Do Automatic Watches Need to Be Serviced?

Automatic watches are a testament to the craftsmanship and precision of watchmaking. These unique timepieces are powered by the movement of the wearer, making batteries unnecessary. Yet, many automatic watch owners often find themselves contemplating the need for watch servicing. In essence, servicing an automatic watch is crucial to ensure its longevity, performance, and aesthetics. Routine servicing can prevent various potential issues, and therefore, it should not be overlooked. Let’s delve into the fascinating world of automatic watches and explore why regular servicing is crucial.

What is an Automatic Watch?

An automatic watch, also known as a self-winding watch, is a mechanical timepiece that harnesses the energy from the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist. This kinetic energy is converted into potential energy stored in the mainspring of the watch, which powers it. The internal mechanism is a marvel of micro-engineering and craftsmanship, composed of gears, springs, and levers all working harmoniously.

Why Do People Choose Automatic Watches?

Automatic watches hold a special allure for many watch enthusiasts. They are often preferred for their intricate mechanics and superior craftsmanship. An automatic watch represents the pinnacle of watchmaking tradition, combining historical designs with innovative technology. Many appreciate the charm of the mechanical movement, the artistry that goes into each component, and the satisfaction of wearing a piece of horological history.

What Does Servicing an Automatic Watch Involve?

Servicing an automatic watch involves a thorough examination of its inner mechanisms and components. Watchmakers meticulously disassemble the watch, clean each part, replace worn components, reassemble the watch, and then lubricate the movement. After reassembly, the watch is thoroughly tested for timekeeping accuracy, water-resistance, and overall performance. This detailed process ensures that the watch operates at its optimal efficiency.

Do Automatic Watches Need Regular Servicing?

Yes, automatic watches require regular servicing. Just like a car or any other intricate machine, the parts of an automatic watch experience wear and tear over time. Lubricants break down, tiny particles can infiltrate the mechanism, and gears can slowly become misaligned. Regular servicing ensures that these issues are addressed before they become significant problems that impair the watch’s performance or cause irreversible damage.

What Are the Benefits of Regularly Servicing an Automatic Watch?

Regular servicing of automatic watches extends their lifespan and maintains their accuracy. Servicing can identify and address minor issues before they escalate into more significant problems. A properly serviced watch also retains its aesthetic appeal, preventing discoloration and damage to the dial, hands, and other visible components. Ultimately, regular servicing ensures that the automatic watch continues to perform and look as intended by the manufacturer.

What Happens If an Automatic Watch Isn’t Serviced?

Neglecting regular servicing of an automatic watch can lead to several problems. These may range from minor inconveniences such as loss of accuracy to major issues like component failure. Without proper maintenance, the lubricants in the watch can dry up, causing increased friction and wear on the parts. Over time, this can lead to a complete breakdown of the watch’s internal mechanism, resulting in costly repairs or even replacement.

How Often Should an Automatic Watch be Serviced?

The recommended servicing interval for automatic watches typically ranges from three to five years, depending on the brand and model. Factors such as the quality of the watch, how often it’s worn, and the conditions it’s exposed to can all affect how frequently it should be serviced.

How to Choose a Reliable Watch Servicing Centre?

A reliable watch servicing center should have a reputation for excellence and expertise in handling automatic watches. Consider the following factors when selecting a servicing center:

  1. Authorized Service Centers: If your watch is under warranty, it’s advisable to choose an authorized service center recommended by the watch manufacturer. Authorized centers have access to genuine parts and follow the manufacturer’s specifications and standards.
  2. Specialization and Experience: Look for a servicing center that specializes in your watch brand or has experience servicing automatic watches. Their familiarity with the specific mechanisms and requirements of your watch will ensure accurate servicing and reduce the risk of errors.
  3. Certifications and Accreditations: Check if the servicing center has certifications or accreditations from recognized horological organizations or watchmaking schools. These credentials indicate their commitment to quality and adherence to industry standards.
  4. Customer Reviews and Testimonials: Read customer reviews and testimonials to gauge the center’s reputation and customer satisfaction. Positive feedback from other watch enthusiasts can give you confidence in their services.
  5. Transparency and Communication: A reputable servicing center should provide transparent communication throughout the servicing process. They should explain the work to be done, provide estimates, and keep you informed of any additional repairs or replacements required.
  6. Warranty on Servicing: Inquire about the warranty provided for the servicing work. A reliable center will offer a warranty on the services performed, ensuring peace of mind and accountability for their work.

