You are currently viewing 5 Ways to Keep Your Watch Shielded from Winter Damage
(Francesco Paggiaro/Pexels)

5 Ways to Keep Your Watch Shielded from Winter Damage

While the weather outside may be frightful, wearing your luxury watch during the cold winter months doesn’t have to be. There are things you can do to protect your expensive timepiece without encapsulating it in an archival-safe box until late Spring.

It’s no secret that freezing temperatures, precipitation, and wind can wreak havoc on the inner workings of your mechanical watch. Even the most basic, time-only piece of luxury wristwear has more than a hundred tiny moving parts, each vulnerable to frozen lubrication, dust particles, and droplets of snow and sleet.

Keep Your Watch Shielded from Winter Damage
(Francesco Paggiaro/Pexels)

That said, you probably dropped a hefty sum for your Daytona or Tank Louis, so not wearing it for months is out of the question. We get it—why have a luxury watch if you can’t show it off and enjoy it?

Our Swiss-trained technicians work with high-end timepieces from all over the world and, as a result, have extensive knowledge of Rolex, Cartier, and Omega watch repair and maintenance (to name a few). They suggest the following handy tips for keeping your timepieces safe in frigid conditions:

1. Know Your Watch.

This statement may seem like a no-brainer, but how often do we get a new smartphone or other piece of engineering or electrical genius and only familiarize ourselves with the most apparent functions? Remember the mini-novel, er, user guide that usually accompanies a new appliance, car, watch, etc.? While you can generally find these in the form of short videos or PDF files, the fact remains that we usually only consult the user manual if something’s wrong.

Instead of fumbling through your watch functions or waiting for something to troubleshoot, consider reading (or watching) information about how your timepiece works before putting it on. How do you operate the bezel? What buttons start, stop, and reset the chronograph? Does the watch have a screw-down crown for use in wet environments? What’s the temperature rating?

Once you know your timepiece, you’ll learn how to protect it in cold and wet weather conditions.

2. Pay Attention to Temperature.

If the temperature outside is significantly cooler than indoors, you might have to contend with fog on your watch crystal when you leave the house. Anyone who wears glasses will tell you this is quite normal, so don’t panic. A fogged crystal will generally resolve within seconds if you put your watch hand in your pocket or pull your sleeve or gloves over your timepiece. If the fog remains, however, you might have a crystal leak and should consider sending it to a watch repair professional.

Colder temps can also cause problems inside your timepiece. In areas where the outside temperature falls below zero for more extended periods of time, the cold can freeze the lubrication inside of your watch and affect the accuracy of the movement. Some extraordinary timepieces, like the Bremont U-2 and the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, use special oils suited for temperatures ranging from -20 degrees Fahrenheit to -90 degrees Fahrenheit. For most other watches, the best way to prevent freezing is to keep them bundled under your clothing while outdoors in sub-zero weather.

3. Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls.

Your watch can’t help you avoid slipping on ice or falling face-first into a snowbank, but by taking anti-fall precautions, you can save your watch from getting smashed or waterlogged from snow. When you’re out and about, wear sturdy, slip-resistant shoes and thick gloves (to keep your timepiece warm and cushion it in the event of a fall).

Another smart choice is to ensure your timepiece is water-resistant before venturing outdoors. In some cases, that means screwing down the crown to seal the watch. In others, you may not have to do anything but check the back of the watch to make sure it’s water-resistant to at least 3 ATMs (30 meters/100 feet). That’s enough protection to keep it safe from water splashes, rain and sleet, and the occasional tumble into a snow drift.

4. Opt for Non-Metal Straps.

While a stainless steel strap looks sharp attached to your IWC Ingenieur, wearing metal bracelets in winter can be cold, heavy, and uncomfortable. Lighter, woven metal bands like Milanese mesh may also scratch and snag your winter clothing.

Instead, consider belt straps in the following materials: Perlon, NATO, silicone, rubber, and leather. Perlon and NATO are woven nylon straps that are super strong, lightweight, durable, and excellent for people with sensitive or dry skin. Rubber and silicone also hold up well in cold, wet, and frigid conditions, are easy to clean, and provide the wearer with various casual, formal, and fun options.

An equally long-lasting natural alternative to man-made materials is leather. It’s soft on the wrist, looks elegant in any season, and stands up to extreme weather conditions. Yes, genuine leather straps generally carry a higher price tag, but if you value style as well as comfort, leather is where you’ll find both.

5. Be Aware of Static Electricity.

Air water vapor represents the critical element that allows your body to conduct electricity away from you. Since colder air carries less water vapor than warm air, your body holds on to a greater electrical charge. This is why we tend to experience more stings or shocks from static electricity in winter than in summer (and why they often hurt more).

Static electricity is not just an annoyance; it can also interfere with your watch’s accuracy. Quartz timepieces, such as the Rolex Oysterquartz and the F. P. Journe Élégante, are particularly vulnerable to these electrical discharges, as they interfere with the crystal’s oscillations. In rare instances where an electrostatic charge is high, it can create a magnetic field that can also affect the workings of your mechanical watch. The best defense against static electricity is regularly using a good quality moisturizing cream on your hands and wrists to limit dry charges. Another preventative measure you can consider is installing a whole-house humidifier to retain more water vapor in the air.

Of course, you may be the most cautious person on earth and still experience winter damage to your luxury watch. If that happens, contact the brand (if your timepiece is under warranty) or a Swiss watch repair expert like Times Ticking. This way, your treasure will get the care it deserves and be back on your wrist in no time.


The weather outside may be frightful, but wearing your luxury watch during the cold winter months doesn’t have to be. Check out this infographic for some useful tips on keeping your timepieces safe in frigid conditions.

5 Timepiece Safety Tips Infographic


5 Ways to Keep Your Watch Shielded from Winter Damage