Care For Your Vintage Watch Guide
Overview to Watch Care:
Given that each purchase is personal, as a collector. It is imperative to maintain and care for your investment. We have a wide range of customers from collectors who buy watches for next generation to starting collectors who are taking their first steps to the next adventure. In either case maintaining and care of your watch is imperative.
My Goal is to Help keep your watch in its top working order. Please review our watch care guide Do’s and Don’ts, From Vintage Watches to Luxury watch.
Mechanical watches are considered any watch that is manual winding or automatic winding in general. They require a little more care than all mechanical marvels compared to Quartz Watches. Vintage watches need similar care due to age with better handling.
Usually, all movements need some level of servicing from time to time to make sure it is performing at manufacture recommended level. Please contact us for your watch service needs.
This is an example of our routine watch service includes the following (Please note factory service will include more steps):
- Complete disassembly of the watch. completely disassembled, cleaned, oiled, and timed.
- Clean all moving parts with specialized cleaning solvents.
- Proper lubrication with only the highest-grade lubricants and oils during the reassembly process.
- Thorough testing of accuracy. Your watch is tested to our exacting standards of 24 to 72 hours to assure accuracy, water resistance, and proper operation of all functionality. (Overhaul – Lubricants, Gaskets, Sealing, Regulation, MISC testing)
- The was inside case is marked and dated by the service man.
Please note: Not all the steps above are available for our vintage watches, given different parts or needs (unless it is factory serviced). This is for our newer serviced watches. Most of our timepieces run on manual winding or automatic movements, which are not as accurate as modern quartz. None of our timepieces are guaranteed water resistant. Customary care is always necessary. The information about water resistance will be in the description, since our vintage watches will not meet water resistance levels and we do not recommend watches to be used for water activity, unless it has been tested prior to use. Here are some tips for dealing with these mechanical beauties for new watch owners and reminders for the old hands.
Setting Time: Please pull crowns gently when setting time/date. Do not force it out! Turning wheels in one direction whenever possible to set time in clockwise motion only. Try not to set vintage watches counter (reverse) clockwise unless it is for setting date. Please note some watches have screw down crown, especially on sport and diving watches. Which requires unscrewing of the crown first prior to setting. Also, some watch might appear to have two crowns on one side, please do not pull on them till you figure out which is for time setting and which is the other function like alarm or inner bezel. The crown that is winding the watch will be the used for setting the time.
Screw that crown down and pushers
Always check and double-check to ensure a watch fitted with a screwed-down crown is closed tightly. Screwed-down pushers for a chronograph—or any other functions—deserve the same attention. This one oversight has cost quite a few owners their watches. If a screwed-down crown is not secured, water will likely get into the case and start oxidizing the metal. In time, the problem can destroy the watch.
Changing & Setting the Day & Date: "quick set": Allows the pulling or pushing of crown to change day or date, some allow one to click out [first position] and turn crown to set. Some have to be turned hour hands for 24 hours to advance one day. Do not change the date manually (via the crown or pusher) on any mechanical watch—whether manual wind or automatic—when the time indicated on the dial reads between 10 and 2 o’clock. Although some better watches are protected against this horological quirk, most mechanical watches with a date indicator are engaged in the process of automatically changing the date between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Intervening with a forced manual change while the automatic date shift is engaged can damage the movement. Of course, you can make the adjustment between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in most cases— but this is just not a good habit to get into. When in doubt, roll the time past 12 o’clock and look for an automatic date change before you set the time and date. The Ulysse Nardin brand is notable, among a very few others, for in- house mechanical movements immune to this effect.
Landeron Calibre 48 Family Chronograph Operation
Unlike many 2-button chronograph movements, the stop function shares the reset button rather than the start button. Therefore, on many Cal. 48 family movements from Landeron, the buttons function as follows:
2:00 – Start
4:00 – Stop/Reset
The later Cal. 149, Cal. 189, Cal. 349, and later movements have a conventional start/stop button at 2:00.
