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How to store watches

Watch Collecting: How to Store Watches When Not In Use

Storing watches properly means keeping them precious for years.
Aug 12, 2021

How to store watches? Storing watches may look simple and easy (well, it is). Put it in boxes, cases, or pouches, you choose. As long as it is a temperature-controlled one. But, how? The article would shine a light on this matter and help keep your timepieces ageing perfectly.

When it comes to hobbies, watch collecting is timeless and a way more personal because it speaks to the owner's sense of art. But my friend here told me that he wanted to start collecting watches just to compete with his friend (red. rival). His friend has bought some valuable timepieces for investment, and guess what, my friend is doing the same thing now. 

If watch collecting is a school, he would be a freshman. He has been here, for this hobby, for almost a year now. I am neither a watch expert nor a watch nerd, I only own 2 watches, but I can say I am more a watch collector than he is, if it is viewed from the perspective of our knowledge of watches. And he knew it. That’s why I was the first person he called when he decided to have this hobby. 

It’s completely fine though since my friend has money and this hobby will get him more money by the next couple years. I did not really care about the things that happened between him and his friend. What bothered me the most was the way he put the treasured watches in the drawer of his wife's vanity table. No pouch, box, silica gel, nothing. 

And here I am, writing everything I’ve told him about storing watches so that his so-called hobby can go well or even pass the collections to the next generation. I thought it might be informative especially if it’s your freshman year too in watch collecting.

How to store watches when not in use

You’re lucky ⎯not really⎯ if you own two or three timepieces because you can wear them in rotation. It would be a different case if you have 6 or more. Some will have to wait for days for their turn to be worn. So, it would be better if they are placed in safe storage.

Ideally, watches should be stored in storage with a temperature-controlled like a safe deposit to prevent moisture from getting into the watch. If you’ve ever thought about it, then do it. But, if you want to take care of them yourself because you have the time, then you can choose different kinds of storage to store your watches at home when not in use. It could be stored in watch boxes/cases, watch pouches, watch winders, watch rolls, or trays. 

How to store watches: Watch boxes or cases

If you want to keep your collection in sight, watch boxes/cases ready for it. A single watch box for each timepiece may take more space than the one with slots. But, it does not mean that you can just throw away the original boxes ⎯which my friend almost did⎯ because they are as precious as the watches. 

Instead, you could buy a watch case that is similar to a jewelry box but the compartment designs are meant to fit watches. Make sure to purchase one that is lined and well padded. You can choose a product with a soft lining like felt. This soft material prevents the watch from being scratched. 

Often featuring a clear glass top, a watch case allows you to adore your own collection. Also such a great idea if you like to wear a different watch model frequently since the case lets you for easy use and store.

How to store watches: Watch pouches

A pouch for makeup, a pouch for sunglasses, and a pouch for a watch. Pouches do not cost much and they are really simple. It could be a great deal for you who have just started collecting time-tellers. 

Designed to hold one timepiece, this type of storage is easy to organize, whether you want to put it in a drawer or in your bag for travelling. A watch pouch is usually made of high quality leather to provide more protection to the wristwatch.

How to store watches: Watch winders

Anyone who’s interested in the evolution of horology may have been familiar with a watch winder. A watch winder is a kind of device to keep your automatic or self-winding watches running while it’s not being worn. A winder is a great innovation, but the question is should you keep your watches running (in a watch winder) or allow them some rest when you don't wear them? Does a watch winder affect the lubricant on the watch?

There are two kinds of answers to those questions. One would say that it doesn’t matter since the oil/lubricant needs to be changed every 5 years, whether the watch is worn on a daily basis or not. And the other would tell you that it is better to stop the watches when you don’t wear them because there will be a lot of wear and tear in the movement when they run all the time. 

In this case, there is no right or wrong because there has not been research into this, yet. However, if your watches have many complications such as moon phase or perpetual calendars, you may want to put them in a watch winder. This is because complicated watches take some time to set.

But personally, when my friend asked, Do I need a watch winder? I said you do. For me, a watch is like a car. When it is sat in a garage for a long time, it actually causes damage.

How to store watches: Watch rolls

If you do a lot of travelling and need something to carry your watches, then a watch roll is a good option. It is handy and compact, yet will keep your beloved collection safe. There are two types of a watch roll: structured hard cases and canvas/leather wraps. To make it simple and practical, you can just wear a GMT watch and store away your other pieces at home, safe and sound.

How to store watches: Watch trays

It is actually fine for you to store watches in a drawer. High-end watch brands do not cost you a fortune for timepieces which are easily scratched. it’s just not right to see them tossing each other when you open the drawer. Therefore, you can customize a watch tray inside. It is like giving your watches a nice mattress to sleep on. Don’t forget to make space for your strap collections.

How to Keep Watches Safe When in Storage

Storing your watches in proper storage is not enough because the real enemies of these tickers are humidity and dust. You definitely do not want to store your timepiece that has been worn for diving without rinsing it with fresh water first or leave the watches in storage for years and never open or wind it. Because it means you’re losing them. So, to make your precious collection stay precious, apply the following tips while you are storing the watches.

Silica gel, dealing with the humidity

Moisture is your watch's nightmare. It coagulates the oil in your watch, and later your watch will lose its lubricating properties. Condensation, however, is more risky to a quartz watch. Therefore, it’s quite important to store your collection in a temperature controlled setting, or buy a silica gel because it is such a savior when it comes to humidity.

Avoid magnetic fields

Don’t put your watches through the pain. Keep them away from anything like television, computer, telephone systems, etc. It may not permanently damage the watch, but it will lose its accuracy for sure.

Keep the boxes and the paperwork safe

Watches are one of the most luxurious jewelry to collect. Thus, it is important to keep the paperwork safe for each piece if someday the watch is not well-functioned and you want to return or resell it somewhere. Moreover, a valuable pre-owned watch can be worth a lot more if you offer it with all original packaging. Consider storing them in different locations you used to buy it.

Clean the watches before storing them

Humidity, dust, and dirt affect the outside look and technical things. That is why you need to clean your timepieces every time you take them off. You can use a clean soft cloth with warm water. A toothbrush also helps you to reach the difficult spots. Bathing the watch regularly will make it look like new.

Remove batteries

If you have or are collecting Quartz watches, you should be fully aware of the batteries. It’s better to remove the battery before you are storing them for a long period of time. Grab a screwdriver to open the timepiece then put them separately.

Well, there are many approaches for storing watches. It may be done differently by each collector, but as long as you take extra care of those treasured pieces, they would still be in perfect condition for the next 10 years. 

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