The Movement
The movement is the part of the watch which keeps track of the time. Hence, it is important to protect the movement so that the watch is still useful! Every luxury watch is different, and has different requirements to protect the movement; this is why every watch comes with its own guide outlining proper use and care.

Here are some general rules:

Servicing – A watch that is worn daily should be professionally cleaned and serviced once a year; one that is worn occasionally can be serviced every three years. Dust inside the movement and lack of sufficient grease have ruined many a good watch.

Water Resistance – Check the manual to see how water resistant your watch is. Is it okay to wear your luxury watch in the shower? While swimming? Make sure you find out before getting your watch wet. If you are concerned that you might have gotten your watch too wet, don’t wait to see if it stops working! Take it ASAP to a watch repair shop to check. They can open up the watch and dry it out and check to see if there has been any damage. Remember that salt water can be corrosive to some watches, make sure to check what the instruction booklet says regarding salt water.

Shock – If you plan to wear your watch while running or engaging in other high impact/shock activities, check to make sure that your watch can withstand the shock. Another type of shock that your watch may be sensitive too is electric shock. Most watches cannot withstand a high electric field, even when the electric field is generated by static electricity. Check the instruction manual if you plan on being in an area with a high electric field. Household appliances shouldn’t pose any threat to your watch – so long as you don’t drop it down the garbage disposal by accident!

Temperature – Some watch movements are sensitive to extreme temperatures; they might show inaccurate time in cold temperature, or, if they are quartz, may have shortened battery life in excessively hot temperatures.

The Watch Crystal – (This is the glass which covers the face.)

Luxury watches have either tempered mineral glass watch crystals, or watch crystals made from synthetic sapphire.

Mineral glass watch crystals are the typical watch crystal for a standard, or a low-end luxury watch. Outwardly, they are indistinguishable from synthetic sapphire watch crystals; however, they scratch much more easily, though not as easily as non-tempered glass or the plexiglass used in non-luxury watches. If your watch watch crystal is made from mineral glass, you should be especially careful to keep your watch away from keys, tools, coins, and anything else which may scratch it. Store your watch in a soft cloth or in the case which was provided to you upon purchase. Mineral glass can also shatter, so make sure you don’t drop it or allow it to get any heavy hits.

The highest quality watches use synthetic sapphire, which is one of the hardest substances on earth. These crystals will sometimes be marked “scratch resistant”, because they are so hard that they are very difficult to scratch. Synthetic sapphire has a rating of nine on the Mohs hardness scale; therefore, only materials with a higher score will cause scratches. Diamonds have a hardness of ten, so be careful around them. Also, there is a man-made compound called silicon carbide which is used in simulated-stone surfaces for walls and furniture. These surfaces have a Mohs hardness ranging between nine and ten, so you should be careful around such surfaces as well. Unfortunately, the hardness of synthetic crystal also makes it more brittle than mineral glass. Make sure that you don’t drop your watch or allow it to get a heavy hit.

The Casing

Scratches – High-end luxury watches are either made from surgical grade stainless steel, or from gold. The first is extremely strong and hard, the latter is softer, but they can both get scratched. To protect your watch when you are not wearing it, store it in a soft cloth or in the box that came with it. Keep it away from keys and other jewelry, especially diamonds. When wearing your watch, avoid using tools which may damage it. These tips will also help protect your watch band.

Chemicals – Chemicals, solvents and gases can cause deterioration, discoloration, and other damage to your casing and watch band. If they enter the watch, they can also destroy the face and/or the movement.

Special Care for the Watch Band

As I was reminded when my husband lost his relatively expensive watch due to a band which he knew needed to be replaced, the watch band is just as important as the watch. Not only is the band aesthetically important, but it defines the comfort of the watch, and (as we learned the hard way) serves the functional purpose of holding the watch in place. Luxury watches may have bands made from steel, gold, or fine leathers.

Metal – Some luxury watch bands are made from steel or gold. These are formed by a number of links which are connected so that the band is flexible. These bands require the same treatment as the casing, although they should be rinsed occasionally to wash out any sweat and dirt which may have accumulated.

Leather – A quality-made leather watch band will last for many years, regardless of the type of leather from which it is made. Properly tanned and treated leather can be worn in the pool or in the sea (although you should check to see if it is okay to wear your watch in water/saltwater). After swimming rinse the band with lukewarm water to remove any chemicals or salt from the leather. Let it dry on your hand or at room temperature. You should wash your band periodically for general hygiene purposes as well. If you put it in a particularly warm place to dry, it may dry too quickly; this can diminish the quality of the leather. To protect your leather band from scratches, follow the tips discussed earlier on protecting your casing and your band.

Your Watch Manual
Take good care of your watch manual too! This is only a general guide and you should check your watch manual for specific instructions and warnings for your unique watch. If you care for your watch properly your great-great-grandson just may be wearing your watch to keep track of “earth time” when he is exploring space in the 22nd century.

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