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I have a 1920's cushion case watch, that is cosmetically in great condition but it loses about 5-10 minutes per day. I'm looking to get it serviced, and I know a few watchmakers in the area. For a watch this old, would it cost more to service than a modern watch? Is it more complicated? I know it's different with every watchmaker but in your experience is a watch over 80 years old considerably more expensive to service than a watch that's 10-20 years old?
 

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It might actually cost less than some popular brands that are still being used. I took a '58~'65(?) Elgin wristwatch with the American made 760 automatic movement to my watchmaker, and he serviced it for $65. I also took my '78 Omega Seamaster De Ville with the calibre 1020 movement to him, and it cost $125 to service it. Neither watch needed any parts replaced -- just a standard clean, oil, and adjust service. The reason the Omega cost more is because Omega is still out there, making specific recommendations as to what oils to use (maybe also some additional oil treatments?**) and what procedures to follow. Since Elgin isn't around to tell watchmakers how to use the modern synthetic oils, the watchmaker is free to use common sense, rather than a list of 5 different oils and other substances to lube the movement.

** There are substances that can be used to trap the oil in the places it is applied, but I forgot the names of them. Someone else should be able to fill this in -- in any case, treating the parts so that the oils don't find their way out of the pivots/jewels/pallets takes a reasonable amount of extra time. I'm not sure about the process, so I am only guessing, here, but I have seen it mentioned that most modern watch companies suggest the use of this stuff.
 
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