The Need for Water Resistance Repair

July 1999

Timepieces:Education & Repair

The Need for Water Resistance Repair

Perform this time-saving task as a valuable customer service

By David Christianson
Certified Master Watchmaker
President of AWI

When a watch crosses your counter for a battery replacement, it's a good time to check its water resistance also. By conducting this extra check, you perform a valuable service and increase your customer's satisfaction.

Eye the Watch
First, look at the area where the case back and crown meet the case. If there's dirt in the crown or the case back, the gaskets probably need to be replaced. Dirt, oil and grease push into the seams and contact the rubber gaskets, causing them to deteriorate.

Turn the crown. If it drags slightly against the case tube, the gasket probably is good. But if the crown moves too easily, the gasket has hardened and needs to be replaced.

Remove the Case Back
Brush off the case back and remove it with the appropriate tools (see Professional Jeweler, March 1998, p. 66). If there's dirt or corrosion on the rubber gasket, replace it.

To further investigate, gently lift out the gasket. If it's supple and retains the correct shape (round or flat, depending on the case) the gasket is good. If the gasket is dented, stiff, cracked, distorted or compressed, replace it.

Also check the hole inside the case where the stem enters. If there's any trace of lint, dirt, rust or discoloration, the crown or stem gasket likely leaks.

Remove the Stem and Crown
You might ask your watchmaker to show you how to remove the stem and crown from the watch. Though generally best left to the watchmaker, this procedure can be done by a careful salesperson. Knowing how can save time and money for your store and customer.

In general, there's a little setting lever that moves in and out when the crown is pushed in and pulled out. This setting lever has a dimple near its end and usually is located on one side or the other where the stem enters the movement.

Repeatedly pull the crown in and out until you see this dimpled lever move. Usually, it will pop into sight, then pop back into the movement as the stem is moved in and out.

When the dimple is exposed, push on it with a tweezer point or thin screwdriver. This will release the stem and crown; now you can pull it out of the quartz movement and case, allowing the movement to drop out onto a clean, hard surface. (A hard surface ensures the hands won't snag on anything soft you may have laid underneath for protection.)

Clean the Case
With the movement removed, provide a valuable service by brushing the case opening and lubricating the case-back gasket and stem gasket. If the crown has its own gasket, lubricate the outside of the case tube. Use silicon gasket sealant.

This won't restore water resistance, but it will keep dust and moisture out of the watch case. Be sure to tell your customer about this procedure when returning the watch. This brings added value to your battery replacement service.

If further work is needed, obtain consent from your customer. A full water resistance update requires replacing the crystal, crystal gasket, case-back gasket and crown (or stem) gasket.

Then the watch is ready to be tested.

Next month: Testing water resistance.

David Christianson is a fourth-generation owner of Christianson Jewelry, Kendallville, IN. In addition to serving as president of the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute, he is a certified master watchmaker and a fellow of the British Horological Society. He discusses watch repair for the sales staff in this column each month. Send questions, suggestions and comments toProfessional Jeweler,1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102;


Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


HomeAsk the ExpertBrainstormStatsSite of the WeekConsumer Press Scan
Your Business On-LineCalendarMagazine & Site ArchivesStaffSite Map
Professional Jeweler EventsGuide to Electronic Services
Classified On-LineJA Certification Study Session

Home Ask the Expert Brainstorm Stats Site of the Week Consumer Press Scan Your Business On-Line Calendar Staff Site Map