Congratulations! You bought a mechanical watch, which is more than a timekeeping device. This watch is a symbol of art and science combined, and at the same time it represents the character of its wearer. The beauty of owning a mechanical watch is the daily interaction between its owner and function. Winding up your watch and listening to the “heartbeat” of the watch is pure bliss.
However, as with all things good in life, we need to shower our mechanical watch with a little tender loving care often. We would like to share with you a few tips to keep your mechanical timepieces working for generations to come (which is also why we name TRAVISLEON’s first collection as the Heirloom series).
Winding the watch
The basic architecture of almost every mechanical watch for the past three centuries is the same, proving what a truly ingenious and efficient machine it is. Unlike a quartz watch, a mechanical timepiece doesn’t get its energy from a battery. Instead, the power that drives the hands around the dial, and the additional complications like a date function, a moonphase or a chronograph, comes from the unwinding of a tightly coiled flat spring. Mechanical watches come with either the hand-wind or self-wind movement; sometimes it comes with both - just like the Travisleon Heirloom.
There are a few steps to follow when you hand-wind your watch.
Setting the date and time
The most important rule is not to set the date if the time on the watch is between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. (note that we are referring to “time on the watch” and not the actual time of day). If you picked up a watch that isn’t running and you aren’t sure when it stopped, pull the crown all the way out and spin the hands until the date changes. That would mean that you’ve found midnight. Next, advance the time past 2 a.m. before pushing the crown in to set the date. Why, you ask? The date-changing mechanism starts to engage the gear train after 9 p.m. and only disengages after 2 a.m. Setting the date during this period can break off the delicate teeth of the mechanism, which would be costly to repair. When setting the time, rotate the time forward rather than running it backwards (clockwise direction, like how a normal clock turns). This will help prevent damage to the date mechanism.
Mortal enemies of a mechanical watch
The three biggest enemies of a fine mechanical timepiece are moisture, shock and magnetism. While most of the modern movements have components resistant to these three factors, it is not recommended to bring your Heirloom watch to golfing or your daily swim. Sudden shock may knock the gear trains off the movement and result in a malfunctioning watch. Keeping your watch near strong magnetic field, such as sound amplifiers, will also reduce the accuracy of your watch.
How often should you service your watch?
Like any car, mechanical watches need regular cleanings and oil changes to continue running effectively. Most sources recommend between 2-7 years for regular mechanical watch maintenance. Servicing ensures your watch is keeping time accurately and will continue to run for decades to come. For your TRAVISLEON watch, we recommend that you service it at least once every 3-5 years. You can send it back to us or to your own watch repairman to have it serviced.
Respect for traditions.
Despite all the rules and steps to keep your mechanical watch going, it is still one of the most reliable tool you can have, and it doesn’t run out of battery unlike your smartwatch. At the same time, you wouldn’t want to wait until you bust your engine before bringing it to the shop. Waiting until the last minute to repair and clean your watch could be extremely costly. Showing love and care for your mechanical watch is not just to ensure it is running, but also to show respect to the craftsmanship and heritage of this invention that has been around for centuries. Take care of your watch and the watch will take care of you.