1. Clean It. Everything you do while wearing your watch causes it to come into contact with dirt, dust, perspiration and even a few splashes of water while washing your hands or doing the dishes. The best thing you can do for your watch is a simple cleaning. When you take it off at the end of each day, wipe it down using a soft cloth to remove grime. If your watch has a metal bracelet, you can use a soft cloth and warm water to clean it, but be careful not to get too much water near the case. Even if you have a water-resistant watch, it’s best to clean it after swimming, as chlorine and salt can be abrasive. Also note that leather straps may require special care and cleaning.
2. Know the Basics of Winding. If you own a mechanical watch it is important to follow the brand’s instructions about when and when not to wind it, and in which direction. Some complex watches cannot be wound at certain hours, when the mechanics inside are making their own calculations and adjustments. It is also important to remember when setting the watch to move the hands in a clockwise direction instead of counter clockwise.
3. Have it Serviced. As mentioned above, mechanical watches require regular servicing — just like a car. The gears and wheels must be oiled, and that oil can dry out over time. The watch needs to be carefully opened, examined, re-oiled, cleaned, have new gaskets put in to replace old gaskets and be retested for water resistance. Most brands suggest this be done every five to seven years.
4. Put it on and off over a counter. One of the key things we hear from readers is that they dropped their watch while putting it on or taking it off. For some watches, this is not necessarily a big deal, but for others it is. Mechanical parts can shake loose, hands or markers can do the same. Sometimes the crystal can shatter. And sometimes precision is impacted. For these reasons, it is best to take you watch off or put it on while standing over a surface such as your dresser, a counter or a table.