By Ariel Adams
Sales people for fine watches are amusingly known for the delicate way that they can sometimes handle a timepiece, with extreme caution and while using protective gloves. Is all that care necessary when it comes to handing your new luxury timepiece? The more high-end a watch is the more time and effort were put into each part of the case and dial, but that doesn’t mean all timepieces need to be babied while on or off your wrist, despite how precious they may be. With that said it is important to be aware of how to best protect, clean, and maintain your timepieces, as well as to have a general understanding of where and where not to wear them.
One of the best analogies I can make between watches and another product most people are familiar are shoes. Like watches people often have various shoes for different occasions and probably wouldn’t go hiking in their dress shoes. No matter how fine their dress shoes are, they recognize that the leather uppers and soles will not do well around mud, dirt, and rocks. Likewise it is important to consider the purpose for which your timepiece was made, which will help you know when to choose a different watch. Retailers and watch service departments are typically filled with broken timepieces that suffered under the neglect of owners who did something like go swimming with a formal timepiece that was not meant to be submerged in watch.
With that said most modern timepieces will easily handle the majority of daily use scenarios, including getting wet, receiving light shock and vibration, as well as putting up with scuffs and scratches that can later be polished out. Even then, what should people do while they are not wearing their watch? The larger a collection becomes the less often people tend to wear any given timepieces. When watches are in storage for long periods of time they should be wound up every couple of months in order to prevent lubrication inside the movement from congealing. Still, it is not necessary for watch to be constantly wound, such as storing it on an watch winder, unless the owner prefers them to be set and ready at all times. Some even argue that it is harmful for watches to be wound all the time when not worn as it can theoretically cause undue wear and tear on timepieces that aren’t even being used on your wrist.
Cleaning watches should be done with care, and often by a professional if you are unsure about the water resistance of your timepiece. Water intrusion into the case is very damaging, and usually happens because owners do absent-minded things such as not screwing in crowns (if their watches have protective screw-down crowns). Mild soaps and other cleaners can be used with cloths and brushes to wipe away oil and other dirt from a watch case and bracelet, but care should be taken not to use anything too abrasive or corrosive when cleaning a timepiece.
No owner should venture inside of his or her watch unless they are a trained professional. Not only can doing so void the warranty, but watch cases are not meant to be opened and closed like the hood of a car. Special effort is often taken to not only keep out dust and other particles, but also to maintain water resistance.
When it comes to the value of your watch it would be wise to both insure your timepieces and also keep them in a safe. Stories of timepiece theft at home, in the office, and especially at hotels are all too common. Don’t assume people aren’t familiar with the value of your watches as the luxury timepiece industry has gone to great lengths to educate the masses about the values of their products. In most instances it is wise enough simply to leave timepieces out of plain sight while not being worn on your wrist. Otherwise a veritable universe of cases, pouches, bags, and boxes exist for storing your watch collection, with no particular ones being ideal for all purposes. Each works for certain types of storage. Personally, for travel I prefer individual watch cases which are compact and hard shell that in my opinion offer the best of both protection and convenience while living out of a suitcase. At home or in the office a good storage solution is a watch box with a transparent top which allow you to view your collection and know where to find a particular watch while at the same time protecting them from dust and debris.
Ariel Adams – United States
Ariel Adams started writing about watches in 2007, almost immediately after finishing law school. Since then he’s never looked back – combining his business skills with an enduring passion for timepieces and all things “well-made” on http://aBlogToWatch.com. In addition to running the world’s highest-traffic online watch magazine, Adams also wrote a book, The World’s Most Expensive Watches, and also lends his voice to leading watch and thought publications around the world.