Lee Michaels Watch Care Book

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WATCH CARE



WATCH CARE



Since 1978 when Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry opened the doors of its first store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, fine timepieces have been an integral part of its presence in each of its marketplaces. Representing through the years such preeminent watch names as Rolex, Patek Philippe, TAG Heuer, Panerai and OMEGA among many, Lee Michaels recognizes that enjoying a fine timepiece for many years requires diligent attention to its care. In the interest of our watch customers, Lee Michaels prides itself on employing expert watch technicians who have been trained and certified by many of its brand partners. Wherever possible, watch service is done on store premises or at the


company headquarters in Baton Rouge using only brand authorized parts. Lee Michaels also warranties its in-house watch service by matching the service warranty programs on the watch brands we represent. Additionally, an advantage of purchasing a timepiece from Lee Michaels is that the manufacturer’s warranty is extended by one year. Also for your benefit as a Lee Michaels watch customer, we have organized this brochure to give you suggested watch care instructions. These instructions are general in content, and your timepiece will have more specific manufacturer instructions accompanying your warranty. We encourage you to take your time to thoroughly familiarize yourself with those manufacturer instructions and cautions so your timepiece will function to its maximum capacity far into the future. Almost all fine watch manufacturers’ warranties are voided if service is performed by a non-certified and/or unauthorized watch technician. Some fine watches require specialized tools and expertise to change a battery because of the structure of unique water resistant cases. That is one reason Lee Michaels’ watch technicians are certified and authorized to perform watch service for our brand partners like Rolex, Patek Philippe, OMEGA, TAG Heuer, and others. Thank you for your confidence in Lee Michaels. Your friendship and business are greatly valued.


• TAKING OWNERSHIP • TAKING CARE OF YOUR WATCH Any possession we value and treasure should receive proper care and maintenance. We want to maximize your monetary investment as well as your enjoyment. Timepieces are no exception, especially because they have tiny moving parts that are subject to moisture, friction, pressure and shock. Today’s fine watches are products of the newest technologies coupled with generations of masterful construction and expert craftsmanship. The quartz movement improves accuracy in timekeeping,


pressure and water testing improve reliability and longevity, new metals like titanium improve resilience and function and applications of materials like ceramics create new style classics. Many fine timepieces have serial numbers engraved on the watch cases, movements and the metallic bracelets. Rolex and Patek Philippe are among those elite watch designers that employ such systems. This allows the companies and their retail partners to determine the genuine character of the watches when they are accepted for servicing, valued for insurance purposes, identified for law enforcement measures and ownership verification and history are needed. Be sure to save the warranty documents, operating and service instructions, box and extra bracelet links. The bracelet may become damaged and having those extra links may be just what is needed to restore the “wearability� of your watch, especially if the watch model is discontinued some years after purchase. The documents may also be required by your insurance company in case of theft, loss, or replacement needs. On a more personal note, you may want to trade in your watch for a newer model or another brand, or you may want to gift your watch at a future time to someone special in your life.


Be cautious in adding accessories to your watch later such as diamond or gemstone bezels and/ or dials. Those not manufactured by your watch brand voids the manufacturer’s warranty. Most watch brands such as Rolex will not even service one of their watches that has been altered by using unauthorized parts. Lee Michaels realizes that as a proud watch owner, you have high expectations of your timepiece. Please remember that your watch is a mini-machine just like your vehicle’s engine is a machine. A watch type such as a mechanical grand complication may have over 500 minuscule moving parts that can only be seen through a watchmaker’s magnifying glasses. Therefore, from time to time your watch will need cleaning, servicing, and regulation to keep those parts functioning to their greatest capacity.


