Monday, November 5, 2007

Some ice in your watch, Sir?

Somebody said on a popular watch forum:
I've heard the best way to keep a watch for a long time - especially allowing the lubricant's condition - is to pack it in a vacuum [bag] and store it in a freezer (-18 degrees C).

Myself, I think it's pretty good way to mess up a watch . .
1) Take an expensive watch at room temperature 20 C and a not unreasonable 60% relative humidity (RH) inside the watch.
2) Place it in the freezer (baggie or not, makes little difference). As the temperature inside the watch falls, the relative humdity increases. Condensation starts at +12 C (the dew point for 60% RH) and continues down to O C when it will freeze. However, condensation will still continue to occur as the temperature falls, building up as more ice until the internal temperature stabilizes at -18 C or whatever. See here for proof.
3) The watch will have stopped by this point because the oil will be too viscous.
4) Now take out the watch: as your fine timepiece warms up, the ice melts and the water will probably emulsify the oil rendering it essentially useless and bringing forward your next service date to tomorrow.

I do keep my watches in the kitchen but certainly not in the freezer, nor even the fridge for that matter!


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