The ability to accurately tell the time is a luxury often taken for granted in modern society. Every screen you look at these days can accurately tell the exact time down to the second. This type of information was challenging for the vast majority of human history.
Seven Tips on Storing Automatic Watches at Home
Owning a precious device such as an automatic watch has quite a few unique responsibilities. You can't simply toss it into the junk drawer and your car keys whenever you take it off at night. To keep it functioning correctly, here are seven tips on how to properly care for your automatic watch:
- Prevent External Shock at All Costs
- Avoid Moisture as Much You Can
- Separate It From Electronics
- Create a Cleaning Routine
- Pay Attention to the Temperature
- Service Your Watch Regularly
- Keep the Original Box and Paperwork
1. Prevent External Shock at All Costs
The internal workings of an automatic watch are incredibly delicate. Despite its small size, it's not uncommon for an automatic watch to involve the use of more than one hundred moving parts.
Dropping the watch, bumping it against something, or allowing a hard object to fall onto it can severely damage these precious internal mechanisms. A hard enough impact, and you'll be left with a watch that's only right two times a day.
As if that wasn't bad enough, external shock can also damage the outside of your watch. The main reason so many automatic watches are so expensive is the crystal glass, precious metal components, and encrusted jewels.
A crack or scratch on a luxury watch's exterior can ruin the watch's aesthetic and be very expensive to repair.
2. Avoid Moisture as Much You Can
Water may be the element of life for living organisms, but it's the bringer of death for mechanical devices. Metal and water are natural enemies.
Storing your watch in a damp area or frequently exposing it to water can quickly cause the metal components to rust and ruin the watch. Another side effect of moisture is that it can thicken the oil in your watch, which disrupts its lubricating abilities.
Moisture is terrible news for your watch, and you need to make sure that your storage area is devoid of it. It's best to be cautious and utilize some silica gel to help absorb excess moisture and condensation.
There are so many tiny crevices where moisture can accumulate on your watch that there's no such thing as being too careful.
3. Separate It From Electronics
It's impossible to bypass electronics in the modern world. Electronics aren't the main issue you need to be concerned about: it's magnets. Automatic watches are pretty much entirely by constantly moving metallic components.
Highly polarized magnetic fields can wreak absolute havoc on these tiny pieces of metal. At best, your watch will become inaccurate and untrustworthy, but at worst, it will become an expensive bracelet.
You should be wary about storing your watch with electronics because electrical currents create magnetic fields. Whenever an electrical current passes through the wiring of an electrical device, it will generate a small magnetic field.
The larger the electrical current, the larger the magnetic field. Usually, the magnetic fields generated by your computer, TV, or cell phone won't be enough to damage your watch severely. However, you can never be too careful, and it's best not to risk it.
4. Create a Cleaning Routine
The old saying "cleanliness is next to godliness" might not have explicitly referred to watches, but you should pretend it does. Even the most meticulous germaphobes can prevent their watches from getting dirty.
The main culprit is you, as sweat can quickly lead to a watch becoming filthy. You should always make sure to clean your watch before you put it away in storage.
The good news is that most watches are pretty easy to clean. Stainless steel is one of the most common metal components for automatic watches and makes for an easy clean.
The other metals aren't much more of a problem and can usually be handled with a soft cloth or tissue. You could also use a toothbrush if you wanted a deep cleaning.
In extreme cases, you might need to use soap and water. You should now know the risks of using water to clean your watch. Be sure to use the appropriate amount of caution when cleaning your watch with water.
5. Pay Attention to the Temperature
Temperature is another natural enemy of metal in the same vein as moisture. Steel (one of the most common components of an automatic watch) can contract with extreme cold and expand with intense heat. Having the core components of your watch get severely warped can result in a lot of problems.
Typically, these temperatures aren't a problem regarding proper storage. You should be fine if you don't store your watches outside in a desert or blizzard. Keeping your watches stored in a controlled environment is plenty.
The most critical time to pay attention to the temperature is when you're wearing your watch. A quick dip in a hot tub or run down a ski trail is all it takes to disrupt the metal and oil inside your watch.
