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Informations: Service for Watches

I have a well equipped workshop to investigate watches for the auction. But I'm no watchmaker, just an experienced hobbyist. I know how to do, but have not the routine for a professional service. Anyway, I cooperate with a master watchmaker, and can pass your watches to him, if you have no local watchmaker. He cares for the watches, I for administration and occasionally parts sourcing.

Do It Yourself
Prices: Crystal Replacement
Prices: Service Case
Prices: Service Movement
Service Case
Service Movement
Shipping Charges
Where to Bring the Watch
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Watches which are regularly serviced need scarcely repairs, because the wear of sufficiently lubricated moving parts of a watch is hardly noticable.

An optimum service interval can't be given. There are too many designs and kinds of usage. Watch your watch: First the lubrication of the pallets fails, and this can be noticed by a continuously altering daily rate, later by a rate varying remarkably from day to day. As all other bearings are still sufficiently lubricated, nothing serious will happen if the watch is serviced just now.

What should be done now?
The movement should be disassembled before cleaning it, for good reasons:
The cleaning result is reliably visible.
All parts can be investigated for wear or damages.
No mix dubious of cleaning liquids will remain in the barrel or between adjacent parts.

There are exceptions:
Complete disassembling is no economical approach for cheap pin-lever movements. But these often have a pillar design with no gaps between any parts. Therefore it will do to remove barrel and balance before cleaning

Some watchmakers out there do a pretty cheap job. But make sure that they don't only drop the complete movement into several dubious liqiuds, and in the last step into a lubrication solution. May be it works, but I'd be concerned what the mix of all applied soups, remaining in the barrel and all gaps, will do the next years.
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Case service is usually ordered separately from the movement service (although often simultaneously). It can also be separately necessary , e.g. if stem or crystal are broken, or if a steamy crystal indicates a failing gasket.

Most modern watches have water protecting cases, and who ever doesn't want to care specially for his watch should include replacing all gaskets within a current service, or at least checking them.
    This is no efford for newer watches, but beween difficult and impossible for old watches by these reasons:
New original crowns with gasket may be hard to get, and replacing only the gasket is often no longer promising.
The same applies for pushers of chronographs or calendars.
The sealing surfaces are often corroded, and new gaskets will not help without refinishing the surfaces.
However, for normal use, and the more for occasional use of collectors watches, it needs no perfect sealings. Even old but still elastical gaskets are a good protection against dust and splash water. Remember, there were times when water protection was unknown, or at least unusual.

Many watches are also jewelry objects. So there is often demand to restore a case to its original appearance, after long use.
    Many watchmakers don't offer the restoration of cases exceeding minor cosmetical treatment. Others expose cases to a polishing machine until they sparkle, and many customers are happy with this destruction of contours.
    If you want the original appearance back, better ask the watchmaker whether he is skilled and equipped to restore cases properly. If the reply doesn't satisfy, better find a specialist for this job.
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Even in a watch which is coninuously serviced, it can happen now and then that parts must be repaired or replaced. For watches of certain brands it is impossible to  get parts. Their manufacturers run a restrictive spare part policy, and your watchmaker will get nothing, if he is no authorized dealer of the particular brand. My advice: Don't buy such watches, because competition is disabled, and the client is helplessly comitted to the manufacturer (and his prices).
    Fortunately, for most newer watches it is no problem to get parts. The only drawback may be a certain delay to get a part, because it must be ordered directly from the manufacturer, when it isn't on stock of the wholesaler.
For old watches often patience is reqired, or money to make a part from scratch. But there are many stocks of old parts spread over the world, and it is almost always possible to get the desired part after some time of requesting it.

Regardless the age of the watch, the costs of a repair asking parts are not predictable. Ask your watchmaker for an estimation, or if you trust him, negotiate a price limit for the job.
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Where to Bring the Watch

Do It Yourself

The best choice is the local watchmaker, if he has good reputation. It is easier to negotiate jobs face to face than by phone, email, or letter.
    For watches of particular brands you have no choice: You must leave them to an authorized dealer or to the manufacturer, and you can only hope that they do a good job for your money.
    Service is also offered online, and there is no reason why online watchmakers are worse than others. The less comfortable contact to the repairer and the hassle to ship watches forth and back are often compensated with lower prices. So why not give it a try, if no local watchmaker is available?
A skilled hobbyist can do almost everything. Often as well as a watchmaker, but scarcely as efficiently. If you are ready to learn lots about watches and repair techniques, and if time and money are no issue, working on watches can be a nice hobby, especially if a watchmaker is available, who is willing to help now and then.
    But don't believe you can save money: A well equipped workshop is expensive, and some workshops are filled to the top with watches damaged by unqualified repair attempts. Never try to repair something unless you know what's wrong, and how to mend it. Don't join those who sell their repair disasters on ebay.
    Working on watches is a fine hobby, but spoiling watches with unqualified means is vadalism. Examples are given here.
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Prices: Crystal Replacement
We apply standard crystals, mostly from Sternkreuz. The supply of original crystals (e.g. signed or printed) is only done on request, and definitely not every original crystal is available, especially for older watches.
    The crystals are mounted according to the original, i.e. poppend in, glued, or pressed in with a gasket. But differing preferences can be met.
     Mineral crystals in waterproof, i.e. rigid cases, are glued with Minecol (UV curing). For plastic crystals and/or less rigid cases, G-S Hypo Cementis is applied  (long term elastical).
An exception are form crystals: Although purists regard it as sacrileg, even perfectliy fitting crystals are glued. The dial condition of old form watches is usually substantially worse than of round watches. As only the untight crystal can be the reason, I refuse to boost the aging process with the "professional" way of mounting.
    The same is recommended for pocket watches with metal dial, even if the crystal is perfectly fitting, and the bezel is intact. Old crystals are never really circular, and neither are old pocket watches. So a glued crystal provides better protection of the dial.
    The following prices (incl. VAT) give a certain imagination. In a final quotation differences are possible, but this scarcely happens.
**) Specially produced item, no return privilege
      after EU laws
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Crystal, Material, Shape, Size (in 1/10mm)
pressed in, EUR incl. crystal price
glued, EUR incl. crystal price
plastic round, type N or HW up to 380 10.60 -
plastic round, reinforced or other types up to 500 16.10 -
plastic form crystal
not offered (not dust proof)
mineral 1...1.1mm round flat up to 330 13.50 with gasket
mineral round domed up to 365 24.00 with gasket 25.00
sapphire 0.8mm round flat 170...250 32.00 with gasket 33.00
sapphire 0.9mm round flat 251...335 40.00 with gasket 41.00
sapphire 1.4mm round flat 260...335 **
47.00 with gasket 48.00
sapphire 1.2...2.0mm round flat up to 400 **
122.00 with gasket 123.00
sapphire 0.9mm round domed 260...290 76.00 with gasket 77.00
sapphire 0.9mm round domed 291...335 98.00 with gasket 99.00
mineral open face up to 400 23.00 24.00
mineral open face from 401 25.00 26.00
hunter or lentille up to 400 29.00 30.00
hunter or lentille from 401 30.00 31.00
mineral patent, verge watches
16.00 without crystal price
8.00 without crystal price
original plastic 7.00 without crystal price 8.00 without crystal price
original sapphire
20.00 without crystal price, with gasket 8.00 without crystal pric

