Watch Maintenance Tips & Tricks

How to Keep Your Watches in Great Shape

For most of us, the watch is an investment so it’s important to keep it looking as good as new (unless it’s an OOO). Even if you don’t wear your watch often, you need to make sure it stays clean and dry in its box and bring it out from time to time. Keeping the outside of your watch clean will help to increase the life of the watch so that’s the bare minimum. Here’s a quick guide to taking care of your watch:

GENERAL CLEANING TIPS

Water-Resistant Watches

Use a soft damp cloth to clean the exterior of the watch and wipe away moisture with a dry cloth. 

You can clean metal bracelets and mesh bands in lukewarm water and use mild soap if needed. You can use a jewelry cleaner to clean stainless steel bands. Use a very soft brush to clean between links and wipe dry.

Non Water-Resistant Watches

Since these watches aren’t designed to withstand any exposure to moisture, it’s best to use a soft dry cloth to clean off dust and debris. Avoid using a damp cloth, cleaning sprays, or anything that could let moisture into the watch or you risk damaging it.

WINDING YOUR WATCH

If you own a manual watch, you’ll need to get into the habit of winding it. It’s a good idea to wind your watch at the same time each day. 

If you own an automatic watch, you need to stay active to keep it running smoothly and wind it at least once every two weeks. If you don’t wear it every day, you’ll need to wind it at least twice a week.

Young man winding his watch

SETTING A WATCH

Always adjust the date after 3 a.m. and before 9 p.m. or you risk damaging the gears and other parts of the watch!

BATTERIES 101

The more sophisticated your watch is (the more complications and functions it has) the more frequently the battery has to be replaced. A quartz battery usually lasts between 1 to 3 years and this varies significantly based on the type of movement, how old the watch is, how you use it, and other factors. 

It’s a good idea to figure out where the battery is located and if you have the tools to replace the battery when you first get the watch. Ideally, you can take it to the watchmaker or a reputable watch repair shop so they can use special tools to access the battery compartment.

TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR WATCH INTACT

Here are some other important tips for keeping your watch in great shape:

  • Avoid extreme temperatures. If you know you’re going to be changing climates, keep the watch away from the elements. Storing it in a dry, cushioned case or box when traveling is always a good idea.
  • Avoid magnets. Mechanical watches are very sensitive to magnets so keeping them near a magnet — even a fridge magnet — can make them stop, slow down, or even run too fast. You might be able to take your watch into a store to have it demagnetized.
  • Avoid heavy perfumes and colognes. The chemicals in these products can damage the watch.
  • Stay away from solvents and detergents. Chemicals and toxic compounds can affect the metal and function of your watch.
  • Avoid makeup. Makeup also contains chemicals that can get into the watch and cause damage. Some chemicals can leave the watch metals tarnished or take away from its polished look.
  • Don’t use regular tools! Watch repairs require using a special set of tools so don’t make the mistake of trying to pry open the case or perform any type of repairs without the right tools. Take your watch to a watch specialist to avoid permanently damaging your prized possession.

DISCOVER MORE:

Watch Movements - Manual, Quartz, Automatic

Watch Case Materials - What You Should Know

What Are Watch Complications?