Since the Queen of England winds her clocks and watches, does that mean you should too? It’s an important question that many collectors ask. Whether you have one or hundreds of timepieces, you need to take care of them so they stay in good running order. When it comes to preservation, is it better to keep them ticking or let them wind down?
The Queen of England has publicly revealed her views. She has posted a job for a “Horological Conservator” to care for her collection of over 1000 timepieces ticking away in the royal households. The full-time job requires 37 ½ hours per week at a yearly salary of £31,200 a year, including benefits and 25 days vacation. Can you imagine all the amazing clocks this person will get hands-on with?
Duties include winding, repairing and setting the clocks, including the hour changes twice a year to account for Daylight Savings Time. In addition, applicants must have knowledge on the maintenance of barometers, thermometers and sundials. Sufferers of acrophobia or vertigo need not apply, as the collection also includes tower clocks. The description of the job with the Royal Household and the link to the application are here.
Jack Freedman, a highly skilled watchmaker at Superior Watch Service, agrees with the queen. He thinks all watches should be kept running for their own mechanical health to ensure proper lubrication and to cut down on wear. He says, “If a watch sits still for a long period of time, the lubricant tends to clump. When that happens, it can have an adverse effect on the timekeeping accuracy of a watch with poor amplitude of the balance wheel.”
Sam Hines, Head of Watches in Christie’s Asia, based in Hong Kong, doesn’t feel it’s necessary to keep a watch wound if you’re not wearing it everyday. “I would say every few months it is good to wind your watch to keep the parts of the movement lubricated, just like an engine.” While most brands recommend a service every 3-5 years, Hines tells his clients a period of 5-7 years is sufficient. However, it’s a bit different for investment watches. Hines wouldn’t necessarily service them in order to keep them as original as possible. Though, this doesn’t mean leaving them sit all alone in a drawer or vault. “I would still wind them every now and then so that they get the love they need.”
Therefore, the Queen has it right. You should wind; it just depends how often.