Many of us who own watches sometimes forget the kind of work that goes into assembling them. Many of the world’s top watches might include hundreds of parts, all precisely assembled into one working machine that provides consistent time keeping, as well as a variety of other features. Let’s face it – even the cheap, over-the-counter watches we buy these days can be like wrist-top computers.

So with all of this complication going on underneath the clock in your watch, it’s understandable to wonder how one could even attempt to repair their broken watch. It’s tempting to simply take your watch to a jeweler, look at the expensive repair charges, and quickly write out a check.

Luckily, with a little more knowledge about how to repair broken watches, you might be able to prolong or even avoid this option. Let’s take a look at how to repair broken watches, and then ask what your current options are.

1. Figure out why the watch is broken.

First, since you’ve read this far, it’s safe to assume that you have a watch in some kind of need of repair. It might be a superficial crack or an internal issue that’s causing the watch to fail. The first step in any type of strong repair strategy is simple: diagnosis.

What’s wrong with your watch? A quick glance over the following options might reveal something about what needs to be fixed:

    The watch band is broken. If you have a gold or silver watch with a metal band, you’ll know when the band is broken. Luckily, this is one of the easiest types of watch problem to fix.
    The face is cracked, or some other type of superficial damage has been done. This seems like an easy problem to fix but can be a little tricky, particularly as watch parts might be hard to come by. But if this is your problem, you know it right away.
    Internal problems. If, for problems unbeknownst to you, your watch simply has stopped telling time and is stuck on the same minute, you’ve got an internal problem. This will require going into the watch itself, and without a knowledge of watchmaking, this can get tricky.

2. Replacing and repairing yourself.

If you’ve made the diagnosis from step 1, you’re ready to move onto the next logical step: trying to repair it yourself. This is particularly true if you’re working with a broken band, as bands are replaceable and, depending on the watch, can be easy to re-attach.

For cracks and dents, you’ll also want to find replacement parts, if possible. If you’re not able to get a new part from the manufacturer, you might want to skip to step 3.

Watches with internal problems can be tougher nuts to crack. If it’s easy to open your watch and look inside without doing any damage, go ahead and try it out, and see if there’s a diagnosis that can be made with the untrained eye. Pieces that are stuck may simply be out of place. Also, try to replace the battery in case you’ve simply run out of power.

If you’re still confused, go on to step three.

3. Where to go if it’s out of your league.

Obviously, every watch is different, so different solutions will be needed. If you haven’t been able to solve your watch’s problems yet, you’re going to need to know where to take your watch to someone with a more trained eye than yours.

If you still have a guaranty or warranty from the company that sold you the watch, you can take it to them and explain that you’d like repairs or replacements done. If your watch is an antique or has outlasted its warranty, you’ll probably want to take it to a jeweler your trust for his or her opinion.

If none of these options are financially viable, it’s time to move on to step 4.

4. Do you want to repair the watch?

If your gold or silver watch has lasted this far through the process without getting fixed, it might be time to consider selling the watch and buying a new one. Of course, the first question people ask here is “who’s going to buy my broken watch?” Online brokers will be glad to take it off of your hands, buying the watch for the precious metals it contains, not for its ability to tell time.

Ask yourself if you really want your watch repaired, or if it’s time to sell the broken watch to someone who can use it. You can use the money you earn from online brokers toward a new watch – a watch with a guaranty!