Watches and how to care for them

Watches and how to care for them

Watches and how to care for them

Taking care of your watch, be it mechanically powered or driven by a quartz battery, is absolutely vital to prolonging its lifespan. And yet it is the thing that is most often neglected and/or taken for granted.

There are several things that a watch owner can be vigilant of to help with the watch’s health, both when wearing and when not wearing it.

Service regularly

This is perhaps the most important thing that the owner of a watch can do. Having a car serviced and taken in for an MOT on a regular basis is considered the norm, so why is the attitude towards watches so much more lax and apathetic?

In general it’s advisable to get a mechanical watch serviced every 2-3 years and a quartz watch serviced every 3-4 years.

If you’re choosing a service centre, make sure you ask around and look at reviews to see which the best option would be. Cheapest is not always best.

Clean regularly

Although seemingly obvious, there’s no substitute for some consistent TLC with your watch. Whether it’s wiping metal braces and cases with a slightly damp cloth, or using specialist watch cleaning equipment that you can buy off the shelf of your local jeweller, a regular clean stops dirt accumulating and potentially damaging the watch. Plus a good spit and polish can make it look a million dollars too!

Read the watch manual

This is fairly self-explanatory, but it’s amazing how useful the information is in the manuals that watch brands provide with the watch itself. It’s in their interest for the watch to perform well over an extended period of time, so the advice that they’re giving in their booklets should be heeded and not chucked in the recycling.

Be careful with water

If your watch claims to be water resistant, great! However, how water resistant does it claim to be? Are you sure that you’re sticking within the guideline depth allowance? There’s a big difference between 3 ATM resistance, which should be considered not much more than splash proof, and a fully professional diver’s watch that’s resistant to 30 ATM or greater. Whatever its resistance, it’s good practice to clean the watch with fresh water after being in the sea or a swimming pool, as this helps clear out salt/chlorine. Also, be aware that a watch’s water resistance can decrease over time.

Use your watch regularly

This might raise a few eyebrows, but a mechanical watch actually benefits from being worn more, not less. If it’s an automatic watch, then simply wearing it more (or using a watch winder) will do the trick. If it’s a self-winding movement, then try and remember to wind it every morning. Either way, more usage keeps the oil in the cogs lubricating it better.

Avoid contact with the wrong things!

Although unavoidable at times, it’s important to try and avoid leaving a watch near certain items that produce strong magnetic fields, including speakers, fridges, mobile phones or magnets themselves.

Other things to avoid include:

• Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight
• Chemicals (mainly perfume or aftershave)
• Extreme fluctuations in temperature

Don’t try and do a DIY job

Unless you’re an extremely experienced and accomplished watchmaker, do not, in any circumstances, take your watch apart in an attempt to fix it or take a closer look. Dust and dirt can get into the movement, which isn’t good news at all.

Keep the watch in its box in between uses

The box that your watch came in is a comfortable environment for the watch when you’re not wearing it, and is far better than laying it on its side or back, where it might get scratched. Another advantage of keeping it in its box is that it’s more likely to stay out of reach of children, who won’t have the watch’s longevity at the top of their priority list!