DIY vs Professional Servicing: Which is Better?

While some watch enthusiasts may be inclined to attempt servicing their automatic watches themselves, it is generally recommended to entrust the task to professional watchmakers. Watch servicing requires specialized tools, expertise, and knowledge of intricate mechanisms. Professional watchmakers have the necessary skills and experience to handle the delicate components of automatic watches and ensure their proper functioning.

Attempting DIY servicing without adequate knowledge and experience can lead to costly mistakes, irreparable damage, or voiding of warranties. It is always safer and more reliable to rely on the expertise of trained professionals for the servicing of your treasured automatic watch.

The Cost of Servicing an Automatic Watch

The cost of servicing an automatic watch can vary depending on factors such as the brand, complexity of the movement, and the extent of the required repairs. Generally, servicing costs can range from a few hundred to several hundred dollars. However, considering the value of your automatic watch and the importance of maintaining its performance and longevity, the cost of servicing is a worthwhile investment.

It’s important to remember that regular servicing helps prevent major issues that could result in more expensive repairs or even the need for a replacement watch. By maintaining the watch’s condition and performance, regular servicing can potentially save you from significant expenses in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I wind my automatic watch?

Automatic watches self-wind through the natural motion of the wearer. As long as you wear the watch regularly, it should self-wind. However, if you don’t wear it for an extended period, you may need to manually wind it to ensure it starts running again. Consult your watch’s manual or contact the manufacturer for specific guidelines on winding your watch.

Can I service my automatic watch myself?

While there are resources available for DIY watch servicing, it is generally recommended to leave the servicing to professional watchmakers. Automatic watches are delicate and intricate timepieces that require specialized tools and expertise to properly service. Attempting DIY servicing without the necessary knowledge and experience can lead to irreversible damage or voiding of warranties.

How can I maintain the appearance of my automatic watch between services?

To maintain the appearance of your automatic watch, handle it with care and avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures, moisture, and chemicals. Wipe it regularly with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove dust and fingerprints. Additionally, ensure that the watch’s crown is properly screwed down to maintain its water resistance. Avoid exposing the watch to unnecessary shocks or impacts that could damage its delicate components.

What should I do if my automatic watch is not keeping accurate time?

If your automatic watch is consistently losing or gaining significant time, it may require servicing. Inaccuracy in timekeeping can be a sign of issues within the movement that need to be addressed by a professional watchmaker. Contact a reputable watch servicing center to have your watch examined and repaired if necessary.

Can I wear my automatic watch while participating in sports or physical activities?

While many automatic watches are designed to be robust and withstand some level of physical activity, it’s important to consider the specific model and its water resistance rating. Some watches are specifically designed for sports and diving activities and offer higher levels of water resistance and impact protection. However, for intense sports or activities that involve significant impact or submersion, it’s advisable to consult the watch’s manual or the manufacturer to ensure its suitability.


In conclusion, automatic watches do require regular servicing to ensure their optimal performance, longevity, and aesthetic appeal. Regular servicing helps identify and address potential issues, extends the watch’s lifespan, and maintains its accuracy. By choosing a reliable watch servicing center and adhering to the recommended servicing intervals, you can enjoy the beauty and functionality of your automatic watch for years to come.

Remember, an automatic watch is not just a timekeeping device; it’s a mechanical masterpiece that deserves proper care and attention. Invest in the maintenance of your automatic watch, and it will continue to grace your wrist with precision and elegance for generations.

Steve, a dedicated watch aficionado who delves into the intricate world of automatic timekeeping. Drawing from his engineering background, he unravels the technical marvels that power self-winding watches. Steve's fascination was kindled during his travels to Swiss watchmaking hubs, where he gained insights into the synergy of art and mechanics. Through his writing, he brings to light the wonders of these perpetual-motion masterpieces.

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