That is the question that I'm sure has been discussed here but I want current thinking on it. I'm sure there are two schools of thought on this: those who not only want the best looking pocket watches in their collections but also believe that particularly if the case is original to the movement,then it's no different than restoring a vintage automobile or other item back to it's original look AND those who believe that the history of the watch, so to speak, should be evident. Also, do you think the public prefers to buy a polished watch or one that shows it's wear. I'm thinking right now about an early Bunn Special made in 1913. Is it freakish to have a like new case on that, even if it is the original case?
Posts: 383 | Location: Northern Pennsylvania USA | Registered: April 04, 2007
My customers prefer their watches looking as good as possible. Now if its close to NOS I would simply wipe it down gingerly
As "Larry L" used to say in his descriptions if brass starts showing you can always polish it up again and have it looking nice for a while. And that old boy sold a TON of watches at prices NO one ele has ever been able to fetch.
I like my watches to look as good as they can and have several that are polished. They look great and provide that WOW factor. It must have been a great feeling to purchase new back in the day. However, I do have watches that are in the original cigarette case with the original outer box and watches in the original box with paperwork that I wouldn't even begin to consider polishing.
Posts: 175 | Location: Eastern Massachusetts in the USA | Registered: November 28, 2013
Since I don't carry the watches on a daily basis, if they are any material I clean them. I have ended up with some watches that when you open up the case you wonder if they had been drug through the sewer, well maybe not quite that bad but close. I clean them up but don't get excessive and put them in a cloth bag and put them away. Like your rings they deserve a good cleaning every once in a while.
Posts: 1789 | Location: Michigan in the USA | Registered: September 19, 2009
My take: I generally don't like to polish cases unless it's a silveroid case in good condition; or an excellent condition gold filled case, and then just a hand-polish with a rouge cloth. A worn case will be cleaned up, and that's all. There is an incongruity in a case with a high polish and worn-down engraving.
Posts: 653 | Location: St Paul, Minnesota in the USA | Registered: May 04, 2004
Some years ago, a related topic was discussed. Some of the collector/members introduced the Japanese cultural esthetic of wabi sabi to watch collecting. As applied to a vintage watch, wabi sabi teaches acceptance of transience and imperfection, in other words signs of long honest use can add a level of esthetic merit to an object, such as a watch. It's in the eye of each collector if a watch has wabi-sabi. In other words, "does it speak to you?" Then, for the restorer of watches, the question is how to enhance a well used watch with proper repair work, that does not go so far as to destroy the aged esthetic of the watch?
Posts: 1885 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
This is interesting to me, a non-collector, what about marks and scratches on a case back around where it’s opened? Do you pay more attention to polishing or removing marks around where a case back is opened and what is suggested to use to remove, or lighten up those marks?
Leo Horishny Sun Valley, NV
Posts: 22 | Location: Nevada in the USA | Registered: September 20, 2021