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40 Years + Daily Wearers With No Service


james brodie
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I know this has been covered before but last week I came across an old boy in a betting shop and couldn't help noticing he had a Seiko Bellmatic- which I also have in the cupboard. After I took an interest he told me it hadn't been off his wrist since the mid 70's and had NEVER been serviced. Reckons it gains around 10 minutes a year. Some watch....

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bloody good value for money then :thumbup:

I honestly believe most services are unnecessary. Years ago I recall getting an 'Everite' quartz watch as a xmas present that stopped working after 6 months. I took it in to H.Samuel to get the battery changed and they told me that was fine, but it needed a service! Of course I argued the warranty thing and won, but my point is I doubt a good mechanical would have that problem. If you own a 5 grand watch, fine, you may want to pamper it, but it should be running trouble free for a decade at the VERY least without anything done to it. Certainly a Seiko auto will give you peace of mind as I'm sure everyone would concur for much longer than a decade..

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40 years plus is not uncommon at the bottom end also, I regularly find TIMEX running well within the limits, as does Mach with ServiceS, and many more will go off with a minimal clean and oil, even tho' they were originally intended to be "disposable" items :yes:

Let us not forget Brethren, these are precision made and well engineered pieces which WERE meant to run for 24 hours a day 7 days a week 52 weeks of the year!

So it's not unusual (cue Tom Jones) to find them working well after many years, with or without servicing - - indeed a school of thought exists that continuously running machinery will often fare well and better than items used intermitently :eek:

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The big issue is lubrication, which wears off in time and a watch which appears fine could in fact be grinding its gears down. Most estimates say five years is a good benchmark for when such lubricants wear down enough that a service is required. But this was the same timeframe recommended back when watches weren't properly sealed. Most watches are airtight to variable degrees nowadays and the lube is much less likely to dry. So they should far outlast the recommended period without service without damaging itself. Unless of course you decide to open up your caseback (something I now avoid entirely) - opening it exposes your movement to dust and moisture, which will in the long run reduce it's lifespan.

I'd have thought we aren't far in technology from the 'Self Servicing Watch'. Now there's a challenge for the geeks.... :D

The technology is pretty much already there: silicon parts don't need lubrication and neither does the co-axial escapement (although the silicon escapement may have made that innovation redundant). However these are generally found in the top end of the market, so unless you have the money you won't benefit from it. Furthermore, right now at least, the innovation seems to be limited to just the balance and escapement parts, the gear train and the rest of the watch will still need servicing.

Edited by Jeremy Fisher
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I wonder if the Solar and Kinetic watches could have such longevity? My Kinetic if fine after 8 years, but the 12 year old Citizen Eco Drive starting playing up 3 years ago. They seem to be marketed now to go on forever? Early Kinetic problems apparently have been solved and I'd imagine a Seiko solar will prove bulletproof for donkey's years..

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Solar and kinetic watches use capacitors - which may eventually lose their ability to store a charge efficiently. I've known several instances where the capacitor on a Seiko kinetic has had to be changed after 5 years or so. But, as you say, perhaps the modern ones have a longer life.

I suppose the big question is: for every old watch that's run and run for decades without a service, how many untold numbers of watches have popped their clogs and needed mending over the years? And - how many of these might not have broken down if they'd been checked and serviced? An impossible question to answer, but one to ponder perhaps...

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I try to fully wind all my watches once a month, have read in quite a few (old timey) books that that is the best way to maintain a watch.

Me too. ......... I've always wondered as to the effect of body heat on a watch and the oils in it.. A watch in constant contact with your wrist is going to be at a good bit higher temperature than those in a watch box and presumably a watch and it's lubricants are designed for that state of affairs. It may not only be a good idea to wind our watches once a month but to wear them, in order to warm up the oils and get them distributed better...

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