How to Best Protect and Maintain Your Watch

Anyone who has bought a brand new wristwatch knows about the anxiety of getting scratches in the crystal and marks on the watch case as soon as the clear plastic stickers have been removed and the watch is placed on the wrist.

Common caution and attention to the physical environment is a good start to avoid accidental contact with hard surfaces, but the protection and maintenance of wristwatches is about more than just the look.

It is also about extending the lifespan of the watch and ensuring that it works as intended for as long as possible.

Today we provide a number of tips on how to best take care and protect your watch.

The Crystal

It should be mentioned, for good measure, that the aforementioned challenge of avoiding scratches in the crystal can be partially met by choosing a watch with a crystal made of a particularly scratch-resistant material.

Read more about crystal materials here.

The Internal Parts

It’s on the outside you have to pay attention in order to prevent permanent damage to take place on the inside of the watch.

A wristwatch won’t last forever, but it could work for many years and even generations if you take good care of it.

General Cleaning

Dirt, dust, damp and sweat are all potential unwanted intruders of your watch. If particles succeed in entering the watch case, they might cause permanent damage to the movement.

Make it a daily routine to wipe off your watch and keep it clean.

Use a dry, soft cloth if your watch is non water resistant.

Use a damp cloth if your watch is classified 50 m water resistant or better and remember to wipe it off with a dry, soft cloth to make sure you leave it dry.

Metal Bracelets

You can use a soft toothbrush and mild, soapy water to clean your metal bracelet.

Leather Straps

Leather is a bit harder to keep clean as it is an organic material with pores, but the method is basically the same.

1. First use a dry cloth to wipe off both sides to remove trapped dirt.

2. Next use a damp cloth and a drop of mild hand soap and polish the leather by moving in gentle circles on both sides of the strap.

3. Now prepare another damp cloth without soap and gently wipe the leather clean.

Leave it to dry.

Maintenance Schedule

It’s a good idea to have your watch checked on frequent basis. When and if depends on type of watch. If your watch is an inexpensive, disposal watch, it may not be worth spending the time and money even on a basis check-up.

For a watch you cherish and wish to keep in good condition, you should have your watch checked once a year for:

  • Water resistance.
  • Magnetization.
  • Pins on strap.
  • Loose screws and links on bracelet.

Usually a professional check-up includes a thorough wipe-down of the entire watch.

Depending on the type and value of your watch, a complete movement overhaul is recommended every 3-5 years.

Winding and Setting

1. Mechanical Watches.

Wind your watch fully at the same time every day.

Don’t force the crown. Wind until you feel resistance.

2. Automatic Watches.

Make sure to keep your automatic watch going all the time. Even if you wear it daily, wind it manually once every two weeks.

You can wind it a couple of times per week, if you don’t wear it every day.

3. Setting the Date.

Do not set the date between 9:00 PM and 3:00 AM as it could potentially damage the movement of the watch.

The reason for this is that the energy required to change the date is slowly accumulated during this timeperiod.

This means that if you change the date manually in this timeperiod, you will in fact apply a rapid force to the gear system that the watch is not built to handle.


A typical lifespan of an average quartz battery is 1-3 years. The exact time a battery will keep a digital watch working optimally depends on several factors including type of battery, type of watch, functions of the watch, daily use of the watch and age of the battery.

When you become aware that the battery can no longer power the watch as intended, have it changed immediately.

Batteries contain acid and if they start to leak they can cause irreparable damage to the surroundings.

Water Resistance

No watch is waterproof, but many watches are water resistant, though not all.

Water resistance is divided into ratings referring to the various degrees of water resistance.

Essentially this means that all watches are vulnerable to water ingress, but some watches are more vulnerable than others.

It’s important to understand that if a watch is rated water resistant to 50 m, it only means that a randomly selected sample of the newly manufactured watch passed a lab test designed for this specific classification.

However, gaskets and seals used to seal the watch deteriorate over time and will need to be replaced sooner or later.

Have your watch tested once a year and you should be safe.

When In Contact With Water

If your watch is designed for water activities (+100 m) make sure the crown is screwed in tightly before exposing it to water.

Never operate the crown while your watch is in contact with water.

If your watch has been in contact with saltwater or chlorinated water, immediately clean it with fresh water and dry it off.

Things to Keep in Mind

1. Shocks.

Sudden shocks or impacts with hard surfaces may cause your watch to malfunction.

Even if the watch doesn’t show visible signs after a drop or knock, it’s still possible that the internal parts have been damaged resulting in a watch that no longer functions as intended.

2. Temperatures.

Extreme temperatures can cause your watch to malfunction and change the ability to resist water ingress.

Keep your watch in the range of 0 – 60 Celsius degrees to avoid problems.

3. Magnetism.

Exposure to magnetic fields may cause your mechanical watch to become inaccurate and usually the watch will need to be demagnetized to have the problem corrected.

Even a cell phone can have this damaging effect.

4. Chemicals.

Avoid direct contact with chemicals, such as perfumes, detergents, deodorants etc.

Virtually all parts of the watch are vulnerable to certain chemicals which is also the reason why it’s advisable not to wear your watch while showering or swimming in chlorinated water.

Related Articles

Wristwatches and Materials – Which to Choose?

Best G-Shock Watches for Men

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch: The Watch That Went to the Moon

Waterproof vs Water Resistant Watches

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates.


Claus is a laboratory technician, autodidact guitarist, songwriter, music publisher, co-founder of App Division ApS, dad of fraternal twin boys, Sci-Fi lover, incarnated Mike Oldfield fan, pro world peace and an incorrigible coffee addict.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *