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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I mostly have tool watches. A couple of field watches and a fistful of divers. And a couple I would consider beaters that I use when I think my activities may endanger a watch. I'm also not a flipper. I buy to keep.

Over the weekend I was wearing my Certina Diver and noticed that after 3 years in rotation it looks nearly new. One or two small scratches, nothing more and I got to thinking about my grandfathers watch.

He wore that thing everyday for probably 50+ years before he passed. He wore through the gold plating and then he wore into the brass base metal to the point the entire case was rounded. Not a sharp, crisp edge anywhere. The stamped wording on the case back was worn to the the point of being unreadable. Rubbed almost completely away from simply being in contact with his arm everyday for decades.

This made me wonder if by keeping my watches safe and wiped clean every night I'm kind of missing something. I'm starting to wonder if a watch should have character and signs of having a "life".

Scratches, dings, rounded edges... damage.

Maybe that's really what owning and using a (tool) watch is really supposed to be about. Not obsessing over what type of microfibre a person should use to wipe fingerprints off of sapphire and freaking out over desk diving swirls
 

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Its a tool and tools should be kept clean and shiny.

Snap-On brand tools are top of the line and most pro mechanics keep them military clean. No one that's actually working talks about their tools having character.

Most gun owners keep their pieces clean. Most owners of quality knives keep them shiny and clean.

Shiny has quality's other than looks just like paint does. Shiny means the tool is clean and its easy to spot recent wear or blemishes and when they happened.

Just wiping off a watch once or twice a day adds up to thousands and thousands of wipes over years which equates to maintaining a polish.
 

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My watch OCD does not allow for any "dirty" watches. Each one is cleaned every time after I am done wearing it.

Shiny is the new black, or green, or orange, whatever.........
 

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I see where you're coming from, and I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing for your watch to not be all scratched up either. I mean, as a pure matter of fact, those with watch rotations will typically wear their watches less (because more watches to wear). That said, we live in a time where you don't need to rely on your watch as a tool and as such nice watches might not be subject to the same kind of abuse in decades past. Also, another point to consider is the fact that watches are simply better built today than they were many decades ago. The steel alone is better (and more watches are made out of 316L SS than before).

Personally, what I think is more important than worrying about whether your watch is still too nice and shiny, is whether you feel comfortable with the idea of it scratched up. I've personally found that a large hurdle for me is the very thought of getting a watch scratched up, which entails I would typically not wear "shiny" or relatively scratch-free watches in fear of a ding or two. But, if you feel comfortable wearing your (say) Certina and letting it get scratched up, then that's what matters, not the scratches themselves! The scratches will come with normal wear that one could expect when you stop giving a f**** about keeping your watch pristine.

15874319
This thread needs more pics! Here’s a nasty gash I put on my Aquaracer.
 
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This made me wonder if by keeping my watches safe and wiped clean every night I'm kind of missing something. I'm starting to wonder if a watch should have character and signs of having a "life". Scratches, dings, rounded edges... damage.

Maybe that's really what owning and using a (tool) watch is really supposed to be about. Not obsessing over what type of microfibre a person should use to wipe fingerprints off of sapphire and freaking out of desk diving swirls
Not for me. Using a watch is about using a watch - accumulating damage on a watch, while it may be an unavoidable outcome over time, is hardly the measure of how well you have used the watch.

Obviously, having safe queens is one thing. But i dont think taking, say, my Explorer 2 off for the 10 minutes I am going to be working on my bicycle to avoid scratches somehow diminishes my experience of owning and using the watch.

Given the recent upswell in people wanting vintage stuff/patina/"things that tell a story", I may be in the minority here.
 

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A watch used to be a necessity so they got used but these days clocks are everywhere and so the role of the watch has changed to that of jewellery. I’m a granddad too and wore a watch because I had to, not for enjoyment so enjoy the change of purpose.
I'm in an airport as I write this. I've seen one actual clock... It's behind me, at the entrance to this wing of the concourse, and it's several minutes off...about FIVE minutes off... At an AIRPORT!
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15874327
 

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Interesting and fun topic

I am self acknowledged inconsistent on this topic. Most of my watches are worn, and scratches are part of it. They do not bother me at all

But when I get a big, shiny (polished) watch on polished bracelet it bothers me. I sold Citizen Signature Grand Classic over it (nearly unbeatable watch for the $$$), and I put my Chronoswiss on an Artem strap to avoid it.

So in short.....I have not figured out myself yet, much less questions as deep as the one at hand!
 

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Tool watches are meant to be used as tools after all. Unless it's a rarity or something with significant market value (read: heirloom) then it probably isn't that big of a deal.

Granted, if I knew I had something like a Paul Newman that was worth $xx,xxx,xxx dollars because of its rarity/prestige/desirability - yeah, I'd be treating it like the safest of safe queens. And assuming I were brave enough to take it out for a moment to look at, let alone strap on the wrist, I'd be furiously wiping away fingerprints and smudges, and sweating over the risk that any little scratch or ding will cause the watch to hemorrhage value due to my carelessness.
 

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Maybe it's because I myself am getting old/. But I feel like wear and tear and scuffs are part of life. I mean, you get made fun of on a job site if you have a hard hat without any scratches on it.

Each scratch, scuff or scar tell a story. Sometimes it's lame, and sometimes it's a great story to tell your kids about.

No reason that things can't be clean though. I try to take that to heart for myself as well. ;)
 

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Like most things in life, there's a happy medium. Give the watch a little love, but it has a strap or bracelet for a reason. Otherwise, you might as well own a pocket watch. Constantly battling entropy, gravity, and the elements can be exhausting.
 

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In the guitar world there's a whole industry built around "relic-ing' guitars to make them look like 60 year old instruments. Even the big boys like Fender and Gibson will sell you a brand new relic'd guitar (at a hefty premium of course). Personally I think it's bonkers but each to their own. If you're looking to age a watch the process is very simple.

Step 1, give said watch to a small child and tell them to be extra careful with it.
Step 2, turn your back for 30 minutes or so.
Step 3, return to find several decades of wear and tear.

You're welcome.
 

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Gone are the days when the majority of watch wearers only had one watch and wore it until it,or they, died. We now own too many watches and actually have "rotations".
If you owned 10 watches it would take 500 years to get Grandads watches look on each.
 

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A patina of solid use makes almost anything - watch, tool, car, camera - vastly more interesting to me. I was chatting with a guy who was driving a ‘76 Porsche 912E - one of only ~2100 built for the US market - a stopgap entry-level Porsche to fill the space between the old 914 “VW Porsche” and the new water cooled 924, so, an uncommon and interesting car. The bodywork could be described charitably as scabrous, but it ran like a ........Swiss watch 😬
He was considering how much work to put into a restoration - my take was to restore the mechanicals and interior, but leave the well-patina’d exterior as-is - it was glorious.
 

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I’d say most watch owners still wear only one watch (watch rotators being the minority) - the difference I think is that people don’t hold onto watches for as long - modern consumer watches crap out and aren’t worth repairing, so they never hang around long enough to get seriously worn.
 
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