If your cherished Seiko watch is starting to show some wear and tear, you may be thinking about having it repaired or serviced. After all, this would enhance its accuracy and keep the movement running more efficiently.
But how much would it cost? Is it even worth it? And how do you go about having it serviced or repaired if you do decide it’s the right move? Let’s break it down.
The cost to service a Seiko watch can range anywhere from around $100 to $900. Clearly, that is a pretty wide range. The price difference comes down to the exact type of Seiko movement you need to have serviced and where you go to get it done.
In this post, we will offer a breakdown of servicing costs for different Seiko movements, and how to go about getting your watch serviced or repaired, if you wish to do so. We will also provide some thoughts on whether or not the service cost is worth it for you.
How Much It Costs to Service a Mechanical Seiko
The average service cost for a Seiko watch is around $400. As we mentioned previously, the movement of your watch determines the cost of servicing it.
Here is the pricing for servicing various Seiko calibers if you were to go directly to the Seiko Service Center:
|Mechanical Caliber Series||Price|
|9S (Grand Seiko Complete Service)||$525|
|9R6 (Grand Seiko Complete Service)||$570|
|9R8 (Grand Seiko Complete Service)||$880|
|8L / 6L||$398|
|Old mechanical calibers* (see below)||$290|
*The “old mechanical calibers” that can be serviced for $290 include:
How Much Does it Cost to Service a Seiko 5?
The cost of servicing a Seiko 5 varies depending on which movement it uses. Up until recently, Seiko used the entry-level 7S26 in many. Currently, watches with the 7S26 cost $118 for a full service.
Newer Seiko 5s and Seiko 5 Sports use the upgraded 4R series of movements, such as the 4R36 and 4R34 which cost $154 to service.
How Much It Costs to Service a Quartz Seiko
|Quartz Caliber Series||Price|
|9F (Grand Seiko Complete Service)||$425|
|Analog battery or rechargeable battery powered||$79-$116|
|Analog V series solar powered||$116|
|5J / 7D / 7L /8B||$175|
|5X / 7X / 8X||$332|
|Analog / Digital combination (non-divers)||$98|
Seiko Service Center USA can locally service all but the following calibers:
All Galante and Credor Seiko models must be shipped to Japan for service. If you need to ship your watch overseas, that may add to the cost.
Keep in mind that you can also take your Seiko watch to a local watchmaker for servicing. Pricing, in most cases, is likely to be similar to what we just went over, but some businesses may charge lower or higher rates.
Note that Seiko offers a 6-12 month service guarantee, depending on the type of watch you have serviced.
If you are dealing with an independent watch repair professional, be sure to check what kind of guarantee is included with the service price.
How Much It Costs to Service a Grand Seiko
The service cost for a Grand Seiko can range from around $400 to about $900. Spring Drive and mechanical Grand Seiko watches cost more to service than quartz ones.
You can also send in your Grand Seiko to polish the watch case, and band, or have the Zaratsu blades re-polished.
It is also possible to have the movement overhauled, or replace the metal band, strap, or battery entirely.
To have your Grand Seiko serviced, start a request via the Grand Seiko service center.
|Grand Seiko Caliber Series||Price|
|Mechanical (9S85 – VFA Series)||$780|
|Spring Drive (9R6)||$570|
|Spring Drive (9RA5)||$750|
|Spring Drive Chronograph (9R84 / 9R86 / 9R96)||$880|
|Mechanical (All other vintage or retired calibers)||Quoted after evaluation in Japan|
|Case and Band||$625|
|Zaratsu Blade Polishing||Quoted after evaluation in Japan|
Light Polishing Service
|Light Polishing Service||Price|
|Case and Band||$280|
|Replace metal band||$325|
A Grand Seiko battery replacement costs $47.50, however, there is an additional $25.00 labor charge, and a $35.00 water resistance pressure test charge after replacement.
Note: While some Grand Seikos can be serviced through Grand Seiko Service USA, some require evaluation or additional services in Japan.
What Does Servicing a Seiko Include?
What is included in servicing may vary depending on your chosen service center or watchmaker. But Seiko servicing typically includes the following:
- Broken movement parts will be repaired or replaced.
- Gaskets will be replaced to restore water resistance.
- Batteries will be replaced.
- Timing will be adjusted for accuracy.
- Service includes cleaning, polishing and lubricating.
- Full watch reassembly at the end of servicing.
- The watchmaker will perform tests for accuracy, water resistance, etc., to ensure that your watch performs to specifications.
Why You Should Service Your Seiko
The longer any watch goes without service, the more the oil ages and the parts wear down. Even with their high quality, Seiko watches are not immune to the effects of time and use.
Servicing your Seiko ensures that your watch can continue to keep time accurately. If the watch is water-resistant, servicing will also help to maintain its water-tight design, preventing unexpected leaks.
How Often Should You Get Your Seiko Serviced?
Seiko recommends that you get your watch serviced once every three years or so.
You might need to get your watch serviced more or less frequently depending on:
- Your climate
- Your activities while wearing the watch
- What you do to care for and maintain the watch
For example, a Seiko dive watch regularly worn in the ocean will require more frequent service than a Seiko watch worn once in a while on special occasions but is otherwise kept in a display case in your watch collection.
