Watch Repair is a Lengthy Process

Remember Peter Evans, our talented watchmaker who spent years in training to become the only in-store authorized Rolex watchmaker in the greater Phoenix area? He’s back today to share even more of his watch repair process.  Read on.

Related: Peter the Watchmaker Says: There’s More to Watch Repair Than You Think

A Sum of its Parts

Sometimes fixing a watch isn’t as easy as cleaning its parts. Peter keeps a good stock of commonly used parts on hand, but once in awhile the job calls for something special.

“We have one repair now that is just waiting on one part. We’ve had it for three months because the part is on backorder from Switzerland,” he says. “If you don’t have the part, you just can’t finish the job. It’s like missing a part of your engine. The car won’t run without all of its parts.”

The parts need to be lubricated as Peter reassembles them, and depending on their specific function, different parts need different oils. Once a section is assembled, Peter checks for functionality to make sure the parts all interact properly.

With the parts all playing nice with each other, Peter tests for timing. The watch is placed on a machine with a microphone that listens to the watch’s heartbeat and measures its frequency. If it’s not accurate, Peter uses tweezers to adjust a tiny spring called the hairspring. The spring has to be “perfectly round, perfectly flat, all the spaces of all the coils need to be exactly the same distance apart,” Peter says. “It has to be perfect in order for it to keep time.”

Related: What Your Watch Says About You

The Waiting Game

Peter has to wait 24 hours before checking the watch again, and can’t make any more progress until the watch keeps time consistently for two or three days in a row.  Only then can he re-attach the dial and hands then return the entire movement to its case.

Then there’s a four-day testing period to check for timing and power reserve — how long the watch will run once it is fully wound. Peter says most of the watches that come to him for repair are brought in because they don’t wind efficiently.

From intake to completion, Peter typically has a watch for anywhere from six to eight weeks, though he may only work on it for a few minutes each day during the timing process. The adjustments he makes are small, but it may be days before he can make another.

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Related: Luxury Timepieces: More Than Just the Brand

For more watch repair insights from Peter, check out our previous interview. For maintenance tips or to schedule a private Rolex showing, give Hamra Jewelers a call at 480-946-5110.