13 Mechanical Watch Care Tips

April 12th, 2012 | 23 Comments

If you just bought a new mechanical watch, or if you have owned mechanical watches for years that always seem to break on you, here are some helpful guidelines to keep them running at their smoothest. Even with a great quality watch, it’s important to know the “do’s and don’ts” to maintain your good investment.

Replacing broken watches is more costly than some simple maintenance. If you follow some simple advice, you’ll get your time’s worth out of a great product.

Read on to learn more about:





Winding Your Manual Mechanical Watch

Tip 1: Wind Daily

If you have a manual mechanical watch that needs to be wound, you should do so daily. The watch will perform at its peak if it is fully wound, not if it is running low on energy.

Even if you don’t intend to wear the watch that day, it should still be wound in order to prevent the lubricants that help the gears run smoothly from congealing.

Tip 2: Wind Consistently

It is also recommended to wind the watch at the same time every day for consistency. As a good practice, it is probably best to wind your manual watch in the morning each day before use to ensure the highest quality performance.

Tip 3: Wind When It’s Off

If you do need to manually wind your mechanical watch, do so before putting it on your wrist. If you are wearing the watch as you try to turn the crown, you could end up putting unnecessary stress on the winding stem that will cause long-term damage.

When winding your watch, continue to twist until you feel resistance as the mainspring tightens. Once you feel resistance, stop! Any further strain can cause the mainspring to break.

No need to use a watch winder for your Orient watch, however, unless you have the hand winding, executive series pocket watch.

Orient watches have one of the most efficient auto-winding systems, according to the School of Horology:

Water Tips

Avoid water damage to your watch by following these rules of advice:

  • Tip 4: Avoid water, if your watch is not water-resistant.
  • Tip 5: Pay attention to specific instructions by your manufacturer about how much water pressure your watch handle, even if your watch is water-resistant.
  • Tip 6: If you wear a watch in the pool, while the water may not harm your watch, chlorine can still be damaging.
  • Tip 7: Do not pull on the crown of the watch while underwater, even if your watch is a diver watch or water-resistant. This will cause water to flood the inside of your watch.
  • Tip 8: Do not shower with your watch. Shampoo and soap can be harmful for the gears.
  • Tip 9: Seals to resist water can also crack over time, so just be careful and remember to schedule your regular maintenance.

What to Avoid

To keep your watch running at its best, avoid these harmful environmental factors:

Tip 10: Stay clear of strong magnetic fields. You could magnetize your watch inadvertently and cause erratic gear behavior. The watch may also stop entirely! Most modern-day mechanical watches have some magnetic resistance, but you should still be careful. If you have an older watch, it may be more at risk.

Tip 11: If you can avoid it, do not wear your watch in extreme temperatures. Moving between excessive hot and cold temperatures can cause the parts to expand or contract,which may cause damage to the whole unit. Keeping your watch in extreme heat for too long can also cause your watch’s lubricant to congeal, causing friction on the gears.

Tip 12: Just because a watch is “scratch-resistant” does not mean it is “scratch-proof.” Avoid harmful objects that can scratch your watch, as well as dirt and chemicals that can cause damage slowly over time. Avoiding dirt and chemicals will also prevent rusting.

TIP 13: Schedule Maintenance Regularly

Like any car, mechanical watches need regular cleanings and oil changes to continue running effectively. Sources on average recommend between 2-7 years for regular mechanical watch maintenance.

Watch manufacturers may provide their own recommendations on the maintenance needs of their products as well, so be sure to ask your manufacturer for specific concerns.

Pocket watches are more susceptible to dirt, so regular maintenance should be scheduled every two years.

Regular oil changes are necessary to prevent all of the parts from slowing and breaking. It is much easier to change the oil in a watch than repair or replace broken components, especially since parts might become outdated since the time of purchase. So to be safe, take your watch for regular maintenance every 2-4.

Think about it like your car. You wouldn’t want to wait to bring it to the shop until you bust your engine (trust me, it’s happened to me, and I had to get a whole new car!). Waiting until the last minute to repair and clean your watch could be extremely expensive.


  1. 23 Comments | Tell us what you think!

  2. By Frank In Miami on Sep 23, 2009

    Michele, all good recommendations. I would like to add that if your watch has a sapphire crystal it doesn’t mean you can abuse the crystal by carelessly banging it against anything. Sapphire can still scratch, although it takes much more effort to do so. But one problem with sapphire is that it has a greater propensity for shattering. So even with the scratch resistance advantage afforded by sapphire crystals, if you put a blow hard enough on the watch, you will shatter that baby to pieces, so be careful.

