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The Complete Guide to Watch Maintenance

Everything you need to know to to keep your watch clean, healthy and accurate.

midsection of man repairing watch
Laura Del Bianco / EyeEmGetty Images

Watches are comparatively basic little machines that do a simple job and should bring you joy: nothing too intimidating or high-maintenance. At least, they don't have to be. With a little care, the right tools and some basic knowledge, you can have a satisfying watch experience that lasts decades.

All the information out there regarding watch maintenance can be overwhelming sometimes, though — we get it. And that's why it's helpful to have the ABCs of watch care collected in one place as a handy reference. The following wisdom will help you avoid problems with watches, and guide you to the best solutions when issues do occur. (Even veteran watch collectors sometimes need to be reminded of best practices.) Whether your watch needs a new battery, a good cleaning or something more complicated and expensive, we've got you covered.

Here's the place to start if you just got a new watch; and it's the place to refer back to when you've got questions down the road.

A Complete Guide To Mechanical Watch Maintenance

watch winder op ed gear patrol ambiance
Rolex

Get an overview of how mechanical watches work and why certain practices are important.

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How to Find a Watch Repair Shop You Can Trust

watch repair gear patrol full lead
Courtesy

Unless you're a trained watchmaker, don't mess with the complicated insides of a mechanical watch yourself.

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How to Set a Watch, and Two Things You Should Never, Ever Do

how to set a watch gear patrol full lead
Chase Pellerin

This is super basic and something every watch owner should know (though many don't).

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How to Change a Watch Battery

changing watch battery
HajohoosGetty Images

Getting your quartz watch into working order need not necessitate an expensive trip to the jeweler.

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Watch Cleaning 101: How to Properly Care for Yours

best stocking stuffers for watch enthusiasts gear patrol ww microfiber cloth
Worn & Wound

If you regularly wear a watch or if you've purchased one secondhand, it'll need some cleaning.

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Why You Aren’t Supposed to Polish a Watch

dont polish a watch case gear patrol lead full
Henry Phillips

Hint: Polishing your watch can decrease its value.

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How to Remove Scratches from a Stainless Steel Watch Case

grand seiko
Grand Seiko

Pesky little scratches on your shiny new watch are a bummer. Here's what to do about them.

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How to Easily Remove Scratches from Your Watch Crystal

scratched crystal gear patrol lead full
Courtesy

A fresh scratch on an otherwise flawless crystal is a devastating sight.

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This Is How to Maintain a Dive Watch

m2w how to maintain a dive watch gp issue 9 gear patrol lead full
Hunter D. Kelley

A diver may be the ultimate “tool” watch, but it still needs some TLC.

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The Tools You Need For Your Watch

watch tools
Hodinkee Shop

There are just a few tools that watch wearers truly require...and a few more that maybe you want.

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No, You Don’t Actually Need a Watch Winder — Here’s Why

best watch winders gear patrol retina lead
Barrington

While some are willing to pay for the convenience, the idea of a watch winder as an essential tool of watch ownership is largely unfounded.

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