How to maintain and store your luxury watch
Whether you own a rare Rolex Daytona or a vintage Tank Louis Cartier, keeping your timepiece in good condition is paramount if you hope to hand it down to a family member or sell it on. Light, water and dust are among the many enemies of watches, so read on for some top tips for keeping your timepiece in a prime state.
Avoid bright light, humidity and dust
Humidity is the ultimate saboteur when it comes to watches. Dampness that gets into watches can create rusty movements and damaged dials. Not all watches are waterproof but even the ones that are, should not be exposed to these conditions for long periods of time.
Bright light is another condition that should be avoided especially where dials are black as these can fade to chocolate brown shades. However it should be noted that in some cases these dials can become more valuable as unusual ageing can increase value.
Wear valuable watches with caution
After spending potentially thousands on a luxury watch you’ll want to ensure it is worn under the right conditions. Generally speaking, the older the watch the more sensitive it is to humidity. Screw-down case backs are more resistant to keeping out water, oil and dust. Vintage chronographs with square pushers are more prone to humidity.
Maintain original finish
It’s essential to maintain a watch’s original finish. Watchmakers may be tempted to polish a watch but this can alter the metal’s surface, remove metal and alter the original bevels, which can damage a watch’s value and reduce interest of collectors. Repeat polishing can cause the lugs to become uneven which can be unpleasant on the eye.
It’s crucial that dials remain original where possible. It’s likely that watches from the 1930s or 40s were painted with radium to improve the luminosity. Removing this can reduce the value and the same goes for dials and bezels.
Keep original bracelets
Original bracelets are of increasing value to collectors as they are extremely rare. Sometimes they provide important aesthetic features, such as those made for Rolex and Patek Philippe. Moisture can affect the appearance of a leather strap, so make sure that it does not come into contact with water, fragrance or oil.
Look after movements
Movements need to be kept in excellent working order. Only skilled technicians should be trusted with your precious timepiece as they are able to properly disassemble a watch, as well as clean re-lubricate the parts and adjust the timing.
You should have your watch serviced every few years by a reputable specialist. Watches worn regularly should be serviced at least every three years. Chronographs, which are more complex, need more detailed attention if used frequently.
Many manufacturers provide in-house services and here at Luxe Watches, we specialise in servicing. It is always a good idea to seek out a watchmaker who is endorsed by the brand.
Read online reviews to ensure you find a reliable one. Prior to a service you should inform the watchmaker if you don’t want parts replaced or the watch polished. These types of changes can drastically alter the watch value and are often irreversible.
Watches should always be insured as they make excellent targets for house burglars and pickpockets. Storing these items in a safe is a good option.
When buying your watch you should keep a note of the serial number so it can be traced if stolen. You should also take close-up photos of your watch – especially any small scratches or marks that would make it easily identifiable.