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3 Lessons Learned While Speed-Dating Watchmakers

I recently returned from a week photographing the annual conference of American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute (AWCI). I was there to teach photography and get images of the event that has been held annually since 1960. I felt like I was speed-dating at a club of modern-day watchmaking shamans, who openly talked about missing their watch bench and the trance-state in which they function as they solve our watch-wearing woes.  I learned a lot about what to look for in a watchmaker.

How to clean a watch bracelet


yhst-85543676792133_2067_16045008Cleaning your watch isn’t as complex as it sounds. If you have a real issue with your watch – it’s running fast or slow or seems to contain water – you need to take it into a watchmaker. However if you just want to clean up your watch get yourself an ultrasonic cleaner.

I bought a $70 Chinese model on eBay but you could also get something like this Braunsonic. The cleaner vibrates a water bath which in turn creates tiny, energetic bubbles. These bubbles get into all of the nooks and crannies of your watch bracelet to pull out dirt.

Stickers! Or how to protect a wristwatch


Desk-diving marks on a clasp are the bane of existence for a watch owner. There’s an answer, and what it is will surprise you! (It took effort to write that awful a lede.)

How To Take Care Of Your Beloved Mechanical Watch



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So, you just got yourself a mechanical watch (or perhaps you”re angling to get one tomorrow) – how do you take care of this little machine?  And make no mistake – it is a machine, and needs to be taken care of.

How do you know if a watch has radium hands?


Before we begin, please remember that radium is a dangerously radioactive substance and repeated exposure is very dangerous. Horrible things happened to watchmakers who used the material in painting hands and numerals and devasting diseases like jaw and stomach cancer often plagued assembly-line workers in the days when radium was still in popular use. Read the book Radium Girls for more info on this topic.

How to spot a fake Rolex (because it’s harder than you think)


This amazing video shows two Rolexen side-by-side. One is real, one isn’t. The trick? The fake looks almost as good as the real one.

OMG! Don’t wear your watches in the shower


I always had a sneaking suspicion that I was doing something horrible to my watches by wearing them in water and now I know: almost nothing under the sun is truly waterproof. This older post by a watchmaker spells it out in plain English: most waterproof watches are, at best, not waterproof at all. Also, don’t wear your watches in the shower, for Wango Tango’s sake!

Finally – do not wear your watch in the shower. Watches are designed for cold water only. After swimming, rinse your divers watch under tap. Have the case and bracelet cleaned every 12 months. Do not expose to direct sunlight or heat. Use common sense and submerge only if you really have to. Do not be fooled by brand / model names like “promaster, diver, seamaster, shower-proof” – very often this is just another advertising gimmick.

Watching the Web for May 23, 2015

Morning Dew On A Web Desktop BackgroundHello and welcome back (I hope) to Watching the Web, our weekly installment where we highlight interesting watches related articles from other sites, and point out own more popular articles over the last week. Today, we have a review of the Borealis Seahawk 1500 from a diver’s perspective, a photo essay from a watchmaking class held by Audemars Piguet, and a tutorial on how to remove scratches from a watch crystal.  From our site, Patrick swept the top spots, with his recent reviews of the Shinola Rambler GMT, the Gavox Aurora, and the Steinhart Military 42.

Jaques de Vos SeahawkBorealis produces high quality dive watches at affordable price points (I frequently wear the Sea Diver, and Patrick reviewed the Seahawk), and the Seahawk takes the brand down deep, with a 1500 meter depth rating.  Yes, it is overkill for almost everyone, but these extreme watches are popular.  Diver Jacques de Vos strapped one on over his wetsuit and took it for a couple of dips, and shares his thoughts here.

APSF-10Over at TimeZone, there is a good blog post from a reader and his wife that were able to attend a watchmaking class held by Audemars Piguet in San Francisco.

tk-how-to-remove-watch-scratches-gear-patrol-lead-fullOver at Gear Patrol, there is a helpful article on how to remove (shallow) scratches from your watch’s sapphire crystal should it get a bit too beat up.

Shinola-Rambler-GMT-09Shinola always gets a lot of interest on our site, and the Rambler GMT was no exception.  Patrick loves a good GMT, and he thought that this one was worth considering.  In the review he compared the Rambler with the Filson GMT (also made by Shinola); I think the Shinola is the sportier looking of the two, and probably my favorite Shinola to date.

Gavox-Aurora-FeaturedGavox is another brand we like here at WWR, and the Aurora steps up the typical world timer functionality with the ability to change time zones in 15 minute increments.  This can be useful in certain parts of the world, where (as an example) Iran and Afghanistan have their clocks 1/2 hour off from the convention, and Nepal is on the quarter hour.

Steinhart-Military-42-05Lastly, we have the Steinhart Military 42, a vintage military inspired modern timepiece.  Patrick and I are split on the small second hand, with it being a deal killer for him, but I kind of like it.

Cognitime1Time is running out to enter our monthly watch give-away contest.  This month, we have a Cognitime Classic watch to give awayI took a look at the watch back in 2014 and it is an interesting hybrid using a digital display to indicate the analog passage of time.


Wrist ShotWe also want to put the call out for wrist shots of our reader’s favorite (or at least favorite of the moment) watches.  Put together an email of your wrist shot and tell us a little about the watch and why you love it.  If you happened to be introduced to it through our site (or won it through a give-away), even better.  Just make sure the image is a JPEG and at least 800 pixels wide.

With that, I will wrap things up. As always, if there’s something you think we should be covering, feel free to drop us a line. If you bring something up that we end up writing about, we’ll be sure to tip our hats (electronically, if not literally) in your general direction.

How to buy a watch


I’m just full of helpful hints this week. This one comes after seeing a comment on my other site, WristWatchReview about the BR02, a 1000M diver with a fairly striking design. I liked it when I saw it but at $4,800 I could probably pass. But did you know you could get it for a mere $168?

How to hack a cheap Casio into a real dive watch


The Casio F-91W is, famously, the only watch worn by Osama and Obama. As a beater it can’t be beat an, as David Tinarenco writes, it’s even better if you put it on a NATO strap. But what about that pesky water resistance?