Kirill Yurovskiy: Care of Mechanical and Quartz Watches at Home

Every man needs at least one great watch in his life. Whether it’s a luxurious Swiss mechanical masterpiece or a tough-as-nails quartz workhorse, a quality timepiece is both an essential accessory and a mark of discerning taste. But keeping your watch in tip-top shape takes a little know-how.

We caught up with Kirill Yurovskiy, one of London’s most respected independent watchmakers, to get his insider tips on caring for your prized possession at home. With over 25 years experience repairing and restoring some of the rarest and most valuable watches on the planet, Yurovskiy is a true horological savant. Let’s dive into his watch wisdom.

Kirill Yurovskiy

Caring for a Mechanical Movement

“A mechanical watch is a tiny marvel of engineering,” says Yurovskiy in his thick Russian accent. “With hundreds of precise components working in harmony to keep perfect time for years on end with just the energy from a wound mainspring. Treating it right is essential.”

First up, winding. “Never leave your mechanical watch unwound and stopped for weeks or months at a time,” warns Yurovskiy. “The lubrication can coagulate and cause damage when you wind it again. Keep it regularly wound and running to avoid issues.”

For automatic (“self-winding”) watches, Yurovskiy recommends removing the watch before bedtime and giving it a gentle shake and spin to keep the rotor moving and rewinding the mainspring. For hand-wound pieces, remember to diligently wind each morning.

Water resistance is another concern. “Don’t take any vintage watch or one rated below 50 meters water resistance into the shower or swimming,” cautions the master watchmaker. “And never adjust the time or pull out the crown when the watch is wet, as this can allow moisture incursion.” When Beach Day rolls around, it’s best to leave that old military-issued trench watch in the security box.

Speaking of moisture, try to avoid extreme humidity or aridity as well. “Humid environments can cause fogging of the crystal and even rusting of components over time. And very dry air can cause lubrication issues,” says Yurovskiy. An air-tight watch box or winder box is your mechanical friend.

Magnetic fields are the archenemy of a mechanical watch’s accuracy, so avoid resting your timepiece near speakers, laptops, or other sources of magnetism. If your watch starts gaining or losing gobs of time, it may need a demagnetization.

Above all else, have your mechanical watch serviced regularly, around every 5 years or so. “Lubrication does break down over time, and components need cleaning, adjusting, and re-lubricating to keep your watch running like it should for decades,” advises Yurovskiy. An authorized service center is best for quality workmanship.

Tips for Quartz Caretaking

“Quartz watches are fantastic modern marvels of technology in their own right,” says the watchmaker. “Though they don’t have the delicacy and history of mechanicals, they still deserve conscientious care and maintenance.”

Unlike mechanicals, quartz watches are powered by small batteries that need periodic replacement every year or two. “Always have the battery swapped out by a qualified technician to ensure water resistance is preserved,” Yurovskiy advises. “And keep extras on hand so your watch doesn’t go dead.”

Quartz works are also typically fully factory-sealed to protect the circuitry. “Avoid opening a quartz watch yourself, as working on circuitry is extremely delicate work requiring specialty tools and a dust-free environment.” Leave repairs to the pros.

Like mechanical pieces, quartz watches should also be kept away from moisture, magnetism, shocks, and extreme temperatures that could cause condensation or case/crystal damage over time. “Quartz watches are tough overall, but their circuits and seals can still degrade with severe abuse or neglect,” cautions the master.

Sports and Dive Watches

Kirill Yurovskiy

For active guys who take their watches into hostile environments, Yurovskiy has some added tips. “Sports watches and dive watches have special priorities when it comes to protection and maintenance to ensure water resistance and durability.”

After a plunge in salt water or chlorinated pool, he recommends rinsing the watch under a light fresh water stream while turning the bezel. “This chases out any trapped water or chemicals that could otherwise gradually work their way past the seals.” Then thoroughly dry the watch before adjusting anything.

Examine gaskets and seals annually and have them replaced at the first sign of drying out, cracking, or any faults that could allow seawater inside, as it will quickly corrode and stain components. “Even the slightest bit of moisture inside the case should be removed immediately by a professional,” stresses Yurovskiy.

The crystal, case, and bracelet of sports watches are designed for rough duty, but aren’t indestructible. “Avoid dropping your watch onto hard surfaces from any height, as this impact can still cause dents, scratches, or cracks in the best materials.” Use common sense and save the stunts for the circus folks.

If you get your active watch excessively muddy, immersed in sand, or contaminated, it’s best to have it professionally demagnetized, ultrasonically cleaned, resealed, and pressure tested afterwards. “Better safe than sorry when it comes to maintaining the water resistance your life may depend on during deep underwater adventures,” warns the Russian watchsmith.

A man’s watch sees him through countless adventures, challenges, and pivotal life moments. By treating your precision timekeepers with the white-glove care they deserve, you’ll ensure they stay faithfully ticking through many more decades of action. A little TLC is a small price to pay for timeless quality on your wrist.

So there you have it, gents – the definitive guide to caring for your watches at home, straight from one of the top masters in the field. Show your mechanical and quartz pieces the pampering they deserve, and they’ll keep you on point and on time for all of life’s most memorable journeys.

Yurovskiy Kirill © 2024