Designing Custom Jewellery_Martins of Glasgow

Things You Need to Know About the Custom Jewellery Design Process

Most jewellery that has a back story is a custom design. If you’re considering gifting someone with a custom piece that’s unique and can carry its own story from generation to generation, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Engagement rings are one of the most common custom designs and incorporate a mix of different elements, including metal, diamonds, band style and gemstones. Using these elements, it’s possible to create a ring that’s as unique as your relationship.

Why Go the Custom Jewellery Design Route?

Before you go ahead with a custom design, it helps to understand the benefits and trade-offs of going this route.

Let’s start with some of the benefits:

  • Your custom piece will reflect your personal style, interests and values
  • There won’t be any other ring or piece of jewellery quite like yours out there
  • A custom design is a conversation starter for years
  • There’s always the option to create matching rings, necklaces or bracelets

Next, let’s look at the potential trade-offs:

  • A custom design can be slightly pricier, depending on what you want to do
  • If you’re after quite an intricate design, it can take a lot longer to produce a custom piece
  • The process requires a good deal of collaboration but if you’re working with the right designer, this won’t be an issue
  • In many instances, you won’t be able to see or touch the piece until it’s completely finished

Understanding the Custom Jewellery Design Process

The specifics of the process will differ slightly for everyone but here is a general idea of what you can expect:

  • Sketching Your Idea

If you want to go the custom route, it means you should have a design in mind. If you simply want something unique, you can always shop around for something that appeals to you. If you think you can put a basic sketch together, do so before seeing a designer. If you’re not sure that you can accurately sketch a design, you could always describe it to your designer. If you are going this route, make sure that you can accurately describe what you’re looking for.

  • Search for the Right Designer

Next, you want to take your time to find a designer who specialises in the metal, stones and style you’re interested in. If you can, ask for referrals from those who have gone through this process before and are happy with the results. While it’s important for you to get along with a designer, it’s essential that you ask to see their previous work too.

  • Start Collaborating

Now that you have a design and a trusted jewellery designer, you can start discussing a timeline. Before the physical design process starts, make sure that you’ve seen an illustration of what it will look like. If you have any questions during this process, don’t be afraid to ask them. Your designer has several years of knowledge and should be able to give you all the information you need to feel comfortable throughout the process.

  • Ask about Warranties and Guarantees

If you’re going to be working on a custom design, ask your designer to put the details of the design in writing. This should include the elements you agreed on as well as a final appraisal that outlines the design and designer. Lastly, don’t forget to insure your custom piece of jewellery.

The custom jewellery design process doesn’t need to be complicated. Speak to us if you have any additional questions about what to expect.

Watch Water Resistence_Martins of Glasgow

Water-Resistant Watches: An Easy-to-Understand Guide

Water-resistance is one of the primary features that watch lovers look for when shopping around for a new or second-hand timepiece. We come into contact with water on a daily basis and buying a water-resistant watch ensures your favourite timepiece won’t be ruined.

Watches that are water-resistant will have a specific rating, which indicates what you can and can’t do with it. Let’s get into the specifics.

Water-Resistant Watches vs. Waterproof Watches

No watch is 100% waterproof, which is why the majority of watches are labelled as water-resistant and have a metre rating.

The difference between a water-resistant timepiece and one that is waterproof is linked to how much water it can be exposed to before it breaks. This aside, almost any watch will break if it’s placed under enough water pressure.

There are a handful of waterproof watches available though, the Rolex Deepsea Challenge being one of them. Even this watch can’t go below 12,000 metres though.

If you want to shop around for a waterproof watch, you might be looking around for a while. Rather look for a good water-resistant piece.

Understanding the Rating of a Water-Resistant Watch

Water-resistant watches will have a depth rating and each watch will be different, depending on the brand and model you choose.

What many people don’t know is that the depth rating is not full proof. It merely means that a watch can be used at its maximum depth for a short period of time. For example, a watch with a depth rating of 100M, can probably only be used a fraction of that rating.

Here’s an idea of what you can and can’t do with your watch based on its water-resistance rating.

  • 50M/165 ft: The most you can do is shower with the watch.
  • 100M/330 ft:You can swim with the watch but only in shallow water.
  • 300M/1000 ft:You can swim in deep water or scuba dive with this watch.
  • 1000M/3000 ft:The watch is ideal for deep sea diving.

