Watch expert Zayyar Win Thein, of vintage watch business Wynn & Thayne, gives us his tips on how to care for your precious timepieces and keep them looking and running their best, year after year.
Build Good Habits
It’s important to build good watch cleaning habits. Being prepared and doing the right things before it’s too late will save money in the long run and potential heartache.
At the end of every night when you take off your trusted piece, wipe it with a polishing cloth to buff out fingerprints and dirt. Doing so will prevent nasty build ups of unwanted grime that could cause problems in the long term. You can also use special jewellery wipes made for precious metals.
Air out your leather straps and ensure they don’t get wet. Moisture damages quality leather straps, so if you’re planning to take a dip into the pool or find yourself in a spot of torrential rain, be wise and take it off. Prevention is your best friend.
If you’re really looking at preserving the nature of the watch there are see-through stickers you can apply.These are often for the caseback and highly exposed areas such as the case sides and bevels. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea it can aid in reducing the amount of scratches that occur over time. Storage can play a big aspect in your watch's longevity.
Leaving it out in the open on your bedside table allows for dust to fall on its face and opens you up to fumbling for a sip of water at 3am and potentially submerging your watch. Store it in a watch case or its original box to prevent dust and any unwanted mishaps in the middle of the night.
Know Your Watch
Ensure you really understand your watch and know what it’s capable of. This can be make or break in sticky situations and you don’t want to get caught out. Here are some features you should know:
Water resistance: Knowing how far you can take your watch into the depths of the ocean or if it can only take a few mere splashes from washing dishes is quite important. Tip: Always make sure the crown is pushed or screwed in - it’s the easiest way for water to flood through and destroy the movement inside.
Movement: Is it quartz, automatic or manual? I really hope you know the answer to this. It can be helpful when travelling if your watch stops working. If you only need a new battery for a quartz watch its far more universal than trying to find a certified watchmaker to help you out with a complicated movement. Get to know what's under the hood and also how to use it - if it’s a chronograph, GMT or other.
Glass: Whether your watch has sapphire crystal, hardlex or acrylic it may change the way you wear your watch and in what situations. Sapphire crystal is highly unscratchable while the other two are prone to wear - that being said, no watch is indestructible.
Service Your Watch
If you own a mechanical watch - automatic or manual - look to have this serviced every five years to ensure nothing within the movement is damaging the watch or preventing optimum performance. Just like servicing your car with an accredited mechanic, much is the same with watches. You can either take it to an official service centre such as Rolex, Omega etc. or you can go down the third party route which can often cut down wait times and costs. Do your due diligence and service accordingly if the watch is not performing well.