A watch is a true heirloom. If taken care of properly, a quality timepiece can expect to be passed down from generation to generation. Not just a symbol of classic engineering, a watch is a memory box, full of personal stories, familial connections, and sentimental reminders of those no longer here. Modern watchmaking techniques have rendered contemporary watches the most precise, technical, and innovative in history. But that doesn’t mean they’re not without some needs. Whether you already have a family timepiece or are looking to purchase one, follow these dos and don’ts of timepiece care to keep your modern heirloom ticking along for decades.
Timepiece Care Don’ts
Mechanical watches need to be wound, ideally at the same time each day (some say morning is best). Daily winding keeps the most spring tension, best for maintaining best timekeeping. But be sure not to wind it on your wrist. Doing so can create pressure on the stem and could lead to bending or even breaking.
If your watch has automatic winding, there’s no need to do it yourself, unless your watch hasn’t been worn for a while (since it’s your natural movements that keep the watching winding automatically).
Beware of magnets. Watches are made of hundreds of small parts, many of which are metal. Getting too close to magnetized surfaces can lead to problems with timekeeping. There are ways to determine if your watch is magnetized, but best to be cautious.
Don’t allow for too much direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Heat can shorten the battery life of a quartz timepiece.
It may seem obvious but given there’s a good chance you wear a watch as an everyday accessory, do be sure you try to avoid potential impact. Modern watches like a Tag Heuer are certainly intended for adventures, but mechanical watches especially are vulnerable—they rely on precise lever escapement (what does this mean?) for accurate performance. And while crystalized sapphire faces are mostly scratch resistant, they’re brittle and can shatter.
If your watch does end up needing to be repaired for any reason, be sure to take it to a jeweler you trust who specializes in watch repair. And never try to take it apart on your own. Why?
Timepiece Care Dos
Clean your watch often and with a soft cloth. Avoid using soap and water. While a little splash of water won’t hurt, molecules in soap can work their way into tiny little spaces and cause damage.
Be mindful of the water resistance limits of your timepiece and if that’s a feature of particular importance to you, be sure to check its level of resistance annually. (Don’t worry. It’s not expensive or super time-consuming.) Even on top performers like a Seiko, you want to ensure your watch isn’t getting affected.
Regardless of how excellent a warranty you got at the time of purchase, service your watch at least every 5 years, with 2–3 being even better. If you push your watch to its limit, say with scuba diving or another similar sport, aim for even more frequently.
There are several reasons servicing your watch is so important. For starters, remember that timepieces, mechanical ones especially, have hundreds of tiny moving parts. Jewels (rubies!) are used to reduce friction in the gears. All these little intricacies are finely tuned and lubricated with special oils to avoid friction. Just like with a car, lubricants dry out and congeal; cogs can wear down.
And even a quartz movement uses vibrations of a tiny crystal that vibrates at a very specific frequency when only the proper current is supplied.
Getting a complete service ensures all these little details keep running properly. A complete service requires the watch to be fully taken apart and reassembled. Because parts do get worn down and don’t fit together as well as they did in brand-new condition, reassembly can be challenging. But it’s totally worth it.
Learn More About Timepiece Care at Roger’s Jewelry Co.
We’re proud to carry innovative, luxury watches from such renowned designers. Whether you’re looking to purchase a timepiece or ready to get yours serviced, we’re happy to help you with all your needs. Give our jewelry store a call or stop into one of our many locations in California and Nevada.