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Vintage Watch Tips

    1. Vintage watches are of course mechanical and generally speaking repairs are not inexpensive since parts are often not readily available. Even when parts are found they may require careful fitting since production tolerances varied quite a bit due to early production methods.
    2. These watches should be handled with due care because of their fragile mechanical nature. The glass crystals are especially vulnerable, they scratch and break much more easily than their modern counterparts. You should also keep them away from strong magnetic fields. The last thing you want is to magnetize all of the gears. Your watch won’t run well, if at all, in that condition. (Fortunately they can be demagnetized but you’ll need the proper tool to do it.)
    3. Most early wristwatches are NOT waterproof. This is because waterproofing was not available until about the 1950’s. As a result, you need to protect it from exposure to moisture.
    4. If for some reason your watch does become wet the outside should be should be wiped dry as soon as you’re able to. Then carefully open all covers and place it some where it is warm, dry and dust free. With luck it should be OK since you’ll have significantly reduced the chance of developing rust or corrosion.
    5. If however your watch was exposed to salt water, you need to immediately immerse fresh water. Ideally you’ll need distilled water which is free of minerals but in any case it’s imperative to remove all the salt from the works before drying.
    6. Do not over wind the watch or you may break the mainspring. It’s a good habit not to wind the watch completely.
    7. Don’t ask me why but many watch makers recommend that when you adjust the hands of your watch, you should move them in a clockwise direction only for large corrections. This seems illogical to me but I follow the advice any way (it can’t hurt). I only adjust counter-clockwise make for small adjustments; minutes rather than hours.
    8. Prewar watches are not terribly accurate and will often loose or gain up to 5 to 7 minutes a day. An accuracy of plus or minus 5 minutes is actually considered pretty good.
    9. If you’ve just found a nice vintage watch somewhere and it’s dirty inside. It’s not a bad idea to allow the watch to run down, don't wind it again until you have it cleaned and lubricated by a watchmaker. Dust tends to absorb lubricants and can cause parts to wear more quickly.
    10. Watch makers like to tell you that your vintage watches should be serviced every 2 to 3 years but that really depends on how often you use them and the conditions they’re exposed to. Avoiding damp dusty conditions will certainly help your watches and your wallet.