Vintage watch restoration tips

When it comes to watch restoration, you certainly have to play it safe – especially when it comes to restoring a vintage timepiece. After all, a vintage watch is not like any other watch, and we understand that you’d want to retain as much of its original value as possible. Thankfully, there is a right way to do the vintage watch restoration process – whether you want to refinish the case or simply change its hands. Have a read of this step-by-step guide.

The case

On the face of it (no pun intended!), the decision of whether or not to refinish the case of a vintage watch is a controversial matter. Many people say that you shouldn’t polish the case of a vintage timepiece, simply because any refinement is highly likely to devalue it. However, the choice is completely up to you – just think about your own intentions for wanting to refine the case. For example, are you wanting to preserve a family heirloom, or are you looking to sell the watch?

If you do decide that you want to go through with the refinishing process, then consult a complete expert in the field. Don’t just go with any experienced watchmaker, because they may not be a master of refinishing. When it comes to selecting your specialist, don’t be hesitant to pick someone who has the correct machinery and equipment.

The hands and dial

It is generally recommended that you should never exchange the hands and the dial of a vintage timepiece. Not only does this dramatically decrease the worth of your watch, but any new replacing features may have the power to take away the aesthetic value of your timepiece. If you do find that the paint from the hands is beginning to wear off, an application of a clear lacquer or nail polish is your ultimate fix. This will preserve the original shine of your timepiece. Again, consult this decision with an experienced watchmaker.

The crystal

When it comes to the precious crystal of your vintage watch, specialists say you should only replace it if it is damaged. Otherwise, it should remain untouched. If you do have to replace the crystal, make sure to substitute it with a correct and original component. This will ensure that the accompanying dial, hands and movement parts are protected from harm.

Movement parts

Unlike the hands and dial, worn movement parts of a watch must always be replaced, even the ones of a vintage timepiece. In terms of watch care, this is absolutely crucial. This is because if a worn component were to leave a cut axle, this would cause the timepiece to not function as intended and cause further damage to any additional components.

Bezel, crown and pushers

Like with the hands and dial, it is advised that wristwatch restoration needs to be done to the bezel, crown and pushers of a vintage timepiece. After all, in the eyes of collectors, these components preserve the originality and general value of such watches. If any of these parts are sufficiently damaged, then restoration may be a good idea, but it’s vital that the old parts are given back to you. Simply think of these components as prized possessions!

Water resistant gaskets

Water-resistant gaskets offer crucial protection for your watch, and it’s therefore important to ensure that they are kept in top tip condition. Over time, the gaskets of a watch can become immensely weak, and can in some cases even turn into goo! When it comes to the features of a vintage timepiece that you must replace, don’t ignore its defence mechanisms! It is not uncommon for specialists to replace gaskets as part of their job and they would often substitute the damaged components with new rubber ones.

The watchmaker

Now, we’ve saved the most important until last. When it comes to vintage watch restoration, never attempt to do the job yourself, no matter how big or small you think the replacement will be. Instead, make sure to seek help from an experienced specialist in the field. When consulting a watchmaker, don’t hesitate to ask the relevant questions to make sure that they fully understand the restoration process. As well as this, don’t allow them to pressure you into restoring a component just because they say that replacement is necessary. As a customer, you should have full say in the decision.

In terms of the cost of watch restoration in the UK, services vary from £30 to £450. This depends on the type of restoration you wish to go for and which parts you intend to replace. Again, talk to your watchmaker about this and they will be able to give you a price ahead of the replacement.

Keeping your vintage timepieces safe

Whether or not you choose to restore your vintage watch, don’t forget to always store it away in a protective watch collection box. At the Case Farm, we have a variety of watch cases that offer complete dustproof, waterproof and crushproof protection for your timepieces. Whether you’re searching for a watch box for 3 watches or a box for 10 or 18 pieces, you’ll be pleased to know that our cases come in a range of sizes. If you require any further information about our products, do not hesitate to contact us today.

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