I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about things you can do as a consumer and the watch owner to both protect your watch, maintain your watch and get the best use out of your watch in between service intervals. Here are 21 tips for taking care of your watch.
01: How do I clean my watch?
To clean watch cases and metal bracelets if you have fingerprints and minor dirt on the metal then all you need to do is wipe it clean is a dry clean, soft cloth (we recommend a micro-fiber cloth) to wipe the watch clean.
For heavier dirt marks then use a toothbrush with warm soapy water then wipe the metal dry with a soft cloth. Do not rinse or submerse your watch in hot water as this can cause condensation and increase the possibility of water entering the case.
02: What is the best way to care for my watch during and after swimming or usage under water?
We recommend that only watches marked water resistance of 100m or greater are suitable for swimming.
Before entering the water, if it has a screw-in crown, then please ensure that the crown is fully tightened (usually clockwise) before you enter the water.
For chronograph watches, you must not push the buttons underwater as this could let water into the mechanism (There are exceptions like the Omega Seamaster 300m series which can operate the buttons underwater).
If you wear your watch after swimming, then it is best to rinse the watch under warm, slow running water as the salt and other chemicals may damage the seal of the watch.
03: Will contact with any chemicals affect my watch?
Avoid direct contact with chemical products such as perfumes, solvents, detergents, cosmetic products, etc. as they may damage the case, gaskets, or bracelet.
04: Will the temperature affect my watch?
For any watch, it is best to avoid extreme temperatures below (0 ºC / 32 ºF) and above (60 ºC / 140 ºF) or subject it to sudden temperature changes.
For mechanical watches, the contraction and expansion caused by extreme temperatures may cause damage to the parts.
For quartz watches with less mechanical parts, there are fewer parts to move, but operating it outside the optimal temperature range may cause the quartz crystal to lose accuracy.
05: I have been advised to keep my watch away from magnets, why is this?
In the early days of watchmaking when steel was used to make the parts of the watches, this posed no problems until man-made magnets became more and more widespread. Watch users found that their watches started behaving erratically and it was discovered that the steel parts inside the watches had become “magnetized”. Generally the internal parts of modern watches are made of a new steel alloy which is less susceptible to magnetism, but of course, it is better to err on the side of caution when near strong magnetic sources (e.g., a work, or near speakers).
06: Do you need to wind a mechanical watch every day?
For manual-winding watches, you will need to wind it every morning in order for it to enough power to last the day. If you don’t intend to wear the watch, it is a good idea to wind it to keep it moving. That will prevent the movement’s lubricants from congealing.
For an automatic or self-winding watch, then you will generally not need to wind it if worn throughout the day (at least 12 hours). If the watch has stopped, then this type of watch should be wound by the crown to get it started or by gently shaking the watch side to side to rotate the rotor. As per the manual-winding watch, it is a good idea to keep the watch moving to prevent the parts from sticking together.
If winding the crown to get the watch started then you normally need to turn the crown clockwise around 15 times to fully charge it up (Please see the watches instruction booklet for specific instructions).
07: Does it matter which direction you turn the crown when you’re setting the time or date on a watch?
As a general rule for mechanical watches when adjusting the time it is better to adjust the hands forwards as the mechanism is usually designed to move in forwards directions, so some watches cannot take the stress of reversing the gears, For quartz watches it should be ok to set the time in either direction. When changing the date for both mechanical and quartz watches, it is not advised to adjust the date when the hour hands are around the 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock position as this is when the date gears are changing so this can damage it. If a date change is required, then you should first adjust the time so that it is not in that time range, then you can change the date safely before setting the correct time again.
08: What factors affect the accuracy or precision of a mechanical watch?
In a mechanical watch, there are many factors that can affect accuracy, such as:
- When the watch is wound
- How long it is worn each day
- The general motion of the wearer whilst being worn
- What position it is placed in when it is not being worn, e.g., a night-time
A typical mechanical watch maybe out +/- 30 seconds a day depending on the watch but it is possible to affect the accuracy by changing the above factors. As such, the daily variation will be slightly different each day due to these factors. Over the course of a month, it could be that the watch can on average, stay closer to the correct time without having to be reset than a quartz model.
09: What factors affect the accuracy of a quartz watch?
With quartz, the main thing is the temperature that affects the accuracy of the movement. If a watch is operating outside of normal temperatures, then that can affect the vibration inside the quartz crystal which can then affect the accuracy.
Quartz watches are quite consistent with their accuracy. If the quartz watch starts to slow down, then that is the sign of a weak battery, and it needs to be changed immediately.
10: Can a mechanical watch be worn for sports activities?
Most mechanical watches that are manufactured today are equipped with anti-shock devices that protect the watch’s balance-staff pivots. These devices are usually competent enough to protect the watch from the shock it encounters when you hit a ball, for example.
Nevertheless, a sudden hard knock could still affect the mechanism which could damage it.
So deciding whether to wear your mechanical watch or not while playing sports is a matter of risk assessment. But generally, most people will not want the weight of their watch, affecting their play during a sports activity.
11: Can a quartz watch be worn for sports activities?
