Level 2: Maintenance Servicing


Watch repair Level 2 video course teaching maintenance servicing of watch movements. Featuring high quality full HD video lessons introducing you to the very basics in watch repair.

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[icon_list_item type=”video-camera”]4 Hours and 7 Minutes of Video footage[/icon_list_item]
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[x_alert type=”success”][x_icon type=”exclamation-circle”] A full description of this course can be found here: Watch Repair Course Level 2[/x_alert]
[dropcap]L[/dropcap]evel 2 of this course builds upon the foundations set in level 1. In particular you will gain a greater understanding of the anatomy of the watch movement as we strip the basic mechanical watch to pieces, clean the components, check for wear or damage, re-assemble, lubricate and re-calibrate.


There are no specific rules to the order a watch is stripped to pieces. However, it is important to know that the potential to cause damage is greater unless you follow a basic guideline.

c2.0.1 Using & Maintaining Tweezers

In order to reduce the risk of watch parts getting lost, it is advisable to choose high quality tweezers and to maintain the tweezer tips. When new to watch repair you should spend quite a bit of time practicing with your tweezers and developing your technique.

c2.0.2 Using & Maintaining Screwdrivers

Watchmakers screwdrivers come in sets of various different sizes. Choosing a suitable size for the screw you wish to loosen, or tighten, will reduce the risk of damaging the screw head or slot. You should choose a screwdriver with a blade width slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw head. If the blade is to large then you risk damaging, or scoring the material around the screw.

c2.1.1 Removing The Movement From The Watch Case

It is never a good idea to start stripping a watch movement down when it is still in it’s watch case. The movement may not be fully secure and you will run the risk of damaging the dial as you apply downwards pressure on certain screws.

c2.1.2 Removing The Dial and Hands

When working with watch movements, it is the watch repairers duty to take extreme care not to damage or scratch any of the parts even if they are not visible. However, when working with the dial and hands, this duty should become an obsession.

c2.1.3 Removing Power From The Mainspring

Releasing any power in the mainspring is a very important prerequisite to stripping down any watch or clock movement. Failing to perform this step can cause damage to your movement in several different ways.

c2.1.4 Removing The Balance

Arguably the most sensitive part of the watch movement is the balance assembly, and in particular, the balance spring. Therefore it is recommended that this should be the first component to remove and set safely aside.

c2.1.5 Removing The Motion Work

Removing the Motion Work before removing the Train Wheels is a great example of where observing this guideline is important because the Cannon Pinion is friction fitted to the Centre Wheel.

c2.1.6 Removing The Pallets

The Pallet fork is located under the balance and is secured with a bridge which needs to be removed first. The pallet staff pivots are very fine and if you are not careful when removing the Pallets then you run a real risk of them breaking.

c2.1.7 Removing The Barrel and Train Wheel Bridges

In the previous lesson where we removed the power from the mainspring, we removed the Ratchet Wheel at that time as this ensures that there is no power still in the mainspring. Before removing the Barrel Bridge, it is also advisable to remove the click, click spring and the crown wheel as this will be easier to do whilst the barrel bridge is secured to the lower plate.

c2.1.8 Removing The Train Wheels

Now that we have removed the train wheel and barrel bridges, the train wheels and barrel are exposed and can be removed.

c2.1.9 Removing The Keyless Work

The final step in our guideline for stripping down the watch movement is to remove the Keyless Works components.


Now that you have stripped the movement down it is highly recommended that you inspect each part individually.

Watches are designed to run for a very long time, sometimes many years, without the need for service. However, some watch owners will tend to have an “if its’s not broken then it doesn’t need repair” attitude towards their timepiece.

c2.2.1 Inspecting Jewels And Pivot Holes

Servicing and maintaining watches does not end with stripping the movement to pieces, cleaning, lubrication and re-assembling. A large part of your focus when working on any movement should be devoted to observation.

c2.2.2 Checking For and Dealing With Rust

Rust is most definitely an issue you will come across at some point when you start servicing and maintaining watch movements.

c2.2.3 Checking For Damage and Wear

There are three basic stages for performing a maintenance service with any watch movement. Stripping it down, cleaning it and then rebuilding it. During all three of these stages, it is good practice to be on the constant lookout for issues which will affect the good running of the watch.


Once the movement has been taken to pieces and you have inspected all the parts, its now time to proceed with cleaning those parts.

