The ultimate watch servicing guide (and prices)

Every now and then, we are being asked the same question : Is watch servicing really that important? What’s inside a service operation? How much does it cost? Let’s find out now dear watchgeeks!

What is watch servicing and why should I care about it?

Mechanical watches are wonderful little mechanical objects, resulting from great engineering operations, sometimes even by hand. Even a “simple” time-only watch will require at least over a hundred of components (including several gears, springs, oils and gaskets) and of course, excellent skills in assembling those parts together.

Those mechanical pieces will wear along time and some of these pieces will need to be fixed or even replaced. Also, oils don’t last for decades and, as the one in your car, you must consider putting fresh oils in the movement when going for a watch servicing.

There is however a (huge) difference when comparing to a car service : time. A watch servicing can take much longer as the watch will be totally disassembled for each service! (I wouldn’t dare imagining what would happen if it was the same with cars!)

Watch servicing for a Rolex

How often should I service my watch?

A common rule in the industry recommends a complete watch servicing every three to five years. After this delay, damaged parts will most likely damage other components and oils might dry resulting in further damages inside the watch and so on… Those damages, adding up, will result in a higher cost of repair, this might not be a good long-term deal.

Of course, we all know stories of watches from brands like Rolex or Omega for example that are still working fine after many years without any watch servicing, however these are exceptions. Those brands have mastered mass production and extreme reliability, which is not the case for all watchmakers out there and even them highly recommend a regular servicing.

Before considering going for a watch servicing, you should be able to identify obvious signs of malfunctioning by yourself such as:

Measuring the accuracy of your mechanical watch

You watch’s accuracy is the criterion number one to evaluate your watch’s health.

As for all mechanical watches, your baby must run accurately to give you the most precise time. According to brands, the precision rate can slightly differ (for Rolex, the precision is between -2/+2 seconds per day even though their watches are already certified by the COSC) but we could consider that any watch running between -10/+10 seconds per day is fairly accurate. Most brand have their own tolerance and certifications, those indications will help you monitor your watch (if you don’t know them, you should ask your watchmaker).

Now, to calculate and monitor your watch’s precision several options are available out there, and the easiest one is of course Toolwatch.io! Our free service will help you figure out the overall accuracy of your mechanical watches while actually wearing them (i.e. in “real” conditions). You could also go to your watchmaker or closest watch repair center but you will only get an “instant” measure, not the big picture.

The measure you’ll get on Toolwatch will help you understand how your watch is beating. If you get important gap between your results and the precision range given by the brand, you should definitely go to your dealer for a watch servicing. But do not panic ; if you get a really strange measure, please double check with a second one before running to your favorite watchmaker!

Finding out if my watch is magnetized

The accuracy measure will also help you find out if your watch is magnetized. If so, your accuracy will be way over the -/+60 spd. Getting your watch un-magnetized is quick and easy, every watchmaker has the required tools. This check and service is usually free but might require an oscillating spring adjustment (which you’ll have to pay).

Another cool option is having this great watch demagnetizer to safely and quickly demagnetize your watch’s movement. This can be pretty useful and save you a visit to the customer service department.

Topwell Mechanical Watch Demagnetizer

For your information, magnetic fields are everywhere and magnetized watches could be due to close contact with speakers, computers or any other common magnetic fields… Try avoiding those objects/areas or get either a Rolex Milgauss, IWC Ingenieur or the new Globemaster from Omega 😉

Is my watch still water resistant?

If your watch doesn’t properly run, it could also be due to water infiltration. If gaskets are used, water can infiltrate and damage components making the watch un-precise. You can identify infiltration by spotting fog onto the crystal. Even if you can’t see fog, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t any infiltration, so if you have a doubt, go get a full watch servicing and new gaskets, oxidations can damage the metal components as well as the dial and hands. You don’t want that!

Any other external factors that could impact my watch’s accuracy? 

You’ve dropped or hit the watch

Dropping the watch may or may not be visible on the case, however it is usually damaging internal components. You watch might still run properly for a while, but you should shortly plan a service to replace damaged parts (surely some gears on which you can have up to hundreds of microscopic teethes).

