Watch Out! 9 Mistakes that Could Seriously Damage Your Timepiece

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Mistakes that Could Seriously Damage Your Timepiece

For many watch-wearers, a watch is simply an extension of you. Where you go, your watch goes, too. It’s a part of you. While your timepiece might very well be tough as nails, it’s crucial to remember that it’s not actually an extra appendage. Your trusty timepiece requires a little extra care and consideration if you want it to last.

Unfortunately, many watch enthusiasts fall prey to common mistakes that can do a lot of damage to even the most durable watches. So, before your beloved accessory becomes yet another casualty, make sure you’re not committing any of these seemingly innocent, yet deadly mistakes.

9 Ways You May Be Hurting Your Watch and How to Avoid Them:

1. Neglecting Regular Care

Most of us wouldn’t let our cars go too long without giving them the care and maintenance they need in order to keep functioning properly. After all, you know that neglecting such a complex piece of machinery could lead to serious consequences and shorten the life of your vehicle substantially. Though much smaller and, in many ways, less complex, a watch and its mechanics also require regular TLC to keep it performing at its best.

How to Avoid Damage: Give your watch’s manual a thorough read-through. While many care tips apply across the board, not all watches are created equal. Make a note of the materials that make up your watch and clean each piece accordingly.

2. Turning the Hands Counterclockwise

We get it. When you get restless, those hands get fidgety. But be careful not to mistake your expensive wristwatch for a fidget spinner. You should only turn the crown and make adjustments when necessary, and always in the proper direction. Turning the hands counterclockwise on a vintage timepiece can cause irreparable damage to the inner mechanics. And while most modern watches feature safety mechanisms, it’s best to avoid counterclockwise movement.

How to Avoid Damage: Try to refrain from using your watch as a means of fidgeting. When making adjustments, make sure you’re turning the hands clockwise.

3. Making Adjustments Between 9:00 pm and 3:00 am

Yes, you read that right. Believe it or not, there is a time to adjust your watch and a time to leave alone. Most watches turnover their date and time functions at midnight, but the gears begin engaging in this process a couple of hours prior to midnight and remain engaged for some time after. Your watch’s manual should note the specific timeframe you’ll want to avoid.

How to Avoid Damage: Check your watch’s manual for specifics on its turnover operations and make any necessary adjustments during the day.

4. Over-Adjusting

When it comes to older or lower-quality mechanical watches, over-turning can damage–or even break–the mainspring. As your watch’s primary power source, the mainspring is no minor piece. Without a functioning mainspring, your ticker won’t be able to keep on ticking.

How to Avoid Damage: If you’re working with a manual timepiece, you’ll likely feel a bit of resistance after winding for a few seconds. When you feel that resistance, slow your turning to a gentle pace until the watch is fully wound (usually around 20-30 turns). After that, try to refrain from adjusting your watch unnecessarily.

5. Using the Chronograph Underwater

Chronographs are an awesome tool to have handy. However, before you start refereeing underwater races, make sure your timepiece is not submerged. Although your watch may be water-resistant, pushing the knob into the case while underwater can compromise the seal and allow water to leak in.

How to Avoid Damage: Refrain from using chronographs in or near water.

6. Subjecting Your Watch to Magnetization

Like most metals, the materials found inside your watch are subject to magnetization when closely exposed to objects with a magnetic field. This can include stereo speakers, clock radios, and laptops or other electronics with magnetic components. Over-exposure to magnets can cause your watch’s mechanics to seize or function unreliably.

How to Avoid Damage: Wearing your watch while using electronics such as phones, tablets, or laptops, or while listening to a stereo speaker is nothing to worry about. However, you should refrain from setting your watch against any magnetized object for an extended period of time.

7. Exposing Your Watch to Harsh Temperatures

Cold plunges. They’re all the rage right now. While they may be great for your body, they won’t be quite as helpful for your watch. Exposing your timepiece to extreme temperatures, such as ice baths or hot tubs, can damage its inner workings. Additionally, you should avoid any kind of sudden temperature change (like walking into freezing temperatures and then jumping into a jacuzzi), as it can wear down the watch’s seals and cause the metal to expand.

How to Avoid Damage: Even water resistant watches have their limits. Remove your watch before a soak in the jacuzzi or ice bath and cover it when in extreme temperatures.

8. Using Harsh Chemicals on or Near Your Watch

You probably don’t think twice before applying that spray-on sunscreen or bug spray, but if you’re wearing your watch, you may want to exercise a bit of caution. Chemicals and other solutions found in sunscreen, bug spray, cleaning products and more can tarnish your watch’s materials, stripping away that sleek shine.

How to Avoid Damage: Remove your watch while applying sunscreen or bug spray, and don’t wear it while working closely with other chemical solutions.

9. Not Storing Your Watch with the Proper Care

Throwing your high-end watch in the drawer of the bedside table or the one in the bathroom where you keep your toothpaste isn’t a great way to care for your valuable timepiece. Sliding around loosely, sitting on a dresser, and collecting dust, or getting covered with who-knows-what in the bathroom drawer can lead to unnecessary and completely avoidable wear and tear.

How to Avoid Damage: Invest in a watch case that will protect your trusty accessory from bumps and dust. If you’re in a pinch, you can always store it in the box you received it in.

Bonus Tip: Buy a Watch Without a Good Warranty

If you choose to buy a watch from an online shopping hub, it may or may not come with a warranty. And while that Prime Day deal might seem enticing, it may not end up being the best investment in the long run. Online marketplaces host a lot of unverified sellers, so it’s hard to know if you’re getting a reputable brand or where your product is coming from. Because these sellers have not been verified, even those that offer a warranty might not follow through if you experience a manufacturing issue with your new watch. Buy from verified, reputable sellers who offer a good warranty and always read the fine print before making a purchase.

Watches make a classy, thoughtful gift. A quality, durable timepiece can last decades and become a family heirloom when cared for properly. If you’ve invested in a high-end watch, take care to avoid these common damaging mistakes and your watch won’t skip a beat.

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