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1 November 2016

Watch Workshop With Mike Brooks

By: Amy Brennan-Stephenson

Watch Workshop With Mike Brooks
Apart from the human heart, few things in life are required to work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Understanding the pressure our watches are under, David M Robinson has a team of Rolex-accredited watchmakers dedicated to ensuring that your timepieces continue to tick, year after year.




Taking care of your precious and valuable items makes financial sense. We ensure that our cars are cleaned and serviced regularly to keep them in good working order so it’s logical that we should do the same thing with our watches and jewellery.

When we consider the amount of work carried out by each of the hundreds of components inside a mechanical timepiece, it’s testament to the craftsmanship that goes into making a watch that they continue to keep the time so accurately and for so long – especially given the wear and tear we subject them to on a daily basis.

It’s nice to know, then, that it doesn’t require too much care and attention to keep a watch in good working order.

At David M Robinson, the team of accredited in-house watchmakers are able to offer a comprehensive list of after sales care, including full repair services, on watches from TAG Heuer, Raymond Weil and Rolex (excluding certain sports watches and chronographs). The company also offers battery replacement, maintenance servicing, timekeeping testing, waterproofing and resealing.



Most modern watches can withstand some level of exposure to water. Watches made before 1970, however, have nowhere near the level of sophisticated waterproofing that modern timepieces do. Therefore, it is sensible for their owners to keep them away from moist environments.

Virtually all modern watches can withstand exposure during the washing of hands, while diver’s watches rated at 300m (1,000ft) can easily cope with a swim in the sea. Some watches such as the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deep Sea can cope with enormous depths but all must be checked regularly to ensure that their seals are working correctly.

As there are many openings and joints that need to be sealed, waterproofing a watch is a complicated process. The seals themselves can degrade over time and these should be checked annually, especially if the watch being used for serious water-based activities like scuba diving. It’s also worth noting that whenever a watch comes into contact with salt water, it should be rinsed off as soon as possible with fresh water. Even high-grade stainless steel will oxidise with direct contact with salt.

Whenever a watch case is opened, whether for servicing or waterproofing, the work should only ever be carried out by a professional watchmaker with the necessary testing equipment. At David M Robinson, the team has years of experience in making sure your watches remain in perfect working order.



David M Robinson Watchmaker


What’s been the biggest change in the way watches are made in the last decade?

The quality of parts that now go into movements has increased dramatically. The research into material in general by the main watch houses has been tremendous.


Does this make watches easier to service?

Yes. The quality of metals used in the watches is a lot higher and the tolerances are much more accurate. This means a lot of the adjustments I had to make to a movement as part of a service no longer have to be made.


What advice would you give to anyone looking to maintain a healthy watch?

Always have your watch serviced at the manufacturer’s specified service intervals and always have it done by an approved and accredited workshop. This ensures only genuine parts are used and the watchmaker has had to attend the most up-to-date training.


What’s the biggest mistake people make in looking after their timepieces?

The most common problem concerns water resistance. A watch may be classed as water resistant, but this does not always mean it is suitable for swimming. Also, if a watch is worn in water on a regular basis, the seals should be checked every 12 to 18 months and a full water test carried out.


Which is your favourite watch to repair and why?

I enjoy working on Rolex the most. They are extremely high-end timepieces, but are very functional. By this I mean Rolex does not over-complicate the watches so there is less that can go wrong and they achieve a very high level of quality and robustness.


Which watch is the most difficult to service?

Any chronograph model. The movement has approximately 200 parts in it that all need to be stripped, cleaned and adjusted. Just this usually takes an entire day’s work.


Which timepiece do you wear personally?

I wear a Tudor Heritage Black Bay with a red bezel. I love the uncluttered dial. It’s a watch I can wear every day without having to worry about whatever situation that may arise and it still keeps fantastic time.



Keep your timepiece ticking At David M Robinson. We offer:

  • Full maintenance service
  • Timekeeping tests
  • Waterproofing
  • Resealing
  • Battery Replacement
  • Strap changes

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