When asked for some tips, I always start out by hounding people about wearing their wrist watches to bed. It's a pet peeve. I don't know why or how I developed this idea, but I think I can safely blame my Dad, as it was something I think he reminded his customers against doing. He was a jeweller as well as a watch and clock maker. He's still my best consultant. 

Bed is a very dusty place. The dust off our bodies and the bedding make for too many fine particles that seep into any crack or cranny that isn't sealed up very tightly. Consequently I have learnt to set my watch down on the bedside table before retiring. I am after all. the guy that gets stuck servicing it.

Eterna-matic, a great wrist watch

Mechanical watches, unlike their quartz cousins, can sometimes be set down to manipulate their timing. The better mechanical watches are timed in six positions. Those positions are: dial up, dial down, pendant up, pendant right, pendant down, and pendant left. The pendant refers to the crown and winding stem. In the dial up and down positions, the axle that concerns the time keeping most is standing on end and tends to help the watch gain a bit of time on a well timed watch. All the pendant positions are likely to lose a little time relative to the dial positions. So if you are lucky enough to own a machine that can be tuned in well enough, and have hired a good mechanic to make the most of its time keeping properties, you can play your part by setting down your watch at night in such a way as to lose (pendant positions) or gain a few seconds (dial positions) overnight to keep you close to the time standard.

I live in the middle of southern Canada in Manitoba. Every day the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (radio) observes the "Canadian Research Council Official Time Signal.... the beginning of the long dash following ten seconds of silence indicates exactly twelve o'clock central daylight time" I've heard it so often it's etched into my brain...If you can find a time signal you can get to know exactly what your watch is capable of.

tiny drill and job between the leaves on a Canadian pennyIf it isn't a divers watch, it should not be treated as "waterproof". If it is a divers watch you know to have the seals replaced regularly and have it tested for waterproofness. Yes I know what it says on the dial. I know you swam with it all last summer, your wife showers with hers, and Uncle Joe says I'm full of bologna... yada, yada, yada... Actually it's my experience that the newer quartz watches are much more likely to tolerate water and moisture, at least in the moderate price ranges comparably. Not all, but many have excellent qualities of manufacture, and well designed seals installed in the crown, crystal, and case back. Almost all now have a gasket-ed mineral crystal protecting the dial, which helps for accidental dips in the sink as well as some shallow dips in the pool. However, if you need your watch to be "waterproof" buy a divers watch and see what real seals look like. If you want you regular watch to remain at its most protected have new seals installed in the case back, crown and a new crystal about every three years or anytime you think vapour or dust may be leaking into your watch.

I used to service time locks on vaults for banks and other financial institutions. I thought it kind of ironic that with so much hype about technology these days that the clocks to time the opening of the vaults were all mechanical. I'm not sure about divers, but many pilots are required to rely on mechanical time keeping as well. They are miraculous wonders of machining. If you treasure yours, you should have detailed photographs taken as "full frame" close up shots documenting the dial, casing and movement to save you a lot of grief in the event the piece ever goes missing or meets with a bad end.

If you have questions or trouble with your mechanical watch, drop me a note and I will do my best to see that your concerns are addressed promptly.