• SERVICE • YOUR INVESTMENT IN VALUE Occasionally, a customer will bring us a watch that has kept great time without being serviced for many years - even decades. The owner of that timepiece has every right to feel fortunate to enjoy such a rare exception, but it is indeed that - an exception. It is a natural expectation in the life of a watch that it will need periodic servicing. Servicing according to the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines can include repairs; cleaning to remove rust, dried or old oil and dust; parts replacement; regulation; and power source replenishment such as a new battery. This servicing allows the watch


to continue to meet your, our, and its manufacturer’s expectations. The cost of a watch does not necessarily mean that servicing it is expensive or needed more often than a less costly timepiece. Service intervals are determined by factors such as wear and tear, chemicals, moisture, environment and how the watch is used. Lengthy exposure to water as well as extreme temperatures, altitudes and pressure can provoke more frequent servicing than the average lifestyle. If you are a fan of the ocean, then paying special attention to the gaskets and seals in the watch case would be advisable. You will also want to have your scuba dive watch checked more often so the timing mechanism that is critical to your safety remains accurate. A good time to do this is before each summer swimming season. Most watch manufacturers provide service interval guidelines to keep your watch functioning at its ultimate capacity.


• IT’S ABOUT TIME • MOVEMENTS, TIMING & CALIBRATION Great Britain’s John Harwood patented the automatic watch movement design in 1923 and introduced the first self-winding wristwatch in 1928. Rolex offered its first model in 1931. Rolex was deeply involved in developing the quartz movement although its Oyster series has had few of those models. Rolex engineers collaborated with a consortium of 16 Swiss watch manufacturers in 1968 to develop the Beta 21 quartz movement used in its Quartz Date 5100, improving it through about five years of design, research and development.


That quest continues as a Rolex hallmark. OMEGA’s timing accuracy innovations have ensured its position as the official timekeeper of world Olympic Games and space exploration. Regardless of movement power sourcing, the first step in the full service process is the complete disassembling of the watch movement and its case. The movement’s components are then thoroughly cleaned ultrasonically with special solutions, and needed replacement parts are acquired from the manufacturer when available. Adhering to watch manufacturers’ guidelines, using only genuine watch parts and having our watch technicians trained and certified by our watch partners such as Rolex and Patek Philippe are part of Lee Michaels’ commitment to you. When parts are no longer available due to the age or limited production of the watch, they may need to be recreated by hand after customers approve that work (see Restoration). One of the most critical needs of a watch movement is correctly applied lubricants. Since a watch movement can have hundreds of minuscule moving parts, the specially developed lubricating oils can dry up and their viscosities can thicken. In servicing, the trained technician’s critical eye insures that strategically placed oil droplets decrease the friction that can wear out parts prematurely. These droplets allow the watch bearings, jewels or synthetic rubies, to efficiently keep the watch’s tightly wound spring powering the drive train.


When you notice that the watch crown seems to have a gritty feeling in winding or winding is harder, then you know that this chemical change in the oil has occurred. As the oil in the movement thickens, the swing of the movement balance decreases and slows, affecting the timekeeping accuracy. As the spring coils become sticky, the power of the movement is not released as smoothly as it should be, and again precision is affected. If the oil is not replaced in a timely fashion, it eventually solidifies. When lubrication is lost, movement parts are no longer as protected from wear, and particles slough off and get caught in the remaining oil. The paste this creates grinds at the parts, increasing their deterioration. Once all parts have been cleaned, the movement and ultimately the case and bracelet are reassembled. Since the balance wheel is the core of the movement, it is the pulse point of your watch. Only a highly skilled watchmaker can adjust the balance wheel to meet manufacturers’, and Lee Michaels’, stringent accuracy standards. Once the watch movement is reassembled, it is tested and its performance observed for timing accuracy in a number of positions mimicking normal daily wear.


• WATER RESISTANCE • As our lifestyles change, the functions we want and the requirements we have for our watches change. When the sports world invaded the business world with joggers wearing tennis shoes to the office and life became measured in digitally displayed minutes, the wristwatch transitioned to a multi-functional necessity. To insure a timepiece can achieve what its designer intended, horologists (watchmakers) and technicians continually seek innovative improvements. An innovation of immense benefit is the increased water resistance of watches. Prior to the 1970s, most watches, particularly those designed for