You are playing golf, tennis or other sports implying violent gesture and impact

You want some style while playing sports? Go get a Richard Mille or a good ol’ Casio quartz watch such as the Casio W800H-1AV Sports Watch. (You should screenshot this post, we don’t usually encourage our readers to get quartz watches, but hey, let’s be honest, we all need a Casio at some point!)

While playing sports such as golf and tennis, you should not wear high-end mechanical watches, unless it is made for. Violent gestures also damage components as they can move from their initial position. You should keep you watch inside your bag and wear it safely 😉

Now that we have covered several symptoms of malfunctioning watches, let’s see what watchmakers are actually doing during a service.

Servicing a mechanical watch

What does a servicing a mechanical watch mean?

Usually, a service from a good watchmaker implies: disassembling, cleaning, oiling, and polishing the watch (option you can of course refuse for obvious resale value consideration 😉 -> I know you’re keeping an old Sub under your mattress!)

The watch servicing, regardless the damages of your watch, will first of all imply a full disassembling of your baby. Each and every single component will then be placed in chemical solution to dissolves dirt, dust and oil residues.

Damaged components will be either fixed or replaced (extra charge can occur if they need to change critical components).

And finally, the watchmaker will assemble back the watch and adjust it in several positions to make sure it runs well before sending it back to you.

Cleaning a mechanical watch during the service

How long does a full watch servicing take?

The delay depends a lot on the type of watch and the damage (i.e. amount of work that needs to be done). Sometimes, the watch even needs to be sent to the headquarters HQ and it will take additional time… It is safe to say, that you will rarely have a watch servicing done in less than 4 weeks and it can take up to 6 months in some cases.

Another solution would be to double each of your watch see your local independent watchmaker that will take far less time, but please make sure that he is capable of repairing your own watch (i.e. has access to the required parts if needed, is entitled to service your brand and so on). This solution could also be far less expensive…

How much does a watch servicing cost?

Now let’s talk a bit $money$!

Costs depends on four main factors:

  • Type of watch (two hands or a minute repeater? Guess which one will cost more to repair?)
  • Type of material (more precaution needed for gold cases)
  • Type of damage (need several components change or not?)
  • Strategy of the brand regarding pricing (if you don’t go to an independent workshop)

Finally, pricing:
When it comes to pricing, some brands are totally transparent with customers from the start. For example, you can find Nomos, Patek Philippe or Richard Mille’s service pricing on their websites. Other brands will require you to ask for an estimate.

In the timetable below, you’ll get the full price list for 23 brands. Please reach out to your local dealer for any other brands.

