The Care and Feeding of Your New Watch
I always enjoy meeting clients when it’s time to size the bracelet or strap on a new timepiece; and it’s not unusual for the excited new watch owner to ask, Is this good? Is this a good watch?
Of course! Your watch is delightful, and we are as excited as you are that the two of you (watch and client) have entered into what we all hope is a fruitful, long-lasting relationship.
But a better question is probably, what am I supposed to do with this thing now? Like Irish Setter puppies and the Ducatti desmodromic valve train, the consequences for mishandling your watch can be tragic and costly. Better to arm yourself in advance with a few basic principles.
Rule #1 Enjoy Your New Watch!
There are any number of obscure vintage Patek Philippe perpetual calendars and Red Submariners that rightly belong in the Louvre, but at JB Hudson Jewelers, we are here to tell you your new watch is meant to be worn. Even moderately priced contemporary watches represent a pinnacle of shock, moisture, and magnetic resistance that would astound the horological luminaries of the past. Your watch is perfect as it is; let’s keep you from screwing it up.
Rule #2 Ask a Lot of Questions
Before strapping on your new IWC Portugieser; you are entitled to know precisely how it works. Make certain to ask:
• How and how often should my watch be wound?
Your watch is a machine bound by the laws of thermodynamics. A mechanical movement needs power to run, and you will supply it. In the case of a battery-powered watch, ask when you might expect the battery to need replacement.
• Exactly how do I set the time and date when this becomes necessary?
Many calibers evince charming and specific peculiarities in this regard, so your JB Hudson sales professional will be honored to supply a detailed demonstration. Learn which adjustments are proper to the timepiece, and which will break it out of hand.
• How are the other complications operated?
Chronographs are a common addition to many contemporary watches, and won’t you look foolish when you’re called upon to time your daughter’s polo match if you don’t know how. There are a number of possible calendar and power reserve functions that, having paid for them, you are now permitted to enjoy.
• May I get it wet, and if so, how wet?
Most contemporary watches will have a certain measure of moisture resistance – make it your business to know the aqueous limits of yours. This is particularly important if you intend to swim or dive with your new acquisition. In the case of fine vintage pieces, the answer is certainly NOT AT ALL!
• When will it need service, and how often?
Every enduring relationship requires a certain amount of maintenance. Your JB Hudson sales professional can knowledgeably speculate about the conditions and intervals under which this will most likely be necessary.
Rule #3 Keep Your Watch Clean
Critical if you want to stay classy. Junior’s old toothbrush will do a lot to dislodge the inevitable detritus that accumulates, especially around the case back and lugs and between the bracelet links. With a water resistant case, it helps to use water and dish soap and then a good rinse. In the case of a vintage watch, a brisk dry brushing will do almost as well for regular care.
Rule #4 Pay Attention to Service Guidelines
We all know someone who, when confronted with the vitrified slab that used to be an engine in the Boxster he or she received for matriculating, will be nonplussed. “Oil?! I just assumed that was installed at the factory.”
Both parties will benefit if you cultivate a greater intimacy with your timepiece. Seek to know its moods and idiosyncrasies, as any significant change in function can presage something dire if not attended to quickly. The manufacturer projects an interval of normal operation before maintenance should be required, owing to the gradual attenuation of lubricants and ordinary metallic wear. If the interval is five to seven years, waiting 15 insures that when I finally unscrew the case back there will be nothing left but tears and broken promises.
Should your watch show bad behavior well before the suggested interval has elapsed, the technicians at JB Hudson are prepared to diagnose and advise you accordingly. Don’t delay – swift attention can prevent greater expense in the future.
There will be much occasion for greater familiarity with your new companion. Attention to these few precepts will extend your time together well into the future.