Monday, May 11, 2009

Watch Maintenance 101

Summer is on the horizon, and hot and humid weather is on the way, and differing conditions for watches. A watch can be made by the most prestigious watch company in all the world, but if not taken care of, can run into ruin.

  • I would like to begin discussing the watch crystal. The dial of the watch ,and in some watches the back of the watch, is protected by Sapphire crystal. Sapphire crystal is an extremely hard substance, a 9 on the Mohs Scale - silver being 2.5 and a diamond being 10. Thus Sapphire Crystal is scratch resistant but not Scratch Proof. To avoid any type of scratches to your watch follow these guidelines:

a) Wrap your watch in a soft cloth before placing it on a hard surface.

b)When not wearing place your watch in its original box. Do not place your watch in a jewelry box with your other jewelry. Keep in mind diamonds have a Moh of 10, harder than sapphire crystal and thus can scratch the watch.

c) Do not wear your watch with other jewelry on the same hand. For the same reasons listed above.

d) Avoid wearing the watch during high risk activities like rock climbing or bob sledding unless of course you own a watch specifically designed for these type of activities.

e)Avoid scraping your watch against corridor walls or on furniture. Some new man made materials used to make simulated stone surfaces contain incorporated silicon carbide, an extremely hard material that can cause damage to your sapphire crystal.

  • Now we move on to the watch case and bracelet.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph Men's Automatic Watch 18k Rose Gold Black Dial on Black Rubber Strap Q1862740 or 186.27.40

a) Metal bracelets should be washed with care in water. If the bracelet is really grimy use a soft new toothbrush dunked in mild soapy water and gently brush away the dirt. Rinse with water (if your watch is not water resistance be careful to use only the very minimum amount of water and do not get water on the case), dry carefully with a soft cloth. Cases should be wiped gently with a slightly moistened soft cloth and then carefully dried.

b) In hot weather, leather straps should be slightly loosened when they may absorb perspiration. There are two reasons for this: Firstly a tight strap prevents the passage of air flow on the underside of the strap and secondly a tight strap may cause a perspiration rash on the wrist. When your watch becomes wet with perspiration, wipe it dry with a soft cloth.

c) Finally when taking off your watch leave it in a well ventilated area. Never place it in a sealed air toght container when the watch is still damp with perspiration. Never leave your watch in direct sunlight this may cause your watch strap to fade.

Now we can move onto the movement - the beating heart of the watch.

Automatic mechanical watch do not need to be wound manually but need to be worn everyday. In these watches the watch is powered by the natural swinging motion of the hand. The watch does not need to be shaken vigorously like a cocktail. Avoid undue shocks like dropping the watch on hard surfaces like your granite kitchen counter. Avoid wearing a mechanical watch while playing golf or tennis as arm speeds in excess of 70mph can damage the movement of the watch. Vigorous jagged motions can damage the movement. Many watches have undergone stringent testing and are Certified Chronometers, but still proper care is still necessary.

  1. If you have not worn the watch in a couple of days and have not kept it on a Watch Winder, your watch may have stopped. If this occurs wind up the crown and run it again. It is best to wear a Mechanical Watch everyday or try to wind it once every three days. All the wheels need to be in motion on a regular basis as when the movement is in motion the movement is be oiled.
  2. A Mechanical Watch needs to be serviced just like your automobile. Although mechanical watches are designed to provide a lifetime of accurate and reliable service, a mechanical watch requires to be serviced every three or four years to ensure maximum efficiency and to prevent permanent damage. Each manufacturer has their own specific servicing recommendations for your watch. As a result of the complexity of the mechanisms within the mechanical watch, it is preferable if the watch is serviced by an agent authorized by the watch manufacturer. During servicing your watch will be inspected for any worn parts that may need to be replaced; check to see if the watch requires lubrication, and check if perspiration, dust or water has seeped into the watch. Dust is the most damaging as is water and these elements need to be removed from the watch.
  3. During servicing your watch is opened and the movement is removed. If required the movement is taken apart to the very last screw. Each individual part is inspected for wear or tear. Old worn parts are replaced with identical parts. Every part is cleaned, reassembled and lubricated. Then the movement is regulated, so the watch will run with precision. If the watch is water resistant, water tightness is checked and worn cracked gaskets are replaced. The final step is polishing the case and the bracelet. After these steps the watch will be good as new.

Servicing is crucial as the oil that keeps the watch running breaks down over time. Parts of the watch that are no longer lubricated will cause friction. The problem will be confounded if the friction creates microscopic fine dust that will act as a damaging abrasive to the movement. In addition, the watch case expands in response to periods of hot and cold. This expansion allows dust to enter the case to microscopic fine cracks. Dust is the most detrimental element to the movement of a watch.

I know what you thinking. This seems like an awful lot of instructions for a watch; however, most of it you are probably doing anyway. Please bare in mond if you treat your watch with respect it will be your great grand children's heirloom.

If you have any other tips or personel experiences. Please feel free to comment. I love feedback.