In case your watch is doing its job proper, you hardly discover its presence — you simply look at it once in a while and it offers you the time. As lovely as that wealthy inexperienced dial on Ref. 5270 is, and as compelling because the calendar apertures on Ref. 5905 are, you’ll not be gazing lovingly at these all day lengthy. Lots is going on beneath that dial to maintain the watch going (no pun supposed, though when you noticed one there, good for you!) and, all too usually, we don’t take into consideration this. Properly, that’s to say till the watch begins to lose or acquire time in an alarming manner, or to cease altogether. That’s when you will want to expertise a basic a part of the watch amassing expertise: servicing. We’ll go as far as to say that your journey as a collector goes to the subsequent stage the primary time it’s a must to service your watch.

Having stated that, servicing timepieces tends to be ignored all too usually. This may be unimaginable for automobiles and even your house air conditioner, although most individuals are usually not collectors of air conditioners! By some means, there’s a sense within the amassing neighborhood that if nothing is flawed with the watch, you want by no means take into account servicing in any respect. Actually, watches are typically fairly powerful devices that are likely to hold ticking alongside, however even with regards to quartz powered ones, servicing is essential. 

You may personal a Patek Philippe Twenty~4, which is splendidly constructed instrument, however the battery was not made by the watchmaker and can’t be thought-about in the identical manner. In different phrases, please keep in mind to usually change your battery, even when the watch in query continues to be operating. Battery leaks can catastrophically harm a watch, past the purpose of no return. That covers all we’ve got to say about quartz watches, largely, as a result of mechanical watches are the category of timekeepers most in want of servicing as these are actually meant to remain in service, theoretically endlessly. 

All Roads Result in Servicing

movement and components of a Patek Philippe watch

This concept of watches serving a number of generations of householders is especially essential to Patek Philippe, which not too long ago invited choose press to tour its servicing amenities in Singapore. Patek Philippe’s regional subsidiary, Geneva Grasp Time, handles the majority of the model’s servicing wants at its 380 sqm Wheelock Place facility. Service is likely one of the key pillars (values as Patek Philippe places it) of the model, so the enterprise of taking good care of watches which were bought is certainly taken very critically. It’s nicely value remembering that every one the 60,000 watches made by Patek Philippe yearly should finally discover their solution to a service centre. In our current second the place demand far outstrips provide, this can be a sobering thought. You may suppose that this can be a given, however there are many manufacturers which are let down by their after-sales practices. 

What’s essential to know right here is that servicing requires certified specialists and will be fairly laborious. For instance, Patek Philippe says that it takes not less than 200 hours to service a watch, on common; that works out to 5 weeks, roughly. The service centre representatives say that this period of time covers all of the bells and whistles, however just for probably the most fundamental watches. Extra capabilities will take extra time, and even perhaps extra experience than is obtainable at this regional service centre. Patek Philippe sends all chiming watches, superior analysis timepieces and grand complications again to the manufacture in Geneva for servicing, for instance. All watches created from the Nineteen Sixties and earlier are additionally despatched again to Geneva, in addition to any that may require specialised machining that’s unavailable right here.

For the needs of this transient story, we’ll solely be these watches whose actions that will likely be serviced on the Wheelock facility. This implies each sort of watch, from time-only all the way in which to manual-winding chronographs and perpetual calendars. All these watches, and quartz ones too (as talked about earlier) would require important upkeep. Upon receiving any given watch, 4 Technical Specialists will run a battery of processes, together with the next: diagnostics, battery alternative (if related), bracelet and strap adjustment; extracting details about the watch from the archives (Patek Philippe has information of all watches created from 1839); and setting the watch. Clearly, if the diagnostic doesn’t point out a particular downside, no intervention will happen (you’ll have despatched the watch in for sharpening, for instance, however the diagnostic will nonetheless be carried out). 

The Complete 9 Yards

As for the complete service, it consists of the next, based on the model: full disassembly and inspection of all elements; alternative of worn elements; cleansing, meeting, lubrication and calibration of the motion; adjustment of dial and palms; water-resistance check; full testing and high quality management of the work as soon as completed. As soon as once more, repairs will likely be finished if vital and never as a matter in fact. Equally, sharpening is simply finished if requested by the proprietor of the watch. Patek Philippe tells us that the watchmakers’ major concern is with the operating of the watch, and never concerning the aesthetics.

In fact, actions fluctuate in complexity however Patek Philippe has damaged down specifics for the servicing of easy computerized calibres with 150 parts. Disassembling and checking parts (2.5 hours); assembling and lubricating parts (2.5 hours); regulating the actions (1.5 hours); and encasing (half-hour). Now we have tried our utterly unqualified palms at every of those steps on the service centre (and past), aside from casing, which we’ve got by no means touched. 

We are able to confidently report that all of it takes the higher a part of a complete day — and that is with out the processes talked about above (diagnostics and such), as nicely the act of truly figuring out and changing parts. As well as, we had the advantage of the watchmakers guiding us, together with on the service centre. If we solely had an instruction guide, illustrated or in any other case, it will take longer, and maybe not get finished in any respect. Full disclosure: the actions we labored on on the service centre weren’t Patek Philippe actions however backyard selection Unitas pocket watch calibres.

Polished Attraction

Whereas the meeting and disassembly of the actions, and oiling of the identical, was the spotlight of the tour, we have been most impressed by the sharpening actions on the service centre. There are two devoted specialists right here who work on sharpening instances, and every of them has greater than 20 years of expertise. This work is all the time finished by hand, and takes so long as required. A gold case takes as much as 1.5 hours to shine, with the bracelet in the identical steel taking as much as two hours. Platinum is by far probably the most tough, with every case taking as much as 4 hours.

It’s applicable to finish with the phrases of Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern, explaining the significance of customer support. “We’re satisfied that in our family-operated manufacture, the know-how required for servicing, repairing, and restoring our watches is simply as essential because the competence wanted to craft new watches. For that reason, we place nice emphasis on having this work carried out completely by watchmakers who’ve been skilled and licensed by Patek Philippe.” In brief, your journey together with your watch merely begins while you take possession of it; the remainder is a lifelong relationship, which your youngsters will take up.

Servicing is an Establishment

The Patek Philippe Service Centre in Singapore is one in all solely a handful of such amenities on the earth, or it will likely be when Patek Philippe is finished streamlining its service centres, a few of that are operated by companions and retailers. So far as we are able to report, there are at the moment brand-operated service centres in america, Germany, France, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Bangkok, except for the one in Singapore and Geneva in fact. These centres act as hubs for his or her territories, and adjoining ones. The service centre in Singapore was final expanded in 2015, whereas the one in Bangkok was expanded final yr.

The imaginative and prescient of every centre is, to cite from Patek Philippe’s official assertion is to “assure excellence to each buyer anyplace on the earth for the service of all timepieces manufactured since 1839.” A noble and bold imaginative and prescient, to make certain, and the service centre could be very very similar to a miniature model of the manufacture itself. This brings us to a different manner wherein the service centre in Singapore is distinguished.

One in all solely 4 places on the earth to deal with a Patek Philippe Institute, the Singapore facility provides a coaching programme for watchmakers and different technicians and specialists. This features a full watchmaking apprenticeship course spanning two years, with a closing stretch in Geneva itself that can see the apprentices create their very own watches. Alongside the way in which, they will even discover ways to make their very own instruments, as is conventional in Swiss watchmaking. This yr, 5 apprentices graduated from the programme, together with two Singaporeans. The opposite three Patek Philippe Institutes are in Geneva, New York and Shanghai.

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