If your watch is not water-resistant, it can’t even be exposed to water when cleaning it. The more water-resistant a watch is, the smaller it will be.

Caring for Your Water-Resistant Watch

Once you’ve purchased a water-resistant watch, here’s how you can extend its life:

  • Have the battery changed by a professional. If you have a water-resistant watch, let a professional change the battery so that the seal can be checked. If the seal malfunctions, water will ruin your watch.
  • Rinse your watch after swimming in saltwater. If you’re planning to dive or swim in the sea, rinse your watch in freshwater and dry it thoroughly afterwards. Corrosive salt can ruin your watch if it builds up.
  • Watch your leather strap. If your timepiece has a leather strap, remember that it’s not very resistant to water, so you may want to keep exposure to a minimum.
  • Steam is not ideal. Even if your watch is water-resistant, it’s best to take it off before spending time in a hot sauna. The heat can cause the seal to expand, which will compromise the watch’s protection.

If you notice any water droplets inside your watch, take it to a repair centre as soon as you can. Depending on the extent of the damage, some watches can still be salvaged if water got into the internal mechanisms.

Signs Your Watch is Magnetised_Martins of Glasgow

How to Tell If Your Watch is Magnetised

Magnetism is an issue that affects mechanical watches. A significant change in timing is a clear sign that your watch could be magnetised. A watch that started out by running a few seconds faster per day can start running hours faster per day if it’s magnetised.

How Does a Watch Get Magnetised?

It’s actually very easy for a watch to become magnetised. Most of what you do during a normal day as the potential to cause this issue.

For one, appliances and electronic devices can slowly start to magnetise a mechanical watch, including microwaves and computers. Basically, any device that has a strong magnetic field has the ability to magnetise a watch. A watch’s balance spring is the component that’s usually responsible for most of the magnetism.

When a balance spring is magnetised, it causes the watch to oscillate faster, which is when a change in time occurs.

Signs Your Watch is Magnetised

There are two ways that you can tell whether your phone is magnetised. The first is a compass and the second is an application called Lepsi.

If you happen to have a compass at home, set it on a flat table and hold your watch over it. If your watch causes the needle of the compass to move, it’s magnetised.

The Lepsi app is currently only available for iOS. There is an app called Kello for Android devices but it isn’t known to work very well.

If you have an iOS device, download the Lepsi app – it’s completely free. The app provides clear instructions on how to set up the magnetic sensor. Once you start the sensor, place the watch about 1cm away – be sure not to touch the screen. The app will then tell you whether magnetism has been detected.

What to Do If Your Watch is Magnetised

If your watch is magnetised, you will need to fix it. The first option is to send it off to a repair centre such as Martins of Glasgow. It only takes several minutes to demagnetise a watch and it’s an affordable repair too.

The other option is to purchase your own equipment. A demagnetiser is inexpensive but it’s only worthwhile if you have several mechanical watches and want to ensure you can fix them at home whenever you need to. A demagnetiser is also very easy to use. You simply press a button while your watch is placed on top of it.

Do Anti-Magnetic Watches Exist?

Yes, there are several brands that have taken steps to reduce the effects of magnetic fields on their timepieces. One method is to protect the mechanics of the watch with a metal cage. Most of the time this cage is made from soft iron, which keeps the magnetism away from the internal mechanisms. The other way to reduce the effects is to build parts using non-iron materials, which can’t be magnetised as easily.

If you’re interested in purchasing an anti-magnetic watch, Rolex and Omega are two brands that make them. If you already have a collection of watches you love, magnetism isn’t a cause for concern and can easily be corrected.

Cleaning a Stainless Steel Watch_Martins of Glasgow

Cleaning a Stainless-Steel Watch: Simple & Effective Tips

Stainless steel is a common type of metal used to create elegant timepieces and while this is a resilient metal, it does still need some TLC on a regular basis.

To keep your watch looking good and prevent damage to the internal workings, it’s important to keep it clean.

Without regular cleaning, stainless steel can start to look dull. The links of the watch bracelet can also start to collect dirt and dust over time. All of this can lead to wear and sometimes, corrosion. Even if you made a point of purchasing a waterproof watch, sweating and frequent water exposure can cause the watch to rust gradually.