Yes, there is very little chance of damaging the movement of a quartz watch while playing sports. A quartz watch does not contain the delicate parts that are inside of a mechanical watch. You can still damage other outer parts of the watch (e.g., the case or strap) for instance through hard contact with a solid object (e.g., dropping it on the floor).
12: Can a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal be damaged?
Yes, like any material in the world, anything can be damaged if enough force is applied to it. Most scratch-resistant crystals are made of synthetic sapphire, a tough mineral that measures nine on the Mohs hardness scale (Diamond the hardest natural substance known to man measures 10). So what this means is that if the sapphire crystal comes into contact with material between 9 and 10 on the Mohs scale, then that will scratch the crystal. For example, brushing the crystal against a synthetic stone surface, like those found on some furniture or walls, for example, could cause a scratch. Also bear in mind that the more scratch-resistant a material, the more brittle it is, so scratch-resistant crystals are more likely to chip or shatter than non-sapphire crystals such as plexiglass or plastic.
13: Will wearing a watch, on the inside of your wrist affect its accuracy?
For a quartz watch, you can wear your watch anyway, and it will not affect accuracy.
For mechanical watches, it does affect accuracy. Mechanical watches are regulated at the factory to run optimally on a right-handed person who will wear the watch on the outside of their wrist with the crown pointing to the back of your hand. The watch will run differently if used in any other position.
If you wear the watch differently and it appears to be affecting the accuracy significantly, then you’ll need to have the timing adjusted. Please contact us in this case.
14: Can you damage a watch by pulling the crown out too hard when setting it or by over-winding it?
For the crown, you would have to pull extremely hard on the stem to damage it while setting the watch so this is unlikely. It is best advised though when using the crown to take the watch off your wrist before turning it as this creates less stress on it.
It possible to over-wind a mainspring so that it breaks, but most modern watches have an over-wind protection mechanism to prevent this. As always please follow the manufacturers instructions for the recommended number of turns that you should perform.
15: Can you preserve a quartz watch battery’s power by pulling out the crown to stop the watch?
Pulling out the crown should save power as gears and hands aren’t moving. However, the battery will still lose a small amount of power over the course of the year due to the chemicals inside the battery deteriorating.
A caution when trying to save battery power this way is that if the gears stand still for a long time, the lubricants may congeal causing problems when you start the watch again.
Also, a battery should be changed around every 3 years, even if the battery still has the power to prevent battery leaks occurring.
16: Why do mechanical watches need servicing regularly?
Like a motor car, a mechanical watch (automatic or hand-wound) has many mechanical moving parts, and it is these parts that need to be lubricated regularly to keep it running smoothly.
Over some time the oil will deteriorate, and friction between the movement’s parts will increase. This will cause abrasion between the parts, making the watch less accurate. Also, the friction between the parts can create a very fine dust that will itself act as an abrasive on the watch parts which need to be cleaned.
17: How often does a mechanical watch need to be serviced?
Manufacturers recommendations do vary (check your instruction booklet), but most suggest that you service your watch every three to five years.
18: Does a quartz battery watch need to be serviced?
Quartz watch movements do not need as much maintenance as mechanical ones do due to the fewer moving parts involved. For digital LCD display watch, it has no moving parts at all.
For the majority of quartz watches, all that’s required is a battery change every 2 to 3 years, and it can be also cleaned of any dirt that has built up inside. After that, the watch case can be resealed, and pressure tested again if it is water-resistant.
For the majority of quartz watches, they will use a silver oxide battery that will last two to three years. We recommend that you change your battery every 3 years (even if the watch is still running) as this will prevent any battery leaks damaging the internals of your watch.
19: What happens to a mechanical watch when it goes in to be serviced?
The watch is taken apart by the watch repairer, and the case and bracelet are cleaned using ultrasonic methods and then re-polished.
The internal parts of the movement are then chemically cleaned and examined for any signs of stress or damage. If any parts are found to be worn, then the parts are replaced.
The movement is then reassembled, lubricated, and regulated to ensure accuracy before it goes back to you.
If the watch is water resistant, then the watch needs to be resealed, and if required, pressure tested.
Once these steps are completed, the watch will then be returned to you.
20: Where should you take your watch to have it repaired or serviced?
Generally, most watches will not require service during the warranty period. If the watch requires a repair or timing adjustment within this warranty period, then please contact us in order for further instructions in order to repair your watch.
If after your warranty period has expired and you wish to get your watch serviced at the manufacturer’s official repair center, you will find the details in the warranty booklet provided with each watch purchased from us. You can contact them to get a quote on the price of a service.
21: How often does a watch’s water resistance need to be checked?
The water resistance of watches are rated based on a laboratory test of a watch simulated to be submerged to the water pressure at that level.
When your watch is used during water activities, it is exposed to a lot of movement and other environmental changes that can affect the level of water resistance.
If the watch is regularly worn in water or exposed to a lot of sweat, it should be checked at least every two years. If the watch is frequently exposed to water, then a yearly check is recommended with your watch repair center.
As a general rule, all water-resistant watches need to be checked every time the battery is changed or if the case is opened for any reason.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.