  3. By Anne Cooper on Sep 26, 2009

    I also have a mechanical watch. These recommendation are great and i will apply them. I love not having to buy batteries for my watch.

  4. By Jose J. Martinez on Sep 27, 2009

    Please tell me if the comment that is going around is true….that you take 50% off the first watch that is bought from you. What will the price be for an Orient ana-digi?

  5. By Kevin on Nov 20, 2009

    Great tips to remember. I myself have just begun collecting watches, and have found myself showing a particular interest towards mechanicals.

  6. By jeremy on Nov 21, 2009

    Thank you for the great cleaning tips…
    as an avid watch collector I like to keep up on well.. up keep for all kinds of watches

  7. By Bin on Nov 23, 2009

    Thanks for the great tips.
    Where is the good place to have the regular maintenance?

  8. By Tom Nicholas on Jan 8, 2010

    Love my mechanical pocket watch. Thanks for the great advice.

  9. By Steven on Jan 16, 2010

    My Girlfriend just bought me an automatic mechanical watch and it’s nice to know how often to get it cleaned and oiled thanks alot

  10. By Christopher on Feb 6, 2010

    I have a self winding watch that I always wore in the shower, I never maintained it. Eventually the seals failed and the crystal fogged (which I found out later was because the soap water found its way past the seals). Now I have been listening to the tips on this website – and never a problem with the watch! Great tips, one should listen to them.

  11. By roy payton on May 21, 2010

    I have a Douboule and I can not find any instruction as to how to set the moon, date, month, etc. Has two buttons as well as the winder stem. Any help appreciated

  12. By Barry Stanley on Feb 11, 2011

    been searching for 2 days to find info on replacing broken winder . cant find anything. any suggetions graefully reeived. many thanks

  13. By james on Mar 29, 2011

    @Barry Stanley

    Try Amazon.com. They have a number of different winders.

  14. By Rocco DeRosa on Aug 5, 2011

    I have a 1940′s Gruen Curvex that keeps perfect time face up on the dresser and loses 12 minutes per hour when I wear it. Jeweler claims there’s nothing wrong. Obviously there is. Diagnosis, suggestions…
    Many thanks.

  15. By mike on Aug 30, 2011

    There is not a better watch on the market today.When quality counts and time is a must, you cant do any better.

  16. By Clint on Aug 31, 2011

    Is there any issues with keeping automatic watches in a watch winder when their not being worn? You caution about over-winding, but I thought most modern automatics have fail-safes against that sort of thing…
    I was planning on building a display case for my collection using a group of individual winders, one for each watch so the date is always on an the time is always close, but now you have me scared.

  17. By Thomas on May 21, 2012

    Perfect tips. Good for anyone wearing an automatic/mechanical. Rocco, it sounds like your watch needs to be re-timed and/or your balance wheel looked at.

  18. By Scott on Jun 8, 2012

    Can you take those cheap chinese watches and have them cleaned and stuff? A friend of mine got me one when he was in Hong Kong and its actually pretty nice, though I have nothing to compare it to, always had quartz watches before.

  19. By Brian Lim on Nov 2, 2012

    Some mechanical watch comes with power reserve
    Indicator if you are worried about over winding.:)

  20. By Rudy Margiotti on Dec 11, 2012

    Great tips, I have several mechanical watches and I thought I was taking proper care of them. Reading your tips I’ve learned a lot and will put your suggestions to good use. Needless to say, I didn’t know exactly the proper method to keep my watches in good repair. Thanks,again!

  21. By radhwen on Jan 2, 2013

    Perfect tips. Good for anyone wearing an automatic/mechanical

  22. By alanxie2006 on Apr 12, 2013

    Nice tips for mechanical watches! If for quartz watch care, see what i posted on my website.Thank you! alanxie2006

  23. By Paul on Jul 27, 2013

    As a retired motor mechanic now interested technically in watches and there is a lot to know and understand. There are many accurate ETA 7 jewel quartz watches in my collection for study, however batteries are a problem for the environment worldwide. Surely an automatic watch with a well made spring to store energy which is self sustaining and self contained is the more advanced achievement. If such a watch is plus or minus a few seconds per day should this really be a concern for the average person, I think not.

  24. By Allen4You on Nov 19, 2013

    Thanks for the share.The shared tips are very great.

23 comments | Tell us what you think!