◆ How to remove the smell from the leather straps after wearing the watch in summer?
A: Preservatives and other chemicals are present in the straps to dry and stabilise the leather. If the watch is not used properly for prolonged periods, such as wearing the watch while washing hands, or repeatedly letting the watch get wet or rained on and then drying, the chemicals will leach away over time. On top of this, sweat will hasten the hardening of the leather, leading to odour, deformation, or fracture of the strap. It is suggested that once the leather strap gets damp, immediately wipe it dry and then blow-dry it. Bear in mind that odour is difficult to remove once it starts. We therefore recommend wearing watches with a stainless steel strap in the summer as much as possible.
◆ How to care for leather straps?
A: Like other objects made of leather, the biggest enemy of leather straps is water. When immersed in water, added to sweat over a long period, leather straps will become hard and brittle. That is the reason why users must never wear watches with leather straps when swimming, or engaging in activities that require prolonged exposure to water. In addition, after being soaked in sweat for a long time, the strap will start to grow mildew and produce an odour. Leather straps are not suitable for people who sweat a lot. Leather straps are not suited to hot weather, which explains why many people have both metal and leather straps. They wear the leather straps on cold days and in the summer change them for metal ones. Prolonged exposure to strong sunlight will cause the discoloration of the leather strap and hasten the aging of the leather. Chemicals will also cause a colour change, or discoloration of the strap; pulling the strap excessively hard when putting on the watch will make cracks more likely to appear in the spot where the buckle is fixed. Therefore, our advice is be careful and gentle. When stains start to appear on the strap, use a soft, damp cloth with a dab of liquid detergent to wipe the surface of the strap. Then, quickly wipe dry with a cloth dampened with water. Next, place the watch in a cool place to dry. Ordinary leather oil can be used for leather strap maintenance. Preferably, wipe the strap clean every month or two, then apply Pledge (a common leather protecting agent) and rub. Then, place the watch in a cool place to dry. If conditions permit, it is best to pay a visit to the Balco after-sales service centre to let our professional staff take care of your watch.
◆ Will my watch bought less than six months ago fade in colour? Why is there a circle of black grime on my wrist?
A: Steel straps will not fade in colour, but after wearing them for a long time, the strap will oxidise and turn black. The blackish circle is the dirt attached to the strap surface. With poor air quality, the dirt may have environmental causes. You can take the watch to the Balco after-sales service centre and have the strap washed. Your watch will look as new as the day it was bought.
◆ Does a transparent case back affect the waterproof performance of the watch?
A: No, the transparent cover is waterproof, but allows you to appreciate the inner workings of the movement, better understand its structure and enjoy the exquisite craftsmanship of high-end watches. In fact, only high-end watches have transparent case backs – and this will always be the case. Most Balco mechanical watches have transparent case backs to let you view the beauty of machinery.
◆ Why does the wear-resistant sapphire crystal show scratch marks?
A: Sapphire crystal is wear-resistant and will not leave scratch marks under normal wear, but this by no means equals to saying it absolutely will not have scratches. Objects with a high degree of hardness, such as diamonds, sandpaper, granite, concrete walls and diamond powder scattered on the floor may cause scratch marks. Therefore, if there is no knocking against, colliding with or hitting hard objects, or tossing, grinding and so on for everyday wear, the sapphire crystal will not get scratch marks.
◆ In months with 30 days, the date does not automatically jump. Has the watch malfunctioned?
A: Please rest assured that the watch is not malfunctioning. The date display on most watches is on a persistent, infinite cycle of one to 31 and does not automatically distinguish between months of different lengths. In this regard, in months shorter than 31 days, it is necessary to manually adjust the date display. With the exception of watches with a perpetual calendar or yearly calendar function, which automatically detect the length of the month, other watches generally need manual adjustment. You only need to manually adjust the date in months shorter than 31 days.
◆ How to distinguish between a quartz watch and a mechanical watch?
A: In terms of appearance, most quartz watches bear the word “QUARTZ” on the dials and the second hands jump at intervals, whereas most fully automatic mechanical watches bear the word “AUTOMATIC” and the second hands turn in a sweeping motion. If the model is the same, the case of a mechanical watch will be thicker than that of the quartz watch. In terms of the internal structure, a quartz watch keeps accurate time and the movement is powered by a miniature button battery, which usually lasts from one to two years. The movement of a mechanical watch is assembled with sophisticated craftsmanship and is dependent on vibration, which winds up the rotor. If given proper maintenance, the watch can be used for a long time and is suitable to be a collector’s item.
◆ How should I judge the effect of the gemstone count on the movement of a mechanical watch? How many gemstones does the best mechanical watch have?
A: The gemstone count is the number of gemstones inlaid in a watch movement. The gemstone count is a measure of the quality of the watch. The so-called gemstone is ruby (synthetic gemstones), generally used in axels, which are prone to wear, and the escapement fork. Gemstones in the watch movement are divided into: secondary wheel, tertiary wheel, second wheel and escapement wheel. The wheels are forever rotating, driving the second hand, minute hand and the hour hand to move forward accurately. The gemstone bearing of a gear must withstand countless instances of friction loss and deformation to ensure the movement can operate over a long period. Ordinary watches require 17 to 19 gemstones, whereas automatic watches require 25 to 30. It is not the case that the higher the gemstone count, the better it is. A gemstone in a non-working part has little effect on the functions and quality of the watch, but rather plays a decorative role; while the gemstones in the movement are functional gemstones. Their function is to withstand wear, reduce the friction coefficient, as well as saving on lubricants and other functions. In general, the more gemstone bearings, the more complex the movement. However, complexity is not everything, so gemstone count cannot be used as the only criterion to decide the quality and precision of a movement. The gemstone count of a watch reflects the style of the watch design, the craftsmanship and technology.
◆ Why does a fully automatic mechanical watch need winding up?
A: A fully automatic mechanical watch relies on the rotor, operated by the swinging of the arm when wearing the watch, which then generates motion to power mechanical action. If there is insufficient motion, the watch will slow down or stop, then it needs to be wound up. If the watch has stopped running, be sure to manually wind it up before wearing it again. Balco’s fully automatic mechanical watch generally needs about 30 to 60 turns to be fully wound up. After fully winding the watch up, then adjust the time, only then will the timekeeping be normal. Arm movement alone is not enough to sufficiently power a stationary watch. Under normal circumstances, after wearing for eight to 10 hours, the watch can run for 36 hours, otherwise it will stop running.
◆ The battery in the recently bought quartz watch is dead. What should be done?
A: Under normal circumstances, the battery can power a watch for two years, but if it has complex functions (such as the chronograph is frequently used) battery life will be shortened. Moreover, a quartz watch starts running from when a battery is installed as it leaves the factory. From the factory through shipping to finally being displayed on the shelves, a lot of time may have passed and therefore it may be that soon after purchase the battery dies. Balco quartz watches sold within two years are entitled for a free battery replacement, so it is not a matter of concern when you make the purchase. The next time you notice the watch is slowing down, or that the second hand jumps every four seconds, then you know it needs a change of battery.