Valjoux 72C usage instruction
Valjoux 72C is much more complicated version of the iconic Valjoux 72 which was used in vintage Rolex Daytona, Patek Philippe’s know as Calibre 12, Heuer Carrera and many chromograph watches of that era.
Please use the illustration below to set and change the date, day, and month for your Valjoux 72C chronograph watch. Please don’t use the pushers to work the day, month and date indicators between 8 PM and 2 AM or to work the date and moon phase indicators between 10 AM and 2 PM when the automatic jumping takes place.
Valjoux 88 usage instruction
Similar to Valjoux 72C, Valjoux 88 has the Moonphase complication which requires more attention when setting. Valjloux 88 is one of the iconic vintage watch movements. Working and setting the moon phase device.
Please use the illustration below to set and change the date, day, and month for your Valjoux 88 chronograph watch. Please don’t use the pushers to work the day, month and date indicators between 8 PM and 2 AM or to work the date and moon phase indicators between 10 AM and 2 PM when the automatic jumping takes place.
Looking Valjoux 88 Chronograph watch, check out our watch collection page.
Automatic Winding: Full automatics must be moved up and down counting at least 30 times per double movement before wearing. do not swing, or fast start a bumper automatic. Most watches have can be manually winded before wearing.
Chronograph use: On a simple chronograph start and stop is almost always the same button. Normally located above the crown, the start/stop actuator can be pressed at will to initiate and end the interval timing. The reset button, normally below the crown, is only used for resetting the chronograph to zero, but only when the chronograph is stopped—never while engaged. Only a “flyback” chronograph allows safe resetting to zero while running. With the chronograph engaged, you simply hit the reset button and all the chronograph indicators (seconds, minutes, and hours) snap back to zero and the chronograph begins to accumulate the interval time once again. In the early days of air travel this was a valuable complication as pilots would reset their chronographs when taking on a new heading—without having to fumble about with a three-step procedure with gloved hands. Nota bene: Don’t actuate or reset your chronograph while your watch is submerged—even if you have one of those that are built for such usage, like Omega, IWC, and a few other brands. Feel free to hit the buttons before submersion and jump in and swim while they run; just don’t push anything while in the water.
Changing time backward: Don’t adjust the time on your watch in a counterclockwise direction—especially if the watch has calendar functions. A few watches can tolerate the abuse, but it’s better to avoid the possibility of damage altogether. Change the dates as needed (remembering the 10 and 2 rule above).
Overwinding: Never wind your watch to maximum spring tension. By twisting the watches crown with the thumb and forefinger in a clockwise fashion. You wind your watches mainspring. the crown will spin both directions in set mode yet will only wind one direction in wind mode. Never wind a vintage watch to its maximum position. Gently wind the crown ten times. When winding begin slowly till you feel resistance then stop. Don’t force! Most modern watches are fitted with a mechanism that allows the mainspring to slide inside the barrel—or stops’ it completely once the spring is fully wound—for protection against over winding. The best advice here is just don’t force it. Over the years a winding crown may start to get “stickier” and more difficult to turn even when unwound. That’s a sure sign it is due for service.
Water Resistance: Do not swim or take shower with your watch on unless it has been approved for water use by EXPERTS WATCHES. Unless stated for use in water do not use in water. Majority of vintage watches can’t be used in water. Please pressure test all watches prior to using in water.
Water resistance ratings for watches are often presented in either metres, or ‘ATM’ meaning ATMosphere. This is also sometimes referred to as ‘BAR’. What this rating is indicating is the static pressure that the watch can withstand.
For example, let’s take a watch with a water resistance rating of 30 metres. This does not mean that the watch can be worn to underwater depths of 30 metres. This depth is the equivalent of 3ATM, or 3 BAR, and means only that the watch is resistant to three times the static atmospheric pressure at sea level.
