Just decided that you want a luxury watch? And now that you’ve found you dream watch, what should you do to make sure it stays in the best shape possible? Perhaps it was a gift, or maybe you spent hours poring over fine watch catalogs and online descriptions to find the one. Either way, you’ll want to take good care of it. From winding it up to wiping it down, here’s how to look after your new investment.
Keep your paperwork
Once you’ve unwrapped your new timepiece and it’s gleaming proudly on your wrist, resist the temptation to throw the box and paperwork away – doing so will bring down the value of your watch on the secondhand market. If there’s any chance you might decide to sell your watch in the future, make sure you keep the box and papers.
Read the manual
We’re going to repeat this a lot. Every watch is different, from the materials to the level of water resistance and the recommended service schedule – so make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions.
Have your watch serviced regularly
Luxury watches, particularly mechanical watches, which feature many moving parts, will always be subject to a little wear and tear. So whether it’s an annual water resistance check or a full overhaul every five years, keep to the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule – your timepiece will thank you for it. And, of course, make sure that you only have it serviced by an authorized dealer.
Keep it ticking
How to wind your watch? That depends on the type of watch it is. If it’s a manual (non-automatic) mechanical watch, it’s a good idea to wind it at the same time every day. With an automatic manual watch, you’ll need to wear it for a certain number of hours each day (usually around eight to ten) in order to keep it wound up. For most mechanical watches, the power reserves will last for around two days.
If you have a collection of watches, or if you don’t wear your automatic watch every day, it might be worth investing in a watch winder. This will keep your watch in motion so that you don’t need to wind it up and reset the day and date every time you put it on.
With a quartz watch, meanwhile, visit your authorized service center when it’s time to change the battery.
How to clean your watch
Even if you’re not doing anything particularly strenuous, you’ll find that sweat and oil builds up on your watch throughout the day. Want to keep your favorite timepiece fresh? Get into the habit of wiping down the inside of the strap and the case with a soft cloth when you take it off for the night.
Every so often, though, you’ll want to give your watch a more thorough clean. Opinion is divided as to how you clean a metal strap: some experts advise using mild soapy water; others advocate water alone. Still others recommend not using water at all, and wiping it down with a soft brush or a cloth instead.
Our advice? Consult the manual to see if there are any specific instructions for your particular watch – and whatever you do, make sure you do it gently. Here are some of our top tips:
- If you are using water to clean your watch, take care to keep the case dry. For example, if you dip the strap into a bowl of water, hold your watch by the case to protect it.
- Water should be warm – never hot.
- A toothbrush can be very effective, but make sure you choose one with soft bristles.
- Finally, dry your watch thoroughly before wearing it again.
When it comes to leather, the experts are in agreement: you should never immerse a leather strap in water or wash it with a wet cloth, as this could make it crack. There are specialist leather cleaners and conditioners available, but make sure to choose one that’s compatible with your particular strap. Again, we’d recommend consulting the manual here too, as not all leathers are the same: leather cleaner, for example, may not be effective for unfinished leather.
How to protect your watch
Yes, your watch was designed to be worn every day. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should expose it to unnecessary risks. Here’s how to keep your watch off the danger list:
- Take care around water; even if your watch is water resistant, you might not want to wear it in the shower every time. Make sure you know its water resistance level and have it checked regularly.
- A complex arrangement of tiny components, your watch is bound to be a little sensitive – and it doesn’t like shocks. Beware extreme temperatures and strong magnetic fields.
- Finally, be careful not to scratch the surface. If you’re planning an activity where you risk damaging your watch face, take it off.
Love your watch
A little TLC goes a long way: treat your luxury watch kindly and you’ll enjoy wearing it for a long time to come.
Here’s a great piece to share to keep those tips handy.