ClickCease

WATCH RESTORATION

ST. LOUIS

Preserving Legacy — One Repair At A Time

WATCH RESTORATION

ST. LOUIS

Preserving Legacy — One Repair At A Time

Check for a Brand Stamp

If you turn the watch over to view the back of the case, you might be able to spot a stamp – or not, depending on the brand. If the back of the case is severely scuffed, then you might check for signs of additional stamping that proves the watch was made by a different manufacturer. In the case of a vintage Rolex, you will want to check to ensure the stamp is indeed present, depending on the model.

If a case backing is scratched and no stamp is evident, it does not mean that the watch is or is not faked. Only a few manufacturers stamp the backs of their casing, sometimes only for certain models. Other tells, such as poor font spacing, and inconsistent logos should be the first indicators of a genuine model.

ring sizing

WATCH RESTORATION

There is no telling how many vintage watches are tucked away in old shoeboxes, underneath bedframes, in safes, and old collections. These watches were prized possessions for someone, and to the modern-day collector, these watches are priceless.

When you find an old watch, it is an exciting prospect that only a few people get to experience in their lifetime. It is like holding a piece of history, frozen in time, waiting to be opened up and discovered.

The old watch will need to be restored to attain its old functionality and appeal. There is some debate, however, as to how much restoration is necessary before it begins degrading the value of the watch. This is important to collectors and resellers, but for a sentimental piece, watch restoration can be as simple as repairing any missing functionality and ensuring the watch is in good condition, but retaining any old weathering and defects from wear and tear.

In this article, the repair specialists at Watch Technicians will help guide you through the process of watch restoration, how much it costs, how often you should maintain a restored watch, whether polishing the timepiece devalues it, and many other tips that are essential to the new timepiece collector or someone who found their grandfather’s old timepiece.

How Much Does Watch Restoration Cost?

The cost of watch restoration depends largely on the brand, age of the timepiece, and condition it was found and kept in. (1) Restoration services can be a sort of hidden cost, as there is no telling what the internal mechanisms’ condition is like, and if the watch requires significant alterations, such as a replacement case, it can be difficult to find parts for timepieces that were manufactured over 20 years ago.

It is important to understand that, when bringing a watch in for restoration services under the intent to resell the timepiece, it is not guaranteed that you will receive a good return on any watch if it is in poor condition. Watch restoration done with the intent to sell should be brought to a service center that can provide inspections before the service diagnostic.

Inspecting the timepiece ahead of time can help you determine if the watch is genuine, and what its approximate value is, and how watch restoration services may affect that value. Consultation services with the inspector may be provided for an additional fee, depending on the service center. The inspector will be able to advise you on watch restoration services to make, and which ones would devalue the watch.
This pitstop might not be as critical for the watch owner who is interested in wearing their late grandfather hidden timepiece for sentimental value, however. Sentimental value cannot be valued in the same way, and any watch restoration services must be made with careful consideration of the new owner.
For general repairs, many service centers will have an itemized list based on specific repairs for certain brands.

“Repairs can be expensive, even if the watch itself was not. “If you are spending £1,000 on a midrange watch to be repaired, it may not be worth it, except if you are keeping it for sentimental value.”
– David Silver of Vintage Watch Company

For travelling watch collectors, be aware of fakes on the market, whether the dealer is selling fake brands or fake vintages. Counterfeit timepieces are becoming more and more of a problem as genuine watches become harder to find. Watch repair may not cost much for these fake timepieces, but the sale price is generally well over what the actual piece is worth.

Always do you due diligence into how to spot a fake vs. genuine vintage watch and be aware that watchmaking practices have changed significantly since the late 1800s and mid-1900s when many watchmakers changed their manufacturing processes and upgraded to new technologies.

ring sizing

WATCH RESTORATION

There is no telling how many vintage watches are tucked away in old shoeboxes, underneath bedframes, in safes, and old collections. These watches were prized possessions for someone, and to the modern-day collector, these watches are priceless.

When you find an old watch, it is an exciting prospect that only a few people get to experience in their lifetime. It is like holding a piece of history, frozen in time, waiting to be opened up and discovered.

The old watch will need to be restored to attain its old functionality and appeal. There is some debate, however, as to how much restoration is necessary before it begins degrading the value of the watch. This is important to collectors and resellers, but for a sentimental piece, watch restoration can be as simple as repairing any missing functionality and ensuring the watch is in good condition, but retaining any old weathering and defects from wear and tear.

In this article, the repair specialists at Watch Technicians will help guide you through the process of watch restoration, how much it costs, how often you should maintain a restored watch, whether polishing the timepiece devalues it, and many other tips that are essential to the new timepiece collector or someone who found their grandfather’s old timepiece.

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How Often Should You Maintain a Restored Watch?

