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What’s a Full Service? Part 1: Disassembly

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What’s a Full Service? Part 1: Disassembly

At Oak & Oscar we pride ourselves on providing full services for any of our watches that need one, but what exactly does that entail?

The short answer is that a full service involves completely disassembling the movement, down to the tiniest parts, repairing or replacing any worn components, thoroughly cleaning everything, re-lubricating, reassembling, and intensively testing each watch.

Each step is fairly involved, so we’re going to break it down into a few different articles. First, let’s look at the estimating and disassembly process.

Before any watch comes apart, it’s analyzed and thoroughly documented. We want to make sure the watch comes home in as good or better condition than when you sent it in, so it’s important to make sure we document what condition it was in at intake!

This process also helps do the first round of troubleshooting and analysis, too. If I can see a screw floating around in the caseback during photos, that’s usually going to be the culprit for a stopped watch.

Once the intake is complete, the watch heads to the bench for diagnostics. If there’s a simple fix that can be completed with the watch still mostly together, like a loose screw or a slightly-caught hairspring, we’ll try to correct the error and get the watch home quickly. Sometimes it’s a quick fix, and that’s easier for everyone!

If there’s no obvious blockage, or the watch is performing out of spec even once the blockage is removed, then it’s time for a service. Once the estimate is approved, the watch comes apart.

A mechanical watch contains hundreds of tiny components, and nearly all of them come apart during a service. Certain pieces, like the hairspring and balance wheel assembly, can stay together because they’re clipped and pressed into place, and are designed for en-bloc cleaning. Everything else comes apart, down to the tiniest screws that hold the watch together.

Each part is meticulously checked and analyzed for wear or damage. Even the tiniest flaw in a wheel or pinion can completely stop a watch, and nearly microscopic score lines in a pivot are enough to cause a runaway failure if left unchecked.

All the parts are prepared for cleaning in our ultrasonic cleaning machine, but before they go in, all the pivots are individually cleaned out with a tiny piece of pegwood. The pivot holes can be less than 0.10 mm wide, but each one has to be physically scrubbed or else they won’t be fully cleaned.

Once all the pre-cleaning is complete, it all goes into the ultrasonic cleaner for a bath and then it’s on to reassembly.

Wondering if your watch is accurately telling time? Learn how to test it.
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Can't get enough? Here's Part 2!

Stay tuned for parts 3 and 4 — coming soon!