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Sure, any part can be replaced, but at what cost...

Oh wait, here is a real world service post from someone who serviced a vintage Rolex that never had been serviced before: (Her words, not mine).

https://www.watchuseek.com/f20/what...t-service-405735-post3034687.html#post3034687

P.S. Yes, vintage vs modern, vintage being more expensive, but the cost could have been mitigated. As I stated earlier, do you like to pay smaller amounts more often, or big amounts once in a blue moon. And the watch is less original then it once was, which for some, could be an issue... A matter of conservation vs preservation, compromise etc...
 

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NWhy would anyone want to run a watch dry, knowing that they were helping it beat itself to death? I
desmond
They shouldnt. Which in the end is why I don't wear the '64 GMT that much because in light of its replacement value, even it it is running with the same accuracy as it did 20yrs ago I reallyt only want to have it cleaned and lubricated and not wait until it actually damages itself. I know i've been wishy-washy on this issue but this is why. I feel differently about letting a Seiko go to pot than I would the PO or the datejust. Or one constellation isnt the original mvmnt so that one doesnt bother me but the other ones do....and so it goes on a watch by watch basis. Oy. Its not really a black and white issue for me.
 

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When selling a watch, I always give this spiel to customers; "Get the watch serviced every 3 to 5 years, generally. So, if the watch is keeping good time after 3 years, push it to four. If it's still running fine after 4 years, stretch it to five. You might be able to get away with six or seven years before it needs servicing, but then you may be up for repair work that's more along the lines of a minor overhaul rather than just a service."
Now, if I'm talking about a Co-Axial movement, I add two years to the above.
Hmm thats some sound advice which I might just follow. I read and learnt from another post that my 3603 movement has a couple of riveted gears which need good lubrication. Still learning and understanding how that works in practice but the fact they need good lubrication makes me cautious on how far I want to push not servicing.

When customers purchase an Omega and they ask me how much it costs to service, I pretty much tell them to put aside ten bucks a month and, in five years, they'll have $600 put away for the watch's service. $500 every five years is a lot of money, but it sounds more reasonable when you say ten bucks a month.
I like the sound of this and I'm going to put it into practice from this month onwards.
 

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ASRSPR said:
The more pertinent question might be of economics.

Generally, Omega parts are not in terribly short supply. Omega produces a large volume of watches and in the modern era has mostly used either movements with substantial parts interchangeability with other brands or else movements that have been made in the tens of millions over decades. If this is the case (as it may not be for the co-axials, depending on Omega's future strategy), then we can approach the calculation a few different ways.

1. Never service the watch until repairs are needed: dCost = (ServiceCost * MTF) - RepairCost

Where Mean Time to Failure is in repair cycles. If the balance is positive, then fixing later is a cheaper path. This ignores some factors like time to repair versus service and the cost of potential performance degradation avoided by regular service.

2. Never service, then strip the watch for parts and buy a recently manufactured or serviced watch of similar model on the secondary market: dCost = (ServiceCost*MTF) - (AvgUsedPrice - PartsPrice)

Obviously, this ignores factors like models and movements going out of production as well as availability, not brands creeping higher and higher up the luxury ladder. Some flexibility and foresight may be required - moving to a newer model every cycle, for instance. 2254 buyers today may need to move to whatever Seamaster model is made in the 2020s if availability is low.

We can try plugging in some numbers. Let's consider the Speedmaster Pro, as popular an Omega watch as any. Watches and parts are plentiful and this is one Omega watch that basically never changes. I'd say that MTF is conservatively maybe 3 service cycles, with each service costing about $550 (via Omega service center). I'm not certain about common repairs, but we can maybe say, $1000 is a good guess.

So, by waiting until something breaks to repair it, we can save $650.

I'd say that current used prices for a recently serviced Speedy Pro are about $2200, and given the long history of manufacture and strong sales of the Speedy, I don't imagine that we'll see current production models becoming any more collectible over the next few years. Currently, we can recover maybe $1000 from the old one (conservatively, 150 for the dial +and hand set, $50 for the caseback, $200 for the bracelet + $300 for the case + $300 for a broken movement). These numbers perhaps won't change too much if the Speedy sustains its popularity (especially if Omega further restricts parts distribution).

