4 Ways To Look After Your Watch

Published 22 February 2022

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A fine timepiece is a precious thing, and you want to look after it. When you’re not wearing it, a safe — like those made by Buben & Zorweg — is a great way to care for your collection. But even when you’re wearing your watch, there are a few things to consider. Today we explore four convenient troubleshooting tips to keep you on time.

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Featuring Jaeger-LeCoultre Limited Edition
Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon REF.3926480

01.

Staying On Time

Typically, a fine watch prides itself on its accuracy; chronometre standards certify that a mechanical calibre will run to an accuracy of between -4 and +6 seconds per day, a 10-second range that is quite remarkable given that there are 86,400 seconds in a day, and the balance wheel of any given watch will typically be vibrating more than half-a-million times per day. Some brands, such as Patek Phillipe, Rolex and Omega, guarantee much greater accuracy.

All that painstakingly engineered accuracy might go out of the window as soon as you pull out the crown of your watch and change the time. Of course, should your watch wind down, you change timezones or need to adjust for daylight savings; changing the time on your watch is inevitable. For these reasons, it’s always a good idea to have a quick check of the instructions that came with your watch. Your watch’s crown may have several positions that control certain functions. One thing to be aware of is that many seconds hands will stop, or ‘hack’, when you pull the crown out. And while this can throw the accuracy of your watch out, it actually makes setting it easier. If you stop the seconds, you can adjust the time as needed. Using a reference time (such as your phone or an atomic clock online), you can ‘start’ the seconds hand again exactly when you need to, ensuring your timepiece is as accurate as ever.

02.

Magnetic Attraction

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Featuring IWC Schafausense Pilot’s Watch collection.

When wristwatches were first developed, the main enemies to the art of the watchmaker were dust, moisture and shock. We’ve come a long way since then, and modern case construction and technological advances mean we don’t need to worry about these things as much anymore (though it’s still not a great idea to drop your watch). However, a new, invisible enemy has sprung up: magnetism. From phone cases to laptops — even your fridge door — magnets are all around us. And they’re not great for watches. The reason is that magnetic fields can quickly throw out the accuracy of the delicate balance spring, which in turn can severely impact the accuracy of your watch. The good news is that magnetic damage isn’t permanent and is typically easy to fix. On top of that, many brands are working to improve the anti-magnetic capabilities of their watches, through the use of silicon components and other non-ferrous materials. Often watches will declare their anti-magnetic measures by displaying resistance to ‘gauss’; the more, the better.

03.

Water, Waves And Your Watch

Panerai Submersible Pop Up 2019
Featuring Panerai Subersible Chrono Guillaume Nery Edition – 47MM
REF. Pam00982

Can you wear your watch when you swim? It’s a fair enough question, but that answer can get a little complicated. Your watches’ resistance to water is measured a few ways; in metres, atmospheres (often abbreviated to ATM), or bars (which, like atmospheres, are units of pressure). Roughly speaking, one bar or ATM equals 10M of water resistance. Pressure is important in water resistance because if there’s too much of it, moisture will creep in at points like the crystal, crown and caseback, and damage your watch. There are a few other things to consider, like soaps or detergents damaging gaskets, but broadly speaking, you can splash a watch with 30M water resistance, swim in a 50M watch, and dive with anything 100M or more. The key thing to remember is to make sure your watch’s crown is pushed or screwed down. Water-resistance also needs to be checked and maintained through regular servicing. Finally, if you see condensation or moisture inside the case, get it looked at as soon as possible.

04.

To Wind, Or Not To Wind?

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Featuring Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Perpetual Calendar
REF.43175/000R-9687
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When fully wound, a mechanical timepiece will run for a certain amount of time thanks to energy stored in the mainspring. An automatic watch will keep winding as long as it’s worn. One question is whether or not a watch should always be running to remain in tip-top shape. The short answer is no; it doesn’t matter. If you keep your watch in the safe for a few months, it will be fine. This is especially true if your watch is newer and has been lubricated with modern, synthetic oils. In the past, not running a watch could cause the oils to coagulate and gum up the works, so to speak. Today, with a regularly serviced watch, wound or unwound should make no difference. There is one important exception, and that is with more complicated watches — especially calendar watches. If you have a perpetual calendar, an annual calendar or the like, it’s far more convenient — and potentially less damaging — to have your watch constantly wound. For an automatic watch like this, a watch winder such as those included in Buben & Zorweg‘s Vantage 8, is a great way to keep your collection on display and on time.

To find out more about servicing and support, Visit your local Kennedy boutique.

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