Spring Drive Service Frequency and Cost?

Hi all,

I’ve been looking at GS for a bit and had the opportunity on my lunch break today to try on what I think is the best of their spring drive line (for me at least). It’s a gorgeous watch in the metal and combines my two wishes for a GS - a lake suwa/birch type textured dial without a date window and PR.

One thing that’s got me nervous about entering the spring drive world is the recommended service frequency and cost. Per GS, they recommend once every 3-4 years and it looks like servicing would be like $700-900 a pop.

Image

I have no experience with spring drive and don’t know if they’re more finicky than other mechanical movements and really would require more frequent service.

I’d be interested in hearing the experiences of GS owners here on the forums. If you’ve had a spring drive for a while, how often do you send it in for service, and what’s the cost been?

If it matters, I’d anticipate putting the GS in heavy rotation - maybe getting 25% of my wrist time.

Reply
·

Beautiful watch, and I agree that it’s much better without a PR or date. I don’t own one, but if I did, there’s no way I’d be paying that much every 3-4 years. Maybe I’d kill the thing, but I just can’t live with something that needs that much servicing and costs that much.

·
thekris

Beautiful watch, and I agree that it’s much better without a PR or date. I don’t own one, but if I did, there’s no way I’d be paying that much every 3-4 years. Maybe I’d kill the thing, but I just can’t live with something that needs that much servicing and costs that much.

Yep exactly. I’m wondering if that recommended schedule has any grounding in reality because if so it’s Nomos time

·

Beautiful!

I'm gonna make this response my canned response with regard to service and service intervals, so TLDR... Ain't much to worry about.

#1 - Warranties and what they tell us about manufacturing quality

  • Most respectable manufacturers used to provide 2 years of warranty

  • Even today, almost any ETA-powered watch will typically come with a 2-year warranty

  • Why is that?

  • Well, because manufacturing used to suck - we were just AWFUL at manufacturing

  • Look at any car manufactured by the Big 3 from the 70's and compare that car to one produced today - it isn't a difference in degree, but a difference in kind entirely

  • Or, better yet, go check out a vintage example of the supposedly vaunted, robust tool watches of yore - like a Rolex Sub - and you will find it to be the jangliest, jankiest, junkiest piece of junk out there!

  • Today, almost all of the big brands offer 5 year warranties, because manufacturing techniques and technologies are so advanced that the manufacturers can comfortably offer longer and longer warranty periods

#2 - Lubricants

  • In the bad old days, watch movements used to use mineral oils, and they sucked

  • If they weren't in constant motion, they would gum up

  • If they were in operation too long, they would break down

  • You couldn't let a watch sit around all the time, nor could you have it running all the time!

  • Service intervals were short, because the mineral oils had short useful lifespans, and watches needed to be re-lubricated often

  • Nowadays we have the wonders of synthetic lubricants - they don't gum up, they don't separate, and their heat tolerances are far, far, far superior

#3 - Combination of factors

  • Given this combination of factors, should we take our watches in for service at the recommended 4 year mark? 8 year mark? 10 year mark? Whatever it is that the manufacturers recommend?

  • Why?

  • If modern materials are robust and resistant to corrosion, and all the parts are precision machined, and they continue to operate flawlessly, and the lubricants can last 50-100 years at normal operating temperatures... why would one take that machine apart?

If it ain't broke, why fix it?

Now, with regard to GS in particular, I have 14 GS, and have had no issues whatsoever. But, then again, I've only had mine for, say, 2 years. But, then again, I had a couple of brand new Breitlings that broke within 1 month of ownership! Ha! Haven't had that experience with GS.

At this point, one should ask, "What is the most common failure mode for mechanical watches?" Well, in the bad old days, it used to be bad things happening due to the breakdown of the oils in the movement! Next on the list, the fiddliest part of the watch is the escapement and the balance spring. Well, GS Spring Drive watches don't have traditional escapements! It's the tri-synchro regulator that's a magnetic brake that does the work of an "escapement" - and that's why you can't magnetize a Spring Drive the way you can a normal mechanical watch! There is no balance spring to magnetize!

Given the tri-syncro regulator set up, the Spring Drive movement has fewer parts and doesn't even have the fiddly parts that typical mechanical watches have.

Thus, am I gonna bring any of my Spring Drive watches in for service at the 4, 8, 10, 12 year marks? No siree, Bob! If it ain't broke, I ain't gonna fix it.

·

When I purchased my spring drive Grand Seiko, my AD mentioned the service interval being ~8-10 years.

