How to maintain a Pocket Watch

Getting hold of possession is not all there is about having it, a good maintenance culture is paramount. For some people, once they are able to get what they want, how to go about ensuring that it lasts and stands the test of time with them is not something they bother themselves with, but trust me, it is very important to charge yourself with the responsibility of caring for whatever you possess because having something this minute and losing it the next minute is as good as not having it at all.


For pocket watches, whether it is a gift from a loved one, a family heirloom, or an investment you made with your hard-earned money, it is crucial to see it as not just an average accessory. By this, I mean that the pocket watch should be treasured and looked after to ensure that it lasts and delivers the purpose for which it is meant.


Cleaning and maintaining your pocket watch is not a costly venture neither is it a difficult practice. But by following a simple procedure and inculcating the habit of maintaining it, you should be able to keep it running and looking ever new and attractive as it should.


I know you may not know how to care for and maintain your pocket watch or may have been concerned about how to go about doing that. That is the essence of this article; to take you through a series of processes you need to be carrying out over a period of time to ensure that your watch lives long and thus could even be a sort of an inheritance for someone else you may deem fit to have it afterwards.


Below are the simple things you need to observe as you care for and maintain your pocket watch:


1. Most pocket watches are mechanical devices, as a result of this, mechanical pocket watches require that you wind them every day in order for them to work effectively. As you wound it, you must do it with much care so as not to over wind it. Over winding can lead to damage to the internal mechanisms.


2. Make it a point of duty to clean the outside of the pocket watch with a microfiber cloth. Microfiber cloths are soft and mild, they can effectively clean surfaces without leaving scratches on them. Do not use cleaners or water as these can damage the surface and internal parts of the pocket watch.


3. Pocket watches with covers should be treated with optimum respect as the covers are very delicate as a result of the protective layers they give to the internal parts. Therefore, never force the cover open and do not try to open it further than it should or designed to be. Any attempt against how the cover was designed to function can cause damage to the hinge or spring alignment and this could also cause the cover not to close properly.


4. Always carry open face pocket watches with the dial facing inwards. This will protect the crystal from being damaged in your pocket.


5. Understand that deodorants and perfumes can damage the casing of your pocket watch, therefore keep your watch away from them. To adhere to this, make sure that your pocket watch is the last thing you wear when getting ready for an outing or an event. It should also be the first thing you remove when undressing.


6. Other metallic objects can damage your pocket watch if they are placed together. Hence, never keep your pocket watch in the same pocket as other items such as keys or coins as they could damage your watch.


7. Pocket watches should be stored when not worn. Pouches or storage boxes are suitable for keeping a pocket watch safe. Alternatively, a pocket watch stand is a nice way to display a pocket watch when it is not in use.



8. Make sure your pocket watch is secure in a buttonhole, trousers or belt using a pocket watch chain. This will avoid you dropping and damaging the pocket watch.





As with any mechanical device, your watch requires some degree of maintenance. To this effect, a good rule of thumb is that your pocket watch should be oiled and cleaned every three to five years by a professional watch maker if you are keeping it in condition.

Be mindful of the fact that within these three to five years before getting your pocket watch oiled by a professional, you must be taking it through the processes already itemized above (ensuring that you wind it every day, storing it in its pouch or box when not worn, not putting it together with other metallic devices, not over stretching the cover, etc).


So, in order to keep your pocket watch in the most ideal working and aesthetic condition, we have listed a couple of things you should never do to your heirloom pocket watch timepiece. Find them below:


Not winding it every day

This is one of the biggest errors in pocket watch usage - not winding it every day in order to adjust the time. You should always ensure that your watch is displaying the correct time on a daily basis. To do this, you need to check the time on your collectible watch daily as they can lose small amounts of time every 24 hours, and as time passes can lead to your timepiece being off by a fair few minutes.


