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How to Clean and Care For Your Investment Watch

July 22, 2022

Collection of watches

Across the world, the luxury watch market was worth USD 23.623 billion in 2020. While many people worldwide have invested in a luxury timepiece, they may not know how to clean and maintain their watch correctly. Exposure to harsh chemicals and dirt in tight places could affect the appearance of a watch (do you really want to see a watch with someone else's arm gunk on it? Gross!), but could potentially cause damage in the long run, too.

Do you want to learn more about how to clean a watch? Keep reading these top tips for watch care to keep your luxury watch looking brand new for years. 

Store Your Watch Properly

One of the essential parts of taking care of your watch is storing it properly. While you may want to wear your watch, if you ever take it off, you should never keep it where temperatures fluctuate drastically (such as on a sunny windowsill) or mix it with other types of jewellery. Instead, it would be best if you store your watch in a specific watch container. We stock an excellent array of bespoke watch containers with all manner of sizes and designs available, but in a pinch, the watch's presentation box will do until you get one of ours! 

The point of this step is to avoid sudden changes in temperature, which may affect the rubber seals around the caseback, case front and crown stem hole, and to keep it away from things that are likely to cause scratches to the shiny case. 


Avoid Heat & Humidity

Following on from the last point about storage, it's best to avoid extreme heat and humidity when wearing your watch. While some brands of luxury watches are built to endure these factors and have hermetically-sealed cases, others (particularly vintage watches) may not cope as well in such environments if not cared for properly. You may look at shorter intervals between services. If your watch has a leather strap, it will degrade quicker, and you may prefer rubber and metal in these scenarios. Luckily the humidity for most areas isn't extreme enough for fast leather degradation.


Understand Water-Resistance Capabilities

A good rule of thumb is to avoid wearing your watch near water. However, some types of luxury watches, such as the majority of watches from Rolex and Omega, are water-resistant and can be used for most activities. Watches with 100m of water resistance or more are suitable for daily beatings. You should wear vintage watches and watches with water resistance of under 100m with a bit more caution near water. If the watch has some water resistance, it typically means it's okay to be splashed, such as when you wash your hands, but you'll want to avoid submerging if possible. By understanding the water-resistance capabilities of your watch, you will be able to protect it better. If you're swimming in a pool or the sea, you'll want to check the next point out as it links to this one.


Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Fine Grits

When you are wearing your watch or when you are washing it, you must avoid harsh chemicals when possible. These include things like cleaning agents, chlorinated water and even colognes. Certain chemicals can damage the rubber seals that keep the watch watertight over time. If you do happen to get your watch in contact with these substances, it's best to submerge it (if possible) in water for at least half an hour.

We're not saying you shouldn't smell your best when wearing your best watch, either, but it's probably best to spray on the cologne and then put your watch on.


Clean Your Watch After Physical Activity

If you live an active lifestyle, you may not want to take off your watch while you are active, we get it! However, it would be best if you cleaned your watch after certain activities to prevent unnecessary long-term wear and tear. If you've been splashing around at the beach or full-on surfing as an example, there are likely going to be sand grains in all the tight places on the watch (as we all know, sand gets everywhere).

In this case, our tip about submerging your watch will be just the trick for getting sand out of the crevices. If that doesn't work, try a soft-bristle toothbrush to brush it out, this should be a regular cleaning tool whether you've been down the beach or not. 


Stay Away From Magnets

Magnets can be dangerous to the mechanical movement of your luxury watch, and this includes small magnets on things like bag clasps or in laptops to bigger magnets in speakers. Magnets affect the accuracy of a watch's tiny gears and springs, and the exposure to magnetism is low in most cases; indeed, there are small ineffectual magnetic fields all around us. Larger doses of magnetism could affect the swing of a mechanical watch's balance wheel or the movement of the pallet fork. This means your mechanical watch may not be as accurate as it could be, and it's why many manufacturers use non-magnetic silicone for the delicate components. In more extreme cases of magnetism, the small components become magnetised to each other, and as the watch's spring barrel doesn't have enough strength to overcome this, the watch stops entirely. 

If you believe your mechanical watch has become magnetised, you should take it to an expert who will be able to assess it. You can de-magnetise your watch at home in some cases, but if you don't know what to look for and you attempt to de-magnetise a watch which has stopped for another reason, you could end up magnetising that stopped watch.


Want to Learn How to Clean a Watch? We Can Help

Learning how to properly care for and clean watches is vital if you want your investment to last for years. If you want to learn how to clean a watch, it is best to work with a professional company. This way, you can schedule appointments for repairs and servicing, and your investment watch will be in the best hands. 

Do you need help caring for your watch? Watches of Wales can help! Contact us to learn more about our products and services or to schedule an appointment.


Consider Getting Your Watch Professionally Serviced

As a general rule of thumb should schedule an appointment to get your watch serviced and repaired every few years. When you are dealing with a luxury mechanical watch, it is important that you never open your watch on your own unless you know what you're doing (but even then we'd advise against it as our watch insurance may not cover it).