3-4 years is the Seiko recommended interval from the booklet, but in reality the duration can be longer. Here is a link to a post where Joe Kirk from Grand Seiko goes into it in more detail about some of the factors.

https://www.watchuseek.com/threads/faq-regarding-grand-seiko-service.4203962/

This was something that I looked into a lot when I was researching before pulling the trigger. I hope it helps you as well, it is a beautiful watch.

·

@Mr.Dee.Bater @Shin0896

Nice guys that’s the sort of info I’m looking for! As a M.E. I was thinking the lack of rapid oscillation in the spring drive movement should result in less wear but the way the electromagnetic brake works is somewhat of a mystery to me. Feeling better about it thanks.

·
WAphoto

@Mr.Dee.Bater @Shin0896

Nice guys that’s the sort of info I’m looking for! As a M.E. I was thinking the lack of rapid oscillation in the spring drive movement should result in less wear but the way the electromagnetic brake works is somewhat of a mystery to me. Feeling better about it thanks.

·

So behind the scenes many from Grand Seiko expect most spring drives to last 20+ years between needed services.

That is not official, but I wouldn't worry about a spring drive giving you problems for well over a decade.

·
Mr.Dee.Bater

Beautiful!

I'm gonna make this response my canned response with regard to service and service intervals, so TLDR... Ain't much to worry about.

#1 - Warranties and what they tell us about manufacturing quality

  • Most respectable manufacturers used to provide 2 years of warranty

  • Even today, almost any ETA-powered watch will typically come with a 2-year warranty

  • Why is that?

  • Well, because manufacturing used to suck - we were just AWFUL at manufacturing

  • Look at any car manufactured by the Big 3 from the 70's and compare that car to one produced today - it isn't a difference in degree, but a difference in kind entirely

  • Or, better yet, go check out a vintage example of the supposedly vaunted, robust tool watches of yore - like a Rolex Sub - and you will find it to be the jangliest, jankiest, junkiest piece of junk out there!

  • Today, almost all of the big brands offer 5 year warranties, because manufacturing techniques and technologies are so advanced that the manufacturers can comfortably offer longer and longer warranty periods

#2 - Lubricants

  • In the bad old days, watch movements used to use mineral oils, and they sucked

  • If they weren't in constant motion, they would gum up

  • If they were in operation too long, they would break down

  • You couldn't let a watch sit around all the time, nor could you have it running all the time!

  • Service intervals were short, because the mineral oils had short useful lifespans, and watches needed to be re-lubricated often

  • Nowadays we have the wonders of synthetic lubricants - they don't gum up, they don't separate, and their heat tolerances are far, far, far superior

#3 - Combination of factors

  • Given this combination of factors, should we take our watches in for service at the recommended 4 year mark? 8 year mark? 10 year mark? Whatever it is that the manufacturers recommend?

  • Why?

  • If modern materials are robust and resistant to corrosion, and all the parts are precision machined, and they continue to operate flawlessly, and the lubricants can last 50-100 years at normal operating temperatures... why would one take that machine apart?

If it ain't broke, why fix it?

Now, with regard to GS in particular, I have 14 GS, and have had no issues whatsoever. But, then again, I've only had mine for, say, 2 years. But, then again, I had a couple of brand new Breitlings that broke within 1 month of ownership! Ha! Haven't had that experience with GS.

At this point, one should ask, "What is the most common failure mode for mechanical watches?" Well, in the bad old days, it used to be bad things happening due to the breakdown of the oils in the movement! Next on the list, the fiddliest part of the watch is the escapement and the balance spring. Well, GS Spring Drive watches don't have traditional escapements! It's the tri-synchro regulator that's a magnetic brake that does the work of an "escapement" - and that's why you can't magnetize a Spring Drive the way you can a normal mechanical watch! There is no balance spring to magnetize!

Given the tri-syncro regulator set up, the Spring Drive movement has fewer parts and doesn't even have the fiddly parts that typical mechanical watches have.

Thus, am I gonna bring any of my Spring Drive watches in for service at the 4, 8, 10, 12 year marks? No siree, Bob! If it ain't broke, I ain't gonna fix it.

What he said!

·

This is a great question and thanks for putting it out there. I own an earlier Ananta Spring Drive from 2009 and it has never been serviced. It continues to run flawlessly, but this is something that is in the back of my mind as I wait for a malfunction.

·

Beautiful watch AJ. I don’t own a GS of my own though i do have a lot of interest in the brand. So i don’t know how valuable you will find my opinion but personally I wouldn’t be able to be convinced to bring a watch into service that often ESPECIALLY if it coast that amount of money. I think that sound a little gimmicky to be honest. A well made watch should perform fine for at least 5-10 years and I would probably wait 10 years if that to even have it looked at. But that’s all just me. ✌🏾