Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post contributed by Robert Donat, a fellow watch enthusiast.
Dive watches are specifically designed to go with you on outdoor and underwater adventures. They are more resilient, durable, and functional compared to normal watches. However as they are more complex timepieces, they also require more effort and care.
Here, we’ll discuss the basic tips which you need to know for properly maintaining your cherished timepiece.
1. Clean the watch properly.
For interior cleaning, it’s always the best choice to bring it to professionals. For the external parts, you can carefully clean the dive watch with a soft toothbrush and a mild detergent. Hard brushes are not recommended as these may scratch the mineral crystal and the steel of the dive watch. There are also painted parts usually at the bezel that may be scraped off.
For light brushes, you can also bring a microfiber cloth for wiping off dirt or other smudges due to dirt, perspiration, and other deposits from the watch.
2. Make a routine for watch servicing.
Once you get your dive watch it seems like it can last for decades. However, many have achieved those with their timepieces because they maintain routine service checks and maintenance every year or two.
Take your dive watch for maintenance every one or two years to check on its condition. Water resistance is not permanent and the watch needs to be checked up on to see how it’s going.
- Does the gasket need replacement?
- Is the seal okay?
- Is the crown still strong?
- If it’s a quartz watch, how is the battery?
- For automatics, does it need oil?
Make a checklist for the parts to understand its condition.
3. Rinse the watch after every dive in salt water.
Although dive watches are made for underwater adventures, remember to rinse it well after every dive. Salt water is especially hard on these watches as it may rust after the timepiece’s continuous use without cleaning or rinsing. Take good care of it and clean it after every dive you undertake to ensure longevity.
4. Take good care of the crown.
Always make sure that the watch crown is secured. Oftentimes, people tend to neglect the crown by letting it stay loose. These mistakes may get water inside the watch when diving or may break the crown ultimately afterwards.
When water gets through the crown to the inside movement, you’ll be in big trouble, especially when diving deep down water where pressure is too high.
5. Clean around the bezel.
A good uni-directional bezel completes a watch. As such; do take note of the bezel when cleaning especially after a long trip. Sand may get stuck inside, dirt may get in during treks, water may still be stuck, all of which may tighten the bezel and keep it from moving smoothly.
Take note that the bezel for each timepiece varies with every model and finding a replacement may be a bit difficult so take great care of it.
6. Dive. Don’t shake.
As dive watches are made for diving and exploring underwater, shaking it too much may scramble the internal machinations that make up your watch. This in turn creates complications of some features not working properly or the whole watch just stops working altogether.
Although there are some shock resistance in most new collections, shaking too much whether on purpose or not still has an effect on the overall efficiency of the watch especially on automatic watches that have complex movements inside.
The shock resistance actually varies per model. Some beasts such as the G-shocks can withstand most violent usage. It really depends on the type of watch you have, but it is a general rule to avoid too much shaking.
7. Check and understand the water resistance limit.
As a dive watch, it is very important that you understand what the timepiece can take and up to what limit. A written “Water resistance 200m” is, in reality, can be different from resisting an actual dive of 200 meters.
In theory, ISO 6425 certified dive watches can withstand up to 125% of their limit, but factoring in the environment, water condition and temperature, you movements, all make it unstable. So it’s not advisable to go over the written limit.
There are models reaching 300 – 1000 meters, those numbers should actually not be reached at all as it will cause malfunctioning in the timepiece. Research more about its rated water resistance versus actual water resistance and don’t abuse the limit written.
8. Don’t experiment on exposures.
Even if diving watch may be more durable compared to normal watches, don’t expose it unnecessarily to different types of environments. Such examples include chlorinated pools, salt water, or soaps from showers. These may ultimately accumulate damage to the watch. The gasket may become dry and brittle faster, the case may get weak, or the steel may rust.
9. Avoid intense heat and strong magnetism.
Watches are composed of complex internal metallic pieces that ultimately go together to make it work. Exposing these materials to intense heat, harmful chemicals, or areas with strong magnetic fields spell disaster.
The heat may cause malfunctions or deformation to some of the pieces.
Harmful chemicals may weaken waterproof seals if exposed continuously.
Strong magnetic fields may cause the accuracy of many features of the watch to stop altogether, if not completely stop the watch from working.
10. Consider using a watch winder (for automatic watches only)
You may have two or more automatic watches, all of which you may have experienced having them not wound properly or with lost time. If you consider it a chore to manually wound them up yourself and opt to save time for a different use, consider getting a watch winder.
Watch winders help accurately keep the watch in check, saving you time from fixing it before going out. These help wound the watch back to shape and allows you to go about with a well-functioning, time-accurate dive watch.
11. Avoid collision with hard surfaces
Take note of any movements or where you place the watch. For example, when passing by narrow walkways don’t swing your arm too much as it may scrape the timepiece over the wall.
Also, make sure you place your watch carefully on any surface which may scratch the crystal such as desks, tables, chairs…
Consider getting a watch box to help prevent the timepiece from any unintentional damage when you’re not using it.
Caring for your dive watch
There are a lot of tips to consider for timepieces in general, while there are some specifically for dive watches only. With that, it is important to fully understand your timepiece to know what makes it work, what you need to avoid, and what to keep in mind for maintaining the dive watch to its fullest potential.
These specific types of watches are not like the usual luxury items such as clothes that you may want to change after some time of use. If you’re a watch lover, there is a strong connection between you and your timepiece. It reflects your personality and style, and thus deserves proper care and maintenance.