The 12 Rules of Vintage Watch Care

Vintage watch with arabic numerals


  1. A mechanical watch needs to be wound to show the correct time. Unless wound, it will stop ticking.
  2. While a fully wound watch will keep ticking longer, take care not to overwind it! Turning the crown past the point where resistance builds up, may cause the main spring to break.
  3. Do not wind the watch while wearing it! You may accidently exert a sideways pulling force to the crown while doing so.
  4. If not worn for an extended period, wind the watch at least once a week to prevent degradation of the lubricating oils.
  5. Always set the time clockwise.
  6. Do not set the date while the hour hand is pointing “upwards” between 9 and 3 o’clock.
  7. For chronographs, make sure you know and follow the manufacturer’s recommendation in terms of how to operate the chronograph. Some chronographs should not be reset unless first stopped.
  8. A vintage watch should not be considered waterproof, even a vintage diving watch. This is due to ageing of the case back gasket and seals around any pushers. Keep it away from any source of moisture and do not wear it in the shower, while washing up dishes, or in heavy rain.
  9. Avoid splitting wood, playing tennis, or performing any other activity that may cause shocks to the movement of the watch.
  10. Keep the watch away from any source of magnetism, such as speakers, TV sets, or your iPad.
  11. Acrylic crystals will inevitably scratch but can easily be polished using a cloth and the inexpensive polish Polywatch.
  12. It is generally recommended that your watch should be serviced by a qualified watch maker every five years, or as soon as you experience a reduction in the power reserve.