Our last article discussed how to choose the right watch and also briefly talked about watch maintenance. However, this is a more detailed article that discusses important tips to help you care for your wristwatches.
There is no secret, a quality watch that is regularly maintained will stay for decades and future generations without difficulty. A real jewel for some, the watch is an object made to last. And for this to be the case, it is necessary to adopt the right approaches which will allow it to stay in its best form for as long as possible.
Prevention being better than cure is not only applicable to health but to watches, which are more expensive to repair than to carry out little regular maintenance procedures. So, here are 10 “maintenance is better than repair” to help you take care of your watch:
#1. Understand how your watch works
There are three common types of watches, and we have summarized simple care measures to take according to your watch type.
i. The watch with electronic movement (quartz)
If you have a quartz watch, you may need to change the battery when you notice a malfunction. The primary problem of quartz watches is usually the death of batteries, and to avoid further damage, it is advisable to change it immediately if you notice a malfunction. To do this, it’s best to use the service of a watchmaker. It costs about $10, and you will not risk damaging your wristwatch by doing it yourself.
ii. The hand-wound mechanical watch
For a mechanical watch with manual winding, the principle is to wind the crown knob each morning. This practice turns the spring of your watch and keeps it in perfect working condition. When there is some resistance to the rotation of the crown, it simply means that it is perfectly wound. Beware that these types of watches are sensitive to temperature and magnetism.
iii. The self-winding mechanical watch
The operation is the same as the hand-wound mechanical movement. The only difference is that the mainspring winding mechanism relies on wrist movements and operates through the oscillating weight, which winds the mainspring. To do this, wear your watch every day. If it stops, it is possible to wind the crown upwards (about twenty times) to restore amplitude to the movement and precision to your timepiece.
#2. Take the time to read your watch manual
We all have the feeling that we know how a watch works. Yes, what could be more simple? You unscrew the crown to set the time, and then shake your wrist and off you go to read the time.
However, what most watch lovers don’t know is that each watch has its specificity. So do your best to learn about the specific features of your chosen watch by reading up the manual and checking out YouTube how-to videos. If you don’t have the original watch manual, do some research on the internet.
#3. Wear your watch regularly
Most of us think that keeping our watch dormant at home keeps it running perfectly. This is unfortunately wrong because to prolong the life of most watches, they need to be worn regularly so that no part of the movement is damaged.
Watches are coated with lubricants to ensure the proper functioning of the cogs of the mechanism. Thus, when the watch is not worn for some time, the liquids can dry out, harden and create malfunctions in the movement. It is therefore advisable to wear your watch at least once a week. This runs the movement as little as possible and prevents the lubricant from congealing.
#4. Clean your watch
It’s always nice to have a neat and sparkling watch on your wrist. This may seem like very basic and obvious advice, but you need to clean your watch as often as possible to prevent dust or dirt from becoming embedded in it.
There are various places in which dirt and substances of all kinds can lodge: between the lugs, around the bezel, in the bottom, etc. Thus, using a soft cloth, rub the glass of the case and other areas. Avoid using chemicals or household products on your watch to avoid corrosion.
Important watch cleaning tips
Before proceeding with a deep cleaning, be sure to check the water resistance of your watch. We find this information at the bottom of the case. You must treat water-resistance issues with great care.
For a simple swim watch, a guaranteed water-resistance of 10ATM (100m) minimum is recommended. If your watch has water resistance below 10ATM, we do not recommend putting it underwater. If it is not waterproof, avoid contact with water. Even if you have a watch that is water-resistant to 200 meters, you should not forget that water resistance is not permanent and can become less effective with time.
Therefore, it is essential to have it checked often. For vintage watches, avoid exposing them to water, and be careful when cleaning them with damp material either. You can clean a non-waterproof watch with a slightly damp cloth. If a 100% water-resistant watch comes in contact with saltwater, rinse it with clean water.
You can achieve more thorough cleaning by using a small soft brush (a toothbrush, for example) accompanied by slightly soapy water. Then, using a cloth, wipe and dry the watch. The same goes for NATO straps, steel or rubber.
