A mechanical watch is a delicate machine consisting of many tiny parts, all working together in harmony to keep your watch running smoothly and efficiently. Like any machine, mechanical watches do require some care and maintenance in order to run at top performance. By following these 4 simple guidelines, you can ensure that your mechanical watch is an heirloom piece that will run smoothly and keep accurate time for years and years to come.
1. Mind Your Winding
Mechanical watches must be kept in motion in order to run smoothly and keep accurate time. While most watches can run for several days before running down completely, winding your watch daily and consistently will help to keep it working at peak performance.
You can wind your watch manually, or if your watch is an automatic watch invest something more and buy a watch winder. Use it whenever your watch is not on your wrist to keep it running. This will prevent the lubricants that help the gears run smoothly from congealing. Watch winders are available in a wide variety of styles and they can be both a useful and elegant way to display your watch or watches while helping to keep everything running exactly as it should.
If you do wind your watch manually, be sure to do so before you put it on. Winding with the watch on your wrist can put stress on the winding stem as you turn the crown, leading to long-term damage. As soon as you feel any resistance, stop winding. That resistance tells you that the mainspring is nice and tight. Continuing to wind can cause strain or break the mainspring over time.
2. Remove Before Showering
Even if your watch is water-resistant, always remove it before you step in the shower. Soap and shampoo can be extremely harmful to the gears and other delicate components that make up your watch's complication. Watches that are not water-resistant must be kept away from water at all times. This means removing your watch even when washing your hands, as even a small amount of moisture can wreak havoc on the inner workings of your watch.
3. Be Conscious of Environmental Factors
Strong magnetic fields can affect your watch, causing it to become magnetized and leading to erratic gear behavior. Your watch may even stop completely. While most modern mechanical watches are made with some level of magnetic resistance, you should be particularly cautious of this factor if you wear an older mechanical watch.
Extreme temperatures can also have adverse effects on your watch. Most importantly, try to avoid moving from extreme heat to excessive cold. When a watch moves quickly from one temperature to another, the delicate parts within it can expand and contract. The end result can be serious damage to the entire unit. Condensation can form when temperatures vary drastically, or if exposed to high heat for long periods of time, the lubricants within your watch can congeal. This causes friction within the gears and may even stop your watch completely.
4. Have Your Watch Serviced Regularly
Just like any other machine, a mechanical watch requires regular cleanings in order to continue running at top performance. Proper maintenance will keep your watch clear of dirt and lubricated properly with fresh, clean oil. Typically, it's recommended that a mechanical watch be serviced every 2-7 years, but every watch manufacturer has their own recommendation for the exact frequency with which you should have your watch serviced. So always be sure to ask or check the information in your watch's documentation.