Storing watches correctly
Philipp Mayrhofer, last updated on 07/17/2020

Sooner or later, luxury watch fans will have to deal with the question of how to keep their beloved treasures safe. The choice of fine wristwatches is simply enormous. Various manufacturers lure with technical gadgets, captivating designs and impressive innovations that are hard to resist. Often the collection of watches therefore becomes larger and larger. But after all, you can only wear one watch at a time and so it is necessary to store them. How to store your favourite models correctly and what you should pay particular attention to for an appropriate longer-term “pause” for your timepieces so that they will continue to give you pleasure for a long time to come, we will tell you below.


Off on vacation

Many watch lovers can never really decide among the rich offer of beautiful, refined luxury timepieces – but they don’t have to. After all, you can simply choose the right companion every day and store the remaining pieces carefully while you’re at it. There are, however, a few points to be considered when it comes to proper storage, so that the beloved pieces, which are currently “on holiday”, do not lose their beauty and functionality.


Preparation is everything

In order for a watch collection to be successfully stored, the pieces must be prepared accordingly. The use of a wristwatch can cause sweat, sebum, soap or cream residues to collect on or under the watch. This can lead to discoloration and corrosion damage. This not only affects stainless steel and other metallic materials particularly hard, but also leather and synthetic bracelets. Even pitting corrosion can result from persistent, long-term soiling. Worn watches should therefore be regularly maintained. All you need is a damp microfibre cloth with which you carefully wipe the top and bottom of the watch and work thoroughly on corners and recesses. Detergent can also be used, but aggressive cleaning agents should not be used. Steel straps can be cleaned with a toothbrush, as deposits often form in the fine spaces between the individual links. Then dry the watch completely with a clean kitchen towel.


What about the battery?

But that is not the end of the standard care of a watch, because attention must also be paid to the inside. The battery of automatic watches should only be removed if it is already clear that the watch will be stored for a long time. However, the condition of the battery is also important. If a watch is not worn for a long time, the battery often loses its functionality and can leak. This can cause massive damage to the watch. Sometimes the movement is even completely destroyed. For this reason, the battery should be removed if the watch is to be stored for a long time. However, if the watch is stored for a short time, this is unnecessarily time-consuming. For quartz watches, the battery should be put into standby mode by pulling out the crown before storage. If you notice any restrictions in the functionality of your watch after it has been stored for a long time, it is better to change the battery immediately.



Is a watch winder necessary?

Many people first think of watch winders when it comes to storing timepieces for a longer period of time. But is it absolutely necessary to purchase one for proper storage? The rotor of automatic watches is kept in motion by the movements when worn. A watch winder simulates these movements, so that the timepieces are always wound and always ready for immediate use. This is particularly advantageous for specimens with complications, as repeatedly setting the complex functions can be tricky, time-consuming and nerve-racking. In addition, a watch winder can also be used to determine the rate deviation. But especially collectors could hardly buy a high-quality watch winder for each of their valuable pieces. Apart from financial disadvantages, there is often also fear of wear and tear – after all, the watch is “worn” on the watch winder virtually 24/7. For these reasons, most watch fans only use a watch winder for a few favorite pieces, which should always be ready for use, and let the rest run out and store it safely until the next time it is worn

Watch winder Rotation Quattro
Watch winder Rotation Quattro

The right place

After the preparation follows the choice of the right storage place. This should not be too light or warm. UV radiation can even cause the dial to fade and thus ruin the watch. In addition, heat can loosen adhesive applications which can then get caught in the hands. Such incidents reduce the life of the watch, cause it to fade or yellow and may require repairs that are extremely complicated. Direct sunlight, other heat sources and large temperature fluctuations are therefore no-go areas for watch storage. In addition, the temporary home of your luxury watches should not be too damp. Especially for leather watch straps, high humidity is unreasonable, because they can become mouldy or develop foul odours. Therefore, look for a light-protected, dry place with a low room temperature to enjoy your treasures for a long time.



The right “packaging”

However, the watch should not simply be placed in a drawer or on a shelf without protection. A box is ideal. It does not have to be an original box, but if it is still there, there is no reason not to use it for storage. If several watches are to be stored, it is advisable for a collection to have a case that is lined on the inside and contains small cushions or similar. You can wind the watches on these. For mechanical watches, this should be done every three months to keep the oils supple. Otherwise they can stick or resinify inside the timepiece and thus massively impair its functionality. In addition, this prevents the timepieces from being scratched when the case is moved. Such a case is ideal for storing all your treasures in a beautifully arranged, dust-proof and dry place. A case made of wood is preferable, as these are more robust and durable than those made of imitation leather. A display case is an alternative for larger collections. Even if you now know all the important points to consider when storing watches, you should always check on your treasures from time to time. This is the only way you can be sure that everything is really in order and you know that your darlings will accompany you for a lifetime and that you can pass them on as meaningful heirlooms if necessary.

This post is also available in: German


About the author
Philipp Mayrhofer

Hello my name is Philipp. I actually had my first points of contact with luxury watches through YouTube and the many watch reviews that can be seen there. As a result, I was able to acquire extensive watch knowledge.