A fine timepiece is an intricate piece of machinery, shrunken to fit on your wrist. While the most sensitive tasks should always be performed by factory trained watchmakers, you can do some basic timepiece maintenance yourself. Following these few basic tips will help to make your timepiece something you can cherish for generations.

Wear Your Watch… Wisely

Fine timepieces are made to be worn. If your watch has an automatic winder, wearing it will help to keep even tension on the springs, which prevent it from breaking down. Simply wearing the watch and keeping it working also helps to distribute lubricants evenly and keep the watch’s tiny parts from resting in an unnatural position and developing slight distortions or other imperfections. If you have more timepieces than you can reasonably wear, consider investing in a moving watch case that will keep your watches in motion as if they were being worn even when they are sitting at home.

While it is good to wear your timepiece as much as possible, there are certain instances where your timepiece is best left home. Unless you have one that is specifically designed for high impact sports, golf, tennis and other endeavors where the watch itself will be exposed to fast motion, impact or both, your timepiece could be damaged by the impacts and sudden accelerations and decelerations that are common in these activities. To avoid a costly repair, consider wearing something different the next time you go golfing.

Protect Your Timepiece

The other fundamental part of timepiece maintenance is protecting your timepiece. Most of what comes from the outside world can damage its mechanism. That is why your timepiece is so well-sealed.

Even though most timepieces are sealed against water, do not immerse your watch in water unless it is specifically designed for diving. Immersion puts stress on your watch’s seals and gaskets, increasing the risk of water infiltrating its sensitive mechanism. Furthermore, even if your timepiece is designed to be waterproof, over time those seals dry out and break down, making it easier for water to leak into the case.

Immersion in water isn’t the only risk that can damage your watch. It’s best to keep it as clean as possible as much as you can. If it gets wet, especially with a corrosive fluid like salt water, immediately wipe it off. This goes for dirt as well. As you clean your timepiece, try to use a soft cloth and to avoid scratching the case, band, or crystal.

Get Expert Timepiece Maintenance, Too

Finally, the most important timepiece maintenance that you can do is to take it to a factory trained representative for periodic manufacturer-recommended services. These extensive checkups will usually include lubricating the mechanism and a detailed under-the-loupe analysis of the individual components of the timepiece. This will help it to work better and be more accurate with a reduced risk of breakdown.
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