IWC Watch - Care

Discussion in 'Wrist Watches' started by NahumS, Sep 9, 2020.

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  1. NahumS

    NahumS Registered User

    Jan 25, 2016
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    I recently received an IWC watch - it seems to be from the 1950's and came with a box (I think it's original) bearing a label: Max Birnbaum Uhrmacher, Luzern. The watch repairman told me it was gold and mentioned a value that seemed considerable to me. The watch did not require repair and keeps good time, although I don't think it had been worn for decades.
    How should I care for this watch? Is it extremely careless of me to wear it every day? (I work in education - not as a mechanic or diver). I remove it at home for washing dishes, cooking or cleaning. Is it risky to wear it to work?
    Thanks for the advice!

    iwc.JPG
     
  2. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

    Dec 2, 2016
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    #2 roughbarked, Sep 9, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2020
    If it is actually gold rather than gold plated, the back should be gold in colour and it should be stamped with a 9ct, 14ct, 18ct. Type stamp.
    The watch is probably long overdue for a service and should be put into the hands of a competent watchmaker for at least a quote.
    You wouldn't try to drive a second hand car far without checking the oil and coolant at the very least.

    Being a dress watch, it wasn't designed to be worn anywhere else much other than the gentlemans club.
    It should definitely not be worn to the beach, the garden or anywhere near the dishwashing or car washing scenarios. One should definitely remove it when washing hands.

    Wearing a gold watch every day is simply wasting the gold value of the watch. A little bit disappears every day.
     
  3. MrRoundel

    MrRoundel Registered User
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    I definitely agree with roughbarked about getting it serviced before prolonged wearing. The harm comes from pivots and jewel bushings being devoid of useful oil. By running a mechanical watch that has not been cleaned and oiled over the past 5 years (And that may stretch it a bit.), you'll be causing wear to parts that are expensive to replace. A service soon would be a dose of that famous "ounce of prevention".

    It's a very nice Intl'l Watch Co. wrist watch. Since it is gold colored, it is likely to be 14K at a minimum. While IWC may have cased watches in a gold-filled case, in my travels that would be a rather rare exception. Most gold colored factory IWC cases are actual karat gold. The movement is probably a caliber 89. I don't own one, but I am a fan of IWC watches. Someday...Good luck with your watch. Cheers.
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi NahumS,

    That's very sensible. This is what can happen to a watch if just a tiny drop of water gets in unnoticed:

    DSCF7711.JPG DSCF7713.JPG

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  5. Jeff Hess

    Jeff Hess Moderator
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    ---------------

    These are usually 18k gold. Max Birnbaum Uhrmacher, Luzern. "might" have been a retailer but a quick search online revealed none with that name associated with IWC. But it dos not mean that this is not the original box.

    As to gold content just get out your loupe or best magnifying glass and look at the hallmark on the lug. It will be a ladies head in profile (helvetia) for 18k or a squirrel for 14k.

    Good luck!

    Share this with us please when you find out?
     
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  6. NahumS

    NahumS Registered User

    Jan 25, 2016
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    First of all - thanks for the good advice! I will definitely have it serviced ASAP, and I suspect that I will have to invest in a cheaper watch for everyday use. This one is very attractive, but I'm a little wary of walking around with such a fine watch.
    The hallmark is nearly impossible to read, but the bottom of the seal is rounded, rather than pointed - so maybe it's the lady rather than the squirrel.....
     
  7. NahumS

    NahumS Registered User

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    here's the hallmark....

    hallmark.JPG
     
  8. MrRoundel

    MrRoundel Registered User
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    The only thing I can see in that image is that the lug does appear to be hallmarked. Since you have the watch in your possession you can look under better magnification than we can here. I agree with Jeff that most of these IWC's are cased in 18k when cased in gold. Regardless, the presence of the hallmark on the lug should give you confidence that it is either 14k or 18k, and not gold-filled. That said, the hallmark does seem to be in a rather odd location. I usually see them on the back or inside of the lugs. The outside of the lug is a bit unusual to my eye. What does it mean? Probably that it's just unusual to my eye. Enjoy.
     
  9. Chris Radek

    Chris Radek Registered User
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    I think if you like it, you should absolutely wear it to work every day, considering you are not doing manual labor, and especially if your dress tends toward the more formal. I don't agree that you're being irresponsible in some way by wasting the tiny amount of gold that gets worn away. Just like people wear gold wedding rings, you can wear this watch the rest of your life and it will have plenty of gold left over for the next person. It won't look new anymore, it will look like someone wore it. That's fine, it's what watches are for.

    The strategy for wearing a vintage watch is: don't get it wet, and don't drop it. Get it serviced before wearing it and then about every 5 years. You can go longer than that between services for a more waterproof watch, but for yours, I'd try to stick to 5 if you're using it every day.
     
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  10. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

    Dec 2, 2016
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    I didn't use the word irresponsible. ;)
    Yes a teacher should be fine with wearing it to work.
     

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