How to Repair Common Mechanical Wristwatch Problems

After mechanical wristwatches enjoyed a long, long run of popularity, they were eventually replaced by watches that sported battery-operated quartz movements. But many people still collect, and even wear, mechanical wrist watches to this day. Mechanical wristwatches, which are also known as “Wind Ups”, aren’t powered by a tiny battery. Instead, what “makes them tick” are coiled mainsprings that are run by a series of springs, gears, and wheels. If you have one of these timepieces, you can learn how to repair common mechanical wristwatch problems.

Replace A Wristwatch Crystal
First, a crystal is the clear piece that covers the face or the dial of a watch. If the mechanical wristwatch has scratches on its crystal, they can be buffed out by an experienced jeweler. Deep gouges may sometimes be buffed out, but not always.

The crystals on mechanical wristwatches are typically made of either glass, plastic, or a manmade sapphire. Replacement crystals can be difficult to find, especially if the wristwatch is very old. Therefore, you may have to replace a broken crystal with a different material than the original one was made with. Fortunately, most watch crystals are round. But, some timepieces were made with odd-shaped crystals, and replacements can be even harder to locate.

Once you locate a suitable replacement crystal for the mechanical wristwatch, you’ll need to remove the broken or damaged one first before you can make the repair. To do this, you’ll need to carefully remove the back off the watch. Then, carefully take the movement out of the casing. You’ll probably have to remove the crown first. The crown part is the small knob on the side of the wristwatch you use to wind it. After the movement is removed, push the crystal out of the bezel and insert the replacement crystal. Reverse the process to put your mechanical wristwatch back together again.

Repairing A Stripped Crown
The function of the crown on a mechanical wristwatch is to allow the user to wind it. It’s also pulled out so the hour or minute hands can be set to the proper time. The crown is typically attached to the watch on a threaded stem. If the threads inside the metal crown become stripped, you’ll need to repair it by installing a new crown.

Replacing the Hands
The hour, minute, and the second hands of a mechanical wristwatch are attached to a short nub that’s located in the middle of the face. Sometimes, these hands can become separated from the nub when the timepiece is dropped or hit. To get to the hands and the nub, you’ll need to remove the back of the wristwatch. Then, you’ll have to remove the crown and the movement in order to reach the face. Simply snap the hands back into place on the nub, then put the mechanical wristwatch back together.

Repair A Broken Wrist Band
Changing a wristband on a watch is probably the most common repair. The wristband is typically connected to the watch case on both sides with retractable pins. To remove these pins, use the end of a small screwdriver to push in on the pins, one at a time. The pins should just pop out of the watch case.

Place the pins in each end of the new wrist band and reverse the process to install it back on your watch.

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