How to Store a Watch: Tips and Tricks for Proper Storage

Written by – Updated on April 21, 2024
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Keeping timepieces in mint condition requires attention and care beyond the regular maintenance they need. From getting appropriate insurance coverage to choosing a suitable storage place, there are many tips and tricks that can help preserve your watches for years to come.

In this article, we will explore how to store a watch properly, including advice on selecting the right storage location, cleaning and lubricating the watch before storage, protecting it from theft, ensuring watches with insurance, and more. Learn about the advantages of securing your valuable watches and the potential consequences of failing to clean or lubricate them prior to storing them away.

Discover the perfect storage solution for travelling, from watch rolls to pouches and cases. We will also look into using watch winders, customizing watch trays, enhancing preservation with silica gel, and much more. So let's get started!

Short Summary

  • Choosing the right place to store your watch is essential for preserving its value and ensuring its longevity.
  • Clean, lubricate and wind watches before storing them to avoid discoloration, corrosion and diminished performance.
  • Ensure watches with appropriate insurance and documentation, along with safekeeping the paperwork and accessories.

Choosing the Right Place to Store Your Watch

Selecting an appropriate storage location for a watch is essential for preserving its value and maintaining its aesthetic appeal. When selecting a storage location for your watch, it is important to consider the levels of humidity, temperature, dust, and light. High levels of humidity can lead to the coagulation of oil in watches, resulting in a loss of lubricating properties. To protect watches from humidity, silica gel can be employed inside a tightly sealed plastic container or a cigar box. A safe also offers a secure solution for protecting watches from potential damage and theft.

When storing multiple watches, it is important to consider the different types of watches you own. Luxury watches and modern watches should be stored separately from vintage watches and pre-owned watches. For long term storage of a single watch, a watch box, watch safe, or safety deposit box can provide a suitable solution. For short term storage, a jewelry box, cigar humidor, or watch case may be a better fit. Automatic watches require a watch winder to keep them running, while quartz watches should be stored away from direct sunlight.

By taking the time to select the right place to store your watch, you can ensure that your valuable timepiece remains in the best condition for years to come. Whether you are storing a luxury watch, a vintage watch, or a valuable pre-owned watch, it is always a great idea to keep your watches in a secure, temperature-controlled setting.

Preparing Your Watch for Storage

Failure to clean and lubricate a watch prior to storage can lead to discoloration and corrosion, as well as diminished performance due to the hardening of lubrication. To ensure proper storage, the watch must be thoroughly cleaned and lubricated.

For mechanical watches, it is essential to wind them every three months to maintain lubrication. Quartz watches should have their batteries removed prior to storage to avoid potential battery leakage and damage.

All watches should be serviced at the manufacturer's recommended intervals for cleaning and lubrication. For watches that will be stored for an extended period of time, it is advisable to open or wind the watch prior to storage.

Cleaning Your Watch

Cleaning a watch prior to storage is essential in order to protect it from the damaging effects of humidity, dust, and dirt on its exterior and internal components. A soft cloth and brush should be used to gently remove dirt or debris from the watch's exterior.

For waterproof watches, a soft cloth and lukewarm water should be used. Once the exterior of the watch has been cleaned, it should be dried completely with a clean kitchen towel.

For vintage watches or those that are not waterproof, a real chamois should be used. Additionally, harsh household cleaners should be avoided, as they can potentially damage the watch's seals.

Lubricating Your Watch

Prior to storage, lubricating a watch can help reduce the risk of wear and tear, ensuring its longevity. For optimal performance, a light synthetic oil specifically designed for watches, such as Moebius 9010, is recommended. To ensure the oil is applied judiciously, it should be applied with a fine oiler or brush to the watch's moving parts.

Additionally, it is essential to ensure that the oil is not applied in excessive amounts and that it does not come into contact with the watch's dial or hands.

Furthermore, it is recommended that a professional watchmaker lubricates the watch every 3-5 years.

Storing Your Watch

Proper storage of watches is essential to protect watches from damage, scratches, and other potential issues that may arise from inadequate storage. Various storage options for watches include watch boxes/cases, watch pouches, watch winders, watch rolls, and trays.

A watch pouch is a slim pocket or pouch designed to store between one and six watches, while a watch roll is a convenient and practical solution for transporting watches, particularly when travelling. When selecting a watch case, it is important to ensure that the product features a soft lining, such as felt, to protect the watch from any potential scratches. Plastic bags are a viable alternative to storing watches in cloth pouches.

When selecting a watch storage box, it is important to ensure that it is adequately lined and padded with a soft material, such as felt, to protect the watches from scratches. It is not recommended to dispose of the original packaging of watches. A tray with compartments is the ideal choice for organizing multiple watches. To avoid any scratching, it is recommended to leave a small gap between each watch when storing them. Allocating storage space for watch straps is also essential when organizing watches.

It is possible to customize a watch tray to suit individual preferences. Two types of watch rolls are available for purchase. The first type is a structured hard case and the second type is a canvas and leather wrap. Hard cases are the most reliable option for storing watches when travelling, which can protect against external pressure and accidental dropping. A watch case offers the convenience of easy use and storage for your timepieces.

