In addition to the actual watches themselves, there exist countless other products aimed at watch collectors and enthusiasts. Some of these items are watch-themed products like books, t-shirts, posters, or coaster sets, while others are luxury watch accessories that are directly related to watch collecting and ownership, but just not the actual watches themselves.
It is within the latter category where you will find most of the products typically associated with the broader category of ‘watch accessories’ such as travel cases, cleaning cloths, spring-bar tools, loupes, and display boxes. However, while some accessories such as watch rolls and spring-bar tools are used by a significant percentage of the enthusiast community, other products can be quite a bit more divisive. Certain luxury watch accessories have somewhat of a ‘love it or hate it’ reputation, where they are either scoffed at and regularly parodied or celebrated and used frequently, with virtually no overlap between the two polar-opposite opinions.
Below are a few of the most controversial luxury watch accessories, along with a brief explanation of why some collectors swear by them, while others think they are utterly pointless.
Image: IFL Watches
Watch winders might be the single most common accessory with a split-opinion among collectors. When properly configured, a watch winder will keep an automatic watch running indefinitely, eliminating the need for manual winding or resetting during the days that it spends off your wrist. This can be especially useful if you frequently wear the same watch and simply want to keep it running for a few days at a time (like over the weekend), or if you have a highly complex timepiece like a perpetual calendar, where resetting all of its various displays can be a time-consuming ordeal.
However, those who are against the use of watch winders will argue that while they do keep a watch running, they also put additional wear and tear on its internals, ultimately increasing the frequency that you need to get it serviced. The life of the lubricants used on the movements is often the number one factor responsible for the service intervals of mechanical watches, and while it’s not ideal to let a timepiece sit stationary for too long, keeping it running perpetually will typically mean more frequent servicing.
In regards to whether or not someone should use a watch winder, there really isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ answer. For example, a person who wears a perpetual calendar once a week might benefit quite a bit from using a winder, while someone who frequently rotates through a collection of a dozen watches might find a single watch winder to be a bit pointless. To really be able to enjoy the benefits of using one, they would need a winder with slots for every single one of their watches, and even still, they would essentially be keeping every watch in their collection running, just so that they can wear them less than ten percent of the time.
Protective Sticker Kits
Scratch protection kits are another highly divisive luxury watch accessory, although the number of people who use them isn’t nearly as large as the number of watch winder users. The core concept is very similar to a screen protector for a phone or tablet, and these kits include a set of specially-shaped clear stickers that can be placed in the surfaces of your watch to protect it from marks and scratches. While these kits do not in any way prevent against impacts, they do thoroughly cover a watch’s most exposed surfaces, eliminating the need to worry about things like scuffs on your clasp from long days spent working at a desk.
However, those not in favor of protective sticker kits say that if you are buying a watch for its beautiful finishing, you should actually enjoy it in the metal, instead of wrapping it in plastic. Harsh comparisons are made to the plastic-wrapped furniture at grandma’s house, but the naysayers also object to these protective sticker kits based on concerns relating to their long-term functionality. While they do protect against surface scratches, things like moisture and debris have the potential to get trapped under their surfaces with prolonged active use, and this can actually end up harming the same surface finish that the sticker was designed to protect.
As to whether or not you should use a protective sticker kit on your watch, the first thing to consider is if one is available for your specific model. As these kits need to be an exact fit, there isn’t a universal size option and you will first need to verify that one is even available for your watch. Additionally, most scratches and scuffs can be removed by polishing, and while the topic of whether or not to polish your watch is an entirely different can of worms, it’s still important to note that even without a protective sticker kit, most minor marks on your watch don’t have to be permanent.
Created as a means to prevent theft, watch locks are small additional locking mechanisms that fit over clasps and strap buckles to prevent pickpockets from stealing your timepiece. A few different designs and styles exist, but the core concept remains the same: create an additional latching mechanism that will prevent thieves from surreptitiously unlatching your strap or bracelet and taking your watch right off your wrist.
Watch locks certainly do protect against sleight of hand thefts, but they really don’t do much good against a violent robbery. Those opposed to watch locks will argue that if a thief is really determined to steal your timepiece, a locking mechanism will do very little to actually deter them. Rather than just losing your timepiece, you may end up being physically harmed during the robbery if the thieves get frustrated that your watch won’t come off your wrist, and it is ultimately better to give up the watch than risk being hurt or killed. Additionally, since the whole purpose of a watch lock is to make it more difficult to remove your watch from your wrist, using one can make the simple act of putting your watch on or taking it off a bit more of an involved process.
If you’re trying to decide whether or not you should use a watch lock, probably the most logical place to start is by looking at the amount of crime in your area and specifically, the amount of pickpocketing and theft that occurs. Again, if you are the target of a violent mugging, a watch lock will not stop the thieves from stealing your timepiece. However, in instances where a pickpocket tries to carefully take the watch right off your wrist without you noticing, a watch lock can actually serve as an extra layer of protection. As much as people like to scoff at the idea of watch locks, Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc recently had his Richard Mille watch worth approximately $436,000 stolen off his wrist while signing autographs in Italy, so maybe there just might be some to the whole idea of them after all.