dress occasions, were incompatible with water. Models made before that decade other than the Rolex Oyster series introduced in 1923 and certified to be water resistant to a depth of 100 meters/330 feet in 1953, were especially vulnerable to moisture seeping into the case at the crown, the seams where the case parts meet and through the crystal junctures. A remarkable step occurred when the specially made Rolex watch titled the “DeepSea” was attached to the side of the Bathyscaphe Trieste that descended to the bottom of the Mariana Trench on January 23, 1960. That the watch not only survived, but tested as marking perfect time during its descent and ascent was confirmed when Rolex received this telegram the following day: “Am happy to confirm that even at 11,000 metres your watch is as precise as on the surface. Best regards, Jacques Piccard”. Since the 1970s technology for sealing watch cases against moisture intrusion has continued to steadily improve until today when most watches have a significantly higher degree of water resistance. Active or sports watches are deliberately designed to prevent moisture from entering the watch in activities from scuba diving to hand washing. However, constructing a highly water resistant watch is not a simple task. The goal is to seal the many large places in the watch case where the wearer can see and manipulate the timing. This can be especially arduous for chronograph watches that employ numerous timing functions.


Because watch case seals degrade over time, frequent or professional water activities require that the seals be checked and changed more frequently than casual water exposure would prompt. Exposure to salt water requires that the watch be thoroughly rinsed with fresh water and dried with a soft cloth after each exposure to remove the salt that may be hidden in crevices. Salt will oxidize even a high grade of stainless steel. Another cause for concern is exposing a watch to a large change in water temperature. Showers, recreational waters such as saunas, hot tubs and heated pools as well as natural bodies of water have very disparate temperatures. New watches may not display an adverse reaction, but the case seals on older watch models may not retain their water resistance due to the swelling and contracting caused by the temperature fluctuations. Watches that demand a very high level of water resistance such as Rolex and OMEGA require a three step testing process: a vacuum test, a compression test and a condensation test. These will reveal the slightest moisture present in the watch. To properly gauge the water resistance of your timepieces, using an authorized watch technician at an authorized dealer, center or facility is recommended.


• CONDENSATION • HELP! MY WATCH DIAL IS FOGGED It is not unusual for a watch owner to discover that there is moisture or condensation under the crystal on a prized timepiece. Alarming as this may appear, it is an indication that there is a breach of some sort to the watch case seals, the seals have degraded enough to allow moisture to seep in, a fracture or chip is in the crystal, or there has been a shock to the watch movement. The condensation becomes apparent usually just after the watch has been in water such as after swimming, or when the wearer has moved from a


cold environment to a warmer one. Whatever the circumstance, the timepiece should be taken to an authorized retailer or service center that offers skilled watch service. Delaying technical assistance can result in oxidation of the movement and discoloration of the dial. The service technician will dismantle the watch and remove the moisture before evaluating what damage may have occurred. In any event, new seals must be fitted and the watch water tested. Regular servicing and water-resistance testing will identify any seal issues or maintenance concerns.


• CLEANING • Although we take great care to keep our homes, vehicles, and clothing clean, we most often forget or don’t realize that our watches need periodic exterior cleaning as well. Putting on a watch each day can become so automatic that we concentrate on its function and fail to realize how much built up grime has degraded the watch’s appearance. Dust, skin cells and perspiration built up over years of wear can eventually turn into a black paste clogging crevices in the watch case, bracelet links and around the buckle and pins attaching a strap to the watch case. This paste is corrosive to any metal surfaces and parts it touches.


Home maintenance every few months can help retard this build up. For a watch with confirmed water resistance, it is acceptable to brush the watch with an old toothbrush dampened with water and a small amount of gentle hand soap. It is advisable to use nothing on the exterior of your watch other than gentle hand soap. Commercial or home cleaners such as bleach and other strong detergents can mar the metallic, acrylic and plastic surfaces of the watch and damage the crystal. Thoroughly rinsing and drying all exposed parts of the watch are essential. If you have concerns about the water resistance of your watch, you should take it to a skilled watch technician for evaluation of the seals and the crystal before getting the watch wet. After wearing your watch in salt water, rinse the exterior thoroughly to remove any salt residue. This helps prevents the corrosive properties of salt water from damaging your watch. Before any home cleaning is done, be sure to read your owner’s manual for your timepiece. Cleaning leather straps on watches should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Leather is an organic material that deteriorates over time through exposure to perspiration, daily wear and tear and environmental conditions. Staying away from sources of moisture helps promote the longevity of the strap as does avoiding contact with detergents, perfumes, cosmetic products, solvents and sunlight.