There are various methods to cleaning watch movement components which may result in differing levels of cleanliness. In fact, in ideal circumstances and for optimal performance of the movement once it is re-assembled and lubricated, the goal is to clean the movement to a clinical level.

c2.3.1 Cleaning By Hand

When you are first starting out with watch repair, it may not be practical or even advisable to invest in expensive equipment such as ultrasonic machines or watch cleaning machines.

c2.3.2 Using An Ultrasonic Bath

When cleaning your watch movement components by hand, you may find it useful to agitate the parts whilst they are soaking in the cleaning fluid with an ultrasonic bath.

c2.3.3 Watch Cleaning Machine

Using a dedicated watch cleaning machine will both increase your productivity and arguably give you better results when cleaning watch components. You will still need to be able to clean certain parts by hand, but investing in a watch cleaning machine will be a natural step forward as you progress in watch repair.


Now we shall look at lubrication and the re-assembly of the basic mechanical watch movement. You may observe that I have not separated these two subjects, this is because the lubrication and re-assembly of a watch movement, for the most part, will go hand in hand.

c2.4.1 Choosing Correct Lubricant

Many modern watch movement calibers will have a corresponding data sheet with part numbers, illustrations and often an oiling chart. These can be extremely useful to help you determine the correct lubricant for a particular friction point.

c2.4.2 Lubrication Techniques

Before we get started with re-assembly, lets take a look at some principles in the lubrication of friction points in mechanical watch movements.

For the most part, you will need to lubricate where any two components come into contact and interact with each other…

c2.4.3 Re-Assembling The Watch Movement

Now we are ready to start re-assembling and lubricating the movement. You may remember, we previously talked about a guideline procedure for stripping a movement to pieces.

c2.4.4 Assemble The Train of Wheels

If you made notes or took photographs whilst you were stripping the movement down, this should be a relatively simple task. Assembling the train of wheels is a simple case of placing the wheels the correct way up and in the correct order.

c2.4.5 Assemble The Going Barrel

When re-assembling the barrel you have to make a choice wether to use the existing mainspring which you removed when you stripped the watch down, or to replace it with a new one.

c2.4.6 Using A Mainspring Winder

Mainspring winders are quite an expensive investment but very useful to have in your tool kit. Depending on the size of the set you purchase, there will be many different drums to suit the size of barrel you wish to fit the spring into. Choose a drum which is slightly smaller than the inside diameter of your barrel and remove the crank…

c2.4.7 Fitting the Barrel Arbor and Lid

Whichever method you have chosen in order to replace the mainspring you should now have your mainspring correctly seated in the barrel and it’s time to install the barrel arbor. Check the direction of the hook on the barrel arbor and match it to the hole on the inner coil of the mainspring.

c2.4.8 Assemble The Barrel Bridge

With the Unitas movement we are working with, you will notice that the barrel bridge not only secures the Going Barrel, but also the Centre Wheel. Before fitting the barrel bridge, make sure the train of wheels spins freely by…

c2.4.9 Assemble The Motion & Keyless Works

Now it’s time to re-assemble the motion works and the keyless works. You may recall, we fitted the setting lever screw prior to placing the barrel bridge. Now we can fit the setting lever to the screw, and it must be noted that this may take a little practice.

c2.4.10 Assemble The Escapement & Balance

We have now completed the assembly of the Train of Wheels, The Going Barrel, The Motion Works and The Keyless Works. Now it’s time to install the escapement and balance assembly.

c2.4.11 Lubricating The Balance End Stones

The final stage in re-assembling the watch movement will be to lubricate the balance end-stones. Depending on how you cleaned the movement it may be necessary to clean them at this stage also.


With the watch movement fully assembled and running, it is now time to test it’s operation and regulate it’s timekeeping.

If there are any issues with the watch movement then these issues will be identified during the testing stage and so it is very important not to skip this step.

c2.5.1 De-Magnetising The Movement

After the watch movement parts have been exposed to potential magnetic fields, for example, emitted by a watch cleaning machine motor, the movement will need to be de-magnetised.

c2.5.2 The basics of regulating a movement

Naturally, if a watch does not maintain a reasonable expectation of time-keeping, then it’s does not serve much of a purpose. And of course, following a full strip down and re-assembly along with fresh lubrication applied and perhaps even replacement of worn parts, the time keeping of the movement will need to be assessed and adjusted accordingly.

c2.5.3 Adjusting The Movement Rate

As mentioned before, the rate of the watch is determined by the speed, or rate, at which a beat occurs as compared to the preceding beat. This rate is governed by the balance assembly and in particular, the diameter and weight of the balance wheel, and the strength and length of the balance spring….

c2.5.4 Setting The Movement In Beat

As the balance oscillates, it interacts with the pallet fork twice. These are called vibrations, or beats. Effectively it is the ‘tictoc’ sound you hear with any mechanical watch movement.

c2.5.5 Adjusting For Positional Error

When timing a watch you would aim to test the rate in several different positions. As an example, if a watch movement is moved from a dial-up or dial-down position to a pendant, or…

c2.5.6 Testing a Movement

Now that you have adjusted the rate of your watch movement, it is very important to put the watch through various stages of testing. The first test will be before you re-case the movement….

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