A men’s luxury watch isn’t just something you place on your wrist to tell time. A watch is a statement on personal style. It’s an identity piece. It’s even an heirloom, something to passed on to a son or a nephew. And the bigger, and more expensive, the brand, the bigger the statement.
What are the most powerful brands on the men’s luxury watch market today? Jaeger-LeCoultre. Rolex. A. Lange & Söhne. Audemars Piguet. Cartier. IWC Schaffhausen. Omega. Patek Philippe. Vacheron Constantin. Those are some of the common names that will make anyone’s list. But like an invaluable, personal piece of jewellery, watches at the level of these brands are serious investments and require care.
So what are the five things you must do to protect your luxury watch?
Regularly wiping excess dirt and oil with a soft clean cloth will keep your timepiece looking great, longer. A good routine is to give is a quick wipe down when taking it off. You should also wash your watch at intervals. With a soft toothbrush (a soft children’s toothbrush is better) and using a non-abrasive liquid soap (like liquid hand-soap) and warm water gently, brush all surfaces. Make sure that the build-up oil and dirt is being removed from the crevices – in metal bracelets especially.
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If your watch has a leather or similar type of band, remove it before washing the watch. Take care to make sure crowns are pressed or screwed down. Do not operate buttons or pushers while the watch is wet.
The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin collection
Store it properly
Store your watch properly to keep it safe. Returning your watch to a watch box or similar purposed container will prevent it from being dropped, misplaced, snatched up by children or pets.
Your safe place doesn’t need to be a watchbox or a safe, but I recommend it.
Audemars Piguet’s new Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT
But wear it appropriately. Don’t wear your dress watch to a pool party. Water resistance for your timepiece there is minimal and its leather band may be ruined by water or humidity. Do wear it out to dinner though! Wear your dive watch to the beach. But be willing to keep it on, so it isn’t misplaced (or stolen) in a public place. Wearing a fine watch while using an impact driver to change a car tire for example is not wise either. Excessive vibration can destroy delicate pivots and other wearing points inside your mechanical watch.
Wear your watch. But wear it appropriately.
Yes, you will have to service your timepiece. When? That is the great debate. Do you want it to last forever, perhaps as a gift to pass down to the next generation? Service it as per the manufacturer recommendations. Does it need to be serviced this often? Probably not with new and better designs and lubricants, but don’t push it too far.
I recommend delaying if this is your preference. But service it immediately if mechanical, timing, or any other issues become apparent. And don’t wait 15 years and possibly be looking at a significantly more costly service and/or repair.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas perpetual calendar ultra-thin skeleton, winner this month of the “Calendar and Astronomy” prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) 2020
Adjust the time, date and other functions with care
Gently wind your watch and never force the crown in either direction. If you feel mechanical resistance that is in anyway unnatural then immediately stop and have your watch inspected by a professional. This could manifest itself as the feeling of a gear skipping, or a feeling like it is not fully engaged when winding. Parts of the rotation of the crown can feel “harder” than others, or that it wants to stick in a certain place.
Never use quick set day or date functions while the watch is engaging this feature as part of regular time keeping. Translation: never adjust the day or date between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. The quick set function can shear or damage the gear that automatically advanced the day or date. Your luxury watch is not immune from this. The Valjoux 7750 (the chronograph movement used by many men’s luxury watch manufacturers) is notoriously famous for date function damage. In fairness this issue might be so well known because it is so popular a movement!
My point is understand the features of your timepiece and the correct way to adjust its many functions.
IMAGE UP TOP: The new IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “SFTI”
Colin Potts is founder of Watch off the Cuff, a watch repair service based in Milton, Ontario, and a member of the Horology Society of New York in support of advancing the art and science of horology.