How to care for your luxury watch according to the experts

Beaverbrooks shares expert tips on how you should be looking after your wristwatch, from cleaning to service intervals

Zenith LVMH Watch Week
(Image credit: Zenith)

A luxury watch is worn every day and can last an entire lifetime (and beyond, if you choose to pass it down to future generations). 

They’re often filled with personal stories and bought for sentimental reasons, whether that's to celebrate a wedding, milestone birthday, new job, or graduation.

Of course, the best watches are also incredibly accurate instruments, carefully crafted by watchmakers for supreme performance.

There’s good reason to look after your watch and keep it ticking for as long as possible, so, watch expert, Bruce Andrews, at Beaverbrooks, has put together key tips on how to care for your watch. 

Below are Bruce's expert tips:

Clean your watch as often as possible

The first one is fairly simple: clean your watch. Cleaning your timepiece will keep it looking showroom fresh, but remember, be gentle, and if you've got a scouring brush out you've gone too far.

Here are Beaverbrooks' recommendations:

  • Use a soft, slightly damp cloth to clean metal watch cases and bracelets
  • Avoid getting leather straps wet, as moisture can damage the appearance of the strap 
  • Don’t immerse your watch in hot water. Even if your watch is water-resistant, hot water can damage the gaskets
  • Diamond embellishments can be gently scrubbed with a soapy brush and rubber straps can be immersed in soapy water 

Service your watch regularly

The general guidelines are around every two to three years for a mechanical watch, and three to four for quartz, however, the frequency with which Beaverbrooks would recommend servicing your watch will depend upon the brand as well as your own personal use.

Avoid magnets

This is a tricky one, as there are magnets in literally everything nowadays, from microwaves to the clasp of a backpack.

Avoid leaving any other watch near strong magnetic fields like speakers, refrigerators, mobile phones, or magnets on handbags. A watch can stop working at 60 Gauss, and to put it in perspective, the magnet on a fridge door is 50 Gauss.

If you have an Omega Master Chronometer then you can ignore this tip. These watches can't be magnetised, and are tested by being placed next to the biggest magnet on earth.

Know your watch’s water resistance

Here's a guide to water resistance:

  • 3 ATM / 30m: Splashproof and waterproof in small amounts of water.
  • 5 ATM / 50m: Can be submerged in water. Suitable for shallow swimming.
  • 10 ATM / 100m: Suitable for swimming, snorkelling and water sports.
  • 20 ATM / 200m: Ideal for scuba diving.
  • 30 ATM / 300m and over: Professional and deep-sea diving.

Remember, though, the water resistance of your watch may not be permanent as over time the seal may be affected by wear or accidental shock to the crown. 

Beaverbrooks recommends you have the seals of your water-resistant watch tested annually.

Protect the crystal

An obvious tip, maybe, but avoid banging the crystal of your watch against a wall or any other objects that may cause scratches.

Store your watch safely

Beaverbrooks claims that when not wearing your watch, it's best to keep it in the box it came in. If you lay down the watch on its side or on the crystal, it could get scratched.

If your watch has an automatic movement, a watch winder is the perfect place to keep your timepiece safely stored. Designed to keep your watch ticking away when you’re not wearing it, these WOLF Watch Winders not only look luxurious, but keep your watch healthy.

You can check out the best watch winders and best watch rolls here.

Avoid extended exposure to sunlight

Prolonged time in direct sunlight can fade the colours on your watch -- especially if it's a vintage watch.

Heat can also shorten the battery life of a quartz watch, so it’s best to prevent your watch from being placed in direct sunlight.

Avoid contact with chemicals 

Are you a frequent visitor to T3's best men's fragrances and best perfumes guide? Well, we've got bad news, fragrances can damage leather straps, weakening them and potentially causing them to tear. 

When spraying perfume or cologne, let it completely dry before placing the watch on your wrist.

Don’t open the watch by yourself

Unless you’re very experienced with watches and know exactly what you're doing! Opening the watch will expose it to dust, dirt and other particles that can get inside the movement and damage it, so think twice!

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Spencer Hart
Style and Travel Editor

As the Style and Travel Editor at T3, Spencer covers everything from clothes to cars and watches to hotels. Everything that's cool, stylish, and interesting, basically. He's been a part of T3 for over seven years, and in that time covered every industry event known to man, from CES and MWC to the Geneva Motorshow and Baselworld. When he's driving up and down the country in search of the greatest driving roads, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or testing the latest fragrances.