Watches are investment pieces. They are timepieces that span generations. To make them last generation after generation, here are some basic watch care tips to make sure that precious timepiece endures.
Clean Your Watch
There are a lot of places on your watch where dirt and oil can accumulate, from the links to the area joining the case and bezel. Each day you can wipe down your watch with a lint-free cloth, but you should also do a deeper clean of your watch every couple of months. You can remove the bracelet from the watch and soak the case in a bowl of warm water and mild dish soap for a few minutes or hours, depending on how dirty the watch is. You can also repeat this same process if you have a bracelet strap, or, for a leather strap, soak in warm water and white vinegar instead. Be sure your watch is completely dry before reassembling it.
Wind Your Watch
Winding your watch is an important part of watch care. An unwound and unused watch can malfunction and be expensive to repair. If you have an automatic watch, it will continue running until it goes into power reserve mode. To get out of power reserve mode, set the time and wind the watch. With automatic watches, clutches disengage the winding mechanism, so there’s no way it can be over-wound. If you have a manual watch, try to make a habit of winding it at the same time each day. With manual watches, you should always stop winding when you feel the slightest bit of resistance. Otherwise, you can damage the spring if you wind it too much. If you have questions about this, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Bernard’s Jewelers.
Wear Your Watch Regularly
It may seem counterintuitive, but wearing your watch regularly will actually keep it in better condition than storing it. Wearing your watch regularly helps to maintain the viscosity of the lubricants in the movement. If your watch remains untouched for long periods of time, these lubricants can harden and cause friction, which can ultimately damage the movement.
Store Your Watch Properly
If you don’t plan to wear your watch regularly, it’s important to store it properly. The best possible place to keep your watch is in a watch winder. A watch winder will not only keep your watch safe and dry but also keep the gears moving and prevents the lubricants from hardening. If you don’t invest in a watch winder, the original box or a watch roll is the best place to store your watch. Try to remember to wind it at least once a week and keep it in a dry, temperature-controlled place.
Know Your Watch’s Water Resistance
Most modern watches are built with a certain water resistance, and it’s important to know the unique measure for your watch. However, vintage watches may not be water resistant, or they may lose their water resistance over time. If your watch isn’t water resistant, it can likely still handle a small splash of water from washing your hands. However, the best rule of thumb is to avoid water exposure.
All water resistant watches need to have their water resistance checked every time the battery is changed or the case is opened for any other reason. That’s because when the case is opened, the caskets that keep the water out of the case are dislodged. For this reason it’s important that when the battery in a water-resistant watch needs to be changed, the watch be taken to a repair center that has water-resistance testing equipment.
Avoid Extreme Heat and Humidity
While many watches are built to endure the elements, it’s good practice to avoid exposing them to extreme heat or humidity. Don’t let your watch have extended exposure to direct sunlight. The heat can shorten the battery life and the sunlight can fade the color of the watch face or leather band. Humid conditions, even those in your bathroom, can damage your watch and increase the likelihood of rusting. Any drastic changes in temperature or humidity could be detrimental to your watches ability to function properly.
If you have a quartz watch, heat and cold will affect the time-keeping ability. Quartz crystals, whose extremely steady vibrations are responsible for the unrivaled accuracy of quartz watches, are cut so they perform optimally at room temperature, says Fenwick. A temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit will throw the timing off by about 1 second a day, as will one of 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Extreme temperature will also affect the accuracy of a mechanical watch, but not as much as other factors. One reason is that hot and cold cause the metal parts of a watch movement to expand and contract (though advances in metallurgy have made this less of a problem than in the past). Another reason is that heat and cold affect the viscosity of the oil that lubricates the movement, and thereby affect the movement’s accuracy.
Avoid Chemicals and Colognes
You should also keep your watch away from chemicals like cleaning supplies, colognes or perfumes, and even substances like lotions. They can get caught in those tiny creases and crevasses of your watch causing dirt and debris to build up. If you have a leather band, these types of substances can weaken the leather or even cause it to tear. Be sure to take off your watch before cleaning or if you apply a cologne, perfume, or lotion. After application, make sure it’s completely dry before putting on your watch.
Read Your Manual
It’s important to remember that every watch is unique and should be treated as such. You should always read your manual before doing anything to your watch. If you don’t have the original manual, a quick search online for your particular watch can help you find resources for your timepiece.
Get Your Watch Serviced
The one thing you should absolutely never do in watch care is open your watch. Opening your watch could cause further damage by exposing its inner workings to moisture or dust. If your watch malfunctions or stops working, you should always take it to an expert, like us.
If you have questions about your watch – or need it serviced, please contact us!