Most or some of the information in this piece is probably not something 100% new to you, especially if you’ve amassed a sizeable mechanical watch collection by now. But hey, it’s always interesting to refresh your memory or take a quick break (We know what they say about looking at greenery for that vision break but trust us, this read is almost as good as looking at trees in the distance). What’s better is that the bite-sized information below pairs perfectly well with coffee and biscuits.
Enemies of Mechanical Watches
All mechanical watches, regardless of brand, are powered by a combination of gears and springs. Most of these components are extremely tiny and are affected by external forces, such as shock and magnetism. They are not designed to withstand high impact, so avoid wearing your mechanical watches for sports like tennis and golf. If you must absolutely keep track of time or use a watch’s features during these events, put on that trusty G-Shock.
Also, coming within close proximity of a magnetic field tends to throw a watch’s accuracy off-balance. Items that generate magnetism are actually more common in our daily lives than we think—refrigerators, televisions, speakers, laptops and even our mobile phones are pitfalls best avoided. Generally, keeping your watch more than 10cm away from magnetic sources should suffice.
Water Resistance - What is it really?
Flip your watch over and more often than not, you’ll come across the water resistance rating of the watch, for example 100m or 10ATM (for knowledge, 1ATM = 10m of water resistance). However, it is not directly translated into real-world performance. A 50m-rated watch does not mean you can dive up to 50m deep with it—in fact, it is nowhere close. The effect of different mediums, especially water, exerts way more pressure on the watch than you’d think. Here’s a general rule of thumb:
30m: Accidental water splashes are fine, but nothing more.
50m: Rain and showers are okay but keep it out of the bathtub.
100m: The minimum you would need to take the watch swimming, or leisure snorkeling.
200m and above: The numbers you should be looking out for if you’d like to take the watch diving. [We've got a great selection of diving watches here.]
As always, ensure the crown of your watch is screwed down before taking it near a water source. If it does not have a screw-down crown, chances are the watch is not going to survive very long being submerged.
You Can’t Force a Date
Never set the hands of the watch backwards as you might damage the date mechanism. In addition, do not quick-set the date when the time is between 9pm to 3am. During this period, the date mechanism is in its process of changing. Generally, if you are unsure, we’d recommend you pull out the crown to time-set and advance it past 12. If the date changes, it is 12 midnight and you should continue to advance the hands to a safe zone before manually quick-setting the date again.
Give It the Ol’ Kickstart
Mechanical watches will eventually come to a halt if you do not wear them for a few days. A properly-functioning automatic watch should come to life with the slightest shake of the wrist, but it may not be sufficient to keep the watch going if you’re working at a desk or lazing in bed with a book. Most modern automatic watches come with a manual-winding feature too, so give the crown a few rotations to get some power stored in the mainspring. We recommend about 10-20 turns with the watch off your wrist to avoid bending the crown stem. After that, set the time and let the winding rotor naturally take over the rest of the job.
Keep It Clean
Gunk has the propensity to build up over time and gets more and more difficult to clean up when it does. It’s a good idea to gently wipe the whole case with a cleaning cloth (ideally microfiber or lens cleaners) when you take off your watch at the end of the day. After all, you’d want that brilliant finishing to sparkle even in the darkest environment, right?
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