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Six things you should never do with your watch

Tips to keep your timepiece in top-notch shape

Celine SimonMar 7, 2022

Like any other luxury good, caring properly for your fine timepiece is a big part of extending its life. While high-end watches are built to last, this is entirely dependent on how the owner treats it. Aside from the obvious no-nos, such as dropping it or knocking it too hard against a doorframe, there are a few other things you should avoid if you want to keep your watch in top working order. Here are six things you should never do with your watch.

A Tudor Black Bay 58 in water
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy (Image courtesy of Tudor)

1. Don't submerge a watch underwater with the crown pulled out

One of the biggest enemies of a watch movement is moisture. Even a drop of water can wreak havoc on a movement. As such, most modern luxury watches have winding crowns that screw into the case to create a hermetic seal. Screw-down crowns offer better water resistance than pull-out crowns.

Regardless of the type of crown your watch has, you should never pull it out when the watch is submerged in water. Doing so will allow water to seep inside the watch and potentially damage the movement and dial. If you want to pull out the crown to set the time, date, or other functions (or to wind the watch), first make sure you’re on dry land and no water is near your watch.

Tudor Black Bay Chrono (Image courtesy of Tudor)

2. Don't activate chronograph pushers underwater

Chronographs are watches that include a stopwatch function. They generally include two chronograph pushers flanking the winding crown — the top one to start and stop the chronograph hand and the bottom one to reset the hand back to zero.

You should never press these buttons while underwater since (similar to pulling out the crown) that would allow water to seep into the watch.

Rolex Datejust 36 (Image courtesy of Rolex)

3. Don't set your watch while you’re wearing it

Setting a watch while wearing it is a mistake people frequently make. After all, it’s common to only realize that you need to adjust the time or date (or wind the movement) after you put on the watch. However, this can be risky since the winding stem can snap if you apply too much pressure, which can happen while the watch is on your wrist. This is especially true with older or vintage watches.

It’s always safer to remove the watch from your wrist before making any adjustments.

It’s always safer to remove the watch from your wrist before making any adjustments. And if you want to be super careful, place something soft under your watch (like a plush towel) to soften the landing in case it slips out of your hands.

Rolex Sky-Dweller (Image courtesy of Rolex)

4. Don't adjust any complications during the red zone

While it may vary from model to model, it’s best to avoid making any adjustments to your watch — such as setting any calendar functions — between the hours of 9 P.M. to 3 A.M. This is often referred to as the red zone or danger zone because the gears that change the calendar displays often engage a few hours prior to and after midnight. Therefore, any manual adjustments made by the wearer during this time can mess with the mechanics of the watch, which can cause a pricey trip to the service centre to get things back in order.

If you want to change any calendar settings between these hours, first change the time to a safe one (for example, 06:30) then go ahead and make the calendar adjustments. Once you’re done, reset the hands back to the actual time and you’re ready to wear your watch.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean (Image courtesy of Omega)

5. Don't store your watch in high magnetic fields

Magnetism is another foe of watch movements. Magnetism can cause a mechanical watch movement to run too fast, too slow, or stop altogether. This would require a visit to a watchmaker to recalibrate the movement. And it’s not just x-ray machines that need to be avoided, many everyday objects can magnetize your watch: smartphones, tablets, computers, magnetic closures on handbags, speakers, and so on.

If the compass needle moves when it’s next to your watch, the watch has been magnetized.

So if you’re leaving your watch on your nightstand when you go to sleep (we highly recommend a watch box or watch winder for proper overnight storage), make sure that it’s not sitting close to anything that emits magnetic fields. A simple way to check if your watch has been magnetized is to put it near a compass. If the compass needle moves when it’s next to your watch, the watch has been magnetized.

It is worth noting that some brands offer anti-magnetic watches such as the Rolex Milgauss and newer METAS-certified Omega models. However, if you’re unsure if your watch is antimagnetic, the safer approach would be to keep it away from magnetic fields.

Breitling Endurance Pro Ironman

6. Don't keep a dead battery in your watch for long periods

What do you do when your quartz watch runs out of battery? Do you let it sit in a drawer for ages before dealing with it? If so, it’s time to rethink this approach. If a dead battery is left inside a watch for too long, the battery can leak acid into your watch, which can lead to irreparable (or costly) damage.

So, the next time you notice that your quartz watch has lost its juice, get the battery replaced as soon as possible.

Breitling Super AVI (Image courtesy of Breitling)

Bonus: Don’t pay over market value for your dream watch

It’s no secret that there are more than a few luxury watches that command higher-than-retail prices in the secondary market. It’s not uncommon to find certain models, such as Rolex sports watches, trading for two or three times their sticker price. Yet, despite this phenomenon with certain brands and models, there are still plenty of pre-owned luxury watches that can be found at discounted prices.

Even if you’re ready to pay more than retail for the watch of your dreams, don’t pay over market value. With luxxee, it’s easy to see what the going rate is for a specific luxury watch (whether a Rolex, Tudor, Omega, Breitling, or Cartier) across multiple reseller platforms. Simply search for the watch you want using luxxee’s powerful search engine and browse through all your options in one easy-to-compare spot. You’ll be surprised at the price differences offered by different sellers for the same watch.