When it comes to cleaning and maintaining your watch, it all depends on the type of watch you have. The way you clean the watch will also depend on how water-resistant your watch is. I will go through as much detail as possible so that you can keep your watch clean and keep it running for as long as possible.
It is recommended to clean your watch every day with a soft cloth. This will get rid of any dust, dirt and marks left on the watch and keep it in good condition. Check if your watch is water-resistant, which is usually indicated on the dial as shown below.
As shown on the faces of these watches it is usually indicated by feet or metres. If it is not indicated on the front face of the watch, it will also be shown on the back of the watch.
For watches that are water-resistant, it is recommended depending on how heavily you use the watch to clean it in a bowl of water and some mild soap weekly. Using a soft cleaning cloth and a soft brittle toothbrush will be helpful to get rid of any stubborn dirt or marks.
Remember, when cleaning the watch to be careful of the crystal (the glass of the watch) as too much pressure depending on the type of crystal can be damaged or broken. Use light pressure when cleaning the crystal of the watch with a soft cloth.
A fair warning, when cleaning your water-resistant watch in the bowl of water do not pull out the crown. As the water can seep in and damage the internals of the watch. Make sure to screw down the crown of the watch or leave it pushed in.
Vintage diver watches should not be cleaned in a bowl of water as the strength of its water-resistance could be compromised which then would allow water to seep in and damage the watch. Check with your local watch repairer or service centre to see if the vintage watch is still holding the same water-resistance as it claims to be. Or just avoid cleaning in the bowl of water and just use a soft piece of cloth.
All watches regardless whether it’s a quartz, manual or automatic will require servicing. Often people will not service a quartz watch, as it requires the least maintenance and only requires the batteries to be changed every few years or so.
However, when it comes to manual and automatic watches, the watches will need to be serviced. Depending on the watch you buy, it will be written or told on their website on how long it would need before a service will be required. For these types of watches you will have to send it in to that manufacturers service centre. They will also charge you for the service, which can be a bit expense. Quartz watches do require them to be serviced and are usually much cheaper than servicing an automatic or manual watch.
This is why before buying more luxury watch pieces do your own research and find out how much the service costs. For example, to service a Rolex can go anywhere around $800USD. Most Rolexes need to be serviced every 10 years, so this cost for every 10 years might not seem as much. While a Patek Phillippe can cost even more depending on the complication as well as how old the watch is.
Maintaining your watch.
There are some general do’s and don’ts when it comes to watches in order to not get it damaged.
In general, for most watches keep them away from magnets. As it can ruin the complication or movement in the watch and affect the timekeeping. If the watch has been affected by a magnet, it is recommended to get it demagnetized by a watch service centre or repair shop to regain the accuracy it used to have. Some watches will advertise that they are anti-magnetic, but unless this is specifically mentioned do avoid magnets to help keep the watch healthy.
Avoid storing watches in direct sunlight.
Do not store your watch near a window where it can be exposed to direct sunlight for the majority of the day. Depending on how often it is left out in the sun can cause colour fading and ruin the look of the watch.
Setting the time and date on your automatic and mechanical watch.
This only applies to watches that are automatic or manual, this does not apply for quartz watches. When setting up the time of your watch, do not turn the hands counter-clockwise, only turn them clockwise to avoid any damages to the movement of the watch. Doing it once by accident or a few times will not have a lasting negative affect on the watch, but doing it regularly overtime can cause a lot of damage which will then have to be repaired.
Finally, when setting the date on your automatic and manual watch do not change the date if the time on the watch is close to be changing over midnight. As a general rule avoid changing the day/date anytime between 9:00 PM and 3:00 AM on the watch.
If this is the case, change the time on the watch so it is not between 9:00 PM and 3:00 AM, and then change the date to help preserve the movement and keep the watch in a healthy condition. If you change the watch day/date between 9:00 PM and 3:00 AM on the watch, this might lead to irreversible damage where then the only choice would be to take it into a repair centre.