Most watches we receive need, first and foremost, a good cleaning. In this case, we opened up a fine classic watch to discover that, as well as requiring cleaning, it required a new ‘balance staff’. All watches require a balance staff; this is a shaft onto which the balance is riveted. The balance oscillates, whilst each staff has fine pivots on each end, which are housed in lubricated, jewelled bearings. These are very delicate, especially the earlier forms that don’t incorporate any shock-proof mechanism. With these early forms of balance staff, any drop or knock can break the pivots – and in this case the pivot was only half its true length.
This example is a particularly difficult case, because it belongs inside a dense, high-quality watch where tolerance is kept to a minimum. It is simply right or wrong, because the balance oscillates above the pallet cock and below the centre wheel - and an increase or decrease of as little as 0.05 + would either stop the watch or cause drag, thus preventing timekeeping. A balance staff is turned from ‘blue pivot steel. This is steel that is hardened and tempered, so that it will keep its shape and allow for a polished finish on completion.
"I had bought a 1970s Pepsi GMT at auction and it needed some work. The lume on the hands was breaking up. Rolex UK wanted some hilarious price and threatened to replace the hands with new ones if their work failed - all at my expense of course. Steven Hale and co managed to repair the hands and maintain the original patina of the 40 plus year old watch which was of course crucial! Highly recommended."
"My great grand-father's Breguet was given to me by my father for my 21st birthday. 30 years later, post restoration by SHWR, it is in far better shape than I have ever seen it. SHWR's craftsmanship is immaculate. The firm is polite, professional and honest. Outstanding - I cannot recall another occasion when I have been so favourably impressed."
"I have just had my 1934 Rolex Oyster repaired. From start to finish I had full confidence in every one I had contact with at Steven Hale. They have been very efficient in identifying the problems at the initial examination and dealing with them as promised. There were no nasty surprises and unexpected complications along the way. Because of the age of my watch, spares are not available, and new parts have had to be made - all very expertly done. They even polished the gold case and my 86yr old watch now looks as good as new. You can certainly trust these people with your precious timepieces."
"Fantastic job repairing a family heirloom pocket watch which will now return home to Namibia.
The service was superb with detailed repair and service quote. Communication throughout was equally great leaving you with the confidence that you watch is in the best possible hands."
"These are watch lovers and it shows. Their meticulous craftsmanship and expertise make them unique in London and I suspect that only in Switzerland may their equivalents be found. The experience of Steven Hale Watch Restoration begins with the talented and charming individuals who are client facing in South Molton Street and who instil a confidence that is consequently fully fulfilled. This firm represents unequalled talent in its field as well as exceptional client service. I have seldom recommended anyone with greater conviction."