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Stickers! Or how to protect a wristwatch

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Desk-diving marks on a clasp are the bane of existence for a watch owner. There’s an answer, and what it is will surprise you! (It took effort to write that awful a lede.)

I hate desk-diving marks on a clasp. I hate dings and scratches in a watch case. I hate little tiny dings in the edge of a crystal. All of these things are a normal part of watch ownership. I also hate the sound a metal watch clasp makes on the aluminum wrist-rest of a Mac laptop. I’ve regularly sat in meetings where people have taken off their wristwatches to type.

You can see the sort of wavy reflection the sticker adds to the bezel insert and crystal.

What’s a fella to do? The unthinkable, that’s what. I once had a CEO who noticed that I’d covered a MacBook Pro in a polyurethane film. He was shocked, exclaiming, “You’ve turned a perfectly good metal computer into a plastic one!”

And that’s what I’ve done here. I took the Ginault Ocean Rover and contacted Darren Keith, who sells polyurethane film protectors for watches on eBay. Keith has been a graphic artist for over 28 years, and cuts the film out of ZAGG Invisible Shield material. He can cut them for the crystal (with or without date cyclops), for a bezel insert, for the date cyclops itself, the sides of the watch, and for a clasp. Or anything else for that matter, on request.

I liked the Ginault very much, so I worked with Darren to get crystal, bezel, and clasp protectors made. The crystal and bezel insert were nearly the same as the Rolex it pays tribute to, but the clasps can vary pretty wildly from the original. It pays to measure and send Darren the numbers.

The clasp protector covers the center and sides of the main buckle. Other than picking up lint at the corners or a few persistent bubbles, it’s excellent.

Applying these is something I’ve been doing since about 2005, when ZAGG first came on the tech scene, making protectors for MacBooks and iPods. You wash your hands, spray them with a watery-soapy mixture, spray the device with same, peel the protective film from it’s backing and spray it, too. Having everything wet helps it slide into place before you squeegee the bubbles out and it adheres. When it comes to tech devices, it used to be a trick to heat the corners with a hair dryer to get the film to conform to compound rounded shapes like the side corner of an iPhone or laptop. Here, I didn’t heat the watch. The crystal protector went on easy and perfectly. The bezel insert protector has a triangle notch to accommodate the pearl at the 12 o’clock position. The triangle wasn’t quite wide enough to accommodate the Ginault pearl and lay flat at the point of the triangle notch. This could be because it’s a completely different watch than the Rolex it borrows influence from, and it could be because the 14060M has slightly different dimensions than it’s 16610LN counterpart, and the protectors were sized for the 16610LN model. In either case, Darren was more than willing to work with me, either accepting my measurements, or willing to have me ship the watch to him and have him measure and apply them perfectly. For the purposes of this review, he accepted my measurements and made them accordingly.

The shields also protect the side of the buckle

The clasp application consisted of three parts, the center part, and two sides that wrap around the sides of the clasp. The film was difficult to get to stick on the sides, and has shown that it may lift at its edges and collect pocket lint there. That’s an imