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As the owner of a luxury watch, you will sooner or later ask yourself the question about how to store and safeguard your watch. In this article, we will explain what you have to keep in mind if you want to store a luxury watch properly or if you are planning to store it for a longer period of time.

A few useful tips for storing watches

Regardless of whether the watch's value is sentimental or material, the reasons for the uniqueness of watches in a collection are as numerous and individual as their owners. There are often long periods of time between occasions when one requires a very special watch. Furthermore, some people prefer to preserve a watch because they intend to use it as a financial investment. In the following, we will explain everything about the proper storage of luxury watches so that you will be able to enjoy your timepiece for a long time. Furthermore, we will also discuss a number of useful tips that you should consider before and during the storage of your watch.

Cleaning is necessary before storage

The first step is to prepare the watch for storage. When worn, residues from sebum, sweat, soap and creams collect on the watch. These may result in discolouration and corrosion on your timepiece over time. Not only are stainless steel and other types of metal affected, but negligence of this care can also damage leather and synthetic wristbands. You need to perform proper care on your watch at all times. Therefore, first wipe down your watch with a damp microfiber cloth. You can also use a little dish soap when cleaning. However, do not use aggressive household cleaners, as these can damage the watch's seals. For watches with a steel bracelet, it can be useful to brush the links clean with a toothbrush, since most deposits of dirt are hidden in the small gaps. Afterwards, dry the watch thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel. Following this basic cleaning of the watch's exterior, we will turn our attention to the interior.

What should be done with the watch battery?

One of the most frequently asked questions is whether or not to remove the battery. In this case, you should consider how long you want to store the watch and what condition the battery is. If the watch will not be used for a long time and the battery loses its charge, it may leak. This can cause considerable damage to the insides of the watch or even completely destroy the movement. Therefore, we would advise removal of the battery before storing a watch. For quartz watches, the battery should also be put into a standby mode as a precaution by pulling out the crown. Should you notice any loss of functionality in your watch after a long period in storage, it is best to change the battery quickly.

Where to store the watch

After cleaning and securing the mechanical parts, the next step is to determine the correct location for storage. You should find a place for your watch where it is not exposed to direct sunlight or heat. UV radiation can cause the dial to fade, while heat can cause the watch's applications to detach, which in turn can get entangled in the hands and will result in very complicated repairs. Additionally, you should make sure that the selected storage location is not overly humid and also dust-free. Particularly in the case of leather watch bands, high humidity can lead to unpleasant odours or, in the worst case, even to the formation of mould. Dust's tiny particles, on the other hand, can enter the calibre through the case, settle there and damage it if left unused for too long. Therefore, choose a place protected from light with a normal environment or one that is cooler than room temperature and a dry, but dust-free environment.

In this location, it is best to place the watch in a box or case rather than simply on a shelf. If you have the original box, this is ideal for storage. Alternatively, and especially if you have several watches that you wish to store, you might consider buying a watch case that is lined inside and has cushions or the like on which you can place the watch. This helps prevent the watches from colliding with each other and leaving scratches if the box is moved. Like most watch manufacturers, you might want to opt for wooden cases, as they are usually more durable than imitation leather.

Rolex Explorer 214270 watch with black dial lying on green Rolex watch case

Keep watches behind lock and key

Well stored also means stored securely. Avoid hiding places like the sock drawer, on top of the wardrobe or under the bed. While these hiding places may have been safe at one point in time, they are so common that the average, resourceful burglar will look there first. But that doesn't mean that you can't keep your luxury watch collection at home.

In fact, the possibility of a safe deposit box is becoming less and less common as many banks are doing away with these boxes for financial reasons. So what to do? We recommend a safe. But that begs the question: which one is suitable for storing luxury watches? When choosing the right safe, there is more to consider than you might initially assume. Starting with the size, it is necessary to note that small safes can simply be broken out of a wall, unscrewed or taken away by thieves. You can make sure that this is not that easy, for example, with a large, heavy safe. According to statistics, small, inexpensive safes cannot withstand two minutes of brute force. In the case of safes with a security rating "Class S2", it is possible to insure the contents of the safe up to a value of €30,000, which is definitely worth considering for a luxury watch collection. Therefore, don't save money at the wrong step and pay attention to the security classification with a Euro-standardized security rating.

Perform periodic checks – even with proper storage

Don't leave your watches completely untouched regardless of how well they are stored. Even if there is nothing to prevent you from storing your watch(es) for extended periods of time with these tips, you should not forget them. With mechanical watches, it is recommended to wind the movement every three months, otherwise the oils inside the watch can become sticky or congeal and render the watch unusable.

Watch winders – are they necessary?

Watch winders are probably the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to the storage of watches and they do seem like the unmistakable characteristic of a true watch enthusiast. But does it really make sense to buy one? The manufacturers – and especially manufacturers of these devices themselves – emphasize the importance of watch winders constantly.

Watch winders are designed specifically for automatic watches, whose rotor, i.e., clockwork, is kept in motion by agitation. When you wear the watch, the movements of the wrist, on which the watch is attached, are transferred to the clockwork. But what happens if the watch isn’t worn for a long time?

The advantages and disadvantages of watch winders

The simple fact is that by using the watch winder, watches will always stay wound and are ready for use again at a moment's notice. This is particularly an advantage for watch models with complications such as a perpetual calendar or a moon phase display, because setting these features can be a bit tricky and time-consuming. Furthermore, watch winders can be used to determine the rate deviation of the movement, which is quite an advantage for an enthusiast, but can be determined in other ways.

Those are all of the advantages on which watch lovers can agree. Since watch collectors rarely have just a few watches in their possession, it would be logical to purchase a winder for each watch that is not in use. However, this would presumably quickly exceed the (financial) investment, since even with watch winders, it is true that with products of inferior quality, one is more likely to experience difficulties than convenience, for example, as a result of inadequate suspension or imprecise settings for the number of oscillations. Another argument against a watch winder is the concern that a watch might show signs of wear and tear faster due to continuous operation. Therefore, if the watch is not worn for a longer period of time, it is recommended to simply let the watch stop and then place it in storage as described above.

Rolex watch with black dial in watch winder

Can watches be stored in a vacuum?

It may seem unlikely, but what has been common for years for the storage for clothes and linens is now slowly, but surely has arrived in the world of Haute Horlogerie. The trend of vacuum-packing watches in plastic bags before storage is not aimed at those who regularly change the watches they wear, of course, but instead at those who have run out of storage space. The essence of this trend is to vacuum seal individual watches in small bags.

The advantage of this process is that watches will remain dry, protected from dust, largely free of scratches and packaged in a space-saving manner. As long as the aforementioned instructions for care have been observed, they can be stored in a safe, a safe deposit box or even just a drawer. In addition, automatic watches don't need to be unpacked for winding, because the oscillating weight in the calibre will still move.

The disadvantage of this method is that if your watch does not necessarily have high resistance to water, the pressure caused by the vacuum may negatively affect the watch's condition. Also, it is essential to follow the cleaning measures previously mentioned, as a battery can leak even when the watch is in a vacuum.