While the best part about owning a luxury watch is the feeling of strapping it onto your wrist, looking down at it, and appreciating its design, history, and mechanical merit, there is more to consider than meets the eye; namely, storing and maintaining your collection. So, what are the best ways to store your watches, and how do you maintain them? Like most things in watchmaking, it's actually pretty complicated, with lots of choices and plenty of options for every budget.
Perhaps the most common means of watch storage is the humble watch roll. Available in many shapes, sizes, materials, colors, and construction styles, watch rolls offer users a compact, safe and stylish place to put their watches. Perfect for bringing watches on your travels or keeping them safe and tidy somewhere like in a drawer, these are great options for most collectors but can only usually store up to 4 or 5 watches at once.
The best watch rolls out there are those made of sturdy, soft, and high-quality materials, like suede and leather. While this goes for most forms of watch storage, you will want your watch rolls to be light to aid traveling with them. Furthermore, like every form of watch storage, you want your watch roll to have a quality construction. Some luxury watch rolls skip out on construction costs by using one floating cushion without any divisions. This will allow your watches to move and hit off one another. The best quality watch rolls will use individual segments to keep your watches separated.
Another brilliant but different way to store your watch is on a watch stand. Watch stands are fantastic ways to store your watch for anything from a few hours to overnight or even over a few days, but they aren't exactly transportable, and they double as displays, so they look great on desks and bedside lockers. Luxury watch stands are always made of soft materials with large solid bases. This means the cushion won't damage your watch, and the watch stand won't tip over with the weight of a watch or two on it.
While not all watches need watch winders, they are a great way to keep your automatic watches stored if you want to avoid having to rewind and reset them after a period of wearing the other watches in your collection. This is particularly useful for individuals who own complicated timepieces with annual calendars, perpetual calendars, moon phases, celestial displays, and complications that need to be laboriously reset when they stop for a period of time.
You can probably guess, but watch winders don't travel at all and can often be permanently built into place, such as in a wall, onto a shelf, or into a drawer. They can also be used to display watches, with some watch winders being rather elegantly designed, with various speed and rotation count settings. Ultimately, not everyone needs a watch winder, but they are undoubtedly helpful for those who do. For example, they can save massive respite bills if you incorrectly reset and damage a perpetual calendar.
Next up, we have the form of watch storage that is probably the most prevalent amongst enthusiasts, the coveted watch box. Available in various materials across enormous price ranges and offering different levels of security for different numbers of watches, watch boxes are perhaps the most wide-ranging form of watch storage. Capable of transport during travel, long-term storage, and short-term storage for your weekly rotation, watch boxes offer more security by sacrificing size. Sure, you can bring them on travels buy they will inevitably take up more space, and they can't be kept in nightstands - hinting at their use case as a longer-term form of storage.
Finally, moving onto just about the longest-form type of watch storage out there, we have watch safes. Typically used by collectors with large numbers of watches, watch safes usually have specialized compartments for accessories like your array of Horus Straps, Horus Straps tools, and cushions to set your watches into. Some also come with built-in watch winders and can range in size, and even be mounted into walls and such.
How to Maintain your watch
The best way to maintain your watch is by ensuring that as you wear it, you take care of it and prevent damage from befalling it in the first place, like hitting it off of doors, dropping it, and that kind of thing. But, accidents, of course, can happen, and watches will naturally need to be serviced now and again. In these circumstances, the best course of action is to have your watches serviced by the brand or by a local brand-certified watchmaker.
If you want to take a hands-on approach to this, if you are mechanically competent, you can buy a timegrapher machine and test the amplitude of your watch movement and see if it is gaining or losing time. If the amplitude is below around 230 degrees, it will need to be serviced, and if the watch is losing or gaining more time than it is supposed to (outside of COSC-spec, if a COSC watch, for example), then it needs to be regulated. Of course, you could try to regulate your watch at home if you are brave enough, but a service is another thing altogether.
For most of us hoping to maintain our watches, our limits are set to cleaning our pieces every so often. We recommend you use a soft children's toothbrush and use regular dish soap and wet your watch (with all crowns locked and casebacks closed) before gently scrubbing away dirt and grime build-up.