• Frequently Asked Questions

    Should I take my watch to a jeweler?

    Since watches are considered jewelry, most jewelers will accept them for repairs. However few have the means to perform such repairs, and instead sub-contract them to third parties.

    Unfortunately due to cost cutting, these third parties are often no better qualified. The results can be unpredictable. The use of improper tools, inadequately trained staff, and sub-standard parts are common. If the poor service and delays are not enough, the jewelry business is notorious for high retail markup. It is not unusual for jewelers to markup the price of repairs by up to 250%.

    John Alabaster’s is not a jewelry store. We specialize exclusively in the maintenance and restoration of fine watches and clocks. We are fully equipped and qualified to process all repairs on our premises. Our customers receive the highest quality service without the additional costs and delays incurred by dealing with a jeweler whose priority is sales.

    How long does a watch battery last?

    Although this depends greatly on the type of watch and how it is handled, most quartz watch batteries average a year of life. We replace batteries in all brands and can re-pressure test water proof ones.

     

    How often should I service my watch?

    Although this depends greatly on the type of watch and how it is handled, most analog watches will require servicing every four to six years.

    This is because even when handled with care, a watch is still a mechanical device with many moving parts, all of which require lubrication, and the various oils which lubricate these mechanisms evaporate over time. This causes friction and wear, which eventually causes the watch to stop.

    The process is similar to that of a car, however unlike a car, a watch operates non-stop over the course of several years. To avoid significant damage that may require the replacement of costly internal components, we recommend all analog watches be inspected by a qualified watchmaker every five years. This does not include regular battery replacement for quartz watches, which should be done every year.

    What is a CTR?

    CTR is an abbreviation for Complete Technical Revision; it is also sometimes referred to as a Complete Service or Overhaul.

    A Complete Technical Revision is the main process by which a watch or clock is serviced, and involves the complete disassembly of the internal mechanism, ultrasonic cleaning of all components, pivot polishing as needed, re-assembly, lubrication, testing, and final timing adjustments. The replacement of damaged parts also occurs during this process.

    Since access to many internal components is limited without full disassembly, most parts can only be replaced during this process. A CTR is considered a major repair, and the price and time it takes to complete depends on the brand and complexity of the mechanism.

    Is my watch waterproof?

    The term ‘Waterproof’ was used in the early 20th century, but has since been deemed misleading and has been discontinued. No watch can ever be classified as waterproof, only water resistant.

    Modern water resistant watches are rated by depth; the higher the rating, the more water pressure a watch can withstand. Depths range from 30M (for basic everyday use) to 600M (for scuba diving). Water resistant watches are always labeled ‘Water Resistant’ on the back case. Some watches may also have their depth rating displayed on the front dial. It is strongly recommended that watches frequently used around water have at least a 100M depth rating.

    It is important to note that the gaskets in a watch deteriorate over time and require regular maintenance. Most manufacturers recommend watches with a 100M depth rating or above to be resealed and tested every year or following every battery replacement (whichever comes first).

    How does water resistance work?

    To create a watertight seal, water resistant watches rely on gaskets between major components of the watch case (such as the back, crystal, crowns, buttons, etc.). It is important to note that these gaskets are typically made of a rubber/silicon compound, which is subject to wear and tear. The gaskets must therefore be replaced regularly to maintain a proper seal.

    Modern water resistant watches are rated by depth; the higher the rating, the more water pressure a watch can withstand. It is recommended that watches used regularly around water have at least a 100M depth rating (usually displayed on the front dial or back case). These watches are designed for water related activities and should be checked and resealed by a qualified watchmaker every year or following every battery replacement (whichever comes first). This process tests the watch to the specified depth using highly specialized equipment, ensuring a reliable seal.

    Important Facts:

    • Operating crowns or buttons while under water will compromise the water resistant integrity of any watch, regardless of depth rating.
    • No watch should be used in the shower. Watches are rated water resistant to cold water only. Temperature changes cause watch gaskets to expand and contract, potentially breaching the seal.

    What is Eco-Drive?

    Eco-Drive is a type of solar-powered watch manufactured by Citizen Watch Co., Ltd. These watches are equipped with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (typically referred to as a capacitor), which is charged by an amorphous silicon solar panel located under the dial. Due to the rechargeable nature of the capacitor, the watches are advertised as never needing a battery.

    Like all analog watches however, they do require regular maintenance. Eco-Drive users in particular are advised to be mindful where they service their watch. In many cases, unqualified service depots mistakenly install standard silver-oxide batteries into Eco-Drive movements, causing significant damage to the circuit and other internal components.

    Do you service imitation watches?

    Imitation watches range in quality, and while some are surprisingly well made, all are difficult to service due to lack of replacement parts. In many cases, even if substitute parts are available, it is often cost prohibitive to use them because the majority of imitation watches are sold for under $50.00.

    At John Alabaster Watch & Clocl we handle imitation/replica watches on a case-by-case basis. Although most such watches cannot be serviced, we try to accommodate our clients as best we can. If you are adamant about servicing an imitation watch, feel free to bring it in for a free estimate. If you are unsure if your watch is genuine or imitation, our certified watchmaker can also give you an answer on the spot.

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    We buy and sell vintage watches, We sell a line of new watches such as Seiko, Citizen, Casio, Pulsar, all Swiss Alabaster brand Quartz and Mechanical watches.

    We specialize exclusively in the service, maintenance, and restoration of watches and clocks of virtually all brands including:

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