Of all the different "cliques" I've been a part of during my life, I think the watch collector/lover group has, by far, the coolest people. That said, that doesn't mean we all always see eye to eye. On topics such as removing engraving from watch backs, there are those who see doing as being tantamount to sacrilege, and those like me who stand firm on the, "it's my watch now, I can do what I want" camp. (seriously though, if you bought a house that was perfect in every other way, but it hadn't been redecorated since the 70's, would you really keep all the shag rugs, dark paneling, and wallpaper that looked like the hideous Rolex champagne tapestry dial just because it was part of the houses provenance?)
Which brings me to my point. Polishing. I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I hand polish my watches as soon as the fine hairline scratches become visible. I began doing so in 1990, when I bought my first Rolex from an AD (an Oyster Perpetual) which marked the beginning of my watch collecting, a passion that's even stronger now, 30-plus years later. I was a police officer at the time, so hand polishing metal was something I did nearly every day for more than twenty years. When my oyster was about a year old I noticed the hairline scratches, so one day I brought my polishing kit home and returned it to like-new condition. I won't bore you with the contents of my kit, but it included abrasive and non abrasive polishes and cleaners, various types of polishing cloths, etc. Polishing is part art, part science, and I'll admit that by the end of my career I was quite good at it.
I still regularly polish my daily wear watch whenever it needs it. (although I just bought a Royal Oak, and I'm going nowhere near that combination of brushed and highly polished case. And another point: a while back I bought a vintage 1949 Vacheron & Constantin two-tone dial model from a small watch shop in Argentina. I'm not even slightly exaggerating when I say it looks as though, when the original owner bought it he left it in the box, put the box in a drawer, and the next time it saw daylight was when I bought it. The subtle tone-on-tone grey dial looks like it has never even been struck by a single ray of sunlight. My point: If I decide to sell it someday, will it be dismissed from consideration because it underwent restoration when in fact it hadn't?