UV/sunlight a concern for display watches?

Thread: UV/sunlight a concern for display watches?

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  1. #1
    Member anguilla1980's Avatar
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    UV/sunlight a concern for display watches?

    I keep my old pocket watch in a dome on my night stand where no absolute direct sunlight hits it. I used to keep it on my mantle in the living room however sun in the early-mid morning I discovered was directly on it for at least a couple hours a day.

    Is UV/sunlight ever a concern for old pocket watches? I guess I worry that it could fade the painted black lettering on the enamel dial. I'm sure many lasted because they were stuffed away in drawers and forgotten but with more and more becoming treasured antiques and being put into display cases, I do wonder how much sheltering it needs.

    It did occur to me to search for UV protected display domes however I found none a year ago.
    James Ivory 1762 #109, 1765 #167, & 1768 #199 - English verge fusee pocket watches
    Dream Watch: Breguet La Tradition Fusee Tourbillon Platinum 7047PT/11/9ZU

  2. #2
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: UV/sunlight a concern for display watches?

    If the dial is actually fired enamel, then no you don't really have any worries about UV specifically. Of greater concern are painted dials, which includes some cheaper enamel-looking dials. Also of some concern is the hands; blued steel may resist corrosion a bit, but heat still accelerates oxidization. Depending on where you live, the effect of repeated heating/cooling should be considered as well; exposure to sunlight will cause the case to "breath"...when hot, the air is pushed out of the case; when it cools down, it draws in the surrounding air. If that air has moisture in it, that moisture transfers to the parts in the watch. Finally, heat may cause the oils to break down more rapidly, which will cause increased wear if and when you do wind it.
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  3. #3
    Member anguilla1980's Avatar
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    Re: UV/sunlight a concern for display watches?

    All excellent point, thank you!

    I do keep a new desiccant bag the size of the base of the dome at the bottom and check it regularly so it never becomes saturated (I bought a clear bag of them that change color as they approach 60% I think).

    I also thought about the oils. The watch was just serviced and it was mentioned that very modern oils were used, however I do worry about creep from gravity over time if it does get warm.

    Hmmm, it certainly sounds like, if for no other reason, temperature is much more of a concern than UV. I'd estimate in my bedroom it never gets cooler than 60f in the winter or exceeds 80f during the summer. Also never more than a 15 degree swing in a given day. Sounds like that shall remain the best spot!
    James Ivory 1762 #109, 1765 #167, & 1768 #199 - English verge fusee pocket watches
    Dream Watch: Breguet La Tradition Fusee Tourbillon Platinum 7047PT/11/9ZU

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