Caring for Your Stainless-Steel Watch: How Often is Enough?

If you tend to wear your watch on most days, giving it a good clean once a month should be more than enough. If you really wanted to be more efficient, you could even give your timepiece a quick wipe before you go to bed at night.

This will help get rid of any sweat and lotions that may have accumulated over the course of the day. By giving your watch a daily wipe with a soft cloth, the monthly clean will be that much easier.

While it is possible to clean your watch at home, it’s advisable to get a professional to service it every few months or at least once a year. A professional can not only get rid of stubborn scratches but ensure the inside of your watch is working as it should.

Tips for Caring for Your Stainless-Steel Watch at Home

  • Use a soft cloth for general wipe downs

Having a soft cloth at home will ensure you can remove dirt and dust on a daily or weekly basis. A microfiber cloth is the best option as it will scratch your watch the least. Overall, the finer your cloth is, the better it will remove any grime.

  • Soak your watch in warm soap water (if it’s water resistant)

If your watch is water resistant, you can give it a brief soak in some warm soapy water to loosen up any dirt. It’s essential that the water is lukewarm though. Water that is too hot can cause the metal to expand and water to reach the internal parts of the timepiece. Anything that’s hotter than 35 degrees Celsius is a no-go. Once you’ve soaked the watch, use your soft cloth to remove any grime. If your watch is not water resistant, you should just soak the stainless-steel bracelet.

  • Give the bracelet a good scrub

Next, use an old toothbrush to get into the smaller gaps in the watch bracelet. Just don’t apply too much pressure as this can cause unnecessary scratches. If you’re happy with the appearance of the watch, rinse it under some clean water to get rid of any remaining soap.

  • Time to dry and shine

Once you’ve rinsed your watch, pat it dry with a soft towel or cloth. Another way to dry your watch is to wear it. The heat from your wrist will easily dry up any moisture that remains in between the links of the bracelet. Finally, if you have a glass cleaner at home, you should give your watch face a clean too – a soft cloth is still the only thing you should be using for this. Some people choose to remove the bracelet completely in order to shine it up but if you’ve never done this before, it’s best to leave it to a professional.

Cleaning your stainless-steel watch at home is as simple as that. If you are unsure about whether your watch is waterproof or not, rather take your timepiece in for a professional cleaning.

Professional Watch Repairs_Martins of Glasgow

Watch Repairs: Is a Pro Really Necessary?

Whether you received a watch as a gift, invested in a timeless classic or you wear a basic watch on a day-to-day basis, it deserves a little TLC.

Having your watch serviced or repaired might seem like a simple enough job, so why is it really necessary to get a professional involved – let’s take a closer look.

Watch Repairs: The Usual Suspects

So, what are the most common watch repairs and can you do them at home? Let’s start with a battery replacement – this is by far one of the most common types of repairs. A battery is easy enough to replace but whether or not this should be done at home is dependent on the watch. Many watches, particularly those that are waterproof, need to be professionally resealed after any type of repair, including battery replacement. Other types of repairs include water damage, strap replacement and glass replacements. Again, you could attempt these at home but there’s a very high chance you’ll end up damaging your watch for good.

Watch repairs and servicing are delicate procedures and require specific knowledge on the inner workings of a timepiece. Every little piece is a working part and without the right equipment, you could end up having to get rid of a treasured watch.

What You Can Do at Home

Professionals recommend that if you really value your favourite timepiece, the most you should do is give it a wipe down on a regular basis. This will keep the outside as free of dirt and grime as possible until your next service.

It should also be said that if you do decide to pry open the back of your watch to replace the battery, you’re potentially exposing the delicate parts to dirt and dust. If this happens, you’re more than likely going to end up needing to take it to a professional anyway.

There are also ways to remove scratches from the face of your watch if they’re minor.

One of the easiest ways to work out minor scratches is to use a bright light, masking tape, toothpaste and a soft cloth. First, cover up the bezel of the watch using narrow masking tape. Next, place the watch under a bright light so that you can clearly see the scratches. Place a small spot of toothpaste on your finger and gently rub it across the face of the watch. Leave the toothpaste to set for a few minutes before using a soft cloth to remove it and polish the face. Use gentle, circular motions.

