Luxury watches are one of those few novelty pieces left in the world that carry a piece of history with them with each purchase. They have secured their place with other traditional souvenirs as mementos to pass on as your lineage grows. It is truly a fascinating thing to see how a simple jewelled dial and suede strap can be a long-standing symbol of heritage and elegance.
Not only are luxury watches a wonderful feat of classical engineering, backed with an equally interesting history, but they also hold sentimental value that goes beyond its practical use. Mechanical watches are designed to last a lifetime, but if properly taken care of, you’ll find they can outlive you to look after multiple generations to come.
However, try as the world might, nothing does last forever. These little symbolic machines each contain nearly hundreds of minuscule components within, operating at different calibres of tolerance to ensure that time is accurately delivered even under the duress of constant movement.
Luckily there are a few ways you can help out your little investment!
1. Keep out of direct sunlight
Much like fine perfume or rare whisky, luxury watches also make an enemy out of strong sunlight. Extended exposure to direct sunlight may cause an accelerated wear and tear on the painted parts of the watch, especially on the dial, bezel, and hands. It also dries out the lubricants inside responsible for making the components run smoothly. Keeping your watch in a cool, dark area with a moderate temperature is a good preventive measure to make sure it doesn’t fluctuate too much.
2. Service it regularly
It’s a common rule of thumb to have your watch serviced every two or three years, regardless of its warranty length. It’s just like bringing your car to the shop every once in a while to make sure the basic faculties are still running smoothly, both internally and externally. It’s always better to catch issues before they can grow into problems.
3. Protect the crown
The crown is the only thing standing between you and the delicate movements inside the watch, making it easily one of the most important parts you need to take care of. When you’re not wearing your watch, make it a habit to keep your watch on a soft surface instead of resting it on the crown. Sometimes winding or adjusting your watch when it’s on your wrist can also add lateral stress to its already delicate winding system, so make sure to be extra careful when handling the crown and its dial.
4. Avoid magnets
Widely considered to be the bane of mechanical watches, magnetic fields interfere with timing integrity and sometimes even makes the mechanism stop altogether. Staying away from speakers, refrigerators, magnetic clasps or everyday items that contain some formula for magnets inside them is widely encouraged for better auto maintenance.
5. Wind it regularly
Most watchmakers will often recommend that you wind your mechanical watch, both self-winding and manual-winding, at least once a month. Even if you haven’t worn it for longer than that, it’s good practice to oil the joints inside, so to speak. For self-winding watches, at least 30 turns of the crown is recommended to keep the movement components well lubricated. For manual-winding watches, turning the crown until it resists is encouraged.
6. Store it properly
On the rare times you’re not wearing the watch, it’s common practice to keep the box the watch came in – for verification purposes and storage space alike. If you set the watch on its side or on the crystal, there’s always a good possibility your watch could get scratched. The watch box is made to keep the watch safe and offers protection for the watch.
7. Avoid direct exposure to chemicals
Steer clear of any and all cleaning supplies, oils, cologne and perfume. Perfume can be especially damaging to the leather bands, making them brittle enough they might tear sooner. When spraying or lathering perfume, it’s best to wait for the substance to completely dry on your skin before placing the watch on your wrist. Your watch, like your expensive diamond jewellery – should be the last thing you put on when you get ready.
8. Gently clean it from time to time
You’ll be hard-pressed to find any modern watch these days that isn’t water-resistant, but that’s not to say you should abuse this built-in mechanism. For water-proof timepieces, they can normally afford mild to medium moisture during the cleaning process. Usually, all it takes is a soft damp cloth t0 give it a superficial clean, while a wooden toothpick with a moistened end or a used toothbrush will be enough to get to its tighter gaps.
9. Try non-bracelet straps
If you’re not into chunky links, rubber straps are the way to go for convenient cleaning. Simply wash or wipe it with a wet cloth and you should be able to get most of the grime out. Check the manufacturer’s manual for any specific instructions regarding NATO or fabric straps as they can vary in material, but otherwise, a gentle fabric detergent will do the trick if you hate the feel of metal bands.
10. Read the manual
While it may be tedious at first, it’s important to be fluent in the language of your watch – especially considering the amount you paid for it. There are simply some things that are best and thoroughly detailed in the manual, something proprietary to the watchmaking house alone that can’t be applied anywhere else.
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but luxury watches are the ones who will see you through the end and then some – if you let it. A luxury mechanical watch should be properly respected and cared for, rich in not only it’s financial bearing. A piece like that deserves ample love and care to make its novelty last.