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  2. Common Watch Problems and How to Fix Them

    Common Watch Problems and How to Fix Them

    You’ve got a problem with your watch. You’re handy. You’re pretty sure you can fix it yourself… but have you asked yourself “how do I fix my watch?” Watch problems and issues might be more common than you think. Here are some common issues and tips on how to fix a watch. Before you begin, it’s important to understand that fixes done by anyone other than a watch-repair professional can affect the worth of your watch. The resale value of a luxury watch is highest when you have service records and its best that those services are performed by the manufacturer. But if that’s not a concern – roll up your sleeves and try to learn how to repair a watch! How to Open a Case It all starts with opening up your watch. A few exceptions aside, there are four kinds of watch cases you will encounter when you’re learning how to fix a wrist watch. 1. Snap-Back: To open a snap-back case use a penknife or similar thin, flat blade to pry open the case at the raised lip with a twist of the blade. 2. Screw-Back: You’ll want to pick up a screw-back removal tool for this type. Resembling a pair of pincers, the tool slips into slots on the perimeter of the case. Twist counterclockwise to open, finishing with your fingers after the tool has loosened the cover. 3. Case with Screws: These cases generally have four Phillips-head screws that can be removed with a small screwdriver. 4. Swatch-Style Case: These ports can be twisted open using a coin. You don’t actually remove the cover of the sealed case but do get access to the battery. My Watch Has Stopped Ticking Wondering how to fix a watch that stopped ticking? Or your automatic watch stopped working? Hint, it’s probably the battery. This may sound like a simple watch fix, but it’s something you might overlook. Check the battery. Many watch batteries have lives of about two years. That number can go up to three years or more with a quartz watch that’s designed to run longer. But chances are if your watch has stopped, you need to replace the battery. The case removed, you can see what’s holding the battery in place. With a spring clip or loose installation, you have easy access. Many batteries are held in place with a screw and cover that will require a small screwdriver. It’s best to use non-conductive watch tools to avoid damaging your watch with an electric shock. The same is true for the tweezers you’ll want to use for removing the battery. Plastic is best to avoid shock. Before removing the battery check the position of the writing on the back. You want to set the replacement battery in the same manner. The information on your old battery will tell you what replacement you’ll need. Even the most common watch battery will eventually give out. You can get a new one at a jewelry store, an electronics store, drugstore or online. Use the same plastic tools to set the new battery in place and your watch should spring back to life. If not, you may have inserted the battery upside down or the connection is broken. In the latter case, you may have to take it to a watch-repair shop. If it’s an extra pricey watch, you might want to get some help from the professionals too. The Second Hand is Skipping Did your automatic watch movement stopped working? Or is it skipping? This is a sign that your battery is near the end of its life. It’s also a warning to address the issue as soon as possible. An ailing battery could leak acid into your watch and do damage. If the second hand is locked in a back-and-forth movement in one spot, there’s likely an issue with the movement that’s beyond a simple home repair. My Watch is Running Fast (or Slow) Do nothing. This isn’t necessarily a watch problem. It’s common for watches to gain or lose a little time every day. While the changes are tiny and incremental, over time it can make it seem like you have a big problem. But unless you are losing more than a few seconds each day, there is likely no issue. The Buttons Won’t Bounce If buttons on your watch don’t pop out after they’re pushed in, the most likely culprit is dust. Even though your watch case is sealed, dirt can accumulate over time and get lodged in the springs that make the buttons pop out. Professionals use ultrasonic cleaners to safely remove the dirt. But you can use plastic tweezers and a tiny piece of absorbent material to remove the dirt. If you can’t easily access the tube that contains the spring, take it to a professional. Do not touch the spring with your fingers as you could introduce oils that will make the problem worse. Smartwatch Solutions I’m Always Recharging Much like your mobile phone and tablet, if your watch isn’t holding a charge for long you should look at what’s draining the battery. Remove apps you don’t need. Turn off features you aren’t using and dim your screen’s brightness. Voice Command Problems: If your smartwatch is having trouble recognizing voice commands, it could be background noise. Make sure your voice isn’t competing with other sounds. Some trial and error with tone and pacing will also be needed to make your voice commands instantly recognizable. I’ve Got a Sticky Apple The crown on the Apple Watch is notorious for sticking and ceasing to register each click. Turn off the watch and pour warm water on the whirligig for about 15 seconds. Bluetooth Won’t Connect Simple as it sounds, turn your Bluetooth off and on again to reconnect. But perhaps the best advice when attempting to repair your own watch is caution. A few pennies saved with home maintenance could do damage that could cost you quite a few dollars.

