A watch is an object of exceptional complication and beauty that requires regular care to work properly. Standard maintenance includes safeguarding the movement, protecting the watch from water damage and cleaning the case and band. The following tips will help you care for and preserve your timepieces for generations to come:
For watches with a manual (or hand-wound) mechanical movement, be sure to wind the watch once a day, at the same time of day. Be careful not to over-wind the watch. Stop winding the watch as soon as you feel resistance---this indicates the spring has reached maximum tension.
If you own a watch with automatic (or self-winding) mechanical movements, be sure to wind the watch once every two weeks if it is worn daily. Wind the watch twice weekly if it is not worn daily.
If your watch has a quartz movement, you should remove worn batteries and replace them every few years. When wearing your watch, it is very important to avoid equipment that create a strong magnetic field, such as speakers, mobile phones and metal detectors. Extreme temperature changes and humid environments, such as showers, hot tubs and saunas, can be harmful for your watch. Damage can also be caused by violent shocks such as dropping the watch as well as activities that require repetitive arm motion (unless the watch was designed for it). Exposure to these risks can negatively affect the movement performance.
Have your timepiece checked for water-resistance regularly. Some luxury watchmakers, recommend getting a water-resistance check an annual basis. Before wearing your watch in water, ensure that the crown is pushed down or screwed in tightly. Once you are in the water, do not adjust the crown or press on the push buttons, as water can seep into the case. Rinse the watch in fresh water after contact with chlorinated or salt water. If you notice condensation under the crystal or signs of oxidation on the dial, take your watch to a watch professional without delay,.
If a watch is worn regularly, it should be cleaned every two months, generally with a soft, dry cloth.
If your watch has a metal band, some luxury watchmakers recommend careful washing with a soft brush dipped in warm, soapy water. Rinse the watch with warm, clean water before drying it completely.
If your watch has a leather band, be sure never to let it get wet. If it should become saturated with moisture or perspiration, simply wipe and dry it thoroughly. Avoid wrist contact with products such as cosmetics, detergents, moisturizers and perfumes, which can seriously damage a watch's function and finish.
Jewelry is one of our most intimate and cherished accessories. An elegant pair of pearl and platinum earrings, for example, makes an individual statement, nestled against the skin and resplendent in lustrous light. Yet, according to experts at the nonprofit GIA, chemicals found in everyday substances like hairspray, lotions, perfumes, or other cosmetics can permanently damage the nacre of your dazzling pearl and corrode the alloys in that shiny setting.
Understanding how to care for your treasured jewelry can make a world of difference in maintaining its beauty and keeping its heirloom quality sparkling for generations to come.
GIA says light and heat can affect a colored gemstone’s durability and color. Just as the sun’s harmful rays can damage our skin, over time and in excess, it can also fade and weaken some gemstones, such as amethyst, kunzite, topaz, and pink conch-shell cameos. Pearls and other delicate materials, like ivory, will bleach under extreme exposure to light. Other gems, especially amber, can darken over time when exposed to too much light.
Excessive heat and sudden temperature changes may also fracture the gem. Heat can easily remove the natural moisture some gems need to keep their beauty. Pearls, for instance, can dry out, crack and discolor. Opals will turn white or brown, develop tiny cracks, and might lose their play-of-color.
Exposure to chemicals can damage and discolor precious metals – gold, silver, and platinum – and may harm some colored gems. Fine jewelry should be removed before diving into a chlorinated swimming pool, or before using household cleaners. Many of these cleaners contain ammonia, and are only safe for diamonds and the more durable colored gems. Chlorine bleach, another common household solvent, can pit gold alloys.
We recommend cleaning most colored gems with warm water, mild soap (no detergents), and a soft brush. A pulsed-water dental cleaning appliance and a soft, lint-free cloth can also be used. Be sure to stop the sink’s drain or use a rubber mat in case the stone comes loose from its setting.
Soft gems, such as pearls, on the other hand, can easily be scratched. We suggest using an unused makeup brush instead, and warm, soapy water. Lay the pearls on a towel to dry. The wet string can stretch—and attract dirt—so don’t touch a string of pearls until they are completely dry. Pearls worn every few days should be restrung once a year.
Proper jewelry storage is often overlooked. Jewelry should never be tossed into a drawer or on top of a dresser—that’s a recipe for scratches and fractured gems. Most jewelry pieces come in a box or pouch from the store, which is a perfect place to keep them. Sterling silver, for example, should be kept in an anti-tarnish bag or cloth.
Jewelry boxes that feature individually padded slots for rings, and posts for hanging necklaces and bracelets, are also ideal. Like pearls, opals draw moisture from the air. Storing your opal ring or pearl earrings in a dry area, such as a safety deposit box, can actually do more harm than good. When traveling with jewelry, protect the pieces from scratches or other impact damage by padding the jewelry.