Watch Repair Preserves Family Heirlooms

Watches have a rich and ancient tradition. That venerable grandfather clock, passed down from Aunt Mary to your family, needs expert care to make it to the next generation. A skilled watchmaker preserves family heirlooms and extends their legacy. Finding a reputable watch repair specialist takes a little work, time and patience. Such an investment pays off in the long run. Its essential for maintaining fine timepieces.

The watch repair maintenance industry had its start in Europe in pre-colonial times. Its lasted to this day. Yet, its form has changed and adapted. The present day wrist watch started in the mid-1940s. Todays mass-produced, digital watch had its roots in the old-fashioned pocket watch. It survives to this day as a valued timepiece and is a sought after collectors item.</P> <P>Stand alone watch repair services have declined over the years. Most services have been replaced by or folded into the local jewelers store. They are found at strip shopping centers or shopping malls. Large cities also have jewelers row where you can pick and choose among businesses.

Basic repairs are still in use today. Services cover replacing batteries or wrist bands to general cleaning. Many over-the-counter watches still need maintenance. Most over-the-counter watches, found at chain pharmacies or department stores, are mass produced. Some still require basic maintenance, but most are thrown away when they break.</P> <P>However, fine watches and timepieces need skilled care to keep working. These timepieces have remained unchanged in their inner workings. Only their parts have been updated with modern materials. These watches, along with antiques timepieces, require an accomplished craftsman to care for and preserve them. They can handle full restorations and repairs and go beyond watch repair tips.

Unlike digital watches, mechanical watches like a Rolodex need regular watch repair maintenance, from removing dust and dirt to replacing the oil to keep its parts running smoothly. Fine watches like a Rolodex need a regular overhaul. This means taking apart the watch, cleaning out dust and dirt, lubricating the part, adjusting the time and reassembly. Such care will keep these watches from falling victim to the effects of friction and wear and tear. This level of care takes more than just watch repair tips.</P> <P>Watchmakers or horologists, in industry terms, maintain and repair these pieces. Watchmakers belong  to either the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute (AWCI) or to the National Association of Watch& Clock Collectors (NAWCC). Both organizations sponsor workshops and continuing education courses to support their members development.

NAWCC, a 69-year-old organization, is a collectors group but promotes craftsmanship and education for its members. Certification is sponsored by the 52-year-old AWCI. Seeing their emblem on a jewelers door means they've passed course work, certification testing and continue to take continuing education courses to maintain their expertise.</P> <P>A watchmaker belonging to either organization means they also have the ability to restore vintage and fine timepieces. The websites for both organizations are good starting points for tracking down reputable watch repair services. They also provide resource links and referrals to repair businesses.

A question that came up frequently in the research is whats the difference between timepiece repairs and watch repair restoration? Repairs may mean general cleaning, lubrication and replacement for watch parts. In addition to general repairs, restoration includes being able to return an antique to its original mint condition in every way. This may mean tracking down and arranging to manufacture parts. Or, it could mean rebuilding its housing to the original specifications.

Assessing family heirlooms is the purview of watch repair restoration specialists. They have access to resources for selling as well as information for collectors.  Once you secure a specialist through the local jeweler, jewelers row, or industry trade organizations, then its time to interview, conduct research and collect referrals.  The right specialist will preserve your family treasure for the next generation through careful watch repair.

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