Oliver Pollock's ancestors have a history in horology that stretches back more than a century, so it was only natural that he would follow into the family business. After stints with some of the industry's major brands, he founded Luxury Watch Repairs to address the major obstacles that he saw in the watch servicing industry – notably prices, turnaround times, customer relations and transparency.
With this in mind, he has established one of the most accredited workshops in the UK. In addition to being an official service centre for Omega and Longines, the team includes a Breitling-certified watchmaker as well as ones trained at Rolex and Cartier. Operating from its Hatton Garden showroom and via a tracked postage system, it can offer repairs and servicing at a fraction of the normal time and cost by cutting out the middleman. Conscious that customers are putting their beloved timepieces in the hands of its watchmakers, Luxury Watch Repairs also offers additional benefits for peace of mind, from images of worn parts that show how the damage may have occurred, to time-lapse videos of the watch itself being serviced.
Here Pollock shares his tips on how to keep your mechanical watches in top condition.
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Why is it important to have your watch regularly serviced?
A service is needed to clean the movement and re-lubricate. This will ensure the expected timekeeping is within normal tolerances and prevent the oils from drying, which can potentially damage the movement. If movement parts become damaged, you may notice the watch loses or gains time, or ultimately completely stops, something we often see with watches that are well overdue for a service. It also allows the seals and gaskets to be replaced so that the watch can remain water resistant where applicable. At Luxury Watch Repairs we provide a two-year warranty as standard following a service.
How often should a mechanical watch be serviced?
Every four to five years.
What are the advantages of getting your watch serviced by a third party, rather than by the brand?
From what we have seen and what I have experienced, the main brands, as a whole, have very good servicing procedures and truly do put the customer first.
However, due to the sheer volume of watches they receive, we are able to typically offer a more appealing turnaround time and ultimately a more personal service. With Luxury Watch Repairs you get the best of both worlds, as we have watchmakers trained by the brands and we use the original parts and tools.
What should you look for when choosing which company to service your watch?
Firstly, original parts – see if the company has access to and uses original parts for the brand in question. Secondly, ensure that the watchmakers have had the appropriate training by the brand to work on your watch. Although many of the movements may be the same, there are significant variations and the finishing and polishing of the case and bracelet must be exactly how the manufacturer intended, which takes significant training in itself. Finally, ask the company to provide you with a full breakdown and quotation for the work required prior to proceeding.
What does a service at Luxury Watch Repairs entail?
It begins with one of our senior watchmakers carrying out a full diagnostic on the timepiece in order to determine what is required and if there is anything needed in addition to a standard service. This includes a full inspection of the movement, timekeeping tests, and pressure and water resistance tests. We check all aspects, including the bracelet, glass, clasp and more.
Our full service involves dismantling the case, bracelet and movement before the comprehensive cleaning and oiling of the components. We then replace seals and gaskets before reassembly of the dial and watch. It will then undergo full water resistance and pressure tests, as well as a four-day timekeeping test.
How much should you expect to pay for a regular service?
It does vary between watches (particularly for chronographs), but our average service on an automatic watch is around £290.
What day-to-day maintenance and care can you do at home to keep your watch in good condition?
Using an automatic, non-chronograph watch as an example – although movement of the wrist does indeed provide power and reserve to the movement – it is always good to wind it around 25 revolutions every few days – particularly if it is not worn regularly.
What is the best way to store a watch when not wearing it?
For an automatic watch, invest in a watch winder, particularly if you have more than one watch. These replicate the movement of the wrist and will not only help keep the watch on time for when you put it on, but also help keep the movement and oils in good order.
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