For many luxury watch buyers, the timepiece is an investment meant to last for generations (or until it is traded or sold for a new one). Although these fine watches are often built to last, they still require proper care in order to keep them working optimally, retain their value and pristine shine.
Wear and tear is a natural consequence of wearing your watch, but proper care while your timepiece is on your wrist and off it can help to offset this. The level of care depends on whether your watch is a daily beater, or a showpiece only worn for special occasions. Other factors include whether the watch is worn indoors or worn outdoors exposed to the elements. Here are some practical tips you can use to keep your luxury watch looking great.
Clean According to Your Watch Type
Luxury watches, like anything you wear out regularly, will pick up dirt, stains and dust from the environment. As time passes, this build-up can make a watch lose its lustre — especially on the face and bezel.
However, the cleaning technique you use to maintain your watch greatly depends on the material of your case.
To keep your watch looking new, you want to wipe off dust and stains with a gentle microfibre cloth if it is soiled or weekly after daily use. If your watch is water-resistant, wiping it down with a lightly damp cloth is acceptable. Avoid soap or alcohol/ wipes as it wears away at the protective coatings.
You can use a detailing brush or a soft-bristle toothbrush to clean the nooks and crannies around the lugs and crown. If you’re not confident or unsure if your metal case is hard enough, don’t risk a scratch — leave it to a watch specialist for a professional deep clean.
Carbon or Ceramic-coated Watches
Like steel watches, carbon or ceramic-coated watches can make do with light cleaning to keep them looking pristine. Wipe it down after every wear to get rid of dust and stains before they have a chance to build up.
White, Yellow or Rose Gold Watches
Greater care should be taken if your watch is made out of pure gold or is gold-plated. That’s because gold is inherently a very soft material, and even wiping with a microfibre cloth can cause hairline scratches. These scratches become obvious on polished surfaces, which can be unsightly.
To clean a gold watch, use a damp cotton ball or cotton bud to gently clean the surfaces. Be extra careful and avoid using force or you might scratch the watch or deface the gold-plating. Again if you’re not confident or unsure about dealing with gold, send your watch to a specialist to be professionally cleaned.
Use a Watch Protection Film
The commonly used quote “prevention is better than cure” is apt here. Rather than cleaning and worrying about scratching your precious timepiece — it is wise to invest in a scratch proof protective film that will protect the material from corrosion or abrasion.
RX8 films are an increasingly popular choice for Rolex owners who wish to protect their investment without detracting from its looks.
Don’t Ignore the Strap or Bracelet
While we spend all day looking at the dial and face of our watch, the strap is one of the parts that can become grimy really quickly as it consistently picks up our dead skin and oils throughout the day.
How you clean your strap will depend on the material. Metal bracelets can be removed and soaked in warm soapy water, brushed clean with a soft toothbrush and wiped dry. Rubber straps just need to be wiped down with a damp cloth. For fabric straps like NATO, follow the manufacturer’s care instructions for your specific material. While leather straps should be cleaned with a gentle leather cleaner, avoiding water at all costs.
Store Your Watch in a Cool, Dry Place
Where is your precious watch spending its time when not on your wrist? How you choose to store your watch can have a big impact on how it looks.
Your watch should be stored in its original box or a dedicated watch box when not in use. This not only protects it from dust, but also prolonged exposure to direct sunlight which can speed up wear and tear.
Secure the Crown
The crown is the interface to the delicate movement of your watch. It’s also a potential entry point for water and foreign objects, so care needs to be taken to maintain its integrity.
Check that your crown is screwed tight whenever you adjust your watch, but don’t put excessive force when pushing it in to lock the movement. You should also wind or adjust your watch when it is off your wrist rather than on it, so as to avoid adding lateral stress to the movement. Finally, never rest your watch on its crown! Lay it flat on a surface if you have to take it off.
Wear or Wind Your Watch Regularly
Your luxury watch is made out of several moving parts meant to work in tandem with each other. Whether your watch is self-winding or manual-winding, keeping the movement ticking ensures that its internal components are well lubricated. Meanwhile, mechanical watches that sit idle for too long can cause the oils inside to dry. However, take care not to overwind your watch. A typical range to shoot for is around 20 to 30 turns to keep the mechanism working optimally.
If you don’t want to have to constantly remember to wind your watch every few months, consider investing in a watch winder.
Looking for a reputable specialist to buy, trade, sell or care for your luxury watch? CHRONO95 is a boutique catered to all luxury watch lovers. We specialise in authentic, in-demand brands that hold their value well, like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille. Founded by watch enthusiasts driven by our expertise and passion for all things horological, visit our website at www.chrono95.com.