How To Take Care of Your Watch

So, you bought a watch, maybe even more than one. Here is the best way to properly care for your watch so it can last a lifetime

Cleaning Your Watch

On a daily basis, it is a good idea to clean the exterior of your watch. This helps keep it shiny and new looking and removes the oils from your skin that can lead to a dirty build-up on the case back and even inner strap. Each day before you put your watch on, take a non-abrasive soft cloth, like those you might use for a camera lens or eyeglasses, and wipe the crystal and bracelet to remove dust and fingerprints. Just a little elbow grease with this dry cloth should do the trick for that. When it comes to cleaning the case back and underside of the bracelet, though, you may have to add just a touch of water to that cloth to remove the dirt. Just make sure the cloth is damp, not wet.

Winding and Putting it On

Dust is public enemy number 1 (or maybe number 2 after water) to a watch. As such, it is best if you have to open the crown to set the watch to do so in a clean setting. Don’t try to set it out in the wind or at the beach where sand is blowing. It is also important once you have set the time and closed the crown to be sure it is completely closed. Some crowns have the additional safety of being a screw-down crown, meaning once it feels closed, you actually have to push while turning to lock it in place. When putting the watch on, do it over a soft surface if possible or in a place where if it drops, it won’t fall six feet to an unforgiving surface such as stone or concrete. The same is true when removing the watch. Unfortunately, dropping a watch on a hard surface can cause internal damage, and maybe even a cracked crystal.

Fix Obvious Issues

Sometimes, even the most carefully cared for watch can drop, fall, or be hit causing a hairline fracture in the crystal. If this happens, have the crystal replaced quickly so that dust or moisture can’t get inside. Be cognizant that sometimes a watch dial may fog up. This happens with extreme changes in temperatures or humidity. This is not necessarily something that needs to be fixed. Just wait a while to see if the watch defogs as it adjusts to the temperature. If you have a quartz watch powered by a battery and the battery dies, it is best to have the battery changed as quickly as possible by an authorized dealer before corrosion can harm the movement.

Polishing

If you have scratches on your watch, you may be tempted to have it professionally polished. This buffing or polishing can remove the scratches, especially in a gold watch, but if the gold is thin, it could lead to burnishing. Additionally, if the watch is gold-plated, it can weaken the microns of the plating, leading to a wearing away of the metal color.

Avoid Impactful Sports And Water

While some rugged watches, especially certified chronometers, are built to withstand certain impacts, many are not. For instance, if you are jumping on a trampoline, playing tennis or baseball, or running sprints (or even a marathon), it is best to leave your watch home. The action of a watch continually being jarred as in running, or the sudden impact of a baseball swing, for instance, can impact the movement components. If you plan to wear your watch during sports, invest in a chronometer-certified watch that has been tested for shock resistance to the utmost tolerances. Similarly, don’t just jump into the ocean with your watch, or even the shower. All watches are water-resistant to different degrees and some can’t be immersed in water at all. Look at your watch dial or case back to see how water resistant it is and what you can do with that depth of water resistance. What you need to know about water resistance.

With all of this said, there is one other important thing to do every few years: have your watch serviced. Like a fine car, your luxury watch needs to be oiled and maintained. You can read more about that here.

About the Author

Roberta Naas - Watch Journalist
Roberta Naas

Roberta Naas is a veteran watch and jewelry journalist who began her career in the early 1980’s, and was the first female watch journalist in the United States. She is the editor and founder of the authoritative watch blog, ATimelyPerspective, has written six books on watches, writes for numerous consumer publications (including Forbes and Elite Traveler) – and always brings forth in her work the essence of what makes watches tick. She tirelessly travels the world in search of watch news and stories that she turns into compelling and enlightening articles.

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