Common Vintage Watch Problems and Their Likely Causes

Sometimes crafted from the most precious materials and oftentimes uniquely made by the hands of skilled watchmakers, old watches have this certain level of charm that you simply cannot ignore. If you have a thing for old watches, you will likely scour estate sales, online auctions, and pawn shops in search of a piece that catches your eye. But it is not uncommon to find beautiful old watches that no longer function correctly. Old watches are built to last, and some of the old watchmaking techniques are still in use today. Occasionally, older watches can have certain issues that call for professional jewelry repair. Here are two issues that suggest you may need to call a professional:

The watch runs slow after being wound up. 

Old watches are designed to keep time perfectly well as long as they are wound up as needed. However, in order for this timekeeping to occur, the mechanisms inside must be able to move freely, which requires lubrication and cleaning every so often. An old watch that has been stuck in a jewelry box or drawer for a lot of years probably has had no such attention for a very long time. Therefore, it may run slower than it should because the wound parts inside cannot move freely. 

Thankfully, a slow-running vintage watch is usually easily fixed in the hands of a professional. He or she will simply take the watch apart, clean all its tiny parts, and add just enough lubrication to encourage free movement. 

The watch crystal is fogged up, and you don't have a clear view of the face.

There are a lot of highly valuable watches out there that are many years old, but if you spot these watches, it can be difficult to see much about them because the crystal bezel is fogged up. Fogging occurs because of moisture that has managed to somehow get inside the watch. For newer watches, this means moisture was allowed to get inside of the watch's cavity while the crown was off, but this may not be the case with an older watch. 

If you have an old watch that has a fogged crystal or a crystal that has obvious condensation, the entire watch needs to be carefully dissected. You may have some parts that must be replaced inside just to eliminate the excess moisture. For example, any gaskets that are made from a porous material will harness tiny moisture particles, so these will have to be removed and replaced with new ones.