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  3. Watch Guide: How Are Watches Made?

    Watch Guide: How Are Watches Made?

    The question “how are watches made?” is a bit too general to answer as is. Instead, we should focus on a specific type of watch. Luckily, there is one that is profoundly more interesting than the rest: Mechanical. Lets look into how to make a watch. Generally, the most expensive and sought-after watches are mechanical, as opposed to quartz or digital. If you browse the website of a genuine luxury brand, the odds are that the vast majority of their pieces are mechanical and have a hefty price tag. The reason is that the inner workings of these watches are incredibly intricate, and many consumers see them as works of art. For this reason, we will point our focus to mechanical watches, with a few ending notes on other variations. Aesthetic and Functional Vision Watches have been around for a long time. Ever thought about how watch parts are made? Before any production begins, the watch manufacturer needs to have a plan. One part of that plan is deciding on the aesthetics and functionality of the watch. As far as aesthetics, they need to focus on issues like color, size, buckle type, and more. For functional aspects, the manufacturer has many options such as bezel function, showing the date, being water resistant to great depths, or having a chronograph. These decisions are important because they change the personality of the watch entirely. If you go one direction, you get a minimalist watch that just tells the time. On the other side of the spectrum, you might get a piece with a significant amount of functions and a design that turns heads. Once the manufacturer decides precisely what they’re trying to do with a piece, they can move on to the next step. High-Tech Movement Design The second aspect of pre-production planning is designing the movement of the watch, which is defined as the mechanics behind its various functions. Generally, this is some combination of springs, screws, wheels, and other typical mechanical pieces. Of course, not every watch is the same. Sometimes a manufacturer will want to create a unique movement, or they will include a difficult function like a full year calendar or chronograph. To do this, manufacturers use computer programs. This allows their engineers to develop perfect systems that are sure to function correctly. Once the movement is settled on and designed, it’s almost time for production to get started. Choosing Materials The last decision watchmakers need to make before beginning production is what material they want to use. (The standard is stainless steel.) Those include precious metals, ceramic, leather, expensive plastics and more. Again, these decisions are based on what the manufacturer’s goals are with the watch. If they want to create a bare bones model that is meant to solely tell time without costing too much, they will choose steel. If they are in the luxury space and want to create a piece with some flash, they may choose gold or silver. In-House or Partnership? Ever wondered how to build a watch? At this point, the manufacturer has a plan for the aesthetics, functionality, movement, and materials. Finally, they can move on to producing the watches. There are two ways to go about this. First, they can create the watch entirely or mostly in-house. This means that rather than sourcing their parts and materials from other businesses, they build a watch from the ground up. This is typical of luxury manufacturers, who pride themselves on controlling every aspect of production. The alternative is choosing a partner to produce some or all of the watch. That can mean contracting out individual pieces then assembling in-house, or submitting a design to a factory and having them build the entire watch. This practice is generally characteristic of more affordable brands. Hand or Machine? The final step in production is to decide which aspects of their watches will be hand built versus which will be built by machines. As with the former point, there is a split here for luxury and affordable pieces. In general, expensive pieces have more handmade aspects, while affordable watches are entirely machine-made. How Quartz and Digital Differ The other primary movement type, quartz, undergoes a similar process. The only difference is that the inner workings of those watches are usually less complicated than mechanical. For digital watches, the steps are again roughly similar, but when creating the dial and inside of the watch, they opt for digital circuitry. If you’ve ever wondered why watches are so fascinating, perhaps this article has answered that question. The potential reason is that an incredible amount of time, effort, and creativity goes into making a timepiece. The manufacturer must make choices regarding aesthetics, functionality, movement, materials, and production specifics. Of course, you don’t see any of this when you make your purchase. Instead, you see only the result: A masterpiece. Now that you know how watches are made and the watch making process, maybe you’ll appreciate the little wrist pieces a little more.

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