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    First Time on Forum, long time magpie when it comes to Watches; just wanting some advice, I have a "few" watches and I was chatting to a mate of mine who has a "few" also, he said that they should be serviced every five years, I have some that are brand new never worn sitting in a safe, how long can they be left like this, do they require to be serviced, is there a general rule of thumb regarding looking after watches.

  • #2
    Hi ghj and welcome. There is all kinds of information about this very subject on the t'internet. Lots of it conflicting. Rolex has just increased it's service interval for modern watches to 10 years, whereas others have remained at 5. I've heard of 50 year old watches still performing well, having never been opened. imho servicing every five years is not necessary, especially if modern synthetic lubricants have been used. I think the only time I would is when a watch is critical to yours or others wellbeing.

    Personally, I will service a watch when it deviates from normal running.

    If your watches just sit in a safe, I can't see much point in servicing them at all. However if you suddenly start to wear them after they have sat in a safe for twenty years, it would probably be a good idea to have them serviced first. Even if the oils are fine some of the seals can degenerate over time.

    Anyway that's my 2 cents worth. I look forward to seeing some pics of your collection
    Preparation and planning prevent piss poor performance

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ghj View Post
      First Time on Forum, long time magpie when it comes to Watches; just wanting some advice,..
      You’ve come to the right place for advice, welcome! We do like magpies here, ghj, but if you do find yourself to be one, think of watches as your feathers. It’s great to own them, but unless your collection are fragile museum specimens, please do try and use them as well. Watches are like items of clothing—sure, one or two may become cultural icons and collectible over time, but most that we own won’t. So, best to allow them all the privilege of being watches and bearing witness to your days… if that makes sense?


      Originally posted by ghj View Post
      ...I have some that are brand new never worn sitting in a safe, how long can they be left like this, do they require to be serviced, is there a general rule of thumb regarding looking after watches.
      Looking after watches is like looking after a car or house in that it is rather too complex to encapsulate in a single rule of thumb. A close one could be “treat it in such a way that it will remain functional and as close to original to you for the longest possible time.” ...but that’s too abstract to be of any practical use to you. So, I can give you the whole lot, and you can ask us on specifics that you are unclear about? ...When someone buys a watch from me, I include these Guidelines to Looking After Your Watch in one form or another, specific to each circumstance, but often grouped into different aspects of the watch.

      I’ll share them here now.



      MOVEMENT

      Mechanical Movements (Manual-Wind & Automatic Self-winding)
      • Setting the Watch
        • Wind the movement fully before setting the time. If your watch is a manual-wind or is an automatic with auxiliary manual-wind, wind the watch in a deliberate and regular motion, counting the number of time you turn the crown. At around 40 turns, the tension will increase significantly—stop, as a habit, do not overwind. If your automatic watch does not have auxiliary hand-wind, swing the watch in a horizontal arc for around a minute, or preferably 400 times to guarantee optimum torque. In this latter case, you do not need to worry about overwinding.
        • If your watch has QuickSet Day/Date, ALWAYS set the Time before the Day/Date. First, turn the hands to find “midnight”, i.e. Date changes. Set to correct time, taking into account AM/PM.
        • Never wind the hands "back beyond" 12 midnight, unless you have a vintage watch with Semi-QuickSet Date/Day feature.
        • Use QuickSet Day/Date ONLY between the hours of 4 AM and 8 PM, i.e. do not change the Day/Date while the hands are indicating a time from 8 PM – 4 AM (Danger Zone).
      • Operation
        • If the movement is a handwind, wind at the beginning of the day you intend to wear it.
        • If the movement is automatic and you wear your watch everyday and take it off at night, there is no reason to wind it by hand.
        • If your watch is a chronograph, find out whether or not the particular movement caliber is to be worn with the chronograph “running”.
        • Avoid extreme fluctuations of temperature.
        • Avoid extreme shocks and vibrations—strap the watch firmly to your wrist.
        • Avoid lengthy periods in strong magnetic fields.
        • With a new watch, it is recommended that you wear it everyday for at least two weeks (I don’t actually do this myself, but it is a manufacturer’s recommended use.)

      Battery-Powered Quartz Movements
      • Battery-powered watches are not intended for storing away for long periods of time, due to risk of battery acid leakage. Ensure you know the battery life of the movement inside your watch, and have the battery replaced diligently.
      • Have your watch battery replaced by a qualified watchmaker. Unqualified parties sometimes use incorrect batteries, resulting in short battery-life, incorrect fitting of the case back, and acid leakage.
      • DO NOT leave dead battery inside a watch, as the damage can be fatal to the movement, i.e. irreparable.
      • Pulling out the crown to the hand-setting position may prolong battery life, but is detrimental to the life of the movement itself. This is because, unlike mechanicals, quartz movements and their lubrication are designed for constant running.