So by jumping ship to a newly serviced used Speedy instead of regular servicing, we can save $450.

Obviously, these calculations differ depending on each individuals' estimation of costs. Neither of these scenarios are very compatible with the sense of romanticism common to watch collecting. Emotional attachment is a bit hard to quantify, but it's definitely a factor in most collectors' decision-making.

One thing is clear though: the oft-used car analogy is largely inapt. Changing the oil is much cheaper proportionally than servicing a watch. Dramatically so, actually - an oil change can cost about a factor of ten less than a full watch service while an average car costs about a factor of ten more than a mid-end luxury watch. The consequences are also much more proportionally dire. Swapping out a torn CV joint boot costs, say, 20 times less than repairing a CV joint. Repairing a cal. 1861 only costs 2-3 times more than servicing it.

Do your own math and decide how to proceed.
Thing is, a car is just an analogy meant to demonstrate the point using a commonly used asset. You can substitute just about ANY other mechanical contraption and I'd still end up at my (which I understand is subjective to many) conclusion that preventive maintenance is something that shouldn't be ignored. In fact, it's not even the exclusive realm of machines. You check your teeth every 6 months, not just when they hurt. You feed a lawn with pesticides, etc...not wait until it withers. Yes, there is an economics equation here, but there's also that adage from my old man nagging at my brain...take care of your things and they take care of you.
 

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Great thread! Congrats to Mystro for starting another one close on the heels of his thoughtful Rolex/Omega comparison ("thoughtful" R v. O comparison. . .did I just say that :-d)

I firmly believe there is no right or wrong answer to the topic. Objectively, it's a matter of economics. I think it can be stated as fact that there is no watch (at least not one that this group discusses) that cannot be repaired at a price. It can also be stated as fact that routine service is "good" for the watch. Regular servicing likely defers a more expensive repair for some period of time. It is possible that a watch, particularly a modern one, will continue to function for a lifetime without ever being serviced. The owner of that watch will have saved hundreds, or thousands of dollars by foregoing routine service. OTOH, that individual runs the risk that the watch suffers one or more neglect related catastrophic failures, the repair of which would exceed the cost of preventative service. The best analogy IMO, is insurance. Mystro and his followers are self insurers; those on the other side of the debate keep Allstate (and their watchmakers) in business.

Personally, I like knowing the service history of my watches. I feel better knowing that my watch is in good working order. I like not having to worry about having funds available to pay for an expensive repair. I don't feel guilty neglecting what I view as increasingly rare pieces of mechanical art. These subjective feelings will vary from person to person, and play a role in the owner's decision whether or not to service.

I'm living this issue as we discuss the matter. I bought my 63 Speedmaster with an unknown service history. I immediately sent it off to my watchmaker asking him to perform a full service. I didn't care whether it ran well or not-I wanted to know that it was going to perform as it should. I went to pick it up, and my guy had done nothing more than open it up and check the timing. It was clean as a whistle inside, and ran perfectly. He refused to service it, saying it would be a waste of my money. Two days ago, I was actually using the chrono function, and noticed that the minute totaliser is sticking at the 12 minute mark. Is there something seriously wrong? I doubt it, but. . . Would the routine service I requested have prevented the problem? Maybe. . . I don't blame my guy at all-I could have put my foot down, and insisted that he work on the watch. Objectively, I made the decision to self insure. Subjectively, I always worried, a little bit at least, every time I wound the watch. Hopefully, my objective decision isn't going to cost me too much :-d.
 

