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How Long Do Automatic Watches Last? A Brief and How to Care

How Long Do Automatic Watches Last? A Brief and How to Care

Technically, automatic watches could last for many years with proper maintenance. Thus, it really depends on how it is taken care of.
Apr 18, 2024

A question about our watch movement is like a never-ending line, especially if we decide to have an automatic watch movement as they can receive energy automatically by hand-movement. So, you might wonder how long do automatic watches last? Answering this question might refer to two different things. 

When it comes to the watch’s lifetime, an automatic watch could last for a very long time and even forever as long as it is well-taken care of. If the watch gets a regular service and is kept properly, it would be by your side for decades. The second thing refers to how long automatic watches last if not worn and stay still inside storage. In this case, automatic watches could only run for at least 30 hours. 

You might still wonder about how to properly care for an automatic watch. No worries! I’ll go deeper to talk about the power reserve of automatic watches and how to maintain their life. Sit back and relax while reading this article peacefully.

How long do automatic watches last?

Automatic watches are also known as a self-winding movement through which it gains energy automatically from the wrist’s movement. As long as it is worn regularly, the mainspring will receive and store energy. As such, for a certain period of time, the watch will use the energy from the power reserve to stay sweeping when not being worn. 

There are quite a lot of expectations if you decide to grab an automatic watch. It’s built with a high-skill of craftsmanship to ensure quality and performance. Each element is assembled with care and detail to design a reliable watch. The ability to do self-winding is definitely the main of all as it doesn’t require manual winding.

The manual one needs you to always give a regular winding and if you don’t, the watch will stop moving. However, an automatic watch would only need a winding just when it stops which means that it’s not being worn until its power reserve runs out. After that single winding, let the parts in the movement do their job to avoid unnecessary damage.

So, how long do automatic watches last? I would carefully say that automatic watches could last a lifetime under several conditions. First of all, a wristwatch is a result of assembled parts that throughout the time its performance would decrease. It’s said that automatic watch movement consists of at least 100 different springs, gears, cogs, and other elements.

With that being said, each part would need a service after a period of time as they grind against each other every time and every day. Yet, it’s not that they truly touch each other. Each part in a movement is lubricated to minimize the damage to the components. This process is applied so that each component would never touch the other. Instead of that, it is the lubrication between the components that is against each other. 

This lubrication is what should be taken to a watch service regularly. Over time, the lubrication could dry up or becomes greasy. Bringing the watch for a regular service every 3 to 5 years would be a wise choice to ensure it works properly. As for the full service, a range of 7 to 10 years still can do for a full disassemble of the watch. 

Thus, the answer to how long do automatic watches last really depends on the proper maintenance. Along with the right care and regular service, an automatic watch could be a great choice that stays a lifetime.

How long do automatic watches last when not worn?

The answer to this question refers to the case when the watch is not worn. Automatic watches can receive energy automatically and, thus, they would always gain energy when worn regularly. So, how long do automatic watches last when you keep them still in storage? 

Basically, most automatic watches could last for 30-70 hours without any winding at all. That way, it would still be fine to keep it in storage for 2 to 3 days. Beyond that hours, the watch will stop moving as its power reserve has run out of energy. But, it’s normal for an automatic watch to stop moving. 

All you need to do when it stops is to give a turn to the crown about 20 times. After that, it’s all ready to snap the time on your wrist and do the winding on its own. 

Many watch enthusiasts also use a watch winder to keep their automatic watches alive. A watch winder is an electronic box designed to keep automatic watches fully wound. Yet, I’d still recommend you to not leave the watch for too long in a watch winder.

Read also: Watch 101: Do We Need a Watch Winder for Automatic Watches?

How to take care of automatic watches?

It’s always the proper maintenance and care that make every timepiece last longer. As for the automatic watches, there are several rules of thumb to maintain their performance at their best. 

Wear the watch regularly

 A watch is meant to be worn not to die even in a graceful or expensive watch winder. Therefore, wear your watch regularly so that it works as it should. Regular use will ensure the lubrication works properly. If the watch is kept for too long, the lubrication can be easily hardened and, thus, makes the movement has difficulties in running. 

In addition to that, wearing the watch will help you to pay attention to the watch for accuracy and overall condition. You can notice it directly and give proper care to avoid the worse conditions. This wouldn’t do if you let the watch is kept in storage for a long time.

Give a regular service

As I’ve mentioned previously, standard regular service is needed to check the lubrication of the watch. A regular check would also be useful to make sure that every element is still working well. A basic check is suggested for every 3 to 5 years while an overhaul might be needed for 7 to 10 years. Yet, many say that overhaul might not be necessary if you always do the standard one.

A watch service indeed would cost you quite a lot. It also depends on the quality and brand of the watch. As for the high-end watch brands, you could spend up to a thousand bucks, especially for the overhaul.

Clean the watch

It’s actually the principle of having any type of watch that cleaning is a must especially when you are an active person in outdoor activities. A simple wiping might do but sometimes you need to do particular steps to clean the watch. A nasty look on the watch isn’t something you want, right?

If cleaning the watch by yourself can be a hassle and you are afraid to damage it, just simply give it to the professionals and let them take care of your timepiece.

In brief, the main key to having a long-lasting watch is giving proper maintenance, be it a watch service or regular wearing — this applies to all types of watches. So, how long do automatic watches last? The answer really depends on how well you take care of the watch to give it a lifetime-running.

Read more: Automatic Watch Accuracy: How Precise the Movement is?

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