How to Store Watches You Treasure

Your grandfather’s watch is a keepsake. It migrated from his wrist to your father’s bedside table or safe deposit box. When you look at it you are reminded of cherished memories. You don’t want to wear it, or, God forbid, to lose it! How do you keep that watch in good condition while you’re storing it? Don’t worry, watch storage is easy and you’ll find that common sense has a lot to do with it.

Take Out the Battery!

Batteries can leak. Battery corrosion can damage a watch’s delicate machinery. The easy answer is to allow a professional to take the battery out for you. Record the battery number somewhere in case you need to replace it when you resurrect the watch. If you are absolutely sure that your watch will be back on your wrist in a couple of years or sooner, consider replacing the old battery with a brand-new one before you store it. Take care to research the type of battery, though. One watchmaker expressed concern that there are batteries with a reputation for leaking. He recommended battery removal as the best option.

Tune the Watch Up “Later” Rather Than “Sooner”

Don’t be sold on needless repairs: You don’t need to have a watch repaired before you store it. Who’s going to be enjoying its precision movements when it’s tucked away? Modern oils allow for your watch to be maintained without the pre-storage repair. You’re not about to use the watch, so this can add up to a needless expense. “Ultimately you should have the watch cleaned and serviced after you take it out of storage,” says Jayme Pretzloff of Wixon Jewelers.

No Winder Needed

Also resist the temptation to attach your watch to an automatic winder. Keeping a watch wound can add to the wear and tear of a mechanism that isn’t being used. So, be focused on the goal: preservation and function.

Materials Matter

A watch is made of metal. What is the primary enemy of metal? Moisture. Storing a watch long-term means keeping it dry and in as dry a climate as you can. Doing this preserves the nature of the metal and allows for long-lasting function and physical integrity. Watch experts suggest that storing watches in a container along with silica packets can help to preserve watch movements by removing moisture from the environment. Look for silica packets like those in shoeboxes or in the cans that accompany the purchase of firearms. Exposure to sunlight can break down watch metal, also. So, pick a shady spot if you want the watch to look its best for longer. If the case of your watch or pocket watch happens to be made of sterling silver, beware of storing it with anything that counteracts it. Rubber bands have been known to cause damage—even turning silver black. For best results later on, take the time now to determine what material your prized possession is made of.


If your watch is of inestimable value—like something tied to a beloved relative—or if you are storing your other ten Rolexes while you wear your newest favorite, a safe deposit box could be a wise option. A climate-controlled safe deposit box, along with the addition of moisture-absorbing silica packets, for example, is an excellent choice for safely storing a highly prized watch.

See? You can easily succeed at storing your watch: Take out the battery, keep it free of moisture, and let a professional take a look at it when you return it to use. You’re set! Grandpa would be proud.

Special thanks to the certified watchmaker professionals at for their expert advice.

Kathleen Krueger

Kathleen is a full-time freelance writer and owner of Crafter of Words LLC. She specializes in providing high-quality blogs, website copy and email campaigns for businesses. She frequently writes on topics of interest to home owners such as remodeling, storage and moving.

Latest posts by Kathleen Krueger (see all)