#5. Have your watch serviced regularly
Treat your watch just as well as you treat your car; always take it for preventive technical inspection. A culture of preventive maintenance helps you dictate a problem before it gets out of hand. Imagine dipping your waterproof watch in water only to realize that its water-resistant feature has worn out. It is therefore essential to have your timepiece serviced every 2 to 3 years by a qualified watchmaker.
Make this preventive maintenance a tradition, even if the technician does not observe any malfunction. Not all watches are the same, and not all wearers subject them to the same activities. If you are used to running it underwater regularly (shower, for example), check its tightness yearly, because the seals will deteriorate quickly. So don’t take any risks with the maintenance and keep track of the revisions in case you want to resell it. Depending on the type of watch, the parts to be changed, or the movement, prices range from $250 to $800.
What does Watch Preventive Maintenance Entail?
A good watch servicing includes:
- Opening the watch case
- Dismantling the mechanism (piece by piece)
- Verification and cleaning of each part of the movement
- Replacement of some parts if necessary
- Needle control
- Movement reassembly and oiling
- Change of seals
- Closing the case
- Leak test
- Chronometric performance control
#6. Keep your watch away from potential damage
Even if it may seem obvious, it is always good to specify it: it is better to avoid certain exposures if you want to keep your watch in perfect working condition. The number one enemy is the magnet, which can seriously damage the mechanism. We often talk about magnetism.
Chemical products are also aggressive for our watch: household products, cosmetics, or perfumes. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can have various effects, such as loss of colors or degradation of the battery and its lifespan. In the same way, avoid exposing your watch to excessive humidity., this can damage the gaskets or create condensation under the glass.
#7. Keep your watch safe
A watch is delivered with its box specially made to preserve it and prevent all sorts of potential damage. You are advised to keep this box, and always store your watch there when you are not wearing it. If you no longer have your watch box, there are tons of online marketplace where you can buy watch boxes. The advantage of these watch boxes is not only limited to storing your watch at home but also best for transporting your watch without risking damaging it during a trip.
#8. Don’t play Dr. Quack
A quack claims knowledge of a field they know little or nothing about. You are not a watchmaker, so do not open your watch alone because you are certainly not equipped with the knowledge to fix it. So many things can go wrong the moment you open your watch, making the repair cost even more later.
If you have little or no knowledge of the world of watchmaking, we advise you not to disassemble your watch by yourself. Those who are passionate about the world of watches, know that it is possible to carry out certain training courses or workshops to have some basic knowledge in watchmaking.
#9. Avoid wearing your watch during certain activities
This may seem like the basics of maintaining a watch. Even though the manufacturers have made considerable efforts in terms of the resistance of the glasses and the cases, a scratch can happen at any moment. Of course, we agree on the fact that a watch is better off when worn daily, but it is important to avoid having it on the wrist when you know that there is a possibility of having it damaged.
Take off your watch when gardening, smithing, or in the production factory, or any other activity likely to give your watch scratches, specks of dirt, or any other damage. To avoid shocks, you must therefore avoid wearing your watch during sports or manual activities. More importantly, do not hesitate to wear it snugly on the wrist (a steel bracelet that is too loose can be the cause of a shock). Moreover, be aware that there are also watches designed for sports or even ultra-resistant watches like the famous Casio and G-shock.
#10. Change strap
The bracelet is another essential part of your watch. It is, therefore, necessary to take care and properly maintain your watch bracelet. The first rule is to avoid taking a shower with your watch, because the bracelet, be it steel, leather, or rubber, will not appreciate being clogged with soap (same for cosmetics).
Regarding leather bracelets, they do not have as long a lifespan as steel bracelets. They will certainly acquire a patina over time, as a result of daily confrontation with the same aggressions: perspiration (the acidity of the skin), water (hand washing), climate, and frequency of wearing. Even though the quality of the leather has an impact on the lifespan of a bracelet, a leather bracelet is not eternal and will have to be changed in due course. To preserve it, we advise you in summer to wear a NATO-type nylon bracelet. It is perfect for the summer season.