NYT: Tips For A Cleaner Watch

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NYT: Tips For A Cleaner Watch

Post by temerityb » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:03 pm

From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/20/fash ... pairs.html

For nearly 20 years, Troy Surratt, a makeup artist and the founder of the cosmetics brand Surratt Beauty, has worn a designer watch virtually every day. Every couple of weeks, he takes off the one he has had on his wrist — chosen from a rotation that includes 10 Hermès watches in styles like the Harnais and Arceau — and cleans it using a method he developed that was inspired, at least in part, by the way he shines picture frames in his home in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

“I will use alcohol on either a Q-tip or a piece of cotton,” he said. “Sometimes, I’ll use a microfiber cloth and a little bit of alcohol, careful not to touch the strap because it can take the gloss or finish off of the strap. I really just sort of wipe down the face or the crystal.”

“I don’t know what a watchmaker would say about doing that,” he added, “but it’s always worked for me.”

The technique makes Mr. Surratt’s watches sparkle — and hasn’t damaged them — but it does indeed go against what watch care experts suggest. “Depending on what type of material the watch is made of, the recommendation is that you wouldn’t clean any watches, bracelets or cases with anything that has any chemical base in it at all,” said Ian Haycock, head of technical services for the retailer Watches of Switzerland.

Although cleaning and maintenance isn’t the most glamorous part of wearing a watch, it does keep timepieces looking their best as well as running efficiently. Mr. Haycock suggested cleaning watches with a soft cloth once a week.

On some parts, like metal bracelets, a damp cloth may be used; care instructions for such parts issued by several brands, including TAG Heuer, suggest using a bit of soapy water and a soft brush periodically to take off grime. Leather straps require a dry cloth, Mr. Haycock said.

It’s wise, experts say, to be cautious about cleaning watch cases. A slightly damp cloth is fine to use on many watches, particularly waterproof ones with intact seals, but exposure to excessive moisture can cause damage. The steam from a sauna, or even a home bathroom after a shower, also can be an issue.

Modern watches typically have a degree of water resistance but it’s frequently only about 30 meters (98 feet); so, taking water pressure into account, that rules out wearing most timepieces in the bathtub or shower. “The best way to describe a 30-meter water-resistant watch would be ‘splash resistant’, so I certainly wouldn’t recommend wearing it in the shower,” Mr. Haycock said. He suggested that, to wear a timepiece in the shower, it should have a minimum of 50-meter water resistance, and, to wear one while swimming, 100 meters.

For watches that can go underwater, salt water and chlorine can be corrosive, so a rinse in clean water after a swim is also advised by many brands.

Other sports could also create problems: Cartier’s watch care instructions advise against sports like golf or tennis — presumably in part because of sweating, although it doesn’t specify, as well as exposure to extreme temperatures.

At-home ultrasonic cleaners — the machines that clean dirt from items like jewelry with water or a liquid solvent and ultrasonic waves — typically aren’t suitable for most timepieces. (Some cleaners can work for truly waterproof watches, or for metal bracelets that have been detached from a timepiece; it’s key to follow each machine manufacturer’s directions.) Ultrasonic cleaners cannot be used to clean smartwatches; care directions for the Apple Watch, for example, recommend avoiding such machines, as well as soap, cleaning products or anything abrasive, but say the model can be cleaned with a damp cloth or even a small splash of water.

Specialists say that keeping a watch away from anything that could leech through its case is advisable as well, especially if it’s vintage. “You don’t want to expose it to perfumes, or hand creams, or any greasy substance that may intrude onto the dial and soil it — by that, I mean leave a stain,” said Edward Faber, the co-founder and chief executive of the Aaron Faber Gallery, a boutique in midtown Manhattan that cleans and repairs watches, and sells mostly vintage ones. “Many of these watches, especially the earlier ones before 1980, are not completely hermetic, so that oil or cream could seep into it.”
“Jewelry isn’t really my thing, but I’ve always got my eye on people’s watches.” – Clive Owen
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Re: NYT: Tips For A Cleaner Watch

Post by JAS1125 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:33 am

Thanks T!

FYI: I've been using Rain-X on my stainless bracelets for several years. I forget where I read it, but it seems to add a bit of extra protection against swirlies and other desk diving scuffs
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