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I was going to argue in favor of preventative maintenance since I've seen unlubricated watches and what happens to them - so much so that I am thinking about doing an article on the damage you will do to your watch. Then I thought why bother? It isn't my watch being ruined, and it's not my money that's flying out of my wallet for the inevitable repairs. So those that do believe in preventative maintenance can keep handing down their WORKING family heirlooms, and those that don't can pass on a broken watch to their son..... just like my buddy who paid 3 times more for repair & servicing of his Rolex after 12 years instead of just the cost of a couple services (or less, considering you can stretch them out to 7-8 years with the better lifespan of modern synthetic oils). So keep on skipping on your routine maintenance and keep on believing your watch is just fine without proper lubrication. That way when your heir puts your broken watch on eBay and it goes for a pittance, I can have it dirt cheap then fix it and resell it for a profit. Thanks!
 

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At $500.00 every 5 years, thats a lot of money.
First, that's Rolex's price - and you can get the movement serviced at an independent for about $200 (give or take $25 usually). You don't have to get the cosmetic work done. Second, you can stretch that out to 7 or 8 years because modern synthetic lubricants keep their viscosity longer than the old natural oils (as mentioned previously).
 

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If he spent $1500.00 for a repair service, he was outright robbed. You can replace the entire movement for less than that.
No, he spent over $400 at my watchmaker when a normal service would have been a mere $150-ish.

Not exactly robbed, was he? I don't know why you insist on using factory service charges for your model. You're basing your whole idea of skipping maintenance on the ludicrous prices that the Rolex service centers charge. But for $150 - $200 at an independent, you are a FOOL if you skip maintenance.
 

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If he spent $1500.00 for a repair service, he was outright robbed. You can replace the entire movement for less than that.
I don't have reason (yet) to have a strong opinion on the original topic, but to me your argument/issue seems to be sliding into the territory of being annoyed with service costs, as opposed to their necessity. Not sure if that is part of it, but I personally have never understood people who will lay out thousands of dollars for watches who then balk at a few hundred every few years (or more) to keep them healthy. I say this knowing my time will come with my Omegas, but my tune won't change when it does. I knew it going in.

Cheers,
HBL
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
No, he spent over $400 at my watchmaker when a normal service would have been a mere $150-ish.

Not exactly robbed, was he? I don't know why you insist on using factory service charges for your model. You're basing your whole idea of skipping maintenance on the ludicrous prices that the Rolex service centers charge. But for $150 - $200 at an independent, you are a FOOL if you skip maintenance.
Wow!.....I would be all over a good independent shop for that kind of money. Is the shop very experienced? I inquired to more than 5-6 shops around NY-Philly area and all were pretty constant with a price between $450.00-$650.00.
I would have no problem throwing down $500.00 - $650.00 at this point. I cant get my oil changed in my German muscle car for $150.00.
 

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I don't have reason (yet) to have a strong opinion on the original topic, but to me your argument/issue seems to be sliding into the territory of being annoyed with service costs, as opposed to their necessity. Not sure if that is part of it, but I personally have never understood people who will lay out thousands of dollars for watches who then balk at a few hundred every few years (or more) to keep them healthy. I say this knowing my time will come with my Omegas, but my tune won't change when it does. I knew it going in.

Cheers,
HBL
HbL, you may be surprised just how many people are shocked to learn that their watch requires servicing. "What? Whaddaya mean I have to get it serviced? It's mechanical, it doesn't need a battery."
This has more to do with what the salesperson who sold them the watch didn't tell them about care and feeding of a mechanical timepiece. I basically tell the customer that they have a tiny 40mm 'machine' strapped to their wrist and it runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will therefore require maintenance.
Remember that those of us who frequent these forums represent a very miniscule customer base, whereas the average non-WIS customer represents the other 98% of folks who go to an AD and buy an expensive wristwatch. And for them, it always comes as a surprise to find that they will have to shell out a minimum of $350-$400 to get their watch serviced (by the brand's repair centre) when the time comes.

I re-read my previous post in this thread and I still stand by my customer 'spiel'. Despite the fact that I've yet to service my Bond SMP.

I understand where HbL is coming from. If I'm spending serious coin on a watch, I'd want to know as much about associated and/or future maintenance costs as I possibly can. I'm sure that many of you here were the same when you first got bitten by the watch bug.
 