Incorrect storage

Your pocket watch should be treated like the valuable heirloom it is. This means that you should not fling it down like a set of car keys, but you have to make sure that you have it placed in its pouch, a material-lined storage box or a display stand, and every few days, use a soft cloth such as micro-fiber to give it a shining polishing by cleaning it in order to get rid of any fingerprints and oil that may have accumulated on its surface.


Exposing your pocket watch to liquid elements

Unlike today's vast array of modern watches that promise to be indestructible, like the water-proof and dust-proof watches, the same can not be said of collectible pocket watches. This is because precipitation can damage the internal mechanisms of your pocket watch and make it age faster as well. So you need to treat your pocket watch just like you treat your mobile phone because whatever it is that can damage your mobile phone will more than likely wreak havoc on your pocket watch.


Ditching the chain of the pocket watch

Pocket watch chains are there for a good number of reasons. One of such reasons is to secure it and another reason is to ensure that it does not collide with other sharp objects that you may have in your pocket. To this effect, make sure that you do not ditch the chain of your pocket watch so that it goes without a chain because not having a chain will put it at the risk of slipping out of your pocket and then breaking on the floor, or simply losing it. Therefore, make it a point of duty to always keep your pocket watch safe and secure with a chain.


Incorrect winding habits

You must know this: mechanical pocket watches have to be wound between 30 and 40 half turns to make a full wind. And on the average, this winding should last a full day before having to be wound again. Remember that winding the watch more than is required does not allow it to keep the time longer and if the stem does not turn any more, do not force it to. Just develop the habit of setting the time each day and stick to it, perhaps put it next to your alarm clock so as to add it to your daily routine.


In conclusion, it is pertinent you note the following things as well:


1. The best place to carry your pocket watch is in your vest pocket with the crystal toward your body in order to avoid damages. Even though various types of chains may be used to carry the pocket watch, note that whatever type of chain or fob you prefer to wear or use on your pocket watch, the main point to consider is that the watch itself is carried in the pocket where it will not be easily knocked every time you move or fall off your pocket.


2. Make sure that you keep the pocket in which you put your watch free from dust and lint because by doing so, you eliminate the possibility of dust and lint from working their way through the watch case into the movement. This is important because the pocket watch, just as the name implies, belongs to the pocket and it is expected to be carried in the pocket, and it performs best when kept from specks of dust and lint at all times, even though cleaning it often with a cloth like a microfiber is done regularly on it. Specks of dust and lint are a major challenge to the smooth running of your pocket watch.


3. Avoid opening the back of a pocket watch case. This point is very valid and should be adhered to strictly. If opening the back of the pocket watch must be done, then you should ensure that you do it in a place where foreign particles and moisture cannot settle on the mechanism.


4. Wind your watch every twenty-four hours. This has been said well enough prior to this time, and so must not be taken lightly. While it is true that some pocket watches have the potential to run more than twenty-four hours at a winding, it is still the best practice to wind it once every day, preferably at the same time in the morning. Winding it every day is a practice that empowers the watch and gives it the full spring power to work during your most active hours.

Also, in setting your watch, simply turn the hands in the nearest direction toward the correct time. Note that there is no danger of injury to the movement in rotating the hands either forward or backward.


5. It is important to note also that at night your pocket watch is best kept in your vest pocket. Do not place it under your pillow or in other places where it is liable to be jarred to the floor or subjected to varying degrees of temperature. If it is not convenient for you to keep it in your vest pocket, place it in a position where it is not liable to fall and where it will not be near open windows or hot radiators. To this effect, a pocket watch pouch, watch stand, or box is highly recommended.


As much as you can, avoid using your watch in extreme temperatures. Moving between excessive hot and cold temperatures can cause the parts to expand or contract. Keeping your watch in extreme heat for too long can also cause your watch's lubricant to congeal, causing friction on the pivots and covers.


With the above guide to maintaining your pocket watch and keeping it in place; correct winding, regular service and high levels of care, etc, I guarantee that you should be able to continue to enjoy your pocket watch and see it live into many years to come, and also being confident that it can get into the hands and treasures of generations to come whom you may want to inherit it.