EXPERT ADVICE:

3 Ways to Safely Store Your Watches


If you have more then one watch, you essentially have a watch collection. So what do you do with your other watch (or watches) when you are leaving home or will be out of town for a couple of days (or weeks)? Allow me to offer a few options for safe storage of any watches you’re not currently wearing, to ensure that your precious collection is not subject to burglary, fire, or other loss.

1. Bank Deposit BoxSafe Deposit Box - 2 Keys

Most banks offer a service in which you can rent a deposit box from them. For a small annual fee, you can store your precious watches, jewelery or important documents in a metal box that will go into a safe room. Normally, these deposit boxes are insured for a certain amount of money (ask for this!). This is perhaps the safest way to tuck away your watches when you’re planning to leave for an extended trip. However, if you’re someone who likes to regularly rotate the watches you wear, it might become annoying to go to the bank, go through the whole safe-visit procedure, and swap the contents of the safe deposit box often.

2. Safe At HomeStockinger Safe

To prevent your watches from getting stolen in the event of a burglary, you might want to consider a safe in your home. You can buy a simple metal safe from the DIY store that you can hide somewhere in your house. With either an electronic lock or a mechanical locking mechanism, these boxes keep your watches secure from theft, as long as you hide them in a safe place. Most smaller safes are easy to pick up by thieves, but many of them offer an option to use a bolt to secure them to a wall. As I’ve been told that a thief needs approximately three minutes on average to do his thing and leave, you will at least stall him a bit.

Stockinger safe - open

You can also can get a completely tailor-made safe, with the same lacquer finish as your favorite car and with a number of watch winders inside. Stockinger Bespoke Safes is a German company that combines German engineering with an almost un-German sense of style (more here) that offers these types of tailor-made safes. They will look amazing in your study or office and will still protect its contents from theft since it meets very strict security standards. These safes are too heavy to be carried away and cracking them will probably take a thief many hours, if he’s successful at all.

Intake - Bespoke Safe

Some safes are constructed in such way that there will be a delay before the contents go up in flames in case of a fire. Make sure to ask these things when you go out and buy a safe for your home. In case of the bespoke safes from Stockinger (above), I’ve been told that you will receive an intake where you can discuss all the necessary features of the safe.

3. Watch Winder And Storage Boxes

Buben & Zorweg Treasury Cabinet

Safely tucking away your watches is not only about theft, fire and robbery, but also about protecting your watches from getting lost somewhere in the home or collecting dust. Not to mention the risk that they might be taken by your young children, one of whom might very innocently decide that your Patek Philippe Grand Complications Perpetual Calendar Chronograph would look good on the wrist of his teddy bear, or that they might become a chew toy for your German Shepherd. This means you should store your watches somewhere where they can’t be reached too easily and also protected from dust. You’ll need to wind them anyway; why not store them in a watch winder? This way your automatic-winding watch will keep running and won’t need to be wound and adjusted when you decide to take it out for wearing. After all, in the case of a time-only watch, winding and setting it manually is easy, but what if you have an automatic-winding watch with a perpetual calendar? Some of these watches are quite complex to set and if you are like me — always in a hurry in the morning — there is no time to do so.

If you are planning to buy a watch winder, pay attention to the following items:

– Does the winder have a program (i.e., number of windings, can you set the direction of winding yourself)?

– Is it easy to program the winder? (especially important when you will use it for different watches with different specifications)?

– How quiet is the winder when it’s in operation (most of the cheaper winders are so loud that you can’t put them in your bedroom because it will keep you from sleeping at night)?

– Does it come with batteries or with a power plug? (if you want to put the winder in a safe, a battery-operated model is handy)?

Although most watches have a protection against overwinding, pay attention to the maximum number of windings that are “allowed” for your watch. Some of the more professional winder manufacturers provide you with a list of movements and watches and their specifications.

You can also get a nice combination, like this Treasury Cabinet from Buben & Zörweg (as pictured). It will cost you an arm and a leg, but you will have a nice piece of furniture that includes HiFi, a mechanical music box able to play Mozart’s Magic Flute, a humidor for your cigars and a bunch of watch winders. To get to know more about watch winders, read this in-depth article.

BUBEN & ZORWEG Treasury - Interior

I hope I’ve provided some food for though with this small article on safeguarding your precious watches. Note that safes, watch winders and storage boxes comes in all shapes and colors and also in all kinds of price categories. There is a solution for any kind of watch collection that will make financial sense. If you have any other tips, feel free to share them in the comments below.

This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.

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15 Responses to “3 Ways to Safely Store Your Watches”

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  1. Richard Kalina

    I don’t understand why if this is a high-level, professionally written and researched article, they forgot to discuss the #1, finest and most complete watch-winder brand ever invented and produced—-Orbita. This exceptional invented and produced collection of watch-winders was invented by Chuck Agnoff over 25 years ago and others ( including all the cheap knockoffs from China) have been trying to offer a decent box but always failed. There is no other choice but a genuine Orbita watch winder. Do your homework before you throw away your money.

    Reply
  2. Albert Kotzé

    Or, like my mother in law, you can stow away your valuable watches in a pot in the kitchen. No burglar will look there. She was actually burgled and her expensive jewellery was not stolen.

    Reply
  3. Johnny Tank

    If i want to store a watch (either automatic or manual wind) should I let the watch run all the way down, or should I pull out the winder to stop the movement while there is still “power” in the spring?

    Reply
  4. Some of my watches are Citizen Eco-Drive and need light to charge. Are there safes with lights in them as well? Also, LED lights do not seem to work. I use a watch box with a clear top and keep it near a window making them easy to steal and in the open.

    Reply
    • I think my ecodrive will run for over a year if left in complete darkness so shouldn’t be a problem ?

      Reply
  5. Wally

    Will the watches weather automatic or Quartz go bad if to keep them inside heavy safe that has package of moisture resistant bag inside

    Reply
    • Albert Kotzé

      Fortunately for you you most probably do not reside in South Africa.

      Reply
      • Stephen

        And what is the significance of living in South Africa pertaining to thus ? Just curious…

        Reply
  6. Debashish

    If you keep your watches in a Bank’s “Safe Deposit Box”, then how do you wind those watches?

    Reply
      • Or it isn’t wound when in the box. A self-winding watch need not be constantly wound-up; they can be permitted to simply sit, though sitting for months and years should probably be avoided. Opinions on this question?

        Reply
  7. there is an another place
    drive 300 km in Sahel desert and leave it under a stone dump. Nobody will take it.

    Reply
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