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How to care for your luxury timepieces

A luxury watch is more than just a fancy timekeeper. It is a considered investment. Just like a priceless art collection or a garage full of luxury cars, your luxury watches deserve quality maintenance and care. Precision engineering needs to be kept precise.  Follow these tips on how to take care of your timepiece and you will benefit from having fresh-looking gear wrapped around your wrist. More importantly, you will be safeguarding the potential value that luxury watches stand to gain over time.

Clean your case
As obvious as it may be, your watch needs to look good and many people neglect cleaning their watches, especially if you wear it regularly. Small particles of dirt can scratch the face or jam the cogs in your timepiece. Assuming your case is water-resistant and secure, remove your strap and use a soft toothbrush with a bit of mild soapy water to clean. Do not use too much soap as certain chemicals may seep into your timepiece and cause lasting damage from the inside-out. Always rinse off with cold water and wipe the timepiece down with a soft cloth, preferably a microfibre polishing cloth used to wipe jewellery with. This will make sure your case and face are constantly gleaming and looking new.

Mind the strap
Although interchangeable, the official straps bought with your timepiece can cost a pretty penny to get replaced. As an investment, luxury watches should always be paired with official brand straps if you hope to sell it later on. If you use your watch in wet conditions or prone to a lot of activities that will expose it to dirt and sweat, then it is highly recommended you do not use a leather strap. Leather will easily stain and cause odours to emit from your wrist. Stainless steel straps can be cleaned in the same way as your case but if you insist on wearing leather, avoid using a wet cloth and make sure it is dried out properly to avoid discolouring. Use tiny amount of leather conditioner after cleaning, which will keep it shiny and soft. Rubber straps should be treated the same as leather ones. As rubber straps are also used by a lot of divers and water sports enthusiasts, always rinse it off with warm water after cleaning; salt particles from seawater can end up scratching the strap once it has dried off.

Water-resistant? Resist the water
It goes without saying that watches which are not water-resistant should not be submerged at all. However, even if your watch is water-resistant, it is still recommended that you do not expose it to water if it can be avoided, especially if it is a vintage timepiece. Over time, crowns and pushers can become lose whilst gaskets and seals will wear away. A sauna, jacuzzi and hot shower can also be deadly for your timepiece as changes in drastic temperature can expand and contract your metals — causing moisture to be trapped inside.

Image Credit: TechRax

Avoid magnets
Keeping your watch close to magnetised objects can harm the timekeeping of your watch. Everyday items like handbag clasps and mobile phone cases can all have an effect on the mainspring or hairspring; slowing it down. Brands will proudly state if their timepiece has been specifically designed to resist magnetic fields but nearly all vintage watches don’t have the benefit of modern watchmaking technologies. They are also a lot harder to service compared to their contemporary pieces; so be extra careful when wearing them.

Service, service, service
The most important piece of advice any luxury watch enthusiast will give you is to get your timepiece serviced. Never ever try to open up your watch yourself — you will only damage it further or expose it to more moisture and dust than necessary. If anything is wrong, it is best to leave the mending to the professionals. Even if nothing is wrong, a luxury timepiece is worth sending for servicing every other year at least. Just like a car or your computer, your watch will need its parts looked at from time to time. Most modern watches make over 600,000 beats a day. Its cogs will wear down and it will need new lubricants. Servicing can be very expensive after your warranty has run out; so use that time wisely. Furthermore, if you have a luxury timepiece that is vintage or a collector’s edition, the money you spend on servicing it will be far less than what you gain to lose from leaving it to disrepair.

Tengku Muzhaffar Petra
Watches and Culture Editor