Can I Make My Watch Ready For Summer? Ask MR PORTER
British readers might remember that, according to a Gillette advert, winter hates your face. That’s as may be, but summer… Well, summer has it in for your watch. Here’s why and how to look after your wristwear over the warmer months. For any other style question, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do everything in our power to answer it.
Check your seals
Better weather means more time spent outdoors and, most likely, more swimming. If your watch is water resistant (check out our handy guide to what water resistance really means here), then you’re fine to keep it on for a dip, but it’s worth checking that the rubber seals that keep the watch’s interior clean and dry are still in good nick, especially if you live in a warm climate or the watch is more than a couple of years old. “Humidity and moisture inside a watch can become a bigger problem when warmer weather arrives as we cycle between high temperatures outdoors and air-con indoors,” say TAG Heuer’s expert service team. “It’s best to make sure the crown or case back gaskets haven’t failed.” Even if you’re not swimming, it’s still worth it because dirt and dust will gunk up the movement and set you up for an expensive repair.
Keep it clean
We’ve talked about keeping dirt out of the watch. It’s a good idea to keep the exterior sparkling, too. Oris CEO Mr Rolf Studer, a man whose watches are designed to take everything the great outdoors can throw at them, still advises a regular clean. “With everyday use comes a build-up of dust and dirt,” he says. “Use a soft cloth daily to wipe away any grime and ensure your watch stays in top condition. Our watches are water-resistant, so you can just hold them under [cold] running water – that’s how I would do it.” A quick rinse after a salt-water swim is also a good idea. “Salt water under the bezel, around the edge of the case back or between the lugs can corrode the case (what we call ‘pitting’), even on stainless steel if left for long enough,” say the TAG Heuer team.
Watch dials and bezels, especially ceramics, are so much more durable than they used to be. Nevertheless, it’s not smart to leave your watch lying in direct sun. “Extended exposure to sunlight can be damaging to any watch, which can cause colours to fade,” says Studer. “Keep your watch in a shady area and protect it from long periods of sun exposure – unless you like the look and feel of a watch that lives with you and shows it.” Sunbathing can have other detrimental effects on a watch, too. TAG Heuer’s experts note that “the metal case can quickly get super-heated, causing the oils inside, which keep your watch running smoothly, to evaporate, which can affect accuracy and longevity”.
Swap that strap
Last but not least, learn how to operate a spring bar tool and switch your watch’s strap for something more all-weather friendly. (We’ve got a guide here), but an increasing number of watches come with easy-release strap changing systems built in.) “Beautiful original leather straps that are often supplied with a watch simply won’t last long on a sweaty wrist during the summer months,” says TAG Heuer’s servicing division. “It is far better to swap it out for a Nato or rubber option.” Even if your watch’s default strap is a sturdy stainless-steel bracelet, there are other advantages to ringing the changes. “It’s advisable to take advantage of a feature such as Oris’s quick-change mechanism from time to time to avoid concentrated wear-and-tear on a single strap,” says Studer. “It also means you can change up your style and dress your watch up or down as you see fit.”
Illustration by Mr Slowboy