The only way to avoid damaging your watch is by placing it in a glass case that is safe from dust, sun and humidity. But, unless you’ve inherited a rare collector’s item , it’s not worth it. Nobody buys a watch not to wear it . Although from the moment it is hung from a wrist, it runs its risks and, therefore, it is essential that you know how to take care of a watch as much as possible.
How to care for a watch to make it look like it was just bought: do not subject it to free fall
The most common set, without a doubt, is an accidental collision . A free fall of more than one meter, with the speed that it entails, can cause a mere dent or damage inside the box, more or less serious depending on the position that the piece has adopted when falling.
“Each blow is transmitted to the interior in a different way and with different consequences, which can range from the off-centering of the dial or the needles to the deformation of the spiral or breaks in extreme cases. A blow to the crown or the push-button creates a deformation that prevents normal operation and impairs the watertightness of the watch, which allows water to penetrate, ”says a spokesman for the Swiss brand Oris.
The best firms in the watch industry allocate part of their resources to research on new materials , but they do not affect their hardness as much as in other aspects. It is explained by Mouton, watchmaker . “Those that work with more modern metals, such as special carbon fibers, focus more on the weight (which is becoming increasingly lighter) and on how the material is going to age. The machine and the design are the most important today ”.
The same gives you your watch is gold that steel (star material present) when being hit, according to this expert. Yes, steel and platinum are harder , and the depression that occurs on their surface will be more discreet than in a gold one, but mechanically the impact is the same.
“ The watch is not designed to withstand shocks , although it is surprising how much they can withstand. Unconsciously, customers take more care of gold. The steel ones age better, but because they are used every day they scratch a lot, ”says Mouton.
Fortunately, all materials can be polished , although this practice should not be abused. “Although the technical service can restore its original state, with each polishing operation part of the material of the case is eliminated , which can cause the profiles and dimensions of the watch to deteriorate over the years,” they say in Oris.
How to take care of a watch to make it look like it was just bought: when in doubt, out of the water
Another number one enemy of a watch is water . Perhaps it is also the element that generates the most headaches for watch fans. Because, depending on the quality of the piece, the construction of the case, crown and pushbuttons and the condition of the seals, we can rely more or less on the watertightness recommended by the manufacturer, which is usually indicated on the back. of the box, expressed in meters, bars or atmospheres (1 bar = 1 atm = 10 m).
That an instrument is “submersible to 30 m” means that it resists a pressure equivalent to a static immersion of 30 m depth, not that 30 m is the actual depth of immersion. The user’s movements (a jump, a stroke) and the force of the water (jets, currents) can increase the pressure.
“ The European ISO standard is deceiving : it refers to the test pressure in perfect conditions, in the laboratory. There are brands for professional use such as Rolex , Panerai and Breitling that, when they tell you that they are waterproof up to 100 meters, they are 100 meters. In others, the indication of 30 m gives many problems to the technical service. 30 m is worth to wash your hands. To start bathing in a pool you need a minimum of 50 m ”, says Mouton.
If you wear your diver’s watch a lot , experts will recommend that you have it tested for water resistance at least once a year, especially before summer. Jewelry stores don’t usually charge for that checkup.
It seems that a watch suffers much more at sea than in a bank safe, but beware because these boxes are great moisture condensers, and can turn a watch’s gold color toasted. If you have, for example, a Patek Philippe from the 50s (not hermetic or lacking joints) deposited in a safe, it should be aired every so often.
How to take care of a watch: opposites do not attract
With extreme temperatures you can also take unpleasant surprises, so do not let the clock at the side of a furnace in operation or directly exposed to the sun.
How to take care of a watch: when you should take it in for service
As a general rule, it is advisable to respect the periods established by each brand for the maintenance of a watch. And bear in mind that the mechanism of these instruments is working continuously, so it is necessary to check the state of the movement oils, of each part, clean the components and lubricate the friction points. A complete service every four to six years will extend its useful life.
“The complete revision of a watch is different from that of a car, because you have to disassemble it whole and check each piece. It requires highly specialized labor. Today they can be repaired and left almost like new , so there is no problem in using them daily, carefully but without fear, even a high complication (although you are not going to go to the beach with a perpetual calendar ). The cost of maintaining a 7,000 euro watch with a complete overhaul every 5 or 6 years is 10% of its initial price , on average, although it depends on the type of movement and the complications it carries, ”says Mouton.
At home you can also contribute to its good condition. Clean the watertight watches with a bracelet externally with a slightly damp cloth or small brush. If they are not airtight, use some type of soft cloth , such as microfiber, that does not scratch them. And leave the rest of the work to the professionals.