Watch Care and Maintenance Guide - How To Take Care of Watches

Nice watches are an investment. You pay good money for them and they are supposed to give you service for years. But like other assets, watches are subject to wear and tear over time. The amount of deterioration and how soon it happens depends on the kind of care and maintenance the watch gets.

If you want your treasured timepieces to last long in good condition looking as good as new and functioning excellently, you've got to take good care of them. Well made watches should last for years, if not decades, with proper care, maintenance and storage. Follow these care and maintenance practices to keep your treasured watch in excellent condition

First, read and follow the manufacturer's instructions on taking care of your watch and ensuring it gets the necessary maintenance to remain in good condition.  

Watch Enemies - Avoid Exposing Watches To: 

  • Physical shocks. Strong impacts such as knocks and vibrations can damage the outside and inside of the watch. For example, remove your watch when participating in sports. Only wear watches designed for that particular activity, for example when playing golf.  
  • Extreme temperature. Excessively hot and cold temperatures damage the internal mechanism, water resistance seals and battery.
  • Strong magnetic fields. Watches should not be exposed to environments where they may be affected by strong magnetic fields, as these can create erratic gear behavior and damage a watch's movement.
  • Chemicals, solvents and cosmetics. Take care when working with bleach, chlorine, gasoline, oils, or acids as well as when applying cosmetics and perfumes. These harsh chemicals can damage both the internal and external parts of a watch. If accidentally exposed to these, clean the watch with a slightly moistened cloth and then dry carefully.  
  • Water. Keep non water resistant watches away from water and dry as soon as possible in case of accidental water exposure. If a water resistant watch has been exposed to salt water which is corrosive, rinse it in fresh water and then gently dry it.   

Mechanical Watches Care and Maintenance

  • Wind your watch off the wrist to prevent unnecessary pressure on the winding system.
  • Wind until the crown feels tight or when you start to feel a slight resistance. Over winding can damage the mechanism.
  • For both manual and automatic mechanical watches, avoid setting the date and time from 9pm to 3am, as the mechanism is activated at night and setting the date at this time can damage it. Always set the day and date on your watch in daytime. 
  • Don’t wear your watch while playing active sports such as golf or tennis. The shocks associated with such rapid movements are damaging to a watch’s fine mechanical movement. Generally, only pilot’s and driving watches are designed to handle shock and vibration.
  • Only turn the hands clockwise when setting the time. Turning the hands counterclockwise can damage some watch mechanisms. 
  • The mechanism in a mechanical watch needs motion to keep the lubricants in place and working. Lubricants in an unused watch can dry up or migrate away from critical bearings, thereby damaging the watch’s delicate mechanism.
  • It is recommended to take your watch for maintenance- oil change, cleaning, testing of water resistance seals- every three to five years to ensure everything keeps functioning as it should.
  • Have your fine mechanical timepiece serviced only by an authorized watch repair center. A fine watch is a precision instrument and the watchmaker who repairs it requires specialized training. Do-it-yourself watch repair or bringing your watch to an unauthorized repairer is a sure way to damage it and ruin the warranty.

Automatic Watches Care and Maintenance

  • The ideal way to care for an automatic watch is to wear it daily so it stays wound through natural motion.
  • But it is not always possible to wear one watch everyday especially when you have a collection, jump-start it by turning the crown if you have not worn it for some time.
  • You can also buy a watch winder that will keep automatic watches wound and running when you’re not wearing them. 
  • Keep the manual winding mechanism working by manually winding the watch using the crown once or twice every two weeks whether you wear the watch regularly or not.

Quartz Watches Care and Maintenance

  • Quartz watches require battery replacement every one to three years. If a watch starts lagging behind or stops, it may be a sign that a battery replacement is needed.
  • Change the battery promptly once it expires to prevent it leaking and damaging the mechanism.
  • Go to your dealer or jeweler for battery replacement. Changing a watch battery by yourself invalidates the watch's warranty. You can ruin its delicate workings and destroy the watch’s water resistance.  

How To Take Care of Water Resistant Watches

  • Read the manual before you expose your watch to water and follow the instructions on taking care of your watch.
  • Ensure the screw down crown and caseback are tightly screwed before you expose the watch to water.
  • Don't turn the crown, use pushers or adjust the watch under water.
  • Rinse the watch with clean water after swimming or diving with it then wipe it dry. This will eliminate any dirt, salty water and chemicals from the pool or ocean.
  • If you change battery, ensure the watch is resealed and tested to ensure it retains its water resistance ability.
  • The gaskets that seal the watch grow dry and brittle over time and need replacement every one to two years depending on how often you use the watch.

How To Take Care of a Leather Watch Band

  • Leather bands should be protected from exposure to water, as water can damage both the appearance and texture of leather. If your strap becomes wet with perspiration, wipe it dry with a soft cloth and leave it in a well-ventilated space when you take it off.
  • Wipe off dust using a soft dry cloth. If necessary, rinse with cold clear water without soaking.
  • Keep away from sharp objects, extreme temperature, sunlight, pollution, that can damage the strap or cause it to fade.
  • Avoid contact with oils, solvents, detergents and other chemicals that can stain the leather strap or cause premature ageing. 
  • Wear it loose to preserve it.
  • You can use leather maintenance products to polish the strap and keep it looking good.
  • Replace the band once it ages to give your watch a makeover.

Watch Cleaning

  • Most watches just require a simple wipe with a soft dry cloth to get rid of dust, dirt and moisture.
  • For a non water resistant watch, wipe it with a dry cloth. Keep it away from water and dry as soon as possible in case of accidental water contact. 
  • For a water resistant watch, use a damp soft cloth to clean the case and then wipe off the moisture using a dry soft cloth.
  • Most watch bands are made of metal and require little maintenance or care.  If they become dirty or soiled with fingerprints, wiping with a soft cloth can help keep the band clean.  
  • Clean metal bracelets using mild soapy water then rinse with fresh water. You can also use a soft toothbrush to remove dirt.
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to clean the watch.

Storage and Safe Keeping

Here are ladies watches storage tips and ideas- beautiful and stylish watches organizers, boxes, display cases, cabinets and travel rolls. Plus tips on how to store watches in good condition.

Go to Women's Watch Guide

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Home Page: Even More Gorgeous Ladies Watches

As the Chinese Proverb goes: ''An inch of time is an inch of gold but you can't buy that inch of time with an inch of gold''. Well, you can buy a great timepiece to help you manage the precious gift that is time while expressing your style!