Tips for New Watch Owners

After laying out a considerable sum to acquire the watch of your choice, it only makes sense to take proper care of it. Here are some pointers on how to treasure your treasure.

Mix with water carefully. If you plan to swim with your new watch, make sure its water resistance rating is at least 50 m. For recreational diving 200 m is the minimum requirement, while serious amateur and professional divers need at least 300 m. Avoid pushers underwater and have the rubber gaskets on the seals checked periodically; they’re the ones responsible for the water resistance. Rinse and dry the watch after immersion; chlorine and salt are corrosive.

Protect it from the elements. Modern watches are quite robust but dirt, humidity, gravity, temperature fluctuations and radiation eventually take their toll. When not on your wrist, it is advisable to keep the watch safely stored in a box — such as the package that it came in — or in a watch roll. When travelling, your watch is exposed to all kinds of mishandling, unintended and otherwise; this is where a watch roll shines. Electromagnetism is the wonder that makes modern life possible but it also wreaks havoc on a watch movement. Give smart phones and other magnet-containing devices a wide berth. And unless your watch is a tool, there’s no need to have it on when playing sports or doing chores. It’ll be there when you’re done.

Keep it safe and secure. A valuable, hard-to-replace item comes with security risks. A high-spec strongbox will add to your peace of mind. It also pays to be mindful of crime trends. Much like other economic phenomena, watch theft has its ebbs and flows, and is affected by regional and time-related variables. A bit of vigilance is always in order.

Give it a few twists. Regular winding spreads the internal lubricants, preventing drying and congealing. Manually wound watches need it once a day; for optimum results wind it at the same time every day. Automatics can be wound once a week. Spare the watch painful shocks by not winding it over a hard surface. Also avoid doing it while it’s on your wrist; the upward pressure on the crown might damage the stem.

Keep it clean. Be as non-invasive as possible. Use a microfibre cloth to wipe off any dirt, and q-tips to reach nooks and crannies. Focus on the spots between the case-back and the case since this area tends to collect skin debris; lukewarm water and a toothbrush work wonders here. Soap is not your watch’s friend.

Visit your watch doctor. What do they say about preventive medicine? The moving parts inside your watch need to be tuned, lubricated and occasionally replaced. A service interval of 2-5 years is reasonable but symptoms — poor running, failure to wind — are your best guide; pay attention to them. Out-of-warranty service can be expensive, but unavoidable. Remember, graveyards are full of machines whose owners thought the laws of physics were mere suggestions. One more reason to maintain a good relationship with your dealer.

Relish it. Many of the style experts out there are insightful and well intentioned but, ultimately, your watch is on your wrist. Any kind of watch can be paired with any kind of outfit or lifestyle — as long as you own it. Go ahead and wear it with pride.