Choosing the Right Professional

Too many watch professionals end up dealing with botched repairs because the owner shopped around according to price and not expertise. If you see your timepiece as an investment, you should always find a watch repair shop that has proven experience with your specific make and model.

Tips for Cleaning Jewellery_Martins of Glasgow

How to Care for & Clean Your Favourite Jewellery at Home

Whether it’s a unique piece or just a piece that you love to wear often, jewellery looks its best after a good clean. Specific types of jewellery is also more prone to getting dirty, rings being the prime suspect. Lotions, dirt, soap and dust can all clog jewellery settings and create a dull appearance.

Since we will all be spending some additional time at home, we might as well use this time to care for and clean our jewellery – here are some top tips.

Cleaning Silver Jewellery

The best way to clean silver jewellery is with a high-quality silver polish. This specific type of polish contains ingredients that dissolve dirt and grime and create a protective barrier. You will also need a cloth that you can use to clean and shine the jewellery. If you don’t have this lying around the house, there are some other ways to get your silver to shine once again. One option is to mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water, clean the jewellery and rinse it off with cold water. The second is to mix three parts baking soda with one part water and use a cloth to clean the jewellery. Don’t forget to rinse well. Lastly, you can also use white toothpaste to gently clean jewellery with your finger. Rinse well with warm water afterwards.

Cleaning Gold Jewellery

Gold jewellery also responds really well to a few drops of dish soap in warm water. Let your jewellery soak in this solution for about 5 minutes before you lay them on a soft cloth. You can now use a soft toothbrush to clear away dirt in some of the smaller crevices. Rinse the jewellery under running water before you polish it with a cloth.

Cleaning Stones and Pearls

Precious and semi-precious stones can be cleaned in the same way as mentioned above but instead of using regular warm water, add the dish soap to some seltzer water. The carbonation works really well for loosening trapped debris. You can also use a soft toothbrush to get into the smaller gaps. Rinse the jewellery under running water before buffing it with a soft cloth. If you want to clean pearls, never soak them in any kind of solution as this can damage the string. Rather lay them on a soft cloth and use some shampoo mixed with warm water to clean each pearl with a small makeup brush. Rinse the pearls with a damp cloth and let them dry on their own.

Making Jewellery Last Longer with the Right Care

Here are a few tips that will help you to enjoy your jewellery for longer:

  • Take your rings off before you apply creams and makeup and before you do things around the house such as wash dishes.
  • Believe it or not, your silver jewellery retains its shine the more you wear it. It’s also best to store it in an anti-tarnish bag.
  • Keep your jewellery away from water that contains salt or chlorine.
  • Have your jewellery repaired by a reputable professional if you want it to last longer.
  • Stop oils and perfume from destroying your pearls by cleaning them with a soft cloth on a regular basis.

There you have it. Cleaning your jewellery at home is simple because there’s a good chance you already have everything you need. Now’s as good a time as any to care for your most treasured pieces.

Watch Repairs_Martins of Glasgow

A Basic Guide to the Different Types of Watch Repairs

A watch is an intricate device that’s designed to be accurate every second of every day. Maintaining this synchronicity requires regular maintenance but not every watch repair is as simple as changing the battery.

We outline some of the most common types of watch repairs that can be undertaken.