All these break down the organic composition of leather. The top surface of a leather strap shows less wear than the underside of the strap. Visible cracks in the leather, darkening of the leather color, and fraying at the stitching are indications that the strap needs to be replaced. The porous nature of leather diminishes the success of cleaning the strap or eliminating the perspiration, dirt and wear marks. Rubber straps can be cleaned with gentle hand soap in a manner similar to cleaning a metallic watch bracelet.


• BATTERY CHANGING • Resisting the temptation to change a quartz watch battery yourself or to opt out of having the watch serviced when the battery does need to be changed by a technician can result in more problems than anticipated. While a quartz movement has a reputation for accuracy and longevity, it comes with its own challenges. Slogging through thickening oils, rust and dirt accumulation are some of the obstacles the torque in the electric motor of the watch must overcome when the watch is not serviced in a timely manner. Watch batteries do not last as long under these conditions as when the watch was new. This shortened battery life is due to the extra work the


watch motor must do and is the first indication that the movement needs proper servicing. A skilled watch technician can evaluate the watch movement when (s)he replaces the battery and checks the case seals. However, not all battery replacement outlets have this capability, spare parts or the time to perform such evaluations. Having the correct tools, expertise, and interest in the watch are essential to first quality service and attention. Such skill avoids future problems that adversely affect the watch function or cause irreparable damage. Using a certified and authorized service center reinforces the investment you have made in your timepiece. Batteries should be replaced as soon as they expire to prevent chemical leakage into the watch movement. Replacing batteries and case seals are not “do it yourself� if you want to preserve your enjoyment of your timepiece for many years.


• MINIMIZING THE DAMAGE • Even the most attentive and cautious watch owner occasionally has an accident. A favored timepiece can be inadvertently dropped, submerged in water without ensuring its water resistance or shocked by an unexpected hard blow. Shock protection is inherent in a fine timepiece, but that protection is not limitless. If you find your watch has been dropped, check it immediately for external damage. Some signs to look for are: an unattached hand under the crystal; something sounds like it is loose in the watch case or rattling around; or the crystal is smashed, broken or cracked (even a hairline fracture can allow moisture ingress).


If any of these conditions are present, pull out the crown right away to stop the movement and take the watch to a skilled technician at an authorized retailer or service center. Pulling out the crown to stop the movement helps keep the minute particles from the broken crystal and metallic parts from continuing to grind into the dial, delicate movement parts and oils that lessen the friction in the moving parts. A skilled and authorized watch technician will thoroughly inspect the watch and determine the timekeeping status. If something in the watch has moved or the balance spring has become twisted in its coils shortening the amplitude of the balance, the watch may run fast. Usually this damage can be repaired. Remember, leaving a watch to “repair itself� can create a far more costly problem. Even what seems to be a small impact evidencing no external damage can be deceptive. Assessing needed corrections to the movement, sealing the case and crystal and water resistance testing are best left to the professional horologist.


• WATCH STORAGE • Whether you consider yourself a pragmatic single watch owner or an avid timepiece collector, you will need a place to securely keep your watch. You can take the simplest path and keep your watch on your dresser or in a drawer, or take more elaborate measures such as a bank box or multiwatch storage case and winder. Whatever method you choose should allow you to keep your watch running and protected so you can adapt wearing it to your lifestyle. Single watch pouches offer protection by keeping watches from rubbing together and scratching the exterior surfaces and gemstones, minimizing dust accumulation and exposure to sunlight and protecting


expensive leather straps. Many watch manufactures provide beautiful presentation boxes that are part of the purchase package of a fine watch and serve admirably for storage. Single pouches also allow convenience when you want multiple watches for travel and events. Multi-purpose boxes offer storage for watches, cuff links, bracelets and other jewelry items in a single location. The choice of the storage container is left to the imagination as exotic woods and high-tech materials abound in a variety of conformations. Storing a watch while running or pulling out the crown to stop it is a matter of preference as there is no consensus of opinion. Since all watches use oil to keep the movement parts and the drive train operating as friction-free as possible, the condition of the oil after prolonged storage is a determination a skilled watch technician can make. A watch stored running will eventually need its power reserve replenished and its movement checked. Similarly, a watch stored stopped will need to be checked in case the oils in its movement have dried and solidified. Prolonged storage results in manual wind and mechanical watches winding down and stopping; automatic watches running for some time, but eventually stopping due to inactivity; and quartz watches running until the battery life is depleted. However, for automatic watches, the motorized watch winders have achieved great popularity recently.