Prices: Service

Only minor services like replacement of crystal (see above), crowns, pushers, gaskets etc. are offered. But repairs and restorations can probably be organized on request to a limited extent.
There are various jobs refering case (and band), and the list below contains just few examles. Other problems can probably be solved on request, and of course a quotation is given in advance, after investigating the watch.
    The following prices (incl. VAT) give a certain imagination. In a final quotation differences are possible, but this scarcely happens.
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Subject EUR
removing and reinserting movement, no work on hands, and dial 7.00
replacement crown without gasket, unsigned, chrome or gold plated
14.00 (within movement service 7.00)
replacement crown with gasket, unsigned, chrome or gold plated
17.00 (within movement service 10.00)
replacement crown, other crowns (e.g. genuine), without crown price
9.00 (within movement service 4.00)
replacement gasket of crown or pusher
11.00 (within movement service 7.00), +4.00 each gasket more
replacement back gasket
9.00   (within movement service 4.00)
waterproof test
replacement spring bar, stainless steel, standard type 8...24mm
replacement spring bar, stainless steel, special types and dimensions 5.00

Prices: Service

The standard service includes disassembling, checking all parts, cleaning, assembling, lubricating with synthetic lubricants, adjusting,  removing and inserting the movement. Repairs and spare parts are not included. For older watches or even younger, which were unsufficiently maintained, it may therefore become significantly more expensive. Many examples and the according figures are presented on these pages, and it is recommended to browse them.
The listed detail jobs are examples for frequently  necessary repairs. Their prices apply for execution within a standard service. If such repairs are done separately, often additional fees for partial disassembling are asked.
    The following prices (incl. VAT) give a certain imagination. In a final quotation differences are possible, but this scarcely happens.
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Subject, Kind of Movement EUR
standard service pillar movement, only balance and barrel removed
standard service manual wind
standard service automatic (or modul chronograph excluding modul) 65.00
standard service chronograph manual wind 120.00
standard service chronograph automatic 140.00
additionally for date or day/date assembly
additionally for simple calendar, day, date, month, with/without moon phase
removing and reinserting movement, hands, and dial, three-hand watch
removing and reinserting movement, hands, and dial, chronograph 29.00
replacement balance staff, without staff and correction of position error
correction position error, under 60s/day (often necessary if no shock device)
correction position error, under 20s/day (only after a standard service) 90.00
replacement stem, with alignment, but without stem price
replacement mainspring standard S-shape (if available from own stock)
replacement mainspring Nivaflex (if available from own stock) 16.00
replacement mainspring with slip spring (automatic, if available from own stock) 24.00
replacement bushing
replacement friction-fit jewel, hole- or cap jewel
replacement friction-fit jewel for balance
narrowing bearing hole, and reaming it to pivot size (only if wear is moderate)
restoring bearing hole by fitting a bushing
restoring a worn pivot
replacing luminous matter on hands (two hands) 8.00
replacing luminous dots on dial and luminous matter on hands 20.00
replacement battery incl. standard cell

Shipping Charges
The prices listed above don't include shipping charges.
Shipping for service or repair runs on costs and risk of the client.
For shipping back to the client, insurance is limited to EUR 3000.00. Dependent on destination the rates below include packaging and insured shipping back to the client.
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Destination, Insured Value, EUR
Shipping Carge, EUR
Germany, up to 500.00
Germany, additionally for each 500.00 more, max. 3000.000 5.00
EU and Switzerland, up to 500.00 16.00
EU and Switzerland, additionally for each 500.00 more, max. 3000.000 5.00
worldwide, up to 500.00 28.00
worldwide, additionally for each 500.00 more, max. 3000.000 10.00

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Dr. Roland Ranfft
Poststr. 32a
26388 Wilhelmshaven
phone +49 (0)4423 9849691

email:  info@ranfft.de
Last update:  01-22-2020