Recently, a watchmaker wrote about how real watchmaking skills lay in maintaining the movement and not in refinishing the case, which he termed merely superficial. I tend to agree. I don’t undervalue a carefully-refinished watch case, but I also don’t mind sporting a watch that shows the marks of use.
Photo by A Collected Man
Of course, I want a watch's internals to work really well over the long haul. But, I don’t needlessly service my watches either. I will generally mark a service around the 10-year mark. This interval, to me, is not as stringent as the five-year mark recommended by a lot of manufacturers but also not the overly care-free attitude of 'don’t service it until something goes wrong'.
On the other hand, if I’m buying a used watch with an unknown service history, I will usually get it serviced with a light refinishing sooner rather than later so that I get a clean slate to mark my ownership time with the watch.
Illustration for Hodinkee Watch Insurance by Hodinkee
I also get my watches insured so that I don’t have to worry about them. It’s simple and I would insure any material object that has meaning to me. Each piece in my small collection has a story behind it, from a gift from my wife to finding my Panerai when another buyer backed out of the deal.
Storing my watches properly is really important to me too. I get a sense of organization and make sure my watches are tucked away safely when they aren’t on duty. Of course I use an Everest Watch Box, which happens to match the decor in my home very well.
Every once in a while, I’ll use my watch cleaning spray, the soft toothbrush and microfiber cleaning cloth to give my Rolex watches a nice shine, which is like going to the car wash without the full detailing. It’s just a nice way to make sure your watches don’t start to look run down.
While scratches are inevitable, the only watches that you don’t have to worry about dropping are Casio G-Shocks. So be careful putting on and taking off your watches. I make it a habit to remove my strap adorned watch over a soft surface such as a pillow just in case I’m not concentrating and my hand slips. If it drops then no damage to the internals will happen. It may sound a bit too fussy, but it’s a simple habit that can prevent damaging your watch.
Photo through Adobe
Other than that, be sure to wear your watches often and without care. Having your watch on your wrist is one of the safest places to have them. Scratches are inevitable and nothing to worry about. If you are thinking of your watches for future resale value, I’d say that’s no way to live. If you are on the fence about a new watch purchase and may be listing for sale, then by all means treat it gingerly. But decide quickly and firmly on whether or not it’s a keeper. Keeping a nice rotation of watches helps keep them all in good shape generally. It’s similar to sneakers. If you have a nice rotation, your kicks all look pretty decent because not a single pair gets the brunt of the owner’s wear.