Daily Care and Usage of Your Watch

Specializing in the restoration of American and Swiss mechanical watches since 1987.

Middle age recipients of the prized family watch most often know little of how to use them. Highly accurate battery operated watches that need no winding have been the standard so long that most folks under 40 years of age have never wound or set the time on any mechanical watch.

For those interested in learning about the usage of a fine watch read on.

The types of watches that I restore for my valued customers over the world wide web are limited to:

  1. Swiss, American and some German origin.
  2. Pocket watches, wrist watches and locket watches.
  3. Watches having an extra function such as a calendar, chronograph, auto-winding etc.
  4. Made in the great era of quality jeweled watches : 1880 to 1965.
Daily care and usage
  1. Dropping a mechanical watch isn't a good idea. Most drops occur when either putting the watch on or taking the watch off. Getting a mechanical watch wet is another no-no. Avoid both and your watch will last for generations. While neither accident is fatal, rare parts may need to be replaced to bring it back to life.
  2. By twisting the watches crown - wind your watches mainspring with the thumb and forefinger in a clockwise fashion. The crown will spin both directions yet will only wind one direction. This returning feature of the crown allows the owner to wind their watch safely by either twisting the crown only forward or wig-waging the crown -forward and back- to the give the watches heart, its mainspring - a full wind. Either way you choose to wind your watch is a.o.k. If you own an automatic or self winding watch, it's mainspring will wind itself. It's always smart to still give your automatic watch a bit of a manual wind after it's sat for 12 hours. A full wind on any watches mainspring will result in it's most accurate time. If you wear your watch only on occasions, it's a good idea to wind it fully every week or so.

    Self winding watches otherwise known as automatic watches - DO still need winding in the mornings of the days that you plan to use them. This needed manual winding acts to replace the mainspring strength that has been expended by it's operation throughout the night. You've most likely seen table-top watch winders that are currently on the market. These devices keep both the mainspring wound on an automatic watch not being worn and it's ( if any) calendars current. Either approach here is suitable: simply self winding your automatic wrist watch 8 or 10 partial turns of the crown, or employing a table top automatic watch winder. It's common that an user of an automatic wrist watch - that has a sedentary life-style - doesn't allow for the adequate self-winding of such a watch. In this case, a few turns of the crown throughout the day will satisfy it's mainsprings needs.
  3. Most wrist and pocket watches from the Golden Era were designed and manufactured to keep within 10 seconds accuracy per day. Checking your watches performance to a standard and resetting it every few days isn't uncommon. To reset your watches time , simply pull out the crown into the set position. Hold your watch securely in left hand and and with the thumb and the middle finger on your right hand, evenly pull the crown out and away from the watches case. Gage the distance that this crown must travel into the set position as 1/8 inch. A firm but very short tug does it. While it's best to always advance the hands in a clockwise direction in most mechanical watches (non repeaters) when resetting the time, inching backwards won't cause harm.
  4. Once your watch has been serviced, fully wound and set, let the fun begin! Mechanical watches from the Golden Era are artistically designed, ingeniously manufactured, very sturdy and surprisingly accurate. Don't be surprised that your wrist will draw subtle attention. Friendly watch enthusiasts will remark.
  5. This new time-keeping companion of yours deserves that you know the following:
    1. Avoid exposing your watch to strong magnetic forces. Think audio speaker magnets. It can become magnetized and run erratically. A jeweler's demagnetizer can remedy this easily.
    2. Avoid wearing perfume or cologne on the same wrist that your vintage watch is on. Over time the alcohol can influence the viscosity of the small amount of perfectly placed lubrication that your watch needs and is calibrated for.
    3. If you plan to store your watch for an extended period of time, say in a safe deposit box, the use of an appropriately sized zip lock bag is a good idea. This will act to keep elements out and the freshness of your watches oil from degrading. Any act to limit your watches exposure to moisture, radical temperature variations, dust and physically jarring will results in extended years of accurate wear.
  6. Have your watch serviced every every decade or so. Case design often will dictate how often a mechanical watch needs to be serviced. If a watch has a round screw down case back and a water resistant crown, these features help keep the elements out of the watch and the oil fresh. Such watches may only require servicing every dozen or so years. A watch of a friction fit or snap case style- like most vintage watches- may need servicing every 4 to 10 years or so. The conditions that a vintage watch endures dictates how long between servicings. A conscientious owner who follows the useful hints about the daily care of their watch provide on this page will be rewarded with many years of faithful service. Poor performance from your watch will reveal it's need for servicing.
Thanks for reviewing this page, I hope it was helpful in becoming acquainted with your irreplaceable family heirloom. If you have any questions about your watch, or my services, please don't hesitate to contact me.