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To all horology enthusiasts out there, we’re posing a serious question: how are you taking care of your favorite mechanical timepieces?
True watch lovers know that there’s a world of difference in taking care of automatic, quartz, and mechanical timepieces. What sets a mechanical watch apart is its complex movement system. The watch is powered not by an external battery, but by the movement of its individual mechanical parts—the hundreds of little components inside it that enable a beautifully elaborate timekeeping function.
In order to keep this movement going, the watch wearer must physically wind the watch crown. After the winding process, energy is stored via the gear train and transmitted from the watch’s crown to its main spring. The spring will then uncoil to release the energy needed for timekeeping, and that energy is regulated by the watch’s balance wheel and spiral.
These kinds of watches are treasured by watch collectors for both their classic, elegant style and their functionality. For a good number of watch aficionados, a good timepiece is a treasure—akin to the investment one would put down for a car. And just like a great set of wheels, a watch will need constant care and attention. The true value of your watch includes maintenance costs and the cost of the special tools and accessories needed to keep it in working order.
What items will help a mechanical watch owner keep their watch in tip-top condition for the years to come? Here’s our definitive list of must-have tools and accessories for anyone who is serious about taking care of their mechanical watches.
An automatic watch winder
If the watch owner doesn’t wear their watch regularly, the watch’s energy will run out and it will cease its movement. Luckily, you have the option of getting an automatic watch winder that can keep your timepiece running. The most efficient and long-lasting automatic watch winders, powered by miniature DC motors, will ensure that your mechanical watch’s internal mechanism doesn’t jam, and thus, will continue to remain working like the fine piece of clockwork it is.
Watch boxes and watch rolls
With mechanical watches, your storage options matter. You’ll need to invest in durable storage and transporting solutions, especially if you own more than one mechanical timepiece. A good watch box or watch roll with a lock and padding will protect your watches from being scratched up or bumped around, and will also fulfill a security purpose. If you know you’ll need to be moving your watches from place to place, it’s indeed a great idea to purchase a good-quality watch box or watch roll.
Case back wrench
A case back wrench is the ultimate essential item for advanced quartz and mechanical watch owners. The tool can be used to safely remove the watch’s case back to diagnose a particular problem in the movement system.
Watch case vise
If you’re committed to doing a part of your watch’s maintenance yourself, you will also need a case vise. The watch case vise will position your watch firmly in place while you do maintenance or repair work. This helps reduce the risk of your watch’s case or crystal getting scratched.
A cleaning and maintenance kit
You should also keep special cleaning materials for your mechanical watch within easy reach. Watch cleaning can be as easy as wiping the watch’s face, case back, and band with a clean microfiber cloth so that you can remove the excess moisture and oils that have accumulated. For watches with leather straps, buy leather lotion that can clean the straps without discoloring or degrading the material. When in doubt, ask the manufacturer what products will best keep the watch looking sharp and ready for everyday use.
Serious owners of mechanical watches celebrate their longevity. Because it doesn’t depend on a battery, a mechanical watch’s timekeeping movement will live on for as long as it’s wound up and well maintained—and that could very well last for generations. The greatest virtue of a well-made and well-maintained mechanical timepiece is, in short, its timelessness.