Top tips for winding and maintaining your luxury watch
When you invest in a luxury timepiece, it’s important you keep it in great condition both internally and externally to prolong its lifespan. James Mainwaring, the watch expert at Est1897, shares his top tips for winding and maintaining your luxury watch.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a luxury watch, you’ll know just how important it is to take good care of these beautiful investment pieces. While this’ll mean checking for and avoiding cosmetic damage, it’s also crucial you maintain the internal mechanisms of your watch and this will include winding it to keep it in optimum working condition.
Here, I will be sharing my top tips for maintaining your luxury watch.
Why is winding your watch important?
Although winding a watch is an important step in any manual — and occasionally, automatic — watch maintenance routine, many people don’t understand the purpose of it. Put simply, all mechanical watches are driven by the unwinding of a tightly coiled spring and if this was left without maintenance, the spring would quickly uncoil, and the winding motion of your watch would stop.
In most watches, the coiled mainspring will only provide power for a day or two until it becomes uncoiled. To prevent this, it’s important to hand wind your watch to keep it functioning well.
Wind your watch clockwise
When you wind your watch, you’ll need to tighten the coil in the direction of the clock’s movement, which is clockwise. To do this, use your thumb and index finger to gently pull the watch stem out from the crown — this is usually located on the side of your watch’s casing — and wind the stem until you feel resistance. You should always wind your watch off your wrist as doing otherwise can put lateral stress on the winding stem.
Although some people might believe winding your watch as tightly as possible is for the best, doing it too tightly can result in over-winding which can cause a snapped mainspring. Instead, wind until you feel resistance and then carry on winding gently until you feel you can’t go any further.
Some luxury watches, like Rolexes, have features that prevent you from being able to overwind. It may be worth asking your jeweller or consulting your owner’s manual about this before you give it a go.
Maintain your watch’s mechanics everyday
Now you know how to wind your watch, it’s important you know how often you should be doing this. Although your mechanical watch can probably go a couple of days without being wound, if you want to keep it in the best condition possible, try to get into a habit of doing this every day.
If you’ve got an automatic watch note that while these tend to self-wind, you may need to hand wind it yourself if you don’t wear it very often. If you have to do this, all you have to do is give the crown around 20–30 winds at least once a month, set the time, and you’re good to go. It’s impossible to overwind an automatic watch, but it’s still important to do this carefully as these systems tend to be less robust than those in manual watches.
Store your watch correctly
It’s important to store your watch in a temperature-controlled setting to prevent moisture and condensation getting into your timepiece. This is vital as these conditions can cause your watch’s oils to lose their lubricating properties. To further repel moisture from your watch, I recommend storing it with silica gel, which will absorb any moisture in the air.
If you don’t have a safe to store your watch, a quality watch box will do. Preferably, this should be the box it came in, as this would have been designed to protect it.
Get your watch serviced every 3–5 years
Although you’re able to wind your own watch every day, it’s still important you occasionally take your timepiece to be cared for by experts. Usually this will take around 10–14 days for your jewellers to complete but could take longer if they need to order in replacement parts.
During the service, your watch will be fully disassembled so all elements can be checked over. While your watch is dismantled, the watchmaker will clean, oil, and polish your watch so it looks great and runs smoothly when you get it back.
Your luxury watch is an investment piece, so you should take all possible steps to maintain it. Follow my top four tips and enjoy your timepiece for longer.