Mechanical watch servicing price per brand

Brand Models / Watch Type Price Description
A. Lange Lange 1 Lange 1 Moon Phase, Lange 1 Daymatic, Saxonia Dual Time 1,300 Euro Revision of the movement; Workup of case and clasp (filling deep scratch with molten precious metal); Replacing seals and leather strap
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (three pointers) 770 Euro Revision of the movement
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore (Chronograph) 1,090 Euro Revision of the movement
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra Flat 1,765 Euro Revision of the movement
Breitling Stainless steel automatic watches without / with GMT function 395 Euro Revision of the movement; Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace the seals (30 percent surcharge for precious metal parts)
Breitling Stainless steel chronograph with ETA caliber 540 Euro Revision of the movement; Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace the seals (30 percent surcharge for precious metal parts)
Breitling Stainless steel chronograph Breitling manufacture caliber 660 Euro Revision of the movement; Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace the seals (30 percent surcharge for precious metal parts)
Breitling Stainless steel chronograph with complications 635 Euro Revision of the movement; Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace the seals (30 percent surcharge for precious metal parts)
Glashütte Original Sixties (three pointer undated) 405 Euro (with leather strap)
455 Euro (with metal strip)
Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace pointers, gaskets, crown, tube, pushers and correctors (surcharge for precious metal parts)
Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date (with power reserve indicator, flyback function and large date) 1,005 euros (with leather strap)
1055 Euro (with metal strip)
Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace pointers, gaskets, crown, tube, pushers and correctors (surcharge for precious metal parts)
Glashütte Original Senator Tourbillon EUR 1,625 (with leather strap)
1675 Euro (with metal strip)
Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace pointers, gaskets, crown, tube, pushers and correctors (surcharge for precious metal parts)
Jaeger-LeCoultre sided Reverso with manual winding movement 450 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace the seals
Jaeger-LeCoultre two-sided Reverso with additional functions 610 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace the seals
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Chronograph 750 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace the seals
Omega Watches with calibres since 1980 (hand-wound and automatic) 475 Euro (with leather strap)
505 Euro (with metal strip)
Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace pointers (additional fee for special or precious pointers), gaskets, crown, tube, pushers, helium escape valve and plastic glass (additional fee for ceramic or precious metal parts)
Omega Watches with calibers from the 1970s (manual winding and automatic) 585 Euro (with leather strap)
615 Euro (with metal strip)
Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace pointers (additional fee for special or precious pointers), gaskets, crown, tube, pushers, helium escape valve and plastic glass (additional fee for ceramic or precious metal parts)
Omega Watches with calibers from the 1960s (manual winding and automatic) 645 Euro (with leather strap)
675 Euro (with metal strip)
Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace pointers (additional fee for special or precious pointers), gaskets, crown, tube, pushers, helium escape valve and plastic glass (additional fee for ceramic or precious metal parts)
Oris Automatic Watches 220 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replacing seals, crown and pushers (additional fee for ceramic or precious metal parts)
Oris Chronograph and alarm clock 350 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replacing seals, crown and pushers (additional fee for ceramic or precious metal parts)
Oris Manufacture Caliber 110/111 375 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replacing seals, crown and pushers (additional fee for ceramic or precious metal parts)
Panerai simple manual wind watch 440 Euro (with leather strap)
540 Euro (with metal strip)
Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet
Panerai small complications (eg, eight-day work) 620 Euro (with leather strap)
720 Euro (with metal strip)
Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet
Panerai mean complications (eg chronograph with eight-day work) 665 Euro (with leather strap)
765 Euro (with metal strip)
Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet
Patek Philippe Simple Calatrava 882 Euro Revision of the movement; Replacing Seals, elevator shaft and various screws and wheels
Patek Philippe World time 1,157 Euro Revision of the movement; Replacing Seals, elevator shaft and various screws and wheels
Patek Philippe Chronograph without / with year calendar 1,653 Euro Revision of the movement; Replacing Seals, elevator shaft and various screws and wheels
Rolex Datejust from 540 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace gaskets and optionally flexible strips, Kronentubus (surcharge for precious metal parts)
Rolex Day-Date and Daytona from 660 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace gaskets and optionally flexible strips, Kronentubus (surcharge for precious metal parts)
Rolex Submariner, Submariner Date, Sea-Dweller, Explorer, Explorer II, GMT-Master II Milgauss from 580 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace gaskets and optionally flexible strips, Kronentubus (surcharge for precious metal parts)
Rolex Yacht-Master II from 785 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace gaskets and optionally flexible strips, Kronentubus (surcharge for precious metal parts)
Sinn Three-hand watches without / with Ar-Dehumidifying Technology 180/235 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Cleaning the cabinet; Clean and where appropriate, repair of the metal band; Replace the seals
Sinn simple chronograph without / with Ar-Dehumidifying Technology 330/385 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Cleaning the cabinet; Clean and where appropriate, repair of the metal band; Replace the seals
Sinn complex chronograph without / with Ar-Dehumidifying Technology 450/505 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Cleaning the cabinet; Clean and where appropriate, repair of the metal band; Replace the seals
TAG Heuer Automatic Watches 315 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace the seals;insured return shipment to the customer
TAG Heuer Automatic chronograph 435 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace the seals;insured return shipment to the customer
TAG Heuer Automatic chronograph with Zenith or TAG Heuer manufacture movements 520 Euro Revision of the movement with replacement of wearing parts;Workup of housing and metal bracelet; Replace the seals;insured return shipment to the custo
Prices as of August 2015, original post for the table from our friends of Watchtime available in German here

See you soon for a next article to share our love for mechanical watches !



  • ArchieLuxury

    OMEGA, “MAN ON THE FUCKING MOON” 🙂

    • Alan Godfrey

      Is it really you?! Aha. If it is, cheers Arch.

      • I have no clue but everyone is welcomed here ! 🙂

    • Hey Archie, why are you using the Toolwatch logo?