6. Service Your Watch Regularly
It probably sounds ridiculous to compare an automatic watch to an automobile. Outside of a similar-sounding name, how much could the two have in common? It turns out that the answer is more than you think.
The internal components of an automatic watch function like the engine of an automobile. There are tons of moving parts that require oil to stay lubricated and function properly.
You probably already know what can happen when you don't change the oil in a car. A similar fate awaits your watch when you don't service it for an extended period.
Most watches will need to be serviced once every three to five years, but some are advertised to last for up to ten years. It's up to you how often you decide to service your watch as you know the potential consequences.
7. Keep the Original Box and Paperwork
Anyone that's ever collected anything will tell you that keeping the original box and any paperwork is essential. These seemingly trivial items won't impact the watch's function, but they can help it maintain its maximum value.
You'll need to keep the box and papers stored in a non-humid environment because they are most likely wood-based products. Be careful not to bend or crumple the papers and avoid crushing the box as much as possible. These items aren't as valuable as your watch, but you should consider them as essential accessories.
You might be tempted to store your watch in the original box simply. While it would be much easier, it doesn't offer the level of security that you need for your watch. A little moisture in the air and the box, papers, and watch can get severely damaged.
What Are the Different Options for Storing Watches?
You probably already know that you need to be keeping your watch collection in a safe. It would be rather foolish to think that storing your watches anywhere other than a safe is a good idea.
The difficult question is, what should you be using to store your watch while it's inside the safe? Tossing it inside your safe like a frozen burrito into a microwave would be a bad idea. Instead, here are five options to choose from for adequately storing your watches:
A watch case is a lined and well-padded box that typically features a clear glass top so that you can see your watch. It functions like the original box, except it offers much more robust protection and a way to see your watch without touching it.
The use of microsuede trays is widespread for storing luxury pieces of jewelry. You can easily find a few of these trays designed explicitly for watches that can offer convenient storage levels and high levels of protection.
Pouches for Your Watch
Pouches are commonly used for anyone who intends to take their collection on the road with them. The pouch is usually made from high-quality leather that can provide adequate protection when traveling.
Rolls are another standard method of storing watches while traveling. You can use a structured hard case roll or a wrap made of leather or canvas. Both options will work about the same and offer a solid amount of protection for your watch.
Using a winder to store your watch will keep them running even though you aren't wearing it Automatic watches rely on the movements of your arm to function correctly. They aren't moving and will eventually run out of juice when you aren't wearing them.
The History of Telling Time
The earliest methods of time keeping included sundials, water clocks, and hourglasses. As science and technology continued to evolve, these ancient methods were replaced with far more accurate pendulum clocks and marine chronometers.
Eventually, the world's first watch would be invented in 1505 by the German inventor Peter Henlein. The small portable clock represented an enormous change in what was deemed possible for time-keeping devices.
Watchmaking would continue to develop over the centuries and reach new heights of popularity in the 1800s. The pocket watch took the world by storm and was frequently carried by royalty, business people, and common folk.
In 1868, the Swiss watch manufacturer Patek Philippe specially crafted the first wristwatch for the Countess Koscowicz of Hungary. Although women primarily wore wrist watches at the time, wrist watches would become quintessential to everyday life during World War One.
Over 100 years later, wristwatches have become a common sight in everyday life worldwide. While there are more time-keeping options in the modern era, none come with the same status as a high-end automatic watch.
The problem with such a high class is that it makes you a more desirable target for theft. Having a high-quality automatic watch will mean you need to store it properly and protect it when you're not wearing it.
There's Always Time To Protect Your Valuables
Time-keeping devices have been around for a large chunk of human history. The modern watches we use have come a long way from the sundials that our ancestors used long ago. The knowledge of adequately caring for these devices has grown almost as rapidly as the technology used to create them.
You should always do your best to avoid external impacts, moisture, extreme temperatures, and electronics whenever you store your watches. It's also a good idea to have them serviced regularly and to keep the original box and paperwork.
The most effective way to protect your watches is to store them in a safe. You'll need to figure out which type of safe is the best option for you. Once you've decided on a safe, you should have all the information you need to keep your watches adequately stored at home.