issue for vintage watches and clocks, we are persistent and have yet to encounter a vintage watch we could not repair due to a lack of parts. It is however a matter of cost as well— the customer needs to be willing to bear the cost of the part if it is rare and in high-demand and manufacturing parts can be very costly. Finally, watchmaker experience will often dictate how many parts if any you really need. Less experienced or less patient watchmakers tend to swap large numbers of parts. This drives-up cost of the servicing and can drive-down quality— the replacement part is not always better nor “as correct” as the original part. Manufacturing in the era these watches were made was not always as consistent as we would have liked-- swapping parts can backfire so you only do it if you need to.
Experience: Being committed and passionately engaged in horology for 20 years, we live and breath the work we do. Because we are also collectors as well as watch and clockmakers, we have deep knowledge of the timepieces we work on and can often understand and find solutions to problems that might perplex someone simply treating the timepiece as another repair in their queue. We can for example sometimes infer parts interoperability based on our brand knowledge and history that is not published anywhere. When we learn new information and techniques, we document them in our extensive internal knowledge base.
Maintaining originality: We work to maintain the originality of timepieces and will not advise on replacing any part unless we believe it is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, some parts such as hands do wear-out, to the dismay of collectors, and sometimes, during servicing, simply removing them causes them to loosen and fatigue beyond repair. We also avoid polishing cases. While we may perform very light touchups at a customers request, most of our polishing is done by hand. We do have considerable polishing machinery, we just don’t like to use it for polishing watch cases. For timepieces serviced by us, we tend to leave the old finish in-tact as much as possible-- doing so maintains the watch’s authenticity, character, and you can only remove metal so many times on these watches before they take-on a new and different shape uncharacteristic of how they left the factory.
Specialized skills: We have invested in skills needed to address important timepiece challenges and we work hard to not pass-the-buck to the next watchmaker. Take for example hairspring manipulation. Most vintage watches we receive have issues with their hairsprings. We try hard, where we can, to not pass these issues onto the next watchmaker. This work can be extremely difficult and the margin for error is just about zero. A hairspring is nearly as thin as a human hair and about as fragile as anything you can imagine of that size. Manipulating these challenges everything— your eyesight, dexterity, tools, patience, and knowledge of the science and math behind the original design of these hairsprings. We can also vibrate replacement hairsprings though it is a difficult and expensive process due the complexity of the work and the challenge in maintaining a large breadth of blank hairspring stock-- something that was difficult 50 years ago and obviously much more so today.
Dirty Jobs Done Dirt-Cheap, Not Here: When you buy a used car, you know to be wary of shady sellers and shady mechanics who do whatever is necessary to get a car running, if only for the short time needed for you to complete the purchase and drive-off the lot. The same problem exists with watches and clocks. There are shady sellers and watch repair folks they work with who will get a watch or clock ticking enough to get it sold and that’s all they care about. In the words of one seller we purchased from years ago “if I had to worry about watch performance, I wouldn’t make any money.” They delivered a watch that barely ran and stopped if we held our wrist in a position the watch didn't like. If you have spent time on this website and read-through this web page, you will see that not only do we care about performance measurement, we share those numbers with you.
Serviced means Serviced: Perhaps the largest abuse of watch sellers and some watch and clockmakers is use of the word “serviced.” Simply casually browse the world’s largest auction site and have a look at what sellers call “serviced.” It’s as-if anything passes for “service”— did they turn a screw? Call it serviced. Move a regulator? Call that serviced. Many of these watches are gross misrepresentations— missing parts, showing filth, wrong parts, and more. We can’t tell if the seller has been duped, doesn’t know any better, if they are simply unscrupulous, or some combination. The majority of watches we’ve acquired as-serviced have not been serviced as we define it or or the way the American Watchmakers and Clockmakers Institute (AWCI), a professional organization to which we belong, defines it. We abide by AWCI's principles which are honest and bring integrity to this work. What our experiences say is that, in the majority of cases in our experience, the word serviced means nothing unless a description of what was done is provided. When we have serviced a watch, we identify it very clearly as Fully Serviced by ClockSavant. When we service a timepiece and identify it as fully serviced, we have fully disassembled it, inspected all parts under heavy stereo magnification, cleaned and de-rusted it to the best of our abilities while working to maintain integrity of parts, polished/adjusted/manipulated/repaired parts that require it, advise on replacing parts if required, assemble, unit-test, lubricate, further unit-test, adjust, optimize, complete assembly, perform more extensive testing, assure a cleanroom environment, and case the watch. We then perform extended quality assurance testing. If the result doesn't meet our standards, we repeat any steps as required.
This picture shows a glimpse into 8 different ClockSavant servicing and restoration workstations and a small portion of the materials, specialized tools, machinery, and supply areas. Because work is performed across a large swath of horology and to drive quality, focus, and avoid cross-contamination, a good degree of specialization and segmentation is required in the workspace. Doing this work well and adhering to the original principles these timepieces were designed to— accuracy, reliability, trust, and often mission critical timekeeping— translates to a large workshop investment.
The following video (speed accelerated) shows one of several ClockSavant cleaning machines, in this example a modern Lititz Freedom robotic cleaning machine with advanced programming to speed-up the parts cleaning process, raise quality, and also protect fragile parts.