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Watch Out! The top watch care tips to keep in mind

November 27, 2020

Taking care of your watch is an important responsibility to remember. This is especially true if you're the owner of a luxury watch. The more time and effort that you put into your watch care, the longer it'll last you, and the nicer it'll remain.

Too often do we receive or spend our own money on nice items only to forget that they need caring for throughout their lifetime. If you fail to do so, your watch might end up in poor condition. Let's stop this before it even happens!

Our guide below lists the top seven watch care tips to keep in mind when purchasing a new one or caring for your current one. Continue reading below to learn more.

1. Get it serviced

Once you buy a watch and leave the store or receive it in the mail, don't believe that that's the last time you'll be visiting that store or website. Many places that sell watches also offer maintenance services for them as well. If not, you can take your watch to an independent expert where your timepiece will be adequately serviced. Make sure that the person you use is qualified to work on your specific watch and has previous experience in doing so. You wouldn't want to take your Patek Philippe annual calendar to someone who's never worked on one before!

You should do this around every 3-5 years. The expert will be able to look at your watch and determine what needs tuning. Doing so will keep your watch working smoothly for years to come. They'll also be able to test the water resistance of the watch (if it has it) to ensure it's safe to submerge. The exception to this is vintage watches, where we don't recommend submerging them at all.

2. Keep it clean

You may not be an expert who knows how to open a watch and service it yourself, however, you can at least keep your watch clean!  This is something that every watch owner should know how to do themselves. Keeping your watch clean is important as dirt not only ruin the appearance of a watch, but it can also leave dirty black marks on your wrist. Gross!

Keeping a wristwatch clean is a very simple process, and our method can be used on any watch as it doesn't use any cleaning fluids. You'll need a toothbrush with soft bristles, if your watch has a bracelet then we'd also recommend a cocktail stick or two to loosen dirt. 

Watches often have tight areas that can trap dirt, particularly around the lugs and the fittings for the caseback. Use the toothbrush bristles to gently dislodge and wipe away the dirt, if it's stubborn then you might need to use a cocktail stick. Work your way around the watch, taking time to get into all the crevices and remove as much dirt as you can.

If your watch is water resistant, you can submerge it in water afterwards if you like to get any particles that you've loosened out. You should also do this if you've just been swimming with your watch on. Leave it to soak in a glass of water for 20 minutes, then remove and dry gently, this will stop the chemicals found in pool water and the sea from causing damage to the rubber gaskets.

3. Store it properly

When you're not wearing your watch, be sure to place it in a safe place. Whether or not you need a specific watch box is up to you, but you should at the very least keep your watches somewhere safe so they aren't at risk of being knocked around, having things dropped on them or knocking them onto the floor.

Depending on your budget and the size of your collection, you may find it helpful to have a watch roll or display case, these are designed to hold watches in a way that preserves them and their straps while also being aesthetically pleasing. There's no correct answer to storing watches, although Wolf's watch boxes are high quality items that look great and can store several watches at a time.

Be sure to store your watch(es) out of direct sunlight when not in use and away from areas where temperatures or humidity can change drastically and affect the strap. Metals like stainless steel and yellow gold are generally inert, so for the most part you're doing this to keep the leather strap in good condition. Watches made of materials such as bronze will develop a patina of their own over time, this is unique to that particular watch and is seen as a good thing, so there's no need to worry if that Bronzo looks a little rough around the edges!

4. Keep it away from water

If your watch isn't water-resistant, then it's safe to say that you need to avoid water reaching it at all costs. If your watch is water-resistant, then you need to know its limits. All watches that are water-resistant have a maximum depth, after which they can be compromised by water pressure.

Failure to pay attention to your watch's water limits could result in some serious damage. Water ingress will almost definitely require it to be sent back to the manufacturer, or a trained independent watchmaker, who will charge you a lot of money to put things right. It's more cost-effective to be mindful of your watch's limits, or simply take it off and leave it at home entirely. If you rely on your watch maintaining water resistance, you should have it pressure tested once annually to ensure the seals are still functioning correctly.

If your watch has a leather strap, you want to be sure to keep it away from water completely. Even if the watch is water-resistant, moisture on leather, particularly calfskin leather, causes it to deteriorate faster than normal. Some luxury watch straps are made purely of alligator leather, these tend to stand up to moisture better, but it's still advised to avoid water where possible.

5. Avoid harsh chemicals

When you think of chemicals, you're probably thinking of cleaning supplies and telling yourself to skip this tip because you don't handle cleaning chemicals with your watch on. Even common household products like washing-up liquid or sanitising wipes could be damaging your watch, they certainly won't be doing your leather strap any good.

Chemicals that could damage a leather strap aren't just found under the kitchen sink, though. Even perfumes and colognes contain chemicals which could damage the finish of a leather strap if you use them often enough. It's best to let your fragrances dry before putting on your watch, or, avoid spraying the area around your wrists.

Bonus: The big wind-up

A lot of folks wonder whether they need to keep their mechanical watch running continuously, even when they aren't wearing it. The simple answer to this question is: no, you don't need to keep it running!

Some argue that not running a watch will cause the oil to dry up, and while that may be true if a watch sits around for decades, it's not going to hurt for people who rotate their collection. Plus, if a watch isn't running then you're not putting wear on components, meaning that you can theoretically extend the service interval.

Old vintage and antique wristwatches (generally 1940s and earlier) are better left alone and wound before you wear them for an occasion, or once a month, whichever comes first. This will help to preserve the components for longer.

 

Follow These Watch Care Tips Carefully!

When purchasing a new watch or caring for an old one, you want to follow these watch care tips with care. Doing so ensures that your watch stays luxurious for years to come.

Are you ready to make a new purchase? Now that you know how to take care of a watch properly, it's time to do some shopping! Head out to our Shop by Brand page to see what styles we have waiting for you!

With as large of a selection that we have, there's something for everyone.