A timepiece is something most people have and wear everyday…. to the office, to scuba dive or to the opera. A watch is one of the few devices that we most rely on in our daily lives. But the inner workings of a mechanical watch are more intricate than most people think and as such require some care and maintenance.
Its important to understand the purpose and limitations of your timepiece. A knowledgeable sales person at an authorized retailer is most suitable to answer all of your questions. Please note that buying your timepiece from an authorized retailer is the only way to ensure that you will get the proper manufacturers warranty. If you choose to buy your watch from a non-authorized source, you will likely be promised a “warranty” provided by the retailer themselves and sent to a local watchmaker as opposed to proper factory service. Service on timepieces can be expensive so having a proper warranty can usually outweigh the savings you think your getting from buying from a “non-authorized” source. Servicing on your timepiece can be a lengthy and expensive, often time 3-4 months and be in the range of $300 – $400.
Generally speaking a quartz watch, which uses a battery, generally doesn’t require any service until the battery needs to be replaced, usually 2-3 years from the time it leaves the factory, not from when you buy it. Mechanical watch movements, meaning automatic or watches needing to be wound daily, require a different level of maintenance. Because these watches have hundreds of moving parts inside, they require lubrication to ensure optimum performance and minimal friction and wear on the movement. Most watch companies suggest that you send your mechanical watch in for general servicing and a movement overhaul every 4-5 years. This is a safe and conservative way to think about perserving your investment in a fine timepiece. In the last 10 years, several advancements in movements, assembly and lubrication have made the need for service even more infrequent. If you don’t get your watch wet and it is continuing to keep good time, you can often go 1-3 years longer. For users who swim or regularily or get their watches wet, its important to have the seals on your watch checked every 3 years and the watch pressure tested as part of the service.
Watch Preventative Care Guidelines
- Timepieces with water resistance under 100 meters, shouldn’t be considered for regular water submersion. – If you have a screw down crown, always check that it is completely screwed down before getting the timepiece wet.
- If you get your watch wet regularily, make sure the seals are tested when serviced and a pressure test is performed.
- Never press any buttons or adjust the crown when the watch is wet or underwater.
- Realize that if you wear a timepiece with a leather strap in hot weather, perspiration will require you to replace it more frequently.
- If you have a chronograph (stopwatch), NEVER, push both buttons at the same time.
- Most automatic watches have a 40-44 hour power reserve, when fully wound, if you don’t wear your watch for a day or two, make sure you wind it 20-30 times before wearing it.
- If you put your watch on a winder, keep in mind that some watches need a more aggressive winder regimen to keep them wound. Also, some watches have rotors that only wind in one direction, if the winder isn’t keeping the watch wound, it may be the winder and not the watch.
- Numerous watch companies have a close marketing affiliation with the sport of golf. Golfing while wearing a mechanical watch and the shock that occurs can often cause the watches to become very inaccurate. Take your watch off for golf or wear your Timex Triathlon Watch.
Preventative Care For Complicated Watches
- These watches by definition are more delicate and deserve special care. As a rule, do not subject these timepiece to any agressive activity.
- With very few exceptions, NEVER wind the hands of a perpetual calendar watch backwards, advance the hands clockwise only.
- If you are setting a perpetual calendar, check the instructions, but as as rule, make sure the hour hand is in the bottom hemisphere of the dial before using quick-set features.
- Avoid exposing Minute Repeaters (or any mechanical chiming watch) to any shock. Also when engaging the Chiming function, pull the lever completely and do not repeat more often than every 30 seconds.
Enjoy your timepiece! If properly cared for, it should provide you, and perhaps your children, with years of enjoyment.