Your watch is built to the highest standards. However, it is important to remember that it is a complex precision instrument, and represents a significant investment. It is therefore important to be aware of how to take care of it, to ensure its continued longevity.
How to set a watch
This will vary from watch to watch, and you should check the instructions in the handbook or manufacturer’s website to ensure correct setting. As a rule of thumb however, the following instructions can be adhered to for 2 or 3 hand watches with a date complication.
For a mechanical watch, first unscrew the crown where applicable (more on this below) and wind the watch by turning the crown clockwise in position 1. Pull the crown out to position 3, and rotate clockwise to set the time. Keep an eye on the date window and watch when it changes – this will let you know whether the watch is in AM or PM.
When the time is set, move the crown to position 1, and rotate to set the date.
Please do not set the date on a mechanical watch when it is set between 8:00pm and 4:00am. During these times the date change mechanism is active, and changing the date at this point can damage this mechanism.
Push the crown back to position 1 and screw it down to the case where applicable to complete the time and date setting procedure.
Operating a chronograph
This will also vary from watch to watch, however the general method of operation is usually the same. Please refer to the instruction booklet or manufacturer’s website for further information.
Chronograph watches typically have 2 or 3 subdials, pushers located at 2 and 4 O’clock and a fixed central hand, which signify varying degrees of time. Some will also have a tachymetre scale around the bezel, which is used to calculate average speed (check the manufacturer's instructions for more on tachymetres).
To start the chronograph, press pusher 1 (you may need to unscrew the pushers beforehand). The chronograph will begin moving. When you have measured the elapsed time, press pusher 1 again to stop the chronograph. Pressing pusher 2 will reset the chronograph. Make sure you have stopped the chronograph before resetting
It is important to make sure the chronograph is turned off when not in use, as this can drain the battery in quartz watches, or sap the power reserve, and possibly damage the movement in mechanical watches.
Most, but not all, watches are tested for water resistance. Many brands will feature screw-down crowns and pushers. It is important to make sure your crown is always pushed in, and where this is possible, the crown and/or pushers are screwed down to the case. To do this, press the crown down, and rotate clockwise to lock onto the threads. Screw until the crown resists any more screwing. Do not screw past this point, as you can damage the threads.
It is important to remember that water pressure increases when the watch is moving in water, so the tested water resistance level is not a safe depth to bring the watch. See the guide below for examples of safe usage of water resistant watches:
30m: Splash Proof
50m – 100m: Surface Swimming
200m – 300m: Diving
300m+: Deep-sea Diving
It is important to have your watch serviced regularly, as the rubber gaskets which prevent water ingress can degrade and allow water in to the movement.
Servicing and repairing a watch
More information on servicing can be found here.
Things to avoid
Primarily, water ingress should be avoided at all costs. While watch cases are built to keep water out, moisture can rust and damage the internal components, such as the movement and dial, so it is important to make sure the case is properly sealed.
Magnetic fields should be avoided in many cases. Most modern day watches feature silicon hairsprings, which greatly increases resistance to magnetic fields. However, fields from magnets, electronic devices, metal detectors etc. can cause parts inside the watch to gain a magnetic charge and stick to, or repel eachother, causing the watch to malfunction. This is especially true for older watches.
Physical shocks, such as drops, knocks and fast arm movements should also be avoided, as they can damage the case and internal components. This can be especially true for ceramic watches. Thermal shocks, i.e. quickly changing from a hot environment to a cold one or vice versa can also cause damage and should be avoided.
Caring for leather, rubber and plated metals
Leather is a natural material, and is therefore porous. Keep leather straps dry and free from sweat and moisture. On hot days, you should wear a leather strap a little looser to allow air to circulate. When you remove your watch, allow it to air-dry before storing it. Ensure any creams, ointments or perfumes have dried fully before putting your watch on.
Rubber tends to be quite a hardy material. You should, however, avoid anything sharp which may cut the rubber. Minimise exposure to oils, as these can degrade rubber very quickly.
Many watches have treatments applied to the case and/or bracelet, such as PVD plating. These treatments tend to be very deep and usually don’t present any issues. However, you should avoid chemicals and ensure creams and perfumes are dry before putting your watch on, as these can wear platings off.
Caring for ceramic
Ceramic is chemically inert, and is generally very resistant to harsh chemicals and discolouration. As a material in watchmaking, it is exceptionally hard (around 4 times harder than steel) which makes it very resistant to scratches from everyday materials.
This hardness, however, does make it more brittle, so you should avoid knocking your watch off surfaces and dropping it, as this can cause chips, cracks, splinters or smashing in extreme cases.
Cleaning your watch
Most watches should only require cleaning with a soft, dry cloth. You can also clean your water resistant watch with a soft brush and soapy water. Make sure the crown is fully closed down and screwed in where applicable, rinse and dry thoroughly afterwards. Do not allow leather straps to get wet – if possible remove these before cleaning. Please note that if you are in any doubt as to the condition of the seals which ensure water resistance, you should not allow your watch to get wet.
Watches which have been exposed to seawater should be rinsed immediately with fresh, clean water and dried thoroughly before storage.
Storing your watch
The best way to store a watch is in its box, or in a dedicated storage solution which minimises the risk of scratching and damaging it. Pride & Pinion have a number of storage solutions which can be viewed here.
For automatic watches, some people choose to store these in a watch winder. These devices rotate the watch to keep the power reserve charged. This ensures that the watch is always set and ready to wear immediately. It is important to note, however, that the additional movement will result in faster wear and tear and the watch may require servicing sooner than expected.
On the flipside to this, a mechanical watch which is left stopped for long periods of time may be subject to its lubricants congealing, and in very extreme cases, parts seizing. This is rare however, and is only likely to happen to a watch which has been left unattended for several years.
Do not leave a quartz watch with the crown pulled out. While this may save the battery, it leaves the movement open for moisture and dust in the air to enter and do damage. In the long term, this can be significantly more expensive to fix than a battery replacement.
Caring for gem-set watches
Gem set watches are generally subject to the same methods of care and cleaning as all other watches. You should, however, take extra care and be more gentle when cleaning with a cloth or soft brush to avoid damaging settings and potentially losing gemstones. You should inspect settings regularly and have any loose settings repaired as soon as possible to prevent the loss of stones.
You should clean gem set watches regularly to maintain lustre, and avoid getting perfumes and creams on gem-set watches. These can settle below the stones and actually push them out from underneath.
Insuring your watch
It is important to have an accurate and up-to-date valuation of your watch to ensure it’s insured for a the correct value. The Pride & Pinion Valuation service can help with this. You can find out more about this service here.
A note on accuracy
Mechanical watches are generally less accurate than their quartz counterparts. This is because they do not have the same constant source of power. It is important to remember that every watch will gain and lose time, and no watch is 100% accurate.
Most of our watches are certified Chronometers – manufacturers often display this on the dial. This means they have been tested by an independent body and have been certified to be more accurate than standard mechanical watches. Typical chronometer tolerances are -4/+6 seconds per day. Certain brands, such as Rolex and Omega, subject their watches to even stricter testing. Modern Rolex watches bear the distinction ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified,’ which means they are accurate to -2/+2 seconds per day.
If you are finding your mechanical watch is not performing as accurately as it once did, this may signify that it needs a service. More information on Repairs and Services can be found here.
As with any purchase, our team will help advise you on how best to take care of your watch.