Take Care of Your Baby!

So, you’ve purchased that top quality watch you always promised yourself. What happens now? Do you just put it on your wrist day after day and just keep blatantly waving your arms in front of the face of everyone you meet in the hope that they will notice it and fall over in a fit of envy?! Well, keep reading and find out what you should be doing to keep that treasured timepiece in tip-top condition. Yes, you need to take care of your baby!

Firstly, after first acquiring your new watch, it is recommended that you wear it every day for at least two weeks. It’s a hard life, isn’t it?!


Yes, winding your baby! That does not mean expelling the wind, as you would do with a human baby, but refers instead to the mechanical winding of your watch.

First things first, you should wind your watch prior to setting the hands.

The winding will then differ according to whether you own a hand-wound or automatic watch.

With a hand-wound, you should be winding it slowly, carefully and regularly, ideally first thing every morning. When you feel resistance, don’t get all manly and try to push through! STOP! You have now wound it enough and carrying on now can only cause damage.

Also, take it off first. Not only is it very awkward to achieve the required winding motion, it also can put unnecessary strain on the mechanisms. Plus, you look like an idiot trying to roll your finger underneath the watch crown as though you are trying to relieve a rather nasty skin complaint!

If you are wearing your automatic watch every day and then taking it off at night, there should really be no need to wind it manually at all. That is, after all, the purpose of an automatic watch!

However, there may be times when you haven’t worn it for a while and it has stopped. Oh no, what to do? If your watch is of the cheaper variety and doesn’t have a manual winding facility, try swinging it in an arc for a minute or two, whilst contemplating why you didn’t just spend that little bit extra!

If, on the other hand, your automatic watch does have manual winding capability, bypass the previous section and proceed to wind said timepiece. Count how many times you are turning the crown. Thirty to forty should guarantee the optimum torque. Your normal bodily motion should then be sufficient to keep the watch ticking along nicely, providing you stay alive and keep moving!

Setting the Date

I am presuming here that you have a date function on your watch (if not, please feel free to skip this section).

There will, generally, be three positions for the crown for setting the date function: in, out and…no, not shake it all about, that is a definite no, no! In, out (one click) and out (two clicks).

Out with one click is for setting the date, whilst out with two clicks is for setting the time.

My advice when setting the date would be carefully and slowly. Fast is not always good – men take note! You can easily cause damage to the fragile components, so be careful and I would advise always doing so in a clockwise direction, unless your watch specifically allows for the opposite.

For those with an even more technologically advanced watch, i.e. those with a ‘quickset’ feature, DO NOT set the rapid date between the hours of 8:00pm and 04:00 am, as this can cause serious damage, so don’t do it, right!

Wetting the Baby’s Head!

What happens if my watch gets wet? Well, how wet is wet?

The answer, of course, depends on how wet your watch was actually designed to get!

My article on water resistance will give you further information, but there are some general guidelines you should also follow:

  • Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water, e.g. baths or showers, as the heat can distort the seals, even for a fully depth-rated watch. So, holding it over a boiling kettle is probably not a good idea either!
  • Avoid soaps and detergents, as this can also damage the seals. Soap will break down the surface resistance of the water, allowing it to attack the seals.
  • Before swimming, ensure that the crown is pushed in completely.
  • After a dip in the swimming pool, rinse your watch thoroughly in fresh, cold water to get rid of all that nasty chlorine.
  • The same goes for the sea and salt water – not good!
  • Extremes of temperature are not good either, so if you are showing off your new watch to your mates down at the health club, don’t wear it in the sauna, then go all macho and jump in the ice-cold plunge pool whilst wearing it. You are likely to end up with your mates laughing as your watch disintegrates before their eyes. OK, slight over-exaggeration there, but you get the point?!

Tougher than they look!

That is what people always say about babies, right? Well, that doesn’t mean you should test that to the limits!

Yes, I know your brand new watch says that it is shock-proof. But, my advice would be, do not hit it with a sledgehammer, run over it with your car, or drop it from the top of the nearest skyscraper just to test out this particular feature of your watch!

