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Learning Center

How Watches Work Glossary of Watch Terms Automatic Watch Maintenance
Find the Perfect Watch Sizing Your Watch Care & Cleaning
FAQs Buying Guide Water Resistance and Watches

Care & Cleaning has put together a few simple guidelines to help you care for your watch. Following these simple steps will help you ensure it’s long life.

  • Water-Resistant Versus Waterproof
  • Keeping Your Watch Dry
  • Caring for the Crystal
  • Metal Versus Leather Straps
  • Battery Replacement
  • Cleaning Your Watch
  • Servicing Your Watch
  • Automatic Watch Maintenance

    Water-Resistant Versus Waterproof
    A watch marked as water resistant without a depth indication is designed to withstand accidental splashes of water only.

    Do not submerge such a watch. Higher levels of water resistance are indicated by increasingly higher acceptable depths, usually indicated in meters.

    There are a variety of ways to make a watch water resistant. All such watches use rubber gaskets or "O" rings to seal the case back. A watch with a back that screws onto the case provides a higher degree of water resistance. Some crowns (the "winding stem") actually screw into the case to further increase water resistance.

    Usage Recommendations

    The following usage recommendations are suggested by the Seiko Corporation of America.

    • Water-resistant to 30 meters (100 feet). Will withstand splashes of water or rain but should not be worn while swimming or diving.
    • Water-tested to 50 meters (165 feet). Suitable for showering or swimming in shallow water.
    • Water-tested to 100 meters (330 feet). Suitable for swimming and snorkeling.
    • Water-tested to 150 meters (500 feet). Suitable for snorkeling.
    • Water-tested to 200 meters (660 feet). Suitable for skin diving.
    • Diver's 150 meters (500 feet). Meets ISO standards and is suitable for scuba diving.
    • Diver's 200 meters (660 feet). Meets ISO standards and is suitable for scuba diving.
    Please note that we do not recommend swimming or diving with your watch unless it has a screw-down crown (also known as ‘screw-lock’ or ‘screw-in’ crown) and is water-resistant to at least 100 meters.

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    Keeping Your Watch Dry
    Always make sure your watch is dry after it has been exposed to water. By taking a few minutes and thoroughly drying your watch with a lint-free cloth, you will prevent rust from forming. This is a key point in ensuring the long life of your watch.

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    Caring for the Crystal
    The crystal is the transparent part of the watch through which you tell time. As we discussed with water, a watch may have a scratch-resistant crystal, however no crystal is truly scratchproof. Therefore, it is not advisable that you toss your watch onto the dresser or into a drawer at the end of the day. It’s better for the watch to store or wrap it in a soft cloth before placing it down. The more care you take with the watch, the less scratches you will end up with. Replace broken or scratched crystals immediately. Even a hairline crack can let dust or moisture into the mechanism, threatening its accuracy. If you place the watch in a drawer with other jewelry, this too may scratch the watch, as it might rub against the other pieces. Another suggestion would be to store the watch in its original case, since these cases are generally soft and made specifically for the watch.

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    Metal Versus Leather Bands
    If you participate in activities that cause excessive sweat or perspiration, you may want to consider getting a watch with a metal bracelet or rubber strap, instead of a leather strap. Watches that have natural and genuine leather straps will gradually deteriorate with constant exposure to perspiration. Metal bracelets would best be classified as “dress” watches.

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    Battery Replacement
    Watches that run on batteries are known as 'Quartz' watches. The batteries will last anywhere from one to several years.

    Watches that do not need battery replacement include automatic (self-winding) watches and solar-powered watches (which have a rechargeable battery). You may want to consult the watch's manual if you’re not sure what type of watch you have.

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    Cleaning Your Watch
    The best way to clean your watch is by using a lint-free cloth and a toothpick. Use the toothpick to clean out any dirt buildup in the bracelet or casing of the watch and the cloth to wipe it clean. If it is water-resistant, give it an occasional cleaning with a mixture of warm water and a mild soap. If the strap is leather or non-metal, clean only the case.

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    Servicing Your Watch
    Like any other piece of machinery, a watch must be cleaned, oiled, and serviced. Every couple of years, you may notice the watch losing time or running fast—or it may stop working altogether. Just take your watch to a local watch professional for servicing.

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    Automatic Watch Maintenance
    Although automatic mechanical watches do not have batteries, some easy-to-follow maintenance is necessary for continued and long-lasting good use.

    Self-winding automatic watches depend on the movement of the arm to operate and do require some winding, even if you wear your watch on a daily basis.

    If you wear your Automatic watch everyday, it is best to wind it once, every two weeks to keep the wheels in motion and oil fluid. Simply wind the crown (the same knob used to adjust the time and date) until you meet slight resistance.

    If you do not wear your Automatic watch everyday, you should try to wind it at least twice a week to ensure continuous operation, as well as keeping the inside mechanism in complete running order.

    Try to wind your mechanical watch at the same time every day. This is extremely beneficial for the mechanism. You may want to make it a routine, winding it every morning when you wake up.

    Avoid setting the day and/or date (if your watch has these functions) at night. The day-date mechanism is activated during the nighttime hours and could be disrupted if set at this time.

    And, always avoid wearing your mechanical watch, if you are playing a sport requiring continuous arm motion (e.g. tennis, baseball, golf), since continuous arm motion could damage the movement.

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