Repairing my Reverso  – Everlasting Type


It may be slightly galling getting a high-end watch serviced. Given the associated fee could possibly be between £500 and £1000, it is simple to really feel you are spending some huge cash simply to get the identical factor again once more. 

Maybe it is simpler to swallow should you’ve spent 20k of your personal cash; but it surely’s reasonably much less so if the watch is a fraction of that, or certainly was a present. 

It was good to witness my Reverso being serviced and repaired at Jaeger-LeCoultre just lately, subsequently, by the very affable watchmaker in Bond Avenue. 

It gave me a brand new respect for the work concerned, and put the charge in perspective. Actually the entire course of appeared nearer to creating a brand new watch than having it simply checked and tweaked.

As you would possibly count on, all through I used to be drawing parallels with menswear – the artisan at the back of the shop, the instruments and methods – and I concluded that the most effective comparability is with a bespoke go well with. Like a go well with, care and upkeep does not make the factor look higher (in contrast to footwear, say) however it’s what the piece of high-quality craft deserves, and it additionally brings you nearer to it – making you re-evaluate and worth your possession.

There are some things that go flawed with watches through the years, however among the predominant ones are oils drying, screws failing and water harm. 

The primary two are so frequent that they are a part of the usual service process – cleansing and oiling, changing all screws. The watchmaker will get a blister pack that incorporates all of the possible required components, and it is a stunning quantity. The mainspring can be changed by default.  

First although, the whole watch needs to be taken aside, beginning with the case after which working inwards. The items are positioned in a segmented plastic tray, and it is essential to recollect which is the highest and backside: due to the pure smoothing of the gold, the 2 ends (horns) will not match as easily in opposition to their opposing ends of the case. 

When the entrance of the case has been eliminated and the entire motion taken aside, the stability spring and stability wheel are then put again in

That is so the watchmaker can examine how they’re working, and in my case discovering that the spring was slightly bent (one of many attainable causes it was working gradual).

The unimaginable factor to me is that he then unbends it with a pair of tweezers. How this may be accomplished exactly sufficient, on such a tiny spring, I don’t know. Many of the realignment is finished at this stage, then there’s some high-quality tuning when the watch is put again collectively. 

This stage makes use of a finer pair of tweezers than those used to deconstruct the watch. The factors are so high-quality that they might apparently snap if used to take away the jewels. Every time he makes use of them, the watchmaker additionally sticks them in one thing that appears like Blu-Tac. Apparently it’s Rodico, which doesn’t lubricate them (as I assumed) however removes tiny bits of mud. 

It’s tougher for Robert the watchmaker to work on this house – at the back of the Previous Bond Avenue atelier – than in the primary restore centre, which is in north London. 

That bigger house has a ‘optimistic stress’ system, the place filtered air is blown in by means of the roof, creating stress that pushes air out every time somebody opens a door – so it’s a lot tougher for mud to come back in. In Bond Avenue there isn’t a such system, and there are extra random folks (equivalent to us) coming out and in. 

When Robert took the arms off my Reverso (prime picture above), it was clear the watch had change into magnetised as a result of one hand instantly jumped up and stood vertically off the face. 

The issue with the components being magnetised is that they change into drawn to different components of the motion. The stability spring, for instance, could also be attracted to 1 half however repelled by one other, making its rotation much less clean. 

One other is a stray drop of oil, maybe sticking two loops of the spring collectively. Some components of the watch are put in a remedy liquid as a part of the restore course of, to provide them better floor rigidity and ensure oils keep caught.  

Magnetisation can occur pretty simply, by means of extended contact with the speaker of a cell phone for instance. Luckily it’s a straightforward factor to take away: the watchmaker simply locations it on a small black field (above), presses a button and it’s accomplished. It is also one thing anybody can stroll into the JLC boutique and ask to be checked.

In accordance with Robert, little Reversos like mine are among the hardest actions of this sort to restore – there’s little room for error and they are often unpredictable. Colleagues of his which have labored on way more say typically a service can take a couple of hours, typically days. 

I’ve to say, it was very nice seeing the motion of mine taken out and with the ability to maintain it. It’s such an beautiful factor – and all completed fantastically, though it’s by no means seen. 

In a manner, it’s a disgrace the watch doesn’t have an open again, in order that could possibly be appreciated. However in fact that may take away from a elementary side of the Reverso – that it may be flipped round so the again faces outwards. I’ve really thought of methods to brighten that through the years, however have by no means taken the plunge. Perhaps another day.

After the deconstruction, testing the stability spring and some different checks, the trays containing the components are all positioned right into a desktop washer – which makes use of a nasty ammonia substance to cleanse (beneath).

That takes a couple of hours, together with two rounds of drying, after which the watch is put again along with oil being added all through, and every stage examined once more. Additional components are changed, and all the brand new screws are put in. I additionally had the crown changed, the arms (that they had change into slightly oxidised) and the crystal. As I mentioned, it felt nearer to constructing a brand new watch than simply servicing. 

The usual service charge of £570 included all these items, and sprucing, however the brand new crystal value £230. 

I’ve to say I at all times discovered watch boutiques slightly intimidating, or maybe simply off-putting. It’s most likely that sparse, shiny look of luxurious retail, plus the safety guard.

However this expertise, along with my one at Omega just lately, have warmed me up. It’s a combination of the service and the folks: everybody at Jaeger was real and educated, in contrast to the overwhelming majority of vogue boutiques, and recommendation appeared to be thought-about a part of the good thing about possession (attempt going into most large manufacturers and asking about repairs). 

Plus it’s good to know there’s somebody like Robert at the back of the shop, beavering away, cracking jokes and chasing a misbehaving screw throughout the worktop. 

Thanks Franck, Laurene, Stefania, Robert and everybody else at JLC for taking the time to clarify all the things to Alex and myself, watch naifs that we’re. 

Most JLC clients are usually not permitted to see watch companies in progress, and a variety of servicing is finished within the separate, bigger location. However hopefully this piece offers some perception into the work that goes into it. 

My Reverso is yellow gold, ref 250.140.862, from 1997. I purchased it second hand 12 years in the past. The garments pictured are:

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