Take the manufacturers word for it that the watch is able to withstand reasonable amounts of shock. Just think Hallowe’en! A five year old with a white sheet draped over them yelling boo might well give you a mild scare, but you wouldn’t find a real-life axe murderer so funny, would you?!

Make sure the watch fits you properly. Having the bracelet several sizes too big is not cool. It just means that it is flapping about in the wind, causing minor shocks every time it does so.

Finally, we come to magnets. We all love playing with magnets, right? OK, just me then! Anyway, whilst most watches are anti-magnetic to some degree, only specialist watches can withstand high-powered magnetic fields. So, if you are working with nuclear-strength magnets, use one of your two heads and take your watch off first!

Straps and Glass

No, not some kind of punishment, but the very thing that holds our new watch to our wrist!

If you have a stylish leather strap, you want it to keep looking it’s best. Here are some tips:

    • Quality leather watch straps could be made of calf leather, crocodile leather, lizard leather, ostrich leather, even shark leather. All rather smelly animals! Seriously, though, the strap can develop an unpleasant odour once it has been worn for a fair length of time. It is, therefore, important to keep it clean and dry.
    • Use a toothbrush with a little bit of soapy water to scrub the strap. Then promptly wipe it dry with a clean cloth. Do not leave the soapy water to soak into the leather.
    • Don’t keep fiddling with the buckle. This will not only weaken the clasp itself, but also can damage the leather eyes in the strap.
    • Get yourself some quality leather balsam to protect the leather.

  • Minor scratches in Plexiglass can be removed with a bit of spit and polish.
  • If, however, your new watch has sapphire glass, then you would be particularly unlucky to get a scratch on it, as they are scratch resistant to all but diamonds. So, keep them away from the prising hands of your diamond-clad trophy wife!

Regular Check-ups

Like all the things we hold dear, we want them to last as long as possible, don’t we?

Well, watches are no different. They need to be looked after and that means servicing.

As a general rule, for quality timepieces, a service every three to four years should be sufficient. This can, of course, change should you be experiencing any issues with your watch.

What is important, though, is that you only use an official agent for your brand. I am quite sure that Honest John down at your local market would be significantly cheaper, but give your beloved new Rolex to him and one or more of the following could happen:

  1. You never see him or your watch again
  2. Your new Rolex looks somewhat different, but you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you pay him anyway and go on your merry way. It’s only when your skin starts turning green that you realise that your Rolex has been swapped for a Rolox, or something similar!
  3. Your Rolex is returned looking as good as new, much to your delight. Doesn’t work, though! Honest John has butchered the mechanics.

In Conclusion

There is nothing like a new addition to the family. To love, to cherish, to show off to your friends, to keep in a box in a dark, dry room! Woah, calm down, I’m talking about watches here – it’s a watch blog, remember!

Look after your new watch and it will give you hours (pun intended) of pleasure for many, many years to come. It can even be handed down to your loved ones when you clock off! Alright, stop it now!

This article has 8 Comments

  1. This article is very useful to me as I just got a $500 Tissot automatic watch! I forget to wear it some days because I forget it exists and it is now like 5 days off. I have just given up and left it like that and just adjust the time. I’m not sure if my watch allows me to change the date manually other than turning the hands over and over again. Anyway, it seems like you really know your stuff about watches! I’ll be sure to check out your other articles.


  2. Wow, what thorough write up about watches. Do you have any advice on how to find a good watch repair person for your brand? I’ve got an Omega Speedmaster which is about 15 years old and while it still looks great, it loses about 2-3 minutes/day. I haven’t been able to find somebody I trust that can do the work. Appreciate any advice you have. Thanks!

    1. Mike – I would advise that you contact an Omega dealer in your area. You can locate one here.
      They should be able to help you with advice and/or repair.
      Thank you for your comments.


  3. David, I truly appreciate your information on caring for our watch. Unfortunately, for the most parts my watches are the cheap ones you pick up in Walmart. I, however, own 2 fossils, do they count as watches to be maintained? All the best.

    1. Josephine – how much you care for and maintain your watches depends on how much you value them.
      Thank you for stopping by.


  4. Hi David!

    Looks like you really know your stuff about watches! This was very interesting to read; it’s a nice reminder of making sure that you take care of things so that they will last as long as you would like them to.

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