Anyone who’s had the experience of buying a car knows that getting it serviced is a factor that looms large in the decision making process. If it’s a new car, the dealership is probably telling you about all the options to have it serviced right there, and they might even want to schedule you for that first oil change right after you buy it (unsolicited advice: don’t do that). If it’s a used car, hopefully you’ve asked questions about the vehicle’s service history, and you might even have it checked out by a mechanic of your choosing before writing a check or signing any paperwork. Because most of us drive a car, or at least experience cars on a regular basis, we understand them to be complex mechanical creations that need some attention from human beings who know them inside and out to keep them in top form. Intervention is just part of the deal.
The connections between cars and watches is sometimes overplayed, but in the case of service and general maintenance, it’s a real parallel. Watches, of course, are small machines that also need some human intervention now and then to keep them working. But if everyone who owns a car has had the experience of patiently waiting in a little room for an oil change or tire rotation, it seems like fewer people, even among watch owners, know what to expect during the watch servicing process. And it’s somewhat of an afterthought during the buying process, as well. For whatever reason, there’s a real mystery around watch servicing for many.
We recently had the chance to pose some basic questions about watch maintenance to Steve Kivel, owner of Grand Central Watch in New York City. We wanted to demystify the watch servicing process, and get some insight into real world servicing concerns that average watch owners might have to deal with throughout the course of actually owning a watch, including the buying process for a vintage or pre-owned watch.