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,
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
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
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
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
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; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.