4 Best Ways To Keep Your Automatic Watch When You Don’t Wear It

I can still remember how happy I was when I first got my automatic watch. But then as my collection grows, the question of how to store the watches not being worn came up. I did some research on this and here are the answers that I got.

How to keep automatic watches that’s not being worn? Automatic watches that are not being worn is best stored in a dedicated watch box or storage space. A watch winder can also be used to store the watch if you have the need to keep it running.

In this article, I’m going to go through these 2 options and why my first recommendation is to store it in a box. In addition, there are some best practices that you can do to ensure your watch collection is safe from damage and prying hands.

The Best Way To Store An Automatic Watch Is In A Box

In my opinion, the best way to store an unused automatic watch is in a box. Sure enough, you might be tempted to buy a fancy watch winder, but it’s frankly not the best option, at least for most people (I’ll get into why some people might need it in the next section).

You can either store the watch in its original box or get a dedicated watch box – which is my favorite option.

A watch or storage box is the best way to store your watches because you don’t want them to be leaving out in the open.

Prying hands, pets, kids and visitors are some of the “hazards” that your watch will get into. And putting it on the desk without any protection is akin to just telling these guys to mess around with your watch!

Having a dedicated watch box will let you store it safely and bring some peace of mind to you. It will also keep the watch from being in direct sunlight that can mess up with your watch’s dial or leather strap.

In addition, the box can also act as protection against electronic items lying around in your house. Electronic items are notorious for being able to magnetize automatic watches – one of the common problems that make the watch lose its accuracy.

how to keep automatic watch when not wearing

You should also put a silica gel into the watch as means to keep the moisture out from the box. This will ensure the watch is not being exposed to moisture ingress in the long run.

Choosing a good quality watch box is also important as this is the box that you will open almost every day.

Getting a good quality one will ensure it’s durable and can last as long as your watches.

I did the mistake of buying a cheap China-made watch box before. It looked great at first with some soft-touch plastics covered around it. But somehow, the latch on it tear apart after just using it for 6 months.

While you might be tempted to get a cheap watch box from Amazon/EBay, do remember that quality comes at a price.

I’d recommend going with the brands that have been in the business for a long time and has great long-term reviews on their products.

Watch Winder Can Be Used If You Intend To Keep It Running All The Time

Does An Automatic Watch Need A Winder

Not every one needs a watch winder, as I’ve detailed out in my previous article here. For most of you guys, a watch winder is not a good way to store your watches.

You will only be putting more stress on the gears by keeping it running and it’s best to just let it wind down and store it in a watch box.

Not to mention that watch winders are more expensive and require either electrical supply or a battery to run.

Watch winder does have its uses though. It comes in handy when you have a watch with special complications such as moon phase and perpetual calendar.

These watches are some of the coolest automatic watch outs there thanks to its very complicated movement technology.

But with the cool features, there’s also some downside to it. For instance, both moon phase and perpetual calendar automatic watches are very hard to be reset.

And this is understandable as the function of the watch is to track something that is not uniform (i.e moon phase & leap years) and if you let the watch stop for weeks, resetting it can be a hassle.

This is why watch winder is the best way to keep these watches when not in used. It will keep the watches from stopped by continuously rotating it and letting the self-winding mechanism do its job.

Having An Expensive Watch? A Safe Is The Best Option

For those of you that have an expensive watch, then you might want to consider a safe. It’s a good option to store not just your watches, but also your jewelry and excess cash, just in case your watch is broken in.

Imagine the horror of having your lifetime watch collection being taken away from those robbers that broke into your watch. It’s definitely a horrible thing that can happen to any watch lovers.

And that’s one of the reason why I kept my watch box inside my desk compartment instead of just putting it on the table. I’d prefer it to be at least not directly accessible to those that might have ulterior motives.

While I don’t personally has a safe box, you should definitely consider one if your watch collection is very costly and you want extra protection against theft.

Just keep in mind to store your watch inside a box before putting it into the safe as most of them are made of metal. You really don’t want to let your precious automatic watch have direct contact with any metal right?

For A Very Expensive Watch, You Can Use The Bank Deposit Box

Lastly, you can also store your in a bank deposit box. This is the best way to keep your watch safe, especially for a very expensive, limited edition watches from the holy trinity watchmakers.

You can store it temporarily when going for a long vacation or even permanently, especially if you intend to keep the watch as an investment.

True enough, you won’t get the luxury to look at your watches every day but at least you can have a piece of mind that your expensive watch is tucked away safely.

Should You Pull Out The Crown When Storing The Automatic Watch?

For all of these storing options, I don’t recommend to pull out the crown. Some people (even watch stores did this) keep their watches by pulling out the crown to stop the movement.

This will enable the watch to run immediately after pushing in the crown as there’s still some power reserve in it.

I think this practice is dangerous as the crown is the weakest link in terms of moisture ingress protection of the watch. Pulling out the crown for long period of time just increases the chances that there will be moisture seeping into the watch – which is definitely not a good thing!

What I do is I just let the watch rest in the box as it is and let it wind down on its own. And when I want to wear it, I’ll just pick it up, give it a few turns of manual wind and wear it.

(if you want to know more about how I used my automatic watches, read my guide here)

Related Questions

Do you have to wear an automatic watch every day? Automatic watch does not need to be worn every day because it has a power reserve that can keep it running even without being worn.

How long can an automatic watch run without being worn? Automatic watch will run until its power reserve is fully depleted, which depends on the movement (typically is 38 to 50 hours for a fully charged watch).

Is it bad to let your automatic watch stopped? There is no bad effect in letting automatic watch stop when being stored. In fact, letting it stop is one a good way to reduce wear and tear of the movement.

I hope this article on how to keep automatic watch when you don’t wear it is beneficial to you. Do let me know if you have any comments or questions regarding this.


4 thoughts on “4 Best Ways To Keep Your Automatic Watch When You Don’t Wear It”

  1. Can the original boxes be used to store the watches ?
    Ex Longines supplies a double box .
    How about gold watches ? How can we avoid or limit the dullness .


    • Hi Frank. Yes definitely the original box is a good way to store it. For gold watches, maintenance can be done just like gold jewelries. So you can either send it to the watchmakers to get it shined (cost some money) or do-it-yourselves using the various methods that can be found on internet.

  2. Hi there. My only concern is that I read somewhere that the lubricant inside mechanical watches can start to solidify when not in use, and that it’s best to give them a wind every couple of weeks in order to halt the change in viscosity. I’d be interested in your opinion please.
    Never owned a mechanical watch before and don’t wear it often, so it would be helpful.

    Thank you


    • Hi Patrick. I’ve also heard the same thing when I first got into automatic watches. But as I researched further, this issue seems to be a historical issue as the latest watches uses synthetic lubricants which don’t have such problems any more. If you think about it, there are many automatic watches kept in stores and I’m pretty sure not all of them are being winded all the time – and yet all will work perfectly when bought.

      However, if you’re still worried, you can set a schedule to wear your automatic watch once every 1 or 2 weeks for few days. This would ease your worry about the lubricant as well as enjoying wearing the watch =)

      There’s also another way to keep the watch running that is by using a watch winder, which I don’t recommend as it’s not really beneficial in my opinion.

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