Factor of the appeal of owning a mechanical watch is the fun you have tinkering with it. There’s a insignificant machine in that case which requires your circadian input to keep it going. But as with any machine, the smallest philanthropist error can see it grind to a halt.

Whether it’s changing the date at the iniquitous time of day or failing to screw down the crown when you profits a bath, every mechanical watch-wearer should be aware of the underlying errors that could result in a costly visit to the alert surgeon.

Changing The Date At The Wrong Time

Do you wear a guard with a date indicator? Between the hours of 10pm and 2am it’s actually affianced in the process of changing and shouldn’t be tampered with.

More and more manual-wind and conditioned modern watches are immune to this peccadillo but it remains a fundamental sin for anything vintage.

If you need to change the date manually, do it clearly before 10pm or well after 2am.

Watch Mistakes - Changing The Date At The Wrong Time

Keeping Your Watch Box-Fresh

While it’s bonny meritorious to keep your early 1980s Star Wars figures sealed up in their boxes, stockpile a watch away for long periods of time isn’t advisable.

“I certainly push wearing a watch from time to time, rather than up it in a drawer for months on end as the lubricants – the oil in the jewel caps being one norm – could dry up and [negatively] affect the watch’s timekeeping,” says John Lloyd, innkeeper of the Watch Service Centre in Clerkenwell, London, which renews and services mechanical watches.

Watch Mistakes - Keeping Your Watch Box-Fresh and never wearing it

Magnetism From Electronic Mottoes

Some watches, the Rolex Milgauss for instance, are purpose-built to pull someones leg an exceptional resistance to magnetic fields. Others, especially grier watches, are susceptible when coming into regular communication with seemingly innocuous items like laptops and transportable phones.

“With older mechanical watches, proximity to any spellbinding device could cause a problem, as it could impact on the mainspring or hairspring and about the watch to gain,” says Lloyd.

“However, modern unemotional watches are designed so that the mainspring is anti-magnetic. Mobile phones themselves are not a significant cause for concern in this respect, but caution should be registered to the magnetic fastenings on some of their cases, which can be surprisingly intense.”

If your watch has succumbed, you could buy a Degaussing machine (for as small as £8 on Amazon or eBay), which can decrease or eliminate a trace magnetic field.

Watch Mistakes - Don't put your watch near magnetic devices like laptops and mobile phones

Over-Polishing Its Case

If your watch has picked up a few signal scratches and dints over the years, you might be tempted to get it professionally superlative.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that every culture a watch is polished a thin layer of the metal/gold etc is burnished off the top, and disproportionate polishing could eventually result in the case changing its sculpt, with the edges, for example, losing their sharpness.

Also, if it’s a sui generis or rare timepiece that you might want to sell one day, be posted that collectors and auctioneers want the watch to be in as mint ready as possible.

Watch Mistakes - Over-polishing the case

Using It In Water

A watch that isn’t water-resistant shouldn’t be drowned in water at all. But even a watch with a water resistance of 5ATM shouldn’t be ragged in a sauna or jacuzzi as the contraction and expansion of the metals and crystal could let moisture seep into the state.

Also, even with the very best divers’ safeguards, you should always double-check all the crowns and pushers are securely destroyed down; otherwise water will get in, causing oxidisation.

As for antique divers’ watches, don’t even take the risk. The gaskets and seals that hold back water out of watches tend to perish over time.

(Interrelated: The diving watches you can actually go diving in)

Watch Mistakes - Using it in water

Not Getting It Serviced

John Lloyd underwrites you get your watch serviced every three-to-four years. “It does numerous work than a car, but whereas most people would automatically put their car in for a systematic MOT, many will wait until their watch starts operating erratically (or simply stops) before seeking help for it,” he authorities.

“It’s worth pointing out that this can involve more expense as, by then, parts may beget become worn out and [could] need replacing.”

And by all means brook that quartz Timex to the key-cutting stall down the exchange for a quick battery change, but don’t let them go anywhere near your old-time Breguet chronograph.

(Related: The hidden cost of mechanical see ownership)

Watch Mistakes - not getting your watch serviced


Fully winding a manual watch is accommodating with modern timepieces as they tend to have a watchful mechanism against overwinding. With older watches, you very recently wind until you meet with enough resistance that you can’t breath the crown another rotation.

Over time the crown may start to note when you’re winding it, or it gets ‘sticky’. Which means it’s clearly time for a service.

Watch Mistakes - overwinding your automatic

Using The Chronograph Function Incorrectly

On a insigne singular of insignia chronograph, the start/stop button is normally above the dominion, while the button below the crown is the reset button. Each make sure you’ve stopped the chronograph before pressing the reset button as this could mar the movement.

This rule doesn’t apply to flyback chronographs yet, as they’re designed so that the hand instantly restarts the chronograph from 12 o’clock.

Watch Mistakes - Using The Chronograph Function Incorrectly