The most common watch issues and how to avoid them.
Caring for a watch whether new or old is quite simple though there are some common issues we take in for repair very often that can be easily avoided.
1. Changing the date on a quick set watch.
When the date changes naturally (hour hand passes 12) a date wheel is engaged, this often occurs between 10pm and 2am the next day. If you attempt to set the date while the wheel is already engaged this can damage the wheel and cause your date not to change. Luckily this isn’t usually an expensive or complex repair and doesn’t apply to all watches but it’s sensible to consider this when setting the date.
2.Shaking an automatic watch.
I’ve had a number of people requesting a repair as the power reserve on their automatic watch is not good. The first thing I ask is ‘do you manually wind it a little before wearing?’The answer is usually ‘no’. It’s not essential to wind an automatic and some watches like vintage Seikos do not even have a wind option. It’s a good idea though to give a watch a few winds first so it has some initial power, the rotor will then keep it topped up while being worn.
3. Setting the watch anti-clockwise.
This is a commonly done and most of the time won’t harm the watch however most watches aren’t designed to go backwards so my advice is to take another 10 seconds and set it clockwise.
4. Removing the case back with the wrong tools.
A lot of case backs I see have very deep scratches caused by blunt knives. A blunt knife will likely slip and scratch the case back and if you are successful it’s possible you’ll damage the gasket ring meaning your watch is no longer water resistant. I would not discourage people from changing their own batteries or checking the movements but get the right tools and get it pressure tested if used in water.
5. Leaving an old battery in the watch.
Without a doubt the most common problem I see is a contact that has turned a brownish green rusty colour because an old battery has been left in it for a long time. Old batteries have a tendency to leak and ruin watch movements. If your watch battery runs out it’s wise to get the old battery replaced or at least removed. (Even if you don’t wear it anymore).
Even with good care watches will inevitably need periodic maintenance though these tips will prevent avoidable trips to the watch doctor!