How to Store Watches to Keep Them in Good Condition

Now that you’ve spent money on a high-quality watch, let’s hope you’re not just tossing it in your sock drawer when it’s not on your wrist.

After all, the key to keeping your watch in good running condition is preservation. And that means sheltering your valuable watches in their boxes, keeping them away from direct sunlight, perfumes, cosmetics, detergents, and even magnetic fields.

If you don’t want your beautiful watches to end up completely rusted and have scrap-metal value, follow these best watch care practices. These approaches can keep your fine timepieces in well-preserved condition for years.

12 Best Practices: How to Store Watches to Keep Them in Good Condition

how to store watches to keep them in good condition

1. Clean the Watches Before Storing

An essential tip for storing watches is to clean them first before storing them for an extended period. Giving them a thorough cleaning preserves their condition, including their bracelets.

Metal bracelets and the watch’s case back can build up grim (salts from sweat), which can corrode the timepiece during storage. Similarly, leather straps will dry out when not cleaned, especially when stored in humid conditions. For leather straps, you may polish them to make them long-lasting and shinier. 

Nowadays, many watches are made of stainless steel – both cases and bracelets. The other commonly used materials are carbon fiber, titanium, and plastics. Stainless steel cases may not corrode in normal conditions. However, they could still rust when stored without cleaning.

Related: How To Properly Clean A Rolex Watch

2. Use a Watch Winder (Best for Automatic Watches)

The next best watch storage practice is to use watch winders, especially for automatic watches. Watch winders are electronic objects made for keeping automatic watches wound fully.

They work by slowly rotating the timepiece on the sideways turntable, eliminating the need to wind the watch manually. The lubrication caused by the watch winder keeps flowing in the watch gears while stored.

But if the watch you’re storing has a quartz movement, you don’t need a watch winder. A battery drives quartz timepieces. 

However, the drawback of a watch winder is that it is an electronic tool with a motor. The motor may be a magnet that can magnetize the timepiece when not adequately isolated. It may not be a big deal, but if it damages the watch, you may have to spend a small amount of money for the repair.

3. Use Watch Boxes

Invest in watch boxes if you like to store your watches on display or in your room. These simple storage cases can be your best choice because they prevent your timepieces from picking up scratches.

Choose one that is padded well or with a soft lining. If you like viewing a part of the watch without removing it from the box, invest in one with a see-through glass top.

Related: How To Remove Scratches From Stainless Steel Watches?

4. Store With a Silica Gel (Best for Quartz Watches)

Temperature and moisture are two things you want to look out for when storing your watches. They can cause oxidation and rust. In the worst case, they can wreck the movement. 

A simple fix to this problem is to store watches with silica gel bags. These small pouches absorb moisture and prevent mold. This watch care practice is best for quartz watches or timepieces with leather straps, as mold causes the leather to dry out.

5. Remove Batteries

A watch battery can leak even if it is no longer working. A leak happens because as the battery discharges, it produces hydrogen gas, increasing the pressure inside the battery. Eventually, the excess pressure causes the outer metal canister or the battery seals to rupture. 

When a rupture happens, the watch battery leaks potassium hydroxide, absorbing carbon dioxide from the air. The entire process is dangerous to the watch’s internals. 

To avoid that from happening, remove the batteries before storing the watches. Even solar watches have removable batteries. This step applies to both quartz and solar watches in your watch collection.

Identifying your watch battery

Not all watches use the same battery size and type. The most common watch batteries are the 371 and 377, sized at 2.1mm in height and 9.5mm in diameter. 

Before removing the batteries of your watches, find the battery code first. Remember that quartz watch batteries need to be replaced every one to five years, depending on how much power the timepiece draws.

Avoid touching the coil (danger zone) in the battery of your watch as well. A simple touch with a screwdriver or finger can destroy the watch. 

6. Use Watch Rolls

Do you travel a lot but still have to carry a few timepieces? If so, then investing in a watch roll may be your best option. 

You can store your automatic, solar, or quartz watches in a watch roll. Of course, you can always get a roll that houses one timepiece. These are generally made of leather or flexible and soft fabric, keeping your watches safe even if you’re traveling.

7. Store Watches Face Up

Although luxury watches are designed to last a lifetime, potential damage may still arise if they’re stored faced down. You may just be surprised to see a crack on the bezel or scratch on the glass if you keep your watch face down, even inside the watch box.

Whether you have quartz or an automatic watch, always rest it on its crown. And even if the crown gets damaged after a long time of storage, it is much cheaper and easier to replace than other watch parts.

8. Wrap Them in Cloth or Soft Watch Pouches

If you plan to store your watches in a safety deposit box, a safe, or somewhere in your home, wrap them in cloth or a soft watch pouch. 

Keeping watches in watch boxes make them easily accessible and together in one place, while wrapping them in soft watch pouches is cheaper. They also protect the watches from potential moisture. You can also use plastic bags as an alternative, but a silica gel to avoid moisture.

9. Put Them in a Safe or Drawer with Trays

Another great way to store watches is to put them in a safe or drawer with trays or an insert. These don’t even cost a fortune. 

Watches stored in trays or an insert bounces around when pressure is applied, so it doesn’t get scratched easily. The glass in the dial is also protected. You may use other components for bracelet storage.

Put Your Paperwork Together in a Safe

Everyone values timepieces differently, and that appreciation extends to boxes and papers. Some people like the history that comes with the paperwork. After all, a receipt can capture information, especially vintage ones.

So, put the watch’s papers together in a safe. A valuable pre-owned timepiece can sell a lot more if you offer it with original documents and packaging.

10. Store Them at a Stable Room Temperature

You should store watches at a stable room temperature if you account for their long-term functionality. Doing this prevents the lubrication of the watch gears from thinning or thickening. 

The lubrication will thicken when the temperature where the watch is stored gets too cold and will get thinner when the temperature gets too hot.

11. Oil or Lubricate Before Storing

Mechanical watch movement needs regular maintenance, such as lubrication, to lessen the friction on the moving parts. Since a typical wristwatch has over 50 areas of friction, it is essential to oil them before storing.

Lubrication is especially the case if the watch has more complications. Sometimes, it needs a complete oil change or what the watchmakers call the “overhaul” to keep it from wearing out. The chief supplies you’ll need for basic watch oiling are an oil cup or well, the oil itself, and some oil applicator. Dip oil is the most common oil applicator, which is simple and inexpensive.

Typically, it’s okay to do simple oiling of the escapement and jewels. And while you may not like the thought of opening or disassembling your watch to re-oil or clean, it’s well worth the effort in the long run.

You can also ask a professional repair person to do it for you so the watch can be cleaned, assembled, dried, and oiled to specification as the manufacturers recommend. 

If you decide to polish your watch, leave it to the professionals or the authorized dealer. Once you polish a timepiece, you remove a metal – gold, platinum, or steel. You may lose the original factory-created contours, curves, and edges.

Related: Breitling Service Cost: How Much Should You Expect To Spend?

12. Take the Watches Out Occasionally

Mechanical watches have their hazards. When oils in the bearings dry, the movement can freeze. That’s why you should wear mechanical watches periodically or manually wound. If you have a timegrapher, it would be helpful because it provides a snapshot of your timepiece.

The Bottom line

how to store watches to keep them in good condition

Correctly storing your watch is important for accuracy and optimal performance for a longer period. Choose one or some of these approaches, and you can guarantee your treasured pieces will be in perfect condition for the next decade.

Many of these protection principles apply, regardless of the watch’s price tag.

Now that you’re ready to keep your watches in good condition, it’s probably time to invest in a brand-new watch. Find different types of watches for every budget and other watch-related articles at