Watch Guide and Maintenance
Mechanical Movements vs Quartz Movements
Quartz movements utilize the battery as the primary power source. When the battery sends a pulse of electrical current to the quartz crystal, the crystal oscillates in the frequency of 32,758 Hz in one second, which moves the second hand on the dial to next second or second digital number increased by 1 on the digital display.
Quartz watches are very accurate and require minimal maintenance except the battery replacement every 3 to 5 years. They are also inexpensive since they can manufactured in large volume due to simple movement parts comparing to mechanical watches.
There are two types of quartz watches in term of display. Quartz Digital Watches use a LCD to display digits of date and time. Quartz Analog Watches display date and time using hands on the dials similar to the mechanical watches. Today most watches sold on the market use quartz movements.
Mechanical Movements use the wound spring to store energy which is then released in a regulated fashion through a series of gears to power the watches. There are also two types of mechanical movements, manual movements and automatic movements.
Manual movements need to be wound manually by turning crown 20 to 30 cycles clockwise in the interval from 24 hours to about 8 days depending on the brands.
Automatic movements are automatically self-wound by the movements of the rotor which is caused by gravity on the weight of a rotor every time when the watch is moved or watch position is changed as long as the watch is worn. However, if the watch has not been worn for a extended time, then the watch needs to be wound manually in order to initialize the power and keep the timepiece functioning. For many watch collectors, it is impossible to wear all watches every day, then watch winder can be used to maintain running watches by simulating the watch movements when the is watch is not worn. Today most luxury watches use mechanical movements and are expensive comparing to watches using quartz movements.
How to identify if the watch uses mechanical movements or quartz movements?
By looking the second hand movements, if the second hand moves smoothly, then it is a mechanical watch. Otherwise, if the second hand moves from second to second, then it is a quartz watch. The mechanical watch ticks 5 time per second. The quartz watch ticks 1 time per second. That is why the movements of second hand of the mechanical watch appear smoothly.
Basic cleaning is a simple yet crucial way to prolong your watch’s life.
For non-water resistant watches, it’s best to follow a cleaning regimen not involving any moisture. Only use a dry cloth to wipe the surfaces of the watch.
For water resistant watches, use a soft damp cloth to wipe the watch glass, and later wipe off the moisture with a dry cloth. If your watch is WR 50+ meters, soapy water and a soft brush can be used as well. Jewelry cleaner is another option for cleaning, and you can also apply it by using a soft brush (perhaps a toothbrush).
Use leather cleaner and conditioner to wash leather bands.
Metal bands can easily be cleaned with a small soft brush and some soapy water. Alternatively, you can use a jewelry cleaning machine to clean the band (remove band beforehand).
These steps will prevent foreign contaminants from entering or scraping your watch.
Warning: For watches with date, avoid changing the date when your watch’s hour hand is between 9 and 3 o’clock as it may damage the gears.
Every time after you replace the battery, make sure to screw down or put the case back tightly in order to avoid water or moisture get into the case.
If your watch has a leather band, avoid exposing it to excessive amounts of moisture, oily substances or intensive light. These elements may damage the appearance of the band. Many chemicals found in detergents and cosmetics may damage the strap as well as other parts of the watch.
After swimming with any water resistant watch (or simply if your watch comes in contact with salt/chlorinated water), wash it with a soft cloth and fresh water.
Make sure the crown of the watch is tightly pushed in or screwed before engaging in activities involving water.
Have your watch’s water resistance evaluated by an expert every year or so.
Impacts/Shocks: Obviously, hard impacts or shocks to your watch may damage it, perhaps to an irreparable state, so it’s best to take off your watch during activities during which it’s likely to suffer an impact, such as certain sports.
Extreme Temperatures/Climates: Temperatures can either contract or expand the metal inside a watch, thus causing changes in the watch’s timekeeping abilities and accuracy. It’s recommended that you do not expose your watch to temperatures above 60ºC/140ºF, or below 0ºC/32ºF in order to prevent damage.
Magnets: Magnets can influence the inner workings of your watch, which may affect its speed. Be mindful toward your surroundings and make sure not to bring your watch too close to any magnetic objects in your vicinity.
30 m Water Resistance (also just called Water Resistance): This type of resistance is good for light splashes of water, but isn’t recommended for being under pressure. It’ll last in the rain or when you’re just washing your hands.
50 m Water Resistance: This kind of resistance is good for swimming or other athletic sports, but mainly in shallow waters. It cannot endure more strenuous activities such as scuba-diving or snorkeling.
100 m Water Resistance: A watch with this water resistance can last in slightly deeper waters and can withstand activities such as snorkeling but still cannot endure activities such as water-skiing or scuba-diving.
200 m Water Resistance: This resistance will allow for jet-skiing or other similar activities, however, it will still not endure the pressure of scuba-diving.
Diver’s Watch 200m: This resistance will endure the pressures of scuba-diving and most other water-related activities.
Do not operate the crown when under water. Do not test your watch at manufacture’s maximum water resistant limit since your water environment most likely will be different from the manufacture’s testing environment and could possible damage your watch.
When using a mechanical watch, it is important to wind the crown every day in order to store energy in a spring that powers the watch. There are two main types of mechanical watches: the manual movement Watch and the automatic watch.
Manual Movement: A full wind usually lasts around 40 hours. However, you should wind your watch daily, as when springs become more and more unwound, the accuracy of your watch may deviate as well. First, locate the crown and pull it out gently to expose the stem. Then, wind in the clockwise direction until it stops or you feel resistance, normally from 20 to 40 times. Do not keep on winding if you start feeling resistance as it may severely damage your watch. Once you have done this, push the crown in and revert the watch back to its normal state.
Automatic: An automatic watch can wind its own spring during the regular movement that usually accompanies daily wear. Wind it about every two weeks if you regularly wear it on your wrist each day. If you do not wear it daily, wind it about two times a week. Wind it the same you would with a manual movement watch.