      CASE and WATER-RESISTANCE
      • Ensure that you understand the Water-Resistance specifications, and abide strictly by it. A "30 m Water-Resistance" does not mean you can dive down to 30 m wearing it. A WR of 30 m implies “splashing”, i.e. light rain or non-immersion hand washing. Personally, I would only take a watch swimming if it has 1) a WR of at least 100m, and 2) been pressure-tested within the last two years.
      • Any watch you own that has a chance of getting wet should have its seals inspected and case pressure-tested every three years. If a watch has not been checked for WR in the last three years, treat it as though it is non-water-resistant.
      • If your watch has a screw-down crown, ensure the crown is fully screwed-in at all times, and in particular, before getting the watch wet.
      • After swimming in the sea or in water containing chlorine, rinse the watch under running tap water.
      • DO NOT shower or take a bath with ANY watch—soap reduces surface tension of water and allows it to attack seals more effectively.
      • If the crystal is cracked, no matter how minimally, STOP wearing the watch until the glass is replaced.
      • If condensation or fogging appears on the inside of the glass, take your watch to a watchmaker immediately—do not wait.


      MAINTENANCE & SERVICING
      • Amount and frequency depend on the type of movement and your usage.
      • Every type of repair and servicing can be carried out by any qualified and experienced watchmaker—you DO NOT NEED to go to the manufacturer’s authorized service centre. This includes Rolex, Omega, and all the popular Swiss and Japanese brands.
      • Seek out recommendation from your local watch collecting community on where to take your particular brand of watch. Find an honest and skilled watchmaker and develop a relationship with him—you’ll be thankful later that you did.
      • A battery-powered Quartz may require a battery replacement anywhere from 1-10 years, so make sure you know how long yours should last. At the same time, the watchmaker can inspect and if necessary replace seals and conduct a pressure test.
      • Any watch that has a chance of getting wet should be checked for WR every 2-3 years.
      • A mechanical watch may require regulation every few years, if found to be inaccurate. Seals can be inspected at the same time, and optional pressure-testing.
      • A mechanical watch will also require a SERVICE OVERHAUL every 5-10 years, depending on your usage. At some stage beyond the 5-year mark, your watch time-keeping ability will drop significantly—beyond that which regulation can fix—along with a drop in the power reserve. A watchmaker will confirm whether your movement is in need of a service.
      • If the mainspring on a mechanical watch breaks and a replacement is required, you may be advised that the movement should be overhauled before installing a new mainspring.
      • Scratches on acrylic crystal or Plexiglas can be removed by polishing. Those on mineral glass and sapphire crystal cannot.


      You are most welcomed and encourage to ask about any aspect of the above that may be unclear to you. Myself and other members will assist with what we can.
      Last edited by Don; 12-04-18, 12:08.
      A watch journey that also serves the betterment of others is one worth taking.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for that really useful reply, re shower and bath comment I have been of the understanding that cleaning my watches with toothbrush and soap is really the only correct method .., you disagree ?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ghj View Post
          Thank you for that really useful reply, re shower and bath comment I have been of the understanding that cleaning my watches with toothbrush and soap is really the only correct method .., you disagree ?
          Glad to be of some help, ghj.

          In my view, toothbrush is to a watch what an outdoor broom would be to your car. There could be parts of the car that you can use an outdoor broom on, or if your SUV or truck has been off-roading and covered in mud, an outdoor broom would be quite effective on the lower portion. However, one needs to know where the broom can be used, and where it is more a danger to the car, likewise the toothbrush and your watch. What is important, however, is that you do clean your watch before storing away—even the non-water-resistant ones.

          Dirt, our perspiration, and environmental impurities can form acid, and while stainless steel does not rust, it does over time succumb to pitting corrosion caused by acid. So, when I hear a seller say, “My diver is five years old, in great condition because it has never been wet,” I am sure to walk away! ...Anyhow, what I personally do is, when I take my watch off at the end of the day and I do not plan on wearing that same watch again the next day, I clean it. I then allow it to air overnight on a shelf or where ever is safe at home, and in the morning, store this watch away in my watch box as I take another watch out to wear.

