Although I am not an expert on antique watches, I've managed to collect from the net the following guidelines on how to maintain and take care of your antique watch. I suggest you print it out and place it in your safe or wherever you keep your antique watches and read it from time to time to keep your watch(es) in the best shape possible. Thanks for looking at this guide and your vote is really appreciated!
- All Antique watches are mechanical. Many repairs will not be cheap, as most likely they will require replacement of non-standard parts (unlike most late model watches).
- Antique watches should not be beaten or dropped - because repairs may be expensive.
- Antique watches are generally NOT waterproof. This is because waterproofing was not in general production until the middle of the 20th century for most watches. Therefore you should protect your antique watch from exposure to moisture.
- If your watch becomes wet it should be dried off quickly. Carefully open all covers and use a hair drier to blow dry the movement, dial, covers, crown. This will reduce the amount of rust.
- If your watch becomes wet with any kind of salt water you should immediately immerse or spray your watch with fresh (no-salt) water to remove all the salt from the works before drying the watch completely. Any salt left in the watch will combine with moisture in the air to rust metal components of the movement, case etc.
- Winding any mechanical watch tight may break the mainspring. If you can avoid it do not wind the watch hard.
- When adjusting the hands of your watch, move them in a clockwise direction only. Counter-clockwise adjustments may damage the movement.
- If you must adjust counter-clockwise make it for small adjustments only (i.e. for minutes, NOT hours).
- Be careful and gentle when adjusting the movement speed (faster or slower). Don't make sharp movements, and don't touch other components in the movement especially the pendulum mechanism.
- Every 2-3 years it is necessary to service and oil vintage watches.
If the watch is dirty - allow the watch to run down, don't wind it again until you have it serviced by a qualified watch repair expert. Dust will absorb and remove important lubricants and cause the movement pieces to wear down.
- To clean the case, dial and crystal you should use a cloth that does NOT leave fibers as these may get caught up in the movement. Check with your Watch repair expert to get an appropriate cloth.
- Keep your antiques watch away from magnets. Strong magnetic fields may affect the accuracy of your watch since some vintage watches were made with iron based components in the movement.
- Most Cases and Covers are fine components and will not handle abuse well. The watch should not be shaken, beaten, or stressed.
- Antique watches generally experience an error of up to 5-7 minutes a day. Any accuracy of +- 5 minutes is very good.