December 05 2019
Mechanical watches are designed to last a lifetime, and if taken care of they can last multiple lifetimes. Normal wear and tear from everyday wear is expected with watches, which is why it is recommended to service them every 5-7 years. While these mechanical watches are designed to withstand normal wear, they are still very easily damaged, requiring extensive (and expensive) repairs, in a few very simple ways.
Everyday Ways to Damage Your Watch
One of the easiest, and possibly the most common way to damage your watch is to drop it. Damage can come from a short drop or from a greater height, depending on the landing surface and how the watch falls. Any time the watch slams against a hard surface, it can potentially cause damage, this includes when it is being worn and collides with something hard.
To prevent dropping the watch, carefully remove it from your wrist or case and keep it away from ledges. If you’re planning on wearing the watch while potentially running into walls or other hard surfaces, maybe consider taking it off first.
Improper Watch Storage
Storing the watch properly also can help keep the watch ticking and avoiding damage. Keeping the watch in extreme heat or cold can cause damage to the movement and gaskets. A quick transfer from excessive hot and cold temperatures can cause parts to expand and contract. This can lead to water vapor entering the dial and movement and causing damage. Heat can especially dry out the lubricant, or cause it to congeal, creating friction on the gears.
Keeping your watch in room temperature environments and gradually changing the extreme environmental situations is ideal. If you know your watch will be in extreme temperatures, make sure it has had a proper servicing to check the gaskets for a tight seal.
Setting Functions Wrong
Incorrectly setting the functions on your watch can also cause damages to the movement and gears. Setting the date during the “danger zone” period can cause a misalignment of the date window and broken parts in the movement. The danger zone of watch setting is between the hours of 9pm and 3am. During this time the gears are in movement to switch the date.
If the date window is misaligned, you may begin to see the date change early or even after midnight rather than right when the watch hits 12am. Refer to the watch instruction manual for safe times and safe date changing procedures.
The functions aren’t limited to only date changing. Improperly setting any complication on the watch can cause damages to the movement. Additionally, setting the time backwards rather than forwards can damage the mainspring.
Cross-threading the Crown
Another way to damage the crown, other than pulling it at the wrong angle, is when you are threading it back in. Not all watches have a screw down crown but if yours does, be cautious when closing it. The crown can become jammed and cause permanent damage.
A crown that is slightly out of alignment can allow water to get into the movement and dial, causing further damage. To avoid cross-threading and jamming the crown, take your time while screwing it back in, avoiding force. Rotate the crown forward and backward until you feel the crown engage, then screw it in gently. Crowns typically rotate 1.5 full turns and could be up to three. Be careful of screwing the crown too tightly, it could also become impossible to unscrew!