Watch Repairs: What Is and Isn’t Possible

  • Battery replacement. One of the most obvious reasons why a watch stops working is because the battery has died. Changing the battery means the watch case will need to be opened. If you have a waterproof timepiece, it will need to be professionally resealed and pressure tested.
  • Strap replacement. Any type of strap can either be replaced or repaired. Metal straps can be refinished and polished to look new. If the strap is leather and has experienced severe wear and tear, it will need to be replaced completely.
  • Water damage. Watches and moisture don’t mix. If your timepiece has been exposed to water and is left untreated, it will eventually rust both inside and out. If rust ends up damaging most of the internal parts, it can result in quite a costly repair bill. If your watch has been exposed to water, there may be droplets on the inside of the glass. To prevent water damage, make sure that your crown is never un-screwed when you submerge your watch in water. Naturally, if it isn’t waterproof, don’t submerge it in water at all.
  • Crown replacement. The crown is what is used to adjust the date and time of a watch. The stem is directly connected to the smaller internal parts of the watch. If it becomes loose or hard to turn, it’s best to get it repaired or replaced. Along with it falling off or being difficult to use, if you hear a rattling noise, it could also be a sign that the crown needs attention.
  • Glass replacement. The glass face is what protects all of the inner mechanisms of the watch from dust, moisture and general damage. It’s not uncommon for the glass to become scratched over time, which can affect the general appearance of your timepiece. At some point or another, the face of your watch will probably need to be replaced.
  • Dial and hand replacement. It is possible for the dial and hands to become damaged over time. If or when this does happen, the timepiece will need to be opened in order for this to be replaced.
  • Mechanical overhaul. This is a very intricate repair process that requires several hours. The aim is to get the watch back to its “good as new” state. In most instances, a manual overhaul will provide your watch with a warranty of at least 1 year. During an overhaul, the entire watch is dismantled, which means the internal mechanism is removed and all parts of cleaned and oiled. Once the timepiece has been rebuilt, the seals will be replaced and any necessary pressure tests will be carried out.

These are the main types of watch repairs that you can request for your favourite watches. If your timepieces are investments, it’s essential that you always take them to a reputable repairer. Be sure to look at their experience and what past customers have to say.

Winding a Watch_Martins of Glasgow Watch Repairs

Winding a Watch: A Look at the Dos and Don’ts

When it comes to winding a watch, you need to consider the type of timepiece you have first. Manually winding a watch isn’t complex, you will feel resistance once it’s fully wound. However, older watches aren’t always designed to prevent the mainspring from being overwound.

Automatic vs. Manual Winding Watches

Both manual and automatic watches have a complete mechanical mechanism that keeps the watch operational. Neither requires a battery – both types rely on the mainspring for power.

Winding a watch is what gives this mainspring its power and this can either be done by hand or automatically.

As the name suggests, a manual watch needs to be wound by hand. By not winding it, eventually, your timepiece will stop working.

An automatic watch has a mechanism that will automatically wind the mainspring for you. The movement of your arm and wrist, as well as the weighted rotor inside the watch, is what powers this process. An automatic watch will give you around 38 hours of power, provided you wear it all day and only take it off at night.

Recommended Read: Understanding the Different Types of Watch Repairs

Winding a Watch – Is It Possible to Over Do It?

If you have an automatic watch, it’s not possible to overwind it. If the watch has full power, the rotor inside the timepiece will simply stop spinning. Automatic watches are designed to stop powering the mainspring when it can’t be wound anymore. It’s not possible to over-wind an automatic timepiece.

If you have a manual timepiece, it’s important to keep your watch fully wound if you want to enjoy maximum power. Fully winding a manual watch won’t damage it – the parts are relatively tough and quite difficult to break. If you won’t be wearing your watch for a few days, keeping it fully wound will retain all the watch settings.

The only time that you can end up breaking a manual watch is if you ignore the watch resistance and keep winding. If your watch was already in a poor condition, it is possible to over-wind it without knowing it.

Winding a Manual Watch: How Often & How Much?

A manual watch needs to be wound every morning or evening. Most manual watches will last for about 40 hours, so if you had to forget to wind it for a day or two, it will stop working. Some high-end watches can last up to 70 hours, so winding won’t be necessary every single day.

Most watches will reach maximum power by winding the crown 30 to 40 times but this can vary. The minute you feel resistance, the watch is fully wound. If your watch is new and you’re feeling unsure, aim to wind the crown 30 times to start with and work your way up from there.

When cared for correctly, your timepieces can last for years to come.

Buying a Vintage Rolex Watch_Martins of Glasgow

Professional Tips for Buying a Vintage Rolex Watch the Right Way

Owning a vintage Rolex watch is an aspiration for many but actually finding the right watch isn’t always the easiest. Investing in a watch is not a process that you should rush, especially if it’s something you’ve been wanting to do for some time.

We have put together a few tips that will ensure you find the right Rolex.

