Professional or DIY Watch Repair?

You have been together for almost a year now, and her birthday is coming up. The relationship feels like you might want to take it to the next level soon, but not quite jewelry, and not quite yet. You find a fun watch online that fits her style like a glove. Her birthday is here. The perfect moment comes to give the gift and her eyes light up. You hit the mark! She puts it on her wrist, and it promptly flops around. It is way too big.

What do you do?

Whether it is a new battery, broken crystal, regulation or even a simple band adjustment; everyone needs a watch serviced. How do you know if you should try to tweak it yourself, or take it in to a professional watchmaker?

The watch industry has changed significantly in the past 10 years. There have been advancements in technology and in the precision of internal mechanisms. Fashion has played a greater role in watch design resulting in an increase of case styles, finishes and configurations. More then ever discernment is needed to know when watch repair and maintenance need higher skill and greater experience. At the same time, YouTube, online forums and successful past attempts have given consumers even greater confidence in their own watch repair. 

Can basic watch repair be done at home? Should it? Let's look at some facts.

It can be more expensive. It is easy to loose or break a pin, misalign the water resistant gasket or shatter the crystal. It is not uncommon to see a watch with a solar capacitor ripped out, coils ruined or pieces missing. Replacement and repair are both more expensive than having the repair done by a professional in the first place. Time, frustration and aggravation are money. 

It can take more time. Case backs and expansion bands in particular can be extremely difficult to assemble without the right tools. Though a watch purchased online may come with cheap tools for adjustment and battery replacement, it does not mean that they are best for the task.

It can break your watch warranty. Many watch warranties are only effective if the watch is worked on by an authorized dealer. 

It can be dangerous. Many watches have a pry off back that requires a sharp wedge for removal. One wrong slip can not only make unsightly gouges in your watch, but also on your hands. 

Next time you think about changing your own watch battery or adjusting the band, make an informed decision. Is money an important factor? Do you care if the watch gets ruined? Are you handy with small things: and do you have the correct tools? 

Yes, you may have success, but there is a reason why many big box stores are not willing to service watches. Watch repair is more complicated than it ever was. Chances are your repair will be done a lot faster, and the watch will work better if a watchmaker maintains your watch.