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Discussion Starter · #76 · (Edited)
Cost is just one of many factors in the argument. Bottom line is, for me, the nagging question of why crack open a watch that keeps excellent time? The flip side to that argument is that it doesn't cost any more money servicing the watch every 15 years if during the 15 years the watch has been reliable. It will be less money at the 15yr mark. A good routine service replaces wearable items so why have them replaced at the 5 year mark if the watch runs great. As long as the part does its job why mess with it? Waiting for service will not hurt the watch because the parts effected by
wear will be replaced when the watch's time keeping starts to suffer and then there is a real reason to crack open the watch. Every time the watch is opened it has to be pressure tested and regulated so why do it any more than you have to. Then there is the chance that your perfectly accurate watch you sent in for its 5 year routine service comes back regulated much worse than when it went it. I have seen this a lot on the forums. I dont have a lot of faith in post sails service I dont want to subject my factory built watch to Jimmy-Joe-Bob and his 3 case wrenches if I dont have to.
Why not every time you change the oil in your $75K car, rebuild your lower end of your motor while your at it for preventive reasons. Its like volunteering for unnecessary surgery.

I totally understand why people feel the need to have their watch service every 5 years but IMO, its for a more warm and fuzzy feeling that their watch is in good working order.

Once again, This a very good discussion. Cudos to the Omega forum for keeping a genuine debate cerebral and not troll like!! Font


I don't have reason (yet) to have a strong opinion on the original topic, but to me your argument/issue seems to be sliding into the territory of being annoyed with service costs, as opposed to their necessity. Not sure if that is part of it, but I personally have never understood people who will lay out thousands of dollars for watches who then balk at a few hundred every few years (or more) to keep them healthy. I say this knowing my time will come with my Omegas, but my tune won't change when it does. I knew it going in.

Cheers,
HBL
 

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Wow!.....I would be all over a good independent shop for that kind of money. Is the shop very experienced? I inquired to more than 5-6 shops around NY-Philly area and all were pretty constant with a price between $450.00-$650.00.
I would have no problem throwing down $500.00 - $650.00 at this point. I cant get my oil changed in my German muscle car for $150.00.
My watchmaker is 3rd generation trained in Switzerland and Rolex certified. He charges me a discounted rate because I give him so much business.
 

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HbL, you may be surprised just how many people are shocked to learn that their watch requires servicing. "What? Whaddaya mean I have to get it serviced? It's mechanical, it doesn't need a battery."
This has more to do with what the salesperson who sold them the watch didn't tell them about care and feeding of a mechanical timepiece. I basically tell the customer that they have a tiny 40mm 'machine' strapped to their wrist and it runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will therefore require maintenance.
Remember that those of us who frequent these forums represent a very miniscule customer base, whereas the average non-WIS customer represents the other 98% of folks who go to an AD and buy an expensive wristwatch. And for them, it always comes as a surprise to find that they will have to shell out a minimum of $350-$400 to get their watch serviced (by the brand's repair centre) when the time comes.

I re-read my previous post in this thread and I still stand by my customer 'spiel'. Despite the fact that I've yet to service my Bond SMP.

I understand where HbL is coming from. If I'm spending serious coin on a watch, I'd want to know as much about associated and/or future maintenance costs as I possibly can. I'm sure that many of you here were the same when you first got bitten by the watch bug.
Thanks teeritz, that is a fair point, and one that I neglected to consider fully enough. In fact the salesperson for my first Omega (also a Bond SMP) did not inform me of such mysteries. However, I was fortunate enough to have benefited from that knowledge in advance thanks to this very forum.

Once again, This a very good discussion. Cudos to the Omega forum for keeping a genuine debate cerebral and not troll like!! View attachment 377716
Absolutely, Mystro...

Cheers,
HBL
 

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This has more to do with what the salesperson who sold them the watch didn't tell them about care and feeding of a mechanical timepiece.
I just love the way your brain works Tino. One day, I will buy you a beer.
 

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The thread totally ignores what happens to elastomeric seals within the watch. They degrade and they require replacement as well. I am in the very 5ish year camp. I also appreciate how the case and bracelet come back cleaned up.
 
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