As the atmospheric pressure increases, there are particular points of a watch that can become prone to failing such as gasket seals (“O” rings made from rubber, nylon, or other materials), the crown, or even the caseback itself. Should any of these parts fail and allow water to enter the inner workings of the watch, then this can cause irreparable damage.
There are some mitigating features that can be incorporated into watches to defend these points, such as the gasket materials used, a screw down crown or a crown protector (both of which should always remain locked when coming into contact with water), and the screw-down caseback option as opposed to sapphire crystal.
There are environmental factors which can further effect the performance of these, such as the age of a watch and corresponding wear-and-tear, the temperature of the water and any chemicals present (such as chlorine), or even just a rapid change in pressure from diving or jumping into a pool.
Usually anything under 30 Meter or 3 ATM, like vintage watch should be exposed to any water.
- 30 Meter or 3 ATM: Washing of hand, small splashes, or Rain.
- 50 Meter or 5 ATM: Above plus, Showering, which is not recommended.
- 100 Meter or 10 ATM: Above plus, swimming light snorkeling.
- 200 Meter or 20 ATM: Above plus, more active snorkeling and swimming, possible light scuba check with manufacture.
- 1000 Meter or 100 ATM: Above plus, Scuba Diving.
If your watch is acting up, running faster or slower, it may have become magnetized. This can happen if you leave your timepiece near a computer, cell phone, or some other magnetized device. Many service points have a so-called degausser to take care of the problem. A number of brands also make watches with a soft iron core to deflect magnetic fields, though this might not work with the stronger ones.
If your Crystal is broken or cracked have it replaced immediately. Also fogging under the crystal can be a sign of moisture getting in the watch.
Moisture is the greatest problem your watch (especially vintage watch) will encounter. Vintage watches identified as "waterproof" are not really waterproof nor were they ever waterproof when they were new. Watches were mostly "Water Resistant" please see our chart. Vintage watches are no longer "waterproof or water resistant" unless they are pressure tested prior to use.
- Mineral glass: Cannot be buffed out. Can scratch, the toughest of all crystals. (some experts watch makers can have diamond buffers to buff. Usually easier to change)
- Sapphire Crystal: Cannot be buffed out. Is clearer than any other crystal but shatters easy.
- Hardlex/Coated: Cannot be buffed out. Can scratch, scratches less than mineral crystals.
- ACRYLIC Plastic: Though this is the least appreciated crystal, it is the best since scratches can be buffed out, experienced jeweler can buff it out
Cleaning: Do not use chemicals or cleaners. Use a damp soft cotton cloth to clean your vintage watch. It is always a good idea to know the material of your watch case prior to cleaning it.
Pay attention to case back. If you every get water into your watch please take it to a watch maker right away. Please note some of the watch cases have been plated so they do not deal well with cleaning.
You can purchase a watch polishing cloth or cloth used for your eye glasses. Always try in a small area before trying it on other parts of the watch.
It is always best to send take it to a watchmaker for a full service and cleaning. Please contact us for more information.
Tribology & Storage: When storing your Watch, place watch with face up. Never place your watch on its side. Keeping a mechanical timepiece hidden away in a box for extended lengths of time is not the best way to care for it. Even if you don’t wear a watch every day, it is a good idea to run your watch at regular intervals to keep its lubricating oils and greases viscous. Think about a can of house paint: Keep it stirred and it stays liquid almost indefinitely; leave it still for too long and a skin develops. On a smaller level the same thing can happen to the lubricants inside a mechanical watch.
Service: Most mechanical watches call for a three- to five-year service cycle for cleaning, oiling, and maintenance. Some mechanical watches can run twice that long and have functioned within acceptable parameters, but if you’re not going to have your watch serviced at regular intervals, you do take the chance of having timing issues. Always have your watch serviced by qualified watchmaker. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.
We also have a Vintage Watch Guild.
I hope you enjoy all the blogs we have, for the brief history of vintage diving watches Click Here!