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Say, a 10-15 year-old watch with automatic movement that's essentially new, maybe worn a couple times but is otherwise in near-pristine condition. The parts of the movement obviously haven't moved around a lot. Do the oils in watches like this really congeal and thicken because the parts aren't moving? Does a watch in this situation need a servicing?
 

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maybe yes, maybe no...............if it's not running properly...keeping good time etc. it needs a service...if it works right....you're good to go!
Remember the "curmudgeon's" 1st commandment..."if it ain't broke, don't fix it"
& the chant....BAH HUMBUG
 

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When it comes to vintage or NOS watches, let the First Commandment be:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it".
Amen.
 
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That First Commandment will for sure create a need for extensive repair and service!

Yes, it need a good service. The very important oils have aged, changed viscosity or even dried out. Or moved to a place where they should not be.

Of course, the damage caused will not show for a couple of months. After that, you will need far more expensive service and repair than if you did it soon after purchase!
Would you run an engine that has been standing still for lots of years, with the original oil?
 

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I'm going to fall back on what my watchmaker told me, and say no for a wristwatch and yes for a pocket watch.

His reasoning (works for me):

With a dirty wristwatch (or one requiring a service due to old lube), using a rather weak mainspring, the watch will stop before any damage is done to the movement.

On the other hand, with a pocket watch that uses a much larger/stronger mainspring, the movement will continue to 'grind' along regardless of the condition of the lube or with a fair amount of dirt/grit/gunk.

Long story short: A wristwatch will likely stop if without damage if all it needs is a standard cleaning and lube, according to my watchmaker.

Therefore, I fall into the 'If it ain't broke...' camp.
 

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On a NOS watch, what would cause the Mainspring to be weakened?
Ok to ruin/damage a watch with an ETA movement, cheap to fix or replace, but what about something more "inhouse"?

i believe we have some (more) knwing guys, even watchmakers, on the Vintage Forum.
 

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On a NOS watch, what would cause the Mainspring to be weakened?
Ok to ruin/damage a watch with an ETA movement, cheap to fix or replace, but what about something more "inhouse"?

i believe we have some (more) knwing guys, even watchmakers, on the Vintage Forum.
Maybe I didn't write that in a way that made sense, so I'll try again.

Have you ever seen a mainspring from a wristwatch as compared to a mainspring from a pocket watch? The spring from a wristwatch is much smaller and hence 'weaker' by design, not out of being defective. The pocket watch mainspring is disproportionately larger.

I trust my watchmaker. I'll let you know if he lets me down, but hasn't so far. ;-)
 

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great question! I've always wondered that myself

Thanks for all the responses thus far
 

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:think: This reminds of some people, "Change the earl, heck no, I never change the earl. I just keep addin when it gits low."
That First Commandment will for sure create a need for extensive repair and service!

Yes, it need a good service. The very important oils have aged, changed viscosity or even dried out. Or moved to a place where they should not be.

Of course, the damage caused will not show for a couple of months. After that, you will need far more expensive service and repair than if you did it soon after purchase!
Would you run an engine that has been standing still for lots of years, with the original oil?
 

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That First Commandment will for sure create a need for extensive repair and service!

Yes, it need a good service. The very important oils have aged, changed viscosity or even dried out. Or moved to a place where they should not be.

Of course, the damage caused will not show for a couple of months. After that, you will need far more expensive service and repair than if you did it soon after purchase!
Would you run an engine that has been standing still for lots of years, with the original oil?
Ditto -- you read my mind.

D
 

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I've bought plenty of NOS watches and they ALL needed oil. Why risk damaging a great find because you're skimping? Don't be a cheapskate - pay for the stinkin' service! Older oils don't have nearly the lifespan of their newer counterparts. Granted, I'm talking about vintage pieces. If it's only 3 or 4 years old then you're probably safe for a while.
 

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Wouldn't you need to taker the watch to a watchmaker to see if the oils need changing? Oh wait .. that's the question right? ;-).

Find a watchmaker you can trust, and let them check the watch out. Unless you can do it yourself, how will you ever really know until its too late?
 

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Of course, I assume we talk NOS that is more than a couple of years old.
If the watch is, say, 3 years old, it should not need a service&lube straight away, but only a couple of years later. In theory, anyway.
I am not sure how much the oild creep if the movement is inactive.

As somebody said, a normal service is not that expensive!
 
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