The purpose of using cloth pouches or plastic bags when storing watches is to safeguard the watch and absorb any possible moisture. Utilizing a bank's deposit box to store watches may not be ideal for those who enjoy regularly changing up the watches they wear. It is recommended to store a watch in a box or case to preserve it.

A GMT watch is designed to display multiple time zones simultaneously, making it an ideal choice for those who need to keep track of multiple time zones. A bank deposit box is a more economical alternative to a watch safe.

Storing Automatic Watches

Watch winders are specific devices designed to keep automatic watches wound and ready for use. Utilizing a watch winder for storage offers numerous advantages, such as a watch that is always wound and does not require adjustment, as well as the continued lubrication of the watch movement while in storage. However, there are some potential drawbacks to consider, such as the risk of magnetization of the watch if the motor's magnet is not adequately isolated, and excessive wear on the watch if the turns per day are too high.

The efficacy of watch winders for watch storage is a matter of opinion. Some suggest that it does not make a difference, as the oil/lubricant needs to be changed every 5 years regardless of the watch's usage. Others, however, advocate for allowing the watch to rest when not being worn, as this may help to reduce wear and tear.

It is recommended to allow the watch to stop running before placing it in storage for an extended period. If a quartz watch is not going to be worn for an extended period of time, it is advisable to remove the battery.

Protecting Your Watch from Theft

Storing your watch in a secure location is an important step to take to ensure its safety from theft. A safe that is fireproof and humidity-resistant is the best option for preserving watches, as opposed to storing them in an attic or basement. Keeping watches in a personal safe offers protection from theft and safeguards them from potential damage caused by moisture and fire. In some cases, insurance companies may be willing to accept claims for jewelry and watches stored in approved safes.

While choosing a safe to store your watch, consider the size of the safe, the type of lock, and the security features. If you have multiple luxury watches, it is recommended to use a safe that can accommodate both modern and vintage watches. For long term storage, consider using a high quality leather case to protect the watch from scratches and cracks. If you have a single watch, you may want to invest in a watch box or pouch that is specific to the watch brand.

Valuable pre-owned watches should also be kept in a secure location to prevent theft. Many watch boxes and pouches provide additional protection for different watch types, such as quartz watches, automatic watches, and mechanical watches. Consider using a safe deposit box or safety deposit box for extra security. Other options include a watch case, leather strap, or pouch to provide adequate protection for your watch. With the right precautions, you can ensure the safety of your watches and keep them in the best condition possible.

Ensuring Your Watches

Insuring your watches is an important step in protecting your watch collection from potential loss or damage. Ensuring your watches with appropriate insurance and documentation can provide peace of mind, as it can help protect your investment and ensure that you are covered in the event of loss or damage. It is essential to carefully review the terms of the insurance policy and ascertain the value of your watches before obtaining insurance.

It is also important to ensure the safekeeping of the paperwork and accessories that accompany a watch. It is recommended that the paperwork and accessories be stored in a secure location. Retaining the paperwork is essential to ensure the watch can be returned or resold and maximize its value. This is especially important for luxury and vintage watches, as they require additional documentation.


It is essential to store watches with care if you wish to preserve and protect their value, as well as ensure they remain in operating condition. The proper storage requires knowledge of the type of watch being stored and the environmental factors that could harm it. Cleaning and lubricating a watch before storage will ensure its performance and longevity, while also avoiding discoloration or corrosion.

Suitable options for watch storage are watch boxes/cases, pouches, winders, rolls and trays. Watch winders may offer advantages for storing automatic watches, however, there are potential drawbacks to consider with differing views on the efficacy of watch winders.

For added safety, secure fireproof, humidity-resistant safes should be utilized for storing expensive and precious watches. Furthermore, ensuring your watches with appropriate insurance and relevant documentation is vital to protect your investment and maximize their value.

All in all, by following these tips and tricks, you can store your watch effectively, securely and safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store a watch when not wearing it?

To keep your watch in the best condition, it is advised to store it somewhere dust free, with a moderate temperature and humidity level. When not wearing it, make sure to place it back in its original box or a similar one.

Should you store watches in box?

Considering storage advice from experts, it is recommended to store watches in boxes or cases in a temperature-controlled environment. The box will protect your watches from dust and extreme temperatures. Therefore, it would be wise to store watches in boxes.

Should watches be stored in the dark?

It is important to store watches in dark places in order to minimize any light exposure and ensure that the watch runs properly. Exposure to light can result in fading of dials, hands, and numerals, as well as tears or abrasions on the leather strap.

Therefore, it is best to keep watches in a dark place when not in use.

How do you store a watch in a safe?

When storing a watch in a safe, it is important to take preventative action to keep the watch safe and undamaged. Store your watch in an environment with a consistent temperature, preferably cooler than room temperature.

Additionally, use a watch box or case to protect the timepiece, ideally using the original box or a storage container that contains silica gel.

How do you store a long term watch?

When storing a watch for the long term, choose a good quality watch storage made of fabric, wood or leather and make sure to lay them face up. Try to avoid too much movement while putting it in and out of the storage, and store your watches in an environment away from moisture. This prevents any unwanted damages that can be caused by dirt or dust.