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how important is regular maintenance for automatic watches--I know they say every year or two you are supposed to bring it in to have it serviced, but I have read some people with the seiko 7s26 movements never servicing their dive watches for 20 years. Don't know how accurate they are at that point, but does this kind of reliability carry over to the swiss movements like this davosa? I know for a fact that I would not bring this in for servicing unless it either stops dead or is loosing/gaining 5 minutes a day. How long before that happens? any guesses?
In my experience, the amount of maintenance required varies a lot, but for this watch, you should count on a service every five years, and a decent service for this kind of watch will run about $200, give or take.
There is no hard and fast rule for servicing, but as @WillVautrain mentioned, the official manufacturer recommendation is generally every 5-10 years.
It makes sense to have a routine service for a luxury watch so you can maintain thousands of dollars in value. However, I personally believe that a $200 service on a $500 entry level Swiss watch doesn't really make that much sense.
Additionally, the ETA 2824 movement found in this watch is a proven workhorse movement. I can't make 20 year comparisons to a 7s26, but I can site an excerpt from a Hodinkee article: "Countless 2824s are made each year, reliably ticking away in watches from almost every manufacturer you can think of. And in this watch the 2824-2 was enough to bring home the gold." The gold that this is referring to is the award that a modified ETA 2824 won in 2012. In my opinion, you can probably wear a 2824 for years and you won't absolutely have to get a service unless something breaks.
Source article: http://www.hodinkee.com/blog/a-week-on-the-wrist-the-tissot-le-locle-chronometre
For me, if I notice the timekeeping is way off (like it gains/loses more than 10-20 seconds per day) or if the power reserve suddenly drops so that it stops running on the nightstand overnight, I know it's time for a service. On a modern, robust movement like the 2824, I'd expect (and budget for) that to happen about every 5 years. It could be 10 or 20 years, or it could even be 2 or 3 (but probably not, on a well-maintained 2824). Unless it's a vintage watch with an unknown service history, I probably would not get a watch serviced if it's running well.
I've been collecting vintage watches a long time, and so I tend to think of the $200 or so service on a mechanical watch as an investment, it's a marvelous little machine inside there that runs remarkably well if it's kept in working order. It's a relative bargain compared with buying a new mechanical watch. That $200 is for a decent independent watchmaker, by the way. A factory service on a watch like a Rolex can easily run $500 or more for a basic job, not including parts.