          So, the question here is “how should the watch be cleaned". My answer would be that it depends on the Water-Resistance rating of each particular watch, and whether that Water-Resistance is still current. The latter would imply that a water-resistant watch that has not had its seal checked and pressure-tested in the last 3 years is to be treated as non-water-resistant. This also applies to vintages, even if they are diver’s watch.

          Tools to use are a soft sponge—I use a portion (a quarter) of a kitchen sponge kept specifically for watches (one soft side and one rough side)—liquid anti-bacterial hand soap, soft paper towel, and a clean soft cloth. I clean my watch at the sink, but treat each category differently, and again the WR mentioned below applies only to watches that are either less than four years old and never opened, or those that have been inspected and pressure-tested within the last three years. In all cases, I 1) make sure the crown is pushed in fully, or (if screw-down type) screwed in properly, 2) never run water directly from the faucet onto the watches, and 3) only expose the watch to soapy water for the shortest period of time possible. The latter is helped by the fact that you have carried the procedure out regularly, every time before storing away, and there is no dirt build-up.


          WR 100m OR MORE: Rinse the watch under the faucet, but blocking direct flow current with my hand. Alternatively, put your hand under the faucet and let water flow from your hand onto the watch. Use the soft side of the sponge together with a dab of liquid soap to clean all the way around the case, the crystal, crown, bracelet, making sure all surfaces gets cleaned. If the watch as a external rotating bezel, give it a few turns now, so that any dirt gets dislodged… Any grime on the underside of rubber straps can be cleaned easily with the rough side of sponge, and this is the only place I can think of that a toothbrush can do a good job of and perhaps cleaning mesh and Milanese bracelet. All this should be done quickly—do not leave soap on the watch for any longer than necessary. When done, rinse the watch under the faucet in the same manner. I then dry up everything with another paper towel or dry clean cloth before airing overnight.

          The exception to the above would be WR 100m OR MORE watches that are fitted with leather straps, which you would generally want to avoid getting wet. For such watches, I would employ methods described below. Another thing that I use toothbrush for is if I buy a vintage on a bracelet that is clearly in need of a good clean and TLC, in which case I remove the bracelet from the watch and go at it with a toothbrush and liquid soap. I would avoid using a toothbrush on the head (case), unless the watch I’ve just bought has a huge amount of build-up dirt and the case is already well-worn or scratched.


          WR 50m: The main difference in this category from the one above is that I would not rinse such a watch under a faucet. These watches can be rinsed before and after sponge-and-soap by cupping water in your hand and pouring over the watch, else use the sponge for the rinsing process as well.

          WR 30m and WR VINTAGES: I would not be pouring any water over this watch, but will start off with dabbing a paper towel with liquid soap, wet the paper towel and squeeze out water to the point that the paper towel is still wet, but not dripping. Clean all the way around the case, the crystal, crown, leather straps, buckle, making sure all surfaces gets cleaned. Get a new piece of paper towel, wet it with water only, and repeat the cleaning on all parts. Dry with another piece of paper towel and soft cloth before leaving to air overnight.

          NON-WR VINTAGES: The difference here to the above category is that the wet paper towel and soap is squeezed out to the driest that I can manage, as is the subsequent wet paper towel and water. All the while, I ensure that my hands are not wet, and being extra careful on areas that moisture can intrude, i.e. case back, crown, and (if applicable) chronograph pushers. You can also choose to use anti-bacterial wet wipes for this last category and for leather straps. Dry with another piece of paper towel and soft cloth before leaving to air overnight.

          I do realize this is time-consuming, but done properly, it will pay off.
          Last edited by Don; 12-04-18, 11:56.
          A watch journey that also serves the betterment of others is one worth taking.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ghj View Post
            Thank you for that really useful reply, re shower and bath comment I have been of the understanding that cleaning my watches with toothbrush and soap is really the only correct method .., you disagree ?
            Don’t use soap.
            'I hope, when i die, my wife doesn't sell my watches for what I told her I paid for them.'

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah 'what they said'

              ========================

              M2CW:

              I don't think a soft bristle tooth brush with some warm soapy water can do much damage personally, even to the most hi-gloss polish mirror finish on a soft cased gold watch unless you are brushing really really hard etc... I clean them with an electric toothbrush, with a baby bristle brush, warm non-dangerous non-caustic soda etc soapy water, recirculating motions are less damaging than doing it by hand (back and forward)... you want to remove detritus with a vibratory motion.