5 Tips for Shopping for a Vintage Rolex

  1. Know how to spot the fakes

Unfortunately, there are a vast number of fake Rolex watches in the market today and knowing how to spot a real versus a fake Rolex is one of the first things you should know as a buyer. Over time, the quality of fake timepieces has improved, making it even harder to spot the real deal. It is always preferable if a watch is accompanied with its original documents, and maybe its box. But this is not always possible. One of the most important features you will want to look at when evaluating one of these timepieces is the dial. The dial is the most intricate feature and can tell you a lot about whether or not the watch is real. The downside is that in order to make this distinction, you will need to know a bit about the brand as well as the era that particular watch was produced in. If this is not your forte, rather speak to a professional before you invest.

  1. Look for weathered features

A Rolex is built to be durable, which is why they age so well. Rugged and worn features are what make a vintage watch so appealing and attractive. A true vintage Rolex will more than likely have one or two quirks about it such as a faded dial or worn bezel, so keep an eye out for these features if you’re looking for a watch with real character.

  1. Ask as many questions as you need to

Since you’re about to make a big financial commitment, take the time to ask as many questions as you need to about the timepiece you are interested in. There really is no such thing as a stupid question if it means you’ll be satisfied with your purchase. Some of the key questions that you’ll want to ask include when last the watch was serviced, whether or not the seller can provide you with all the documentation and how well it keeps time. The more a seller can tell you about the history of a watch, the better.

  1. Know your price point

The price range of a vintage Rolex can be quite vast and the last thing you want to do is find a watch that you absolutely love that’s outside of your budget. Set your budget from the get-go to make it easier to narrow down your search. You may even want to start by outlining the brands and features you are interested in and then setting a budget accordingly if this purchase is important to you.

  1. Pay attention to the details

This is where you can really tell if you’re about to purchase a real vintage Rolex. There are a lot of intricate features to pay attention to. As mentioned, the dial is one of them but you can also look at aspects such as whether or not the bracelet has stretched from being worn over the years. A fake watch will have a much newer look to it than a genuine vintage piece.

Now that you know what to look out for, you can start your search for the perfect vintage Rolex to add to your collection. This is also the perfect timepiece if you’re looking to start your collection this year.

Buying a Pocket Watch_Martins of Glasgow

A First Timer’s Guide to Buying a Pocket Watch: What You Should Know

Many people think that all pocket watches are created equal but this isn’t the case. There are hundreds of different picket watches but knowing what to look for will help you narrow down your choices and choose one that’s right for you.

Pocket Watch Shopping 101

Here are a few things you’ll want to consider as you start your search for the perfect pocket watch.

  • Brand. Before you start reviewing your options, do some research on pocket watch brands. There are a number of different manufacturers and you should be able to find enough reviews and information online to decide which brands you would like to look at.
  • Style. The style of a pocket watch refers to the lines and materials. It’s also important to keep in mind that a pocket watch is designed to be worn within a pocket, so you want to avoid materials that won’t get scratched very easily. Choosing between silver, gold, bronze, platinum and stainless steel will also fall under the style of the watch.
  • Analog or digital. Digital pocket watches display the time numerically, while analog watches have hands and need to be read. Analog pocket watches are generally the more popular choice.
  • Before you start shopping around, decide what you would be willing to spend on a watch. Setting your budget beforehand ensures you don’t fall in love with a timepiece that’s out of your price range.
  • Band, chain or strap. Next, you will want to decide how you would prefer to attach the pocket watch to your pants or vest. Bands, chains and straps are all options and each offers a different type of look.
  • Mechanics. Because you’ll want your pocket watch to last for years to come, it helps to learn a bit more about the inner workings. You can refer to reviews to find out more about which brands are most reliable. If you will be purchasing a second-hand watch, speak to the seller about the mechanics as well as the service history of the piece. Overall, metal gears are a much better choice.
  • Usage. How do you plan to use your pocket watch? If it will be an everyday accessory, you’ll want to focus on functionality. If you plan to only wear it on special occasions, you could focus more on the style. If you will be adding the watch to a collection, take your time to find something truly unique.
  • Age. If you are looking for a vintage pocket watch, age will be important. Anything older than 75 is considered vintage and will cost more.
  • Hinged vs. open face. Some pocket watches have hinges and a cover, while others have an open face and will always have the time on display. One drawback of open face options is that the watch face can be damaged more easily.

When choosing a pocket watch, keep in mind that this is an investment. It’s something that you can pass down to your children or grandchildren so take your time to choose a piece that speaks to you.