As a collector of over twenty years, it cannot come as a surprise that I have builT up a good relationship with my watchmaker. As we are both in the same industry, only on different sides, we love to catch up occasionally over a cup of coffee. While he has always interesting watches that he is working on, he occasionally is also not such a happy camper with what his customers bring in. His biggest issue is dirty watches. I am not talking here about a dirty spot on a crystal, but years of grime that build up on the case and bracelet.
I, unfortunately, know what he is talking about as I had a few occasions in which I bought a vintage watch from a private seller online and received something that needed to be handled with gloves. Like all things we wear on our skin, watches also get dirty. Skin oils and sweat, combined with dirt, dust, and sand, build up on cases, crowns, bezels, and bracelets. When cleaned regularly, this is not an issue, but when left over time, you get an exotic biology experiment that, in the end, is up to the watchmaker to deal with.
What surprises me still the most is that people purchase a luxury watch and then don’t take care of them. Imagine doing that to your car. Also, a wooden toothpick, a very soft toothbrush, and some lukewarm water (only when your watch is waterproof and the crown is screwed in) is all you need. Bracelets can also be taken off and take a bath in the ultrasound machine, but when all this sounds too complicated, most jewelry stores and brand boutiques are happy to do this for you on a yearly basis while also checking the accuracy and water resistance at the same time. So there really is no reason to have a science experiment on your wrist.
Want to learn how to best clean your watch? Check out our in-depth article on the topic, here.