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      What’s a good way to store old pocket watches and what are some don’ts. Are felt lined wooden boxes ok?

      chris mabbott

        That’s a great question and one that I’m sure has MANY different answers by many people 😆

        Personally, I don’t think it matters as to the orientation of storage, dial up, dial down, pendant up, down etc..
        But it is important to have them in as much of a moisture free area as possible to prevent oxidation.
        I picked up a bunch of those silicon absorbent bags that I toss in my wooden boxes. I also have some thick, acid free cardboard boxes that I picked up at Office Depot 15 years ago that are still in perfect shape despite being in various environments and storage.
        I also keep them in those breathable ziplock bags, you know, the ones with micro holes.

        I also feel that the temperature is important, I try to keep mine in as cool of a place as possible. Heat will thin the lubricants which in turn will run and eventually migrate into the works on an idle watch.

        Obviously if you have a huge collection, winding all of them once in a while is not practical, that’s just what it is.
        But it is a good idea, if possible, to wind a stored watch that you’re using at least once a month. I alternate my daily carry watch between ten models, if one has been sitting in my sock draw for a while, I’ll usually put it in my pocket to warm it before winding, commonly known as the old hot pocket trick 😆

        bernie weishapl

          I keep mine is a safe and use silica packs to prevent moisture. Like Chris I try to wind mine about once a month or so. I don’t worry so much about up, down, pendent up, etc. I have never had a problem with moisture using these silica packs. I worry more about moisture than anything else. Safe is in a cool place about 65* to 70^ most of the time.


            Are the felt linings anything to worry about?

            chris mabbott

              Yes if there is no moisture/humidity present.

              There are a lot of factors to consider.

              1. How many watches will be stored
              2. Will they be put away and forgotten
              3. Will they be checked/wound occasionally.
              4. Where will they be stored
              5. Under what conditions
              5. What material are the watch cases i.e silver, gold, silverine, ore silver etc
              6. What material are the movements, i.e brass, nickel
              7. Do you intend using the watches
              8. Do you live in a humid zone

              Storage and care, especially for collectors, is a field of study in its own right. Some collectors have thousands of watches, they go to great lengths to preserve them as they have invested a lot of money in their passion.
              This can range from the extreme of creating a controlled environment in a room, to simply taking simple precautions, like using silica bags and safe materials.
              There is also acid content of the material in contact with the watch case. Most fabrics (post 1920’s) contain acid/bleach in their dyes as do the majority of modern paper products. If your wooden box is lacquered, chances are that it contains acid, bleach, alkalides etc..
              These things can and will effect the metal over time, especially on silver and none silver cases, and especially if moisture is present.

              You pose a good question and one that isn’t considered usually, but it should be as I’m sure we’ve all had those badly stored items pass across our benches as we silently curse the $&@*%# that stored a valuable collector watch in a sock draw for 20 yrs 😆

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