When the Weather Outside is Frightful: The Dos and Don’ts of Winter Watch Care

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The Dos and Don’ts of Winter Watch Care

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Neighborhoods are aglow with colorful lights, parking lot tree farms are popping up on every street corner, and Mariah Carey has defrosted to grace the department stores with your favorite holiday tunes. The mountains are blanketed in white. Scarves are a must. And gripping the ice-cold steering wheel with teeth chattering on your way to work each morning might have you considering a move to the Bahamas.

Ahhh, winter. For many, it’s a love/hate kind of thing. And for those of us who have the pleasure of living far from the equator, winter can mean a little more work and effort to keep things running smoothly. The boat needs to be winterized. The water needs to stay at a slow drip to keep pipes from freezing. The snow tires must go on. With all the additions to your daily to-do list, it can be easy to forget that your watch needs special attention during the chillier months, too.

Don’t worry; you won’t need to winterize your timepiece or insulate it with a chunky wrist scarf, but there are a few things you should keep in mind while wearing your watch during the winter. Let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts of winter watch wear.


Keep Your Watch Protected from the Elements

While many watches these days are built to withstand colder temperatures and moisture, it’s still a good idea to keep them from too much exposure to excessive cold, wind, and snow. During the winter months, try to keep your watch beneath your sleeve to give it a layer of protection. And if, for some reason, you’re going to be elbows deep in snow for an extended period of time, you might want to leave the watch inside.

Be Careful with Temperature Changes

If you wear glasses, you know the feeling all too well. You’ve just spent the last thirty minutes shoveling snow and clearing the windshield. You even salted the walkway. The work is done. You head inside, where the heater is working overtime, and a cozy fire is crackling in the fireplace. Cozy, right? If only you could see through the fog on your glasses.

When glass experiences drastic changes in temperature, such as going from cold to hot, it’s normal for moisture to appear on the surface. The same can happen with watches. Those two layers of glass that make up the face can also fog up with temperature changes. Usually, this is nothing to worry about. However, if you notice that the inside of your watch face is retaining moisture, take your watch to a repair shop. You’ll want to have things examined before the mechanics have time to rust or experience water damage.

Check Your Watch’s Manual

Some timepieces, like dive watches, military tactical watches, or tough sports watches, are made to withstand extremely low temperatures. In fact, unless you live in the Arctic, you may never experience temperatures lower than your watch can handle. However, chilly climates can affect the lubrication of your watch’s mechanics, as well as the battery. Give your watch’s manual a thorough read-through so that you can better understand how to avoid and troubleshoot these kinds of issues and see what kinds of temperatures your watch is built to handle.

Wind it Frequently

Extreme temperatures can cause watch movements to fluctuate, so check it frequently and rewind for accuracy as needed.


Wear Your Watch In Below Zero Temperatures for Long Periods of Time

Even if your watch is made to withstand harsh winter weather, no accessory (or person, for that matter) should be exposed to frigid temperatures for too long. Keep in mind that while your watch warranty covers manufacturer malfunctions, it will not cover mechanics that have been damaged for weather-related reasons.

Take it in the Hot Tub or Sauna

Whether you’ve spent the day shoveling snow or climbing Mount Everest, nothing hits the spot quite like a soak in the hot tub. Or maybe that sauna at the gym sounds especially enticing after your daily workout. You deserve to take a load off and relax. But before you take that load off, you’ll want to take your watch off. Just like extreme cold can pose a problem for your timepiece, so can extreme heat. And if your hot tub is outside, you’ll risk exposing your watch to massive swings in temperature.

Watches Have Limits Too

A good watch is built to last. But even the strongest watches (like people) can only handle so much cold. So, while you enjoy that winter wonderland, keep that trusty accessory in mind. By avoiding extreme temperatures and temperature changes, keeping it covered, and having a clear understanding of just how much it can handle, you’ll ensure the longevity of your watch for many winters to come.



During the colder months, taking good care of your watch is essential. You don't necessarily have to winterize or cover it with a thick wrist scarf, but there are certain things you should keep in mind while wearing it in winter. Check out this infographic to learn more.

4 Winter Care for Watches Infographic
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