Now that you own a well-crafted mechanical timepiece, it's time learn how to make it last! The convenience and sophistication afforded by a mechanical watch makes it easy to forget that it’s actually a delicate machine with moving parts. Dealing with any kind of machine requires maintenance, service, and care. Here are some tips to help your watch run smoothly for years to come:
For manually-wound watches, it’s recommended that you wind it up before strapping it to your wrist: By turning the crown while a watch is on your wrist, it increases the chance of you accidentally bending the stem. Also when winding a hand-wound watch, keep rotating the crown until you feel a slight resistance. That's an indication that it's time to stop.
For automatic watches, a few shakes should get it running. After putting the watch on your wrist, your natural movement should wind it up. Nearly all Orient movements sport a 40+ hour power reserve, so if you wear an Orient watch daily, you won’t have to worry about it stopping after you’ve taken it off. It's important to point out that a watch keeps time most accurately when wound at least halfway in its power reserve. While it is possible for an automatic watch to be over-wound, this occurs less in newer, modern watches.
Water is easily classified as a wristwatch’s worst enemy. The golden rule is to always make sure that the crown of your watch is pushed or screwed in when near water because if it isn’t, it is susceptible to moisture, regardless of its water resistance rating. Moisture will make quick work of the mechanical movement, and may even deteriorate the dial and hands. It might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the general definitions of resistance ratings: 30m is safe in the rain, 50m is suitable for swimming, and 100m/200m is great for skin diving and water sports (unless it is ISO-rated). It’s also not recommended that you wear your watch while you shower; the heat and the soap may damage the gaskets and compromise impermeability.
Unless you’re wearing an anti-magnetic watch like the M-Force Beast (which is ISO-rated for water, resistance, anti-magnetism, and shock), there is a possibility that your watch could be magnetized. While most of us don’t find ourselves regularly walking into a strong magnetic field, everyday items can put your watch at risk. Did you know that objects like speakers, microwaves, cell phones and tablets (especially with those magnetic cases) can do harm to your beloved timepiece? Magnetization generally causes a watch to gain time and run unreliably.
So, how do you keep your watch shiny and looking new? You could invest in a watch polishing kit, or you could go with the practical toothbrush and water technique (but try to avoid the dial!). Any kind of soft polishing cloth will do the trick for fingerprint smudges; And isopropyl alcohol is great for a deeper cleaning of the case and bracelet, especially if there is dirt build up around the lugs, the case back or the clasp.
In terms of servicing the actual movement of your watch, the rule of thumb is between 3 to 5 years. This will ensure that all the parts are clean, well-lubricated, and can last more than a lifetime - ready for the next generation!