Luxury timepiece services at Rolex | Source: Rolex

Watch Repair Aftercare Guide: How to Keep Your Luxury Timepiece Ticking For Life

A luxury watch is an investment in time. A magnificent piece of opulent engineering that will last a lifetime. As any fine watch aficionado will know, the best watches contain numerous intricate parts and finely crafted components working around the clock.

One of the fastest watches in the world, the TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrogirder, completes a staggering 7.2 million vibrations per hour. A testament to the quality engineering and design, it can be easy to forget a luxury watch needs maintenance and care to keep it in tip-top shape.

The highest level of care starts with the wearer. Whether it’s a daily wear and tear problem or professional watch repair, here’s a guide to keeping your luxury timepiece ticking for years to come.

Daily Protection

The troublesome trio for a fine watch is water, dirt and magnets.

In terms of water protection, all watches come with a water-resistance rating that provides a guide to the maximum water depth or pressure the watch can function under. Stick to the rating, either expressed in atmospheric pressure (ATM) or water depth in metres (m) to prevent damage and with saltwater always rinse the watch afterwards.

  • 3ATM/30m is splash resistant
  • 5ATM/50m is ok for shallow water such as a swimming pool
  • 10ATM/100m is fine for snorkelling and watersports
  • 20ATM/200m is for scuba diving

Magnet fields present a different kind of issue for a watch – they affect the balance of a mechanical watch knocking it out of time. Avoid leaving a watch near powerful magnets such as refrigerators, speakers and subwoofers and even other electronics. While magnetic damage can be reversed by any watch repair expert, prevention is better than cure.

Basic dirt protection essentially comes down to common sense. Don’t use choreograph pushers when it’s dirty or avoid twisting a rotating bezel when there’s sand trapped underneath. Ensure the watch is clean when using functions that expose the interior.

Perhaps counterintuitively, wearing a watch regularly helps maintain its integrity and precision. A watch needs to tick over consistently to prevent internal parts from seizing up. For hand-wound watches, it’s considered best practice to wind them every day however they should last a day or two without. An automatic watch will last a bit longer without winding, likely a few days to a week but regular use mitigates the need to manually wind the watch. Always take a watch off the wrist before winding the crown to prevent damage.

How to clean a watch

Simple is superior when looking to keep a watch fresh and shiny. The most basic tools such as a damp cloth and a soft toothbrush should suffice. A once over with the damp cloth with remove any superficial dirt and scuffs and the toothbrush will clear out the finer dust in the smaller gaps. For particularly stubborn particles, a wooden toothpick is a stiffer implement perfect for getting into small gaps.

When cleaning the watch steer clear of soaps and detergents, water works just fine. Solvents can damage rubber seals, leather and fabric straps. To get that final shine, no polishing products are necessary, a wipe down with a microfibre cloth is the perfect polishing tool on its own.

Expert Servicing

Luxury mechanical watches are a lifelong commitment to regular service. Every five or so years a visit to the watch repair professionals will ensure the piece stands the test of time. Stick with a trusted company or go to the watch brand itself when getting maintenance or repair done.

There’s no substitute for taking it to a professional, they leave no stone unturned. They strip the whole watch down to its individual parts, cleaning, lubricating and adjusting everything as they go. They also check for accuracy, reliability and water residence ensuring everything is in top working order. Unless you’re an expert, never undertake watch repair yourself. Opening the back of a watch exposes it to dust and other hazardous materials.

If you’re looking to get a luxury watch, have a look at the most desirable watches for Women right now. Or check out the luxury dive watches you need for summer.

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