Should You Stop a Watch When Not Wearing It?

When it comes to watching ownership, maintenance is key. Proper care and understanding of your timepiece can significantly impact its performance and longevity. One common question that arises among watch enthusiasts is whether it’s necessary to stop a watch when it’s not being worn.

In this article, we’ll explore the factors influencing watch stopping, the benefits of stopping a watch, considerations to keep in mind, and expert recommendations on this matter.

Watches are intricate instruments that rely on various mechanisms to keep time accurate. Understanding the implications of leaving your watch running or stopping it when not in use is crucial.

So, should you stop a watch when not wearing it? In short, it depends on the type of watch movement, environmental factors, and personal usage patterns. Let’s delve deeper into this topic to help you make an informed decision.

Understanding Watch Movement

Watch movements can be broadly categorized as mechanical or quartz. Mechanical watches rely on intricate gears, springs, and levers to keep time, while quartz watches utilize a battery-powered quartz crystal.

When not worn, these two types of movements function differently. Mechanical watches continue to run due to the energy stored in their mainspring, while quartz watches can be paused to conserve battery life. Understanding these distinctions is crucial to determining whether to stop a watch when not wearing it.

Factors Influencing Watch Stopping

Several factors can influence whether a watch stops when not in use. The type of movement plays a significant role. Mechanical watches, with their complex mechanisms, are designed to keep running continuously.

However, external factors such as temperature, magnetic fields, and physical activities can affect a watch’s accuracy and cause it to stop. Understanding these influences is essential to make an informed decision about stopping a watch.

Benefits of Stopping a Watch

Although mechanical watches are designed to run continuously, there are some notable benefits to stopping them when not in use. By stopping the watch, you conserve the energy stored in the mainspring, ultimately prolonging its life.

Additionally, reducing the continuous operation of the intricate gears and mechanisms can help minimize wear and tear, ensuring the watch’s longevity and reliability. Furthermore, stopping the watch can aid in preserving its accuracy and precision.

Considerations for Stopping a Watch

While there are benefits to stopping a watch, several considerations should be taken into account. The frequency of use and wear pattern of the watch should guide your decision. If you wear your watch regularly, the energy stored in the mainspring will remain constant, minimizing the need to stop it.

However, if you have a collection of watches and rotate their usage, stopping unworn watches can be beneficial. Additionally, storage conditions and proper watch care play a vital role in maintaining a timepiece’s performance, regardless of whether it’s stopped or left running.

Best Practices for Stopping a Watch

The best practices for stopping a watch vary depending on the type of movement. For manual winding watches, proper winding techniques should be followed to ensure the mainspring is fully wound.

When storing unworn manual winding watches, it’s recommended to keep them in a watch box or case to protect them from dust and potential damage.

Quartz watches, on the other hand, often have power-saving features or battery-saving modes that allow them to be paused when not in use, conserving battery life. Storing quartz watches for extended periods requires ensuring the battery is removed or deactivated to prevent leakage or corrosion.

Common Myths and Misconceptions

Several myths and misconceptions surround the topic of stopping watches. One common myth is that stopping a watch will damage its movement. However, modern watches are designed to handle starting and stopping without causing harm.

Another misconception is that constantly stopping and starting a watch is necessary for its optimal functioning.

While it’s true that some watches may require occasional winding or shaking to get them started after being stopped for a long time, this practice is not necessary for most watches. Modern watch movements are built to withstand regular starting and stopping without adverse effects.

It’s important to debunk these myths and misconceptions to provide accurate information to watch owners. By dispelling these notions, watch enthusiasts can make informed decisions about stopping their watches when not in use.

Expert Recommendations and Opinions

To gain further insights into the topic, it’s valuable to consider the recommendations and opinions of watchmakers and horologists. Experts in the field often have varying perspectives based on their experiences and knowledge.

Some may emphasize the benefits of stopping a watch to conserve energy and minimize wear, while others may prioritize the convenience of continuous operation.

Exploring different expert viewpoints can help watch owners understand the diverse perspectives in the watch community and make an informed decision that aligns with their personal preferences and watch collection.


In conclusion, the decision of whether to stop a watch when not wearing it depends on various factors, including the type of movement, environmental conditions, and personal usage patterns. Mechanical watches are designed to run continuously, while quartz watches can be paused to conserve battery life.

Stopping a watch can have benefits such as conserving energy, reducing wear and tear, and preserving accuracy. However, individual considerations such as the frequency of use, storage conditions, and manufacturer recommendations should be taken into account.

It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether you should stop a watch when not wearing it. Understanding the mechanisms and characteristics of your watch, as well as considering expert recommendations and personal preferences, will guide you in making the best decision for your timepiece. By maintaining proper care, following recommended practices, and considering the specific needs of your watch, you can ensure its longevity, reliability, and accurate timekeeping.

Remember, whether you choose to stop your watch or let it run when not in use, proper maintenance, regular servicing, and appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship of watchmaking will contribute to the long-lasting enjoyment of your timepieces.

Sherry's editorial journey seamlessly merges with her passion for horology at WatchReflect. As a seasoned editor and watch enthusiast, she curates insightful guides that cater to novices and connoisseurs alike. With a penchant for research and a flair for storytelling, Sherry transforms horological complexities into engaging narratives. Her mission is to illuminate the path for those navigating the multifaceted realm of timekeeping.

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