They are designed to keep the watch moving in the correct direction for the correct number of turns to maintain the full power for “ready to wear.�


• RESTORATION • You inherit a watch; you purchase a watch from an estate collection; you own a watch you haven’t worn in years; you recover a watch you had forgotten; you have a watch you want to present to someone special. In essence, you have a watch that needs restoration. Restoration can be as simple as freshening the exterior and replacing a battery, or as intensive as requiring a complex overhaul of the movement, or recreating discontinued parts, hands and dial. Watches that have lain unused for years will have seals that are dried and brittle; oil in the movement that has turned to powder or tar; rusted parts,


dials, crowns; and sunlight and water damage. Depending on the age of the watch and the production quantity, manufactures’ parts may be available. In very limited edition watches or antique productions, parts will have to be handmade, an investment worth the time, skill, expense and patience to bring a watch back to its near-original condition, function and beauty. Occasionally a watches’ function cannot be restored, but its exterior appearance can be improved enough for display. So much depends on the skill level of the watch technician or horologist. An expert in watch restoration will initially break down the entire watch so (s)he can assess the condition of each exterior and interior component. Detailed quotes are provided to the watch owner as well as a time frame for completing the restoration. Serious collectors have waited for five years or more to have a unique watch restored. Patience is an essential requirement for the watch owner and the watch restorer. Once the work is approved, the watch technician will clean, check, replace (when possible) and rebuild (if required) the movement parts. (S)he will know how to partner with the manufacturer to research parts availability. While the work on the movement progresses, a bench jeweler with expertise in watch cases, bracelets, and other metallic components will be engaged to restore the watch exterior. A dedicated metalworker who takes great pride in the craft can


often work miracles. While most watch owners want an “as close to new as possible� look, many request that some of the marks and the patina developed over years of loving wear be left to mark the watch as an heirloom. Dials can often be replaced or restored, but when they cannot, they should be precisely recreated to the original design to complement the original look of the watch. An expertly restored timepiece reflects the creativity and artistry of the original crafts person, the intriguing look that captivated the original purchaser, the highly skilled talent of the restorer and the pride of the current owner. Restoration is a truly passionate labor of love.


• QUICK TIPS TO SAVE YOU TIME • • Keep the original box, warranty documents, service/operating instructions and extra links. • Know the difference between manual wind, automatic and quartz movements. • Always have a trained, certified and brand authorized watchmaker change the battery and perform other maintenance and service. Otherwise, the manufacturer’s warranty is voided. • When your watch dial fogs or moisture droplets appear under the crystal, take it immediately to a trained, certified and brand authorized watchmaker. Do not try to dry it out yourself as this will also void the manufacturer’s warranty.


• Remember to check that the watch stem and crown are tightened down to the case before you immerse your watch in water. • Most dress and pre-1980 watches are not highly water resistant. However, the Rolex Oyster Series watches have been highly resistant since the early 1940’s. • Have your dive watch pressure, water resistance capacity and timing checked to insure it is functioning properly before each dive season. • Clean your watch exterior case and bracelet with mild hand soap, tepid water and an old toothbrush. Dry with a soft cloth. Make sure the crown and stem are tightened to the case before cleaning. • Reasons to take your watch to a trained, certified and brand authorized service technician: A. Your watch is dropped or it receives a hard shock. B. A battery change is needed. C. Your watch runs slow, fast or not at all. D. The dial fogs or has moisture droplets under the crystal. E. Parts rattle or seem to slide inside the case. F. The hands fall loose under the crystal. G. The crystal has a crack, chip or hole. • Call your local Lee Michaels or dial 1-800-453-GEMS.



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