All You Need To Know About Servicing A Quartz Watch

Quartz watch is the de facto of watches nowadays. When I first got my quartz watch, I wondered if it needs to be serviced, just like its older brother (the automatic watch). I did some research to find out.

So does a quartz watch need servicing? Quartz watch does needs a service but it’s interval is long at 10-years or so. It also needs regular battery change around 1-2 years depending on the make. As it has much lesser moving parts, quartz watch does not require more frequent servicing like the automatic watch.

However, you might want to do some general service on it once in a while to make sure it’s running in an optimal condition (especially if the watch is very expensive and you want to keep it as a heirloom). In addition, some issues on the watch might require you to have to bring it to a watchmaker for a service or repair. Lastly, where should you send in your watch? Will you have to send in to the brand back (more expensive) or a third-party watchmaker (cheaper) will suffice?

Quartz Watch Is Generally Service-Free

In general, a quartz watch is service-free, as is they will need less frequent servicing than an ordinary automatic watch.

For an automatic watch, a 3 to 5 years service interval is generally recommended, though this will largely depend on the brand (for example, Rolex has a great 10-year service interval).

For a quartz watch, a 10-year service interval is generally acceptable (though you will need to check with the brand).

The reason for this is there’s much lesser moving components inside a quartz watch thanks to its electric driven timekeeping and motor.

A good quartz watch will be very robust and can run forever – as long as you’re not pushing it beyond its use limit (such as outdoor activities, sports, etc.)

There’s a lot of stories about how an old quartz watch still run perfectly with only some battery change. This demonstrates the robustness of these watches.

Typical Services Needed For Quartz Watchdoes a quartz watch need servicing

While it’s generally service-free, you should also expect some service to be done on your watch. Just like all moving items around us (car, motorcycle, etc.), a service is needed to keep the quartz watch running perfectly, especially if you intend to keep your watch for a long period of time.

Some of the things that you will need to do involves taking the watch apart, re-oiling it and cleaning it when necessary. You should also ensure your watchmaker will thoroughly check the movement for any sign of damages and replace the parts as required.

This will prevent the damage from spreading to other components which might cause the movement to be spoiled and require a total replacement later.

Once you’ve changed the battery, do conduct electrical tests on it to ensure it’s within specification.

Although the movement is usually the main concern during a service, you should also keep in mind about the exterior of the watch i.e case, bracelet, crystal, crown & bezel. Consider spending some bucks to re-polish these to keep it shining like new (very important if you want to sell the watch later on).

In some instances, you might need to replace it if it’s damaged such as crystal, bezel and bracelet/straps.

One last thing that I want to highlight is the importance of prompt battery change. If you found your watch dead due to its battery, always bring it to a watchmaker to swap the battery as soon as possible.

There’s no room for procrastination of the battery change because a dead battery will LEAK and cause all the gooey stuffs to go to your watch’s movement. At this point, a major service is required because you will need to take it all apart and clean it.

Repair For Any Damages Is Still Needed

Although you don’t need to service quartz watch for years, always remember that you still need to repair any damages on it.

For instance, if you notice anything amiss on the watch such as:

  1. Suddenly stopping even though you know there should be a lot of charge in the battery.
  2. Being very inaccurate e.g losing/gaining a lot of time. Quartz watch should be very accurate.
  3. Some functions don’t work e.g chronograph, calendar, second time zone, backlight
  4. Physical damages on the watch e.g hands falling apart, moisture ingress etc.

Any of these issues is a cause for concern and you will need to bring it to a watchmaker for repair. And yes, these issues will cause a lot more to rectify than just a normal service.

In addition, do be very particular about the moisture damage. If you notice some water vapor inside your watch, bring it to the watchmaker as soon as possible to have it cleaned and serviced.

Although watches are usually made of stainless steel, exposure to moisture all the time can still cause it to corrode. Cleaning and servicing it promptly will ensure this corrosion does not happen and prevent from costly repairs down the road.

As there’s usually a gasket issue with moisture ingress, you need to tell your watchmaker to change the gaskets and close the watch properly to avoid this from recurring in the future.

Should You Send Your Watch To The Brand Or A Third-Party Watchmaker?

does a quartz watch need servicingAnother question that is usually asked is should you bring your watch to the brand’s authorized watchmaker or a third-party watchmaker will do.

In my opinion, there’s a lot of things to consider in this matter, rather than just cost (third-party is much cheaper and take less time than authorized brand’s watchmaker). Do note that this also applies to routine battery swap.

If your watch is a normal quartz watch and not expensive, a third-party service will do. For battery change, you can even do it yourselves or have it done at the mall. It’s much cheaper and faster this way.

But if your watch is an expensive watch, with special movements (such as limited edition high-accuracy quartz movement), then it’s recommended to bring it to your brand’s watchmaker.

There’s a lot more at stake here and you don’t want to risk your watch with a guy that you are not sure what’s his capability is.

In addition, third-party watchmakers might not have the right tools to do the job, and in the process could cause physical damages to your watch.

Not to mention they don’t normally have the access to original parts like a brand has. This is very important if your watch needs some parts replacement.

Even for a battery change, I will still bring it to the brand because some high accuracy quartz watch needs special battery cells that you can’t find outside.

These watches usually uses high-vibration quartz crystal that uses a lot more electricity than normal and hence needs special battery cells or you will need to change it every so often.

Extra Precaution Is Needed For Dive Watches

Do note for a diving quartz watch, some extra precautions are needed. Dive watch typically have extra and special seals & gaskets to keep water from coming into the watch during diving. These seals and gaskets need to be able to hold water out even in high water pressure, some even up to hundreds of meters of water depth.

This means that even a normal battery change is a cause for concern and I recommend you to bring it to a watchmaker for it.

Don’t try to change the battery yourselves or have those guys at the mall as there’s a high possibility that you will not close the watch properly and disrupt its water pressure.

Once you’ve opened the watch (for battery change or service or repair), you will need to change the gaskets as needed and also do water resistance pressure test after you’ve closed it back.

These are the things that you will need a good watchmaker (either the brand’s or a third-party) to do for yourselves.

Related Questions

How long do quartz watches last : Quartz watch can last for a very long time (more than 10-20 years is usually normal). It has fewer moving parts which means that it needs minimal service and is more durable than an automatic/mechanical watch.

Do quartz watches need to be wound? : Quartz watch does not need to be wound because its run by electricity supplied by the battery cell inside it.

I hope this article already helped you to understand whether does a quartz watch need servicing or not. Do let me know if there’s any questions by commenting below.


5 thoughts on “All You Need To Know About Servicing A Quartz Watch”

  1. ‘A good quartz watch will be very robust and can run forever’ – this is not true. The quartz module contains a PCB and the circuits won’t last forever and are the weak point of the module even if the mechanical parts are kept oiled and cleaned. It’s like with any older electrical goods that stop working after a few years of not being used. Quartz watches have only existed since end of 70s so we are in new territory as to how long they will actually last and there are no newly produced spares, all the spare NOS movements are just as old and prone to oxidation.

    • The most common would be changing its battery. In addition, you might need to have it serviced for water droplets inside the watch (especially if its frequently in contact with water and without good water resistance protection. General cleaning and re-oiling might be needed if you’re keeping the watch for very long period of time.

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