Picking up a new wristwatch is something to be excited about, especially when it comes as a steal at a great price, but just like anything of value and personal fondness, getting that longevity from it one of the keys to properly enjoying it.
Strapped to your wrist, you can expect your watch to come very much along for the ride on many of life’s greatest moments - falls and scuffs included. So, understanding what things you can do to care for your luxury wristwatch, and keep it doing its thing for as long as possible, may mean the difference between 1, 10 - or even 100 years of life.
Here at Watch Direct, we love seeing our timepieces go to homes where they’ll be loved and cherished - so below are our top tips to care for your luxury watch, keeping it as pristine as the day you bought it.
Wind it at the same time every day
In every automatic watches mainspring, a weighted rotor spins that provides the energy for the watch to charge, and keep ticking. In fact, if you hold the back of your watch close to your ear, you should be able to hear the intricate pendulum of the gears inside. The sophisticated ingenuity of this level of craftsmanship, spanning hundreds of years, is the reason a well-made watch is made to last - but it does require some upkeep on your end. By picking a time each day to gently wind your watch (most watch lovers say that morning is best, and easiest to remember), you’re ensuring that the power reserve of your ticker never goes below 25%. Always stop whenever you feel resistance.
This not only ensures it keeps its time - to the microsecond, in some cases, but keeps it working at its capacity. Of course, if you have a quartz watch, winding it everyday won’t apply to you - but it is important to still have the battery changed once the watch starts to show signs of slowing. Being consistent and on the front-foot of maintenance is a good habit to get into.
Make sure the watch isn’t resting on the crown
Many watch experts say that watches aren’t designed to have undue pressure put on their delicate gears - which makes sense, yet many of us might be causing this damage without even meaning to - by placing the watches on their side, resting on the crown.
According to some watch aficionados, every time we place our watch down on the counter, the bedside table or the bathroom sink lying on its side, we’re putting pressure on the delicate movements, which causes wear over time and can reduce the watches lifespan. This can be mitigated if your watch has a screw thread that can be tightly wound (which may protect the gears within), but overall, it’s a good habit to place your watches the right way up wherever you can.
Many eBay stores sell inexpensive watch cases that allow the watch front to face up to the ceiling (which is the optimal position for a resting watch), and this is especially helpful if you have an impressive collection and need to store multiple together. The extra benefit is that you can display them - which is why watches are bought in the first place for most folk.
Service it every 5 years
We do it for our cars, for our bikes, for our appliances, even our teeth - so why wouldn’t we do it regularly for our watches, too? It’s the same concept that stops many a little problem becoming a behemoth one - little and often, little and often, little and often.
This doesn’t only save big bucks in the long run, but also ensures that problems that could mean do or die for your ticker never get to that stage. A good serviceperson can identify any problems early on and fix them before you would have likely ever even noticed them, and they’ll check that your watch is not only making good time, but that the seal is tight (if your watch is water resistant) and the movement is well lubricated, as it should be.
You can have this done with a good local watchmaker (we encourage you to check reviews and shop around), or if you bought your watch at a steal with a wholesale retailer, like Watch Direct, you can still have your watch serviced with the original manufacturer.
Clean and polish it safely
A squeaky clean watch looks better behind the glass, in the display and on the wrist, so it’s tempting to scrub and polish your watch to within an inch of its strap. Still, when you have a delicate watch made of scratchable, finespun stainless steel, and a watch face made of glass, crystal or sapphire, it’s important to clean it safely to prolong its life.
Some top tips are not to use harsh chemicals, expose your watch to extreme temperatures, avoid magnets, and move away from polishing the watch yourself with household polish, or even routine soap - these are all ways to definitively not care for your luxury wristwatch.
If you need to clean debris or grime from it, use a microfiber cloth and very gently rub in circular motions across the watch and in the crevices. If there is condensation inside the watch face, or something you’re unable to remove yourself - take it right on back to the serviceperson. Better safe than sorry!