Watch Care: How to Clean and Maintain Your Watch
A watch is an object of exceptional complication and beauty that requires regular care to work properly. Standard maintenance includes safeguarding the movement, protecting the watch from water damage and cleaning the case and band. The following tips will help you care for and preserve your timepieces for generations to come:
How to care for watches with a manual mechanical movement
For watches with a manual (or hand-wound) mechanical movement, be sure to wind the watch once a day, at the same time of day. Be careful not to over-wind the watch. Stop winding the watch as soon as you feel resistance---this indicates the spring has reached maximum tension.
How to care for watches with an automatic movement
If you own a watch with automatic (or self-winding) mechanical movements, be sure to wind the watch once every two weeks if it is worn daily. Wind the watch twice weekly if it is not worn daily.
How to care for watches with quartz movements
If your watch has a quartz movement, you should remove worn batteries and replace them every few years, according to Eli Katz, president of Ashford.com, the leading online retailer of luxury watches. When wearing your watch, it is very important to avoid equipment that create a strong magnetic field, such as speakers, mobile phones and metal detectors. Extreme temperature changes and humid environments, such as showers, hot tubs and saunas, can be harmful for your watch. Damage can also be caused by violent shocks such as dropping the watch as well as activities that require repetitive arm motion (unless the watch was designed for it). Exposure to these risks can negatively affect the movement performance.
Luxury watchmakers, such as Harry Winston (a Luxist Awards' winner), advise a complete movement overhaul every three to five years to keep a timepiece performing perfectly. You may need to take your watch to an authorized dealer for routine maintenance in order to preserve the manufacturer's warranty.
Have your timepiece checked for water-resistance regularly. Some luxury watchmakers, such as TAG Heuer, recommend getting a water-resistance check an annual basis. Before wearing your watch in water, ensure that the crown is pushed down or screwed in tightly. Once you are in the water, do not adjust the crown or press on the push buttons, as water can seep into the case. Rinse the watch in fresh water after contact with chlorinated or salt water. If you notice condensation under the crystal or signs of oxidation on the dial, take your watch to a watch professional without delay, advises Ashford.com's Katz.
If a watch is worn regularly, it should be cleaned every two months, generally with a soft, dry cloth.
If your watch has a metal band, some luxury watchmakers recommend careful washing with a soft brush dipped in warm, soapy water. Rinse the watch with warm, clean water before drying it completely. Cartier offers a free metal bracelet kit to owners of its watches. Cartier recommends cleaning the metal bracelet every two months if the watch is worn daily. The kit which can be obtained free of charge from one of Cartier's boutiques around the world.
If your watch has a leather band, be sure never to let it get wet. If it should become saturated with moisture or perspiration, simply wipe and dry it thoroughly. Avoid wrist contact with products such as cosmetics, detergents, moisturizers and perfumes, which can seriously damage a watch's function and finish.