              Watches, sitting in the dark, won't tend to get worn out gaskets & o-rings... what mostly renders a watches water resistance useless is the glass o-ring getting teeny tiny cracks, this is caused by UV from sunlight... thats why watches mostly seem to leak around the glass vs the crown/pushers & caseback (where they're protected from the damaging effects of UV).

              Those new watches you have, sitting in the safe, every now & then take them out and give them a shake, to spin the cogs & wheels & pinions & hands & springs... this will give the parts an exercise so they don't get stiff, and it also spreads the oils around the parts, covers them again, preventing drying out etc


              Don't leave QUARTZ watches dead in the drawer, battery/cells leak & this often ruins the circuit boards, if you know you have a genuine SEIKO cell you are probably ok, I have never seen a genuine SEIKO cell burts.leak/explode in a case even after being left dead for a decade+

              SOLAR & Kenetic 'capacitor' watches, some 1st Gen really need to be charged quite often, don't leave these units flat for ages, this reduces performance of the capacitor i.e. kills it

              Recently someone placed a R O L E X 1996 DAY-DATE President in front of me, after 20 years do you know what stopped it... the strap had broken, worn every day, for 21 years, still going strong.

              Only really should service if the watch has lost accuracy, the watch has lost its power reserve or the watch is showing other signs of something amiss.


              Hot water, drastic changes in temps & soaps that contain stuff like caustic soda thats eats rubber are bad... spa pools, dish washing etc are therefore forbidden.

              I remember Dad whacking me, for using his best scissors on paper, paper is actually extremely abrasive!

              Toothpicks are good to pick dirt out of cracks..

              Toothpaste = edible grinding paste.
              Harlan
              Timekeeper Watch Club
              Auckland, New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, Earth

              Comment


              • #8
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                “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.”


                Despite having the numbers, there is the crazy man in the mountains that none of the tribes will go near!
                Always aim to be that man.

                Comment


                • harlansmart
                  harlansmart commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Lol... what type of fibre does that brush that you are recommending use DW

                • deerworrier
                  deerworrier commented
                  Editing a comment
                  brass obviously, don't want to scratch the stainless!

              • #9
                John something tells me you are not taking this seriously.
                “I want to touch base on how we’ll synergize the pivot going forward”

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by harlansmart View Post
                  Yeah 'what they said'


                  Recently someone placed a R O L E X 1996 DAY-DATE President in front of me, after 20 years do you know what stopped it... the strap had broken, worn every day, for 21 years, still going strong.

                  the owner obviously never had it near water (salt or fresh) , soap, uv light, power shower, taps, heavy rain, jojoba or body sweat (corrosive as feck).
                  I think we rather underplay the abilities of the materials we wear and the engineering behind their construction. I own a few watches with 30m resistance and I never remove them for washing or anything where they get wet. vintage is another story but a new(ish) watch? there are people on some forums who believe it full hardy to purchase a Rolex then get it wet! the madness of our hobby.

                  “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.”


                  Despite having the numbers, there is the crazy man in the mountains that none of the tribes will go near!
                  Always aim to be that man.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Actually, he worked for the 1st decade of ownership on the oceans of the world as a Cargo Ship Capt. No bull... you can tell by the incredibly deeply weathered skin on his face !! He bought the watch in London, where he could get out for a lot less than in Switzerland, which was interesting, he'd been to Switzerland just prior to purchase, and assumed he'd be buying there, but nope.

                    Another also Yellow Gold DAY-DATE I know off, went 25-30 years before it's first service & that guy, down in Nelson, swam in a chlorine pool every morning with the watch on. No bull.

                    Both those 2 DAY-DATEs belonged to '1 watch quivers' as well... so multiply the beat rate, by the hours, weeks, months, years, decades thats what they will do... Example #2 stopped when the rotor assembly failed (fell off/dropped to bits) and there sure was a lot of evidence of the things daily for a fair while (loads of wear to the inside of the caseback & a shit-load of gold dust! haha


                    However, I think those 2 examples are examples of 'some' good fortune nonetheless... plenty of watches I know of get worn daily for 5 years and do need a service, there is so so many variables.

                    Since ghj has mostly (very) high quality watches, and he has a few, and he's not in the ARMY, NAVY....nor does he drive a jack hammer, I would expect his watches to have very long service intervals indeed.

                    JM2CW
                    ---------


                    Originally posted by deerworrier View Post

                    the owner obviously never had it near water (salt or fresh) , soap, uv light, power shower, taps, heavy rain, jojoba or body sweat (corrosive as feck).

                    Harlan
                    Timekeeper Watch Club
                    Auckland, New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, Earth

                    Comment

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