Watches when treated with proper care can last a very long time
However there are some things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the full life out of your timepiece
More for mechanical watches rather than quartz, sharp shocks or impacts such as playing tennis can knock internal components out of alignment which can cause the watch to gain or lose time, fail to wind, or even stop it from working completely.
Most leather bands do not handle being exposed to water and humidity, such exposure can result in the material becoming deformed, and the colour leeching out. Also, cosmetics, perfumes and other substances that the band can come into contact with can stain the band and cause it to deteriorate faster than normal.
Rubber bands are a bit more durable than leather, but can still be affected by long term exposure to sunlight, excessive heat as well as solvents. Rubber bands should be cleaned regularly with warm soapy water to remove any contaminants, especially after coming into contact with salt water.
Metal bands should be cleaned regularly with warm soapy water, then rinsed with fresh running water to remove deposits that can get caught in between the links. Thomas' Timepieces uses sonic cleaning to remove all contaminants throughout the band.
Nylon, kevlar and other material bands should be washed with soapy water, rinsed and dried completely to ensure the material doesn't rot.
Contact with other hard objects on the wrist such as a metal bracelet can rub plating off metal bands as well as cause accelerated wear on softer bands.
All watch cases, no matter the material, can be damaged by constant contact with another object such as a metal bracelet. Plating will be rubbed off over time, as well as the case itself being scratched. Exposure to solvents, nail polish removers, perfumes and other substances can cause damage to seals, paints and other vulnerable materials in watch cases.
Rubbing/polishing your watch case and other metal components can also cause any plating to be removed over time. If polishing is required then Thomas' Timepieces recommends using material such as a jewellery cloth and polishing lightly.
Watches, both battery and mechanical, require regular maintenance to ensure they run as intended. For mechanical watches, it starts with the winding process.
Mechanical watches that wind via the crown, should be wound fully until the crown physically stops. Only partially winding the watch will result in a significantly shortened run time per wind, and may cause it to run slow and hence lose time. Forcing the winding mechanism to continue past the stopping point can and will cause severe damage to the movement.
Both quartz and mechanical watches do not like being exposed to magnetic fields. Exposure to weak magnetic force may interfere with normal timing of the watch, or cause it to stop completely while being exposed to the field. Stronger fields may even pull internal components out of position, requiring attention from a qualified watchmaker to repair.
Everyday sources of magnetic fields can come from TV's, magnetic bracelets, speakers, microwaves and other electronic devices.
Exposure to moisture if the watch isn't intended for it, such as a dress watch with no sealing system built in, can result in severe damage that can become irreparable if left untreated by a watchmaker. To find out if your watch is designed for water, and what level of exposure it's rated for, check out our Water Resistance guide.
Also, extreme changes in temperature can cause irregular behaviour with your timepiece. Prevent your watch being exposed to sudden cold or large heat sources.