Naturally, not everyone can afford to get a watch serviced every three years. If that describes you, do your best to maintain the watch on your own, and take it in for servicing when you can manage it.
Is the Cost of Servicing a Seiko Worth It?
If you spent thousands of dollars on a Grand Seiko, it is a pretty easy decision to pay to get it serviced. The watch is worth a lot. Maintaining its condition will also maintain its value.
But many Seiko watches are not that expensive, especially in the quartz category. If you spend $220 on a Seiko watch, does it really make sense to spend $150 to service that watch? Financially, probably not. But emotionally? Maybe.
This might be one of those times when it would make sense to service your own Seiko as best you can. Perhaps the trick is to do minor servicing at home every few years, and then take it in for professional servicing once in a great while.
A surprising number of watch collectors will respond, “I would just throw it out and buy a new Seiko. It will not cost me much more.”
However, we feel that is quite a wasteful thing to do with a quality watch. There is no reason to ever throw out an old watch that could still have ample life in it. Instead, we suggest you sell or give it to someone who can either service and repair it themselves or pay someone else to do it.
Indeed, quite a few inexpensive Seiko watches are beautiful vintage pieces. We do not want to see them becoming unnecessarily rare. And even the more modern Seiko you own today could become the vintage watch of tomorrow.
One last consideration is sentiment. Watches carry a lot of special memories, and even if your Seiko would cost as much to professionally service as it did to purchase, it might still be worth it if you really love your watch.
Why Not Just Service It Yourself?
If you have some mechanical skills, you might feel comfortable opening up your Seiko watch and servicing it on your own.
That said, it is a complex job that requires the right tools, knowledge, and extreme patience. Check out the video below to see all that goes into servicing even one of the most basic Seiko movements, the 7S26.
French watchmaker Colin de Tonnac explains that even in scenarios where you want to service a watch to repair a specific issue, more extensive work is often required than you might expect. He explains how just one particle from a shock might cause no issues for years, then migrate and cause the watch to fail overnight.
Professional servicing ensures that the entire watch will be scrutinized and that all potential issues will likely be addressed—even those you might not detect on your own.
It is also not unusual to have to spend thousands of dollars on the tools necessary for thorough watch servicing. This can be another major impediment to servicing your own Seiko watches.
On top of that, there is a learning curve, and it is easy to break watches while you are at the start of that curve.
So, if you can afford to get your Seiko professionally serviced, that is usually a better option than doing it on your own.
How Long Does It Take To Have a Seiko Serviced?
Watch servicing is not a fast process. It takes time and meticulous care to service a watch thoroughly and professionally (another good reason to have it done by a pro instead of doing it yourself).
Watches serviced through the Seiko Service Center will have a turnaround time of 5-8 weeks. That does not include the time for shipping or estimates.
This turnaround time is comparable to what you will run into with other manufacturers.
If you go through a local watchmaker to have your Seiko watch serviced instead, they might have a longer or shorter turnaround time, depending on how busy they are. Regardless, you should probably prepare yourself for a long wait.
Although you might feel impatient waiting to get your Seiko back on your wrist, quality is more important than haste.
How to Get Your Seiko Serviced
If you do decide to get your Seiko serviced, here are the steps:
1. Decide where to get your service performed.
First, you will need to decide whether to go through the Seiko Service Center or an independent watchmaker.
The Seiko Service Center can be an excellent option, especially if your watch is under warranty. By sending it directly to Seiko, you know that professionals trained by the company will be working on your watch. You will also benefit from the guarantee they provide on their work.
However, there may be scenarios where an independent watchmaker can save you time, money or both. If you feel confident that you can trust their expertise, it might be a suitable option.
2. Send in your watch.
Once you decide where to get your servicing done, you will need to either bring in your watch personally or start a request with the Seiko service senter.
- Start a service request on the Seiko service center.
OR, in the case of Grand Seiko,
- Start a service request on the Grand Seiko service center.
If you send your watch through the mail, make sure you use plenty of packing material so it does not jostle around.
You should also take note that the Seiko Service Center will throw away any packaging you send, so do not send the watch in its original gift box, or you will lose it.
3. Receive your estimate.
Does your watch require repairs? If so, you will next need to wait while professionals assess your watch’s condition and send you a personalized estimate for the work.
Otherwise, if all that is needed is standard servicing, the price should match what you see quoted on Seiko’s website.
You might wonder why you need to send in your watch before you get an estimate. The reason is that there is simply no way to conduct a thorough and accurate assessment without physically examining the watch. So, you must be willing to ship the watch before you find out what you will pay for repairs.
4. Wait to receive your serviced watch.
Finally, you just need to hang tight during the weeks you wait for your watch to be serviced. After servicing is complete, the watch will be shipped back to you. You can then strap it back onto your wrist, satisfied that it looks and functions at its best.
Seiko advises that you get your watches serviced every three years. If you can afford to do that and get it done professionally by either Seiko or an independent watchmaker, that is the best way to keep your watches in prime condition.
Costs range between $100 and $900 for Seiko servicing. How realistic that is will depend on your budget, and how worthwhile it is will depend on your watch’s monetary and sentimental value.
Regardless, take good care of your Seiko watch and avoid exposing it unnecessarily to the elements. Simple good habits and everyday care can go a long way toward maintaining your watch and keeping the need for servicing to a minimum.