A magnificent mechanical watch is similar to a piece of high-end jewelry: if properly cared for, this accessory will last a lifetime, if not longer. Good maintenance entails a few key tasks that will ensure your timepiece lasts through the years without issue. Check out the 5 instincts you should adopt, whether manual or automatic, to extend its longevity and enjoy it for many years to come.
1. Wear your timepiece on a regular basis.
Every watchmaker will tell you the same thing: a mechanical watch is a living organism that is fully dependent on its user to function. That, incidentally, is what makes these unique objects so appealing! So, if you're thinking of preserving it by storing it at the bottom of your closet, you should do the opposite.
One of the reasons is that the movement's components are coated with lubricating oil to reduce friction between the sections. If the clock is left inactive for an extended period of time, the lubricant may dry up, immobilizing the gearwheels and causing faults.
Furthermore, in the case of automatic watches, the wrist movements provide the energy required for the mechanism to function. Ideally, you should wear your watch virtually every day.
2. Avoid external shocks and excessive exposure to the elements.
This second concept is more self-evident, but a brief reminder never hurts. Even the most robust timepieces are not always impervious to falls, shocks, and scratches.
As a result, you should avoid wearing your watch when participating in certain sports (such as mountain trekking) or manual activities (DIY work in the garden). On a daily basis, make sure the strap is properly adjusted to your wrist; too loose, and the watch is more likely to collide with furniture.
Similarly, you should avoid exposing it to external conditions that could damage the dial and its internal mechanism as much as possible. Sunlight, in particular, but also high humidity, can cause condensation to collect beneath the crystal. For watches that are watertight enough to be worn at the beach or in a swimming pool, a thorough rinse is required to remove any chlorine or salt.
3. Keep it out of magnetic fields.
You should also be cautious of magnetic fields created by commonplace technological equipment. Certain mechanical watch components, such as the balancing spring, are particularly sensitive to them, and they may have a negative impact on the movement's precision.
Magnetic fields, depending on the intensity of the waves, can produce a rather serious malfunction of the movement, or even, in the worst-case situation, a full loss of functionality. Even if it appears impossible, try to keep your watch away from telephones, radios, magnetic devices, microwave ovens, and so on.
If you observe an irregular ticking or if the watch suddenly runs slow, fast, or stops working, it is most likely magnetized. In that scenario, all you need to do is take it to a watchmaker, who will be able to use a degausser to negate the effects of the magnetization.
4. Clean the crystal and the casing
While only a watchmaker is capable of cleaning the mechanism, that doesn't imply you can't take care of the watch's external components. You'd be astonished at the quantity of impurity and dirt that's continuously creating a home out of your timepiece, whether we're talking about the lugs or the bezel.
As a result, it is critical to clean your mechanical watch on a regular basis with a microfiber cloth, a very soft brush, or a slightly damp cloth. If it's watertight, don't be afraid to use a little more water and soap if needed. You may also simply polish the crystal with a dry dust-cloth from time to time to eliminate dust and restore the luster of your watch. Any cleaning products with an unknown chemical composition, on the other hand, should be avoided at all costs!
5. Don't forget about the maintenance.
Finally, even the finest will in the world cannot compensate for the dexterity of a watchmaking specialist. While the actions and precautions we've seen so far are obviously necessary, they aren't enough: a mechanical watch, like any car, must be serviced on a regular basis by a watchmaker.
The mechanism of a clock is extremely complex and must be handled with considerable care; only a professional watchmaker is capable of maintaining it. It is generally recommended that you arrange a maintenance appointment every three or four years. While the sorts of services provided and their quality may differ from one brand to the next, the servicing technique is generally the same everywhere.
During this technique, the watchmaker will open the case and completely disassemble the mechanism. They will next examine each element individually and properly clean it before going to oil the components and test the hands. Certain parts may need to be replaced if necessary. After reassembling the watch, they will undertake a series of tests to determine the watertightness of the case, the chronometric performance, and the precision of the movement.
In a nutshell, a sequence of delicate processes required for an automatic watch to function properly, which must be done on a regular basis by a competent watchmaker in order to maximize its longevity.