For general care and maintenance, you should get your restored watch serviced every 3 to 5 years with regular wear. If the watch begins to show signs of damage or a need for repairs before the three-year mark, then bring it into a certified watch restoration and repair service center to have it inspected.

How Often Should You Maintain a Restored Watch?

For general care and maintenance, you should get your restored watch serviced every 3 to 5 years with regular wear. If the watch begins to show signs of damage or a need for repairs before the three-year mark, then bring it into a certified watch restoration and repair service center to have it inspected.

Does Polishing a Watch Devalue It?

Polishing a vintage or restored watch is highly controversial in some watch collector circles. This is normally not recommended by any watch inspector as it can remove metal from the watch surface.

Some people believe that any amount of polishing devalues the watch and will refuse to pay for a vintage watch that had been polished.
Light polish is generally accepted for selling vintage watches, as it can help restore the natural beauty of the watch while keeping the antique aesthetic.

Heavy polishing is never recommended in watch restoration services.

Ultimately, the choice comes down to you and your goals. If your goal is to sell the watch to a collector or keep it in your vintage collection, then skip the polish altogether. If you are looking to restore the natural beauty of the watch or want to wear it to remind you of sentimental value, then you can have the watch polished lightly.

Inconsistent Fonts
If your watch has been refinished, then the best way to tell is to look at the fonts on the dials and subdials. If the font appears to be inconsistent, or hand drawn with ink, then it is likely that it has been refinished. Some watches are the exception in that the manufacturer hand painted the dials, but most watches are printed so they can maintain the pristine quality of each dial over the years.
The Dial and Sub-Dials
If the dial or subdials feature any misprints or incorrect numbering, then it may be a strong sign of an obvious fake. It is important to do your due diligence on any errors in the printing of the dial or subdial facing. There are known examples where the manufacturer themselves misprinted their watch, such as the Omega Speedmaster “220” bezel.

Other tells in the subdials and dials are whether the hands are too close to the edge of a subdial, or if there are inconsistencies in the fonts when you compare two different instances of the same number. For instance, if the “3” appears multiple times in the subdial and dial, then you can compare those numbers together to make sure they are both consistent, or if they have inconsistencies that point to their being hand-replicated.

How to Tell if Your Watch Has been Refinished

If you have ever purchased a vintage watch from a dealer then you might have experienced watch restoration gone wrong. (2) Unfortunately, there are so many vintage luxury watches in the world, and many of the known genuine specimens have already been sold to collectors. Every year, dozens of vintage watches are botched in the restoration process, but sold on the market as a genuine, mint-condition vintage luxury watch.

“There are a few ways to determine whether or not a watch case has been refinished. If a case appears to be just too sharp, the watch most likely isn’t kosher. The same applies if the lugs are too thick. And if the lugs are unusually thin, yet the bevels are sharp, you can be sure that the case has been tampered with.”
– Luke Rottman

While this is an unfortunate case of untrustworthy watch dealership, it happens more often than you might think. There are, however, ways you can tell that a watch has been tampered with or restored into “mint” condition.

Incorrect Logos
Spotting an incorrect brand logo is often the most accurate way to tell whether a watch has been restored or refinished. Logos are often hand painted just like fonts, and many re-dials are blatantly obvious after you pull out a couple of comparison photos and magnifying glass.
Check for a Brand Stamp

If you turn the watch over to view the back of the case, you might be able to spot a stamp – or not, depending on the brand. If the back of the case is severely scuffed, then you might check for signs of additional stamping that proves the watch was made by a different manufacturer. In the case of a vintage Rolex, you will want to check to ensure the stamp is indeed present, depending on the model.

If a case backing is scratched and no stamp is evident, it does not mean that the watch is or is not faked. Only a few manufacturers stamp the backs of their casing, sometimes only for certain models. Other tells, such as poor font spacing, and inconsistent logos should be the first indicators of a genuine model.

The Best Watch Restoration Service in St. Louis

Are you looking for the best watch restoration service in St. Louis who truly cares about your timepiece as if it were their own? At Watch Technicians, we specialize in restoring vintage watches, Swiss luxury brands, and even modern timepieces.

It is always difficult to determine what wear and tear a watch has been in, and until we disassemble the piece, it is impossible to tell what condition the internal mechanisms are in. This is why we provide detailed inspections of each timepiece and listen to your concerns and previous experience with the piece to provide the best service possible. We provide our watch restoration services with your explicit approval of every replacement part, and we do our best to maintain the antique beauty of old pieces while giving them new life and repairing their functionality.

Walk in or call to book your watch restoration appointment today and

References:

  1. Ginanne Brownell Mitic, You’ve Found an Old Watch. Now What?,
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/14/fashion/watches-repairs-auctions.html
  2. Luke Rottman, Restored Vintage Rolexes Are More Common Than You Think,
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/lukerottman/2015/06/08/should-you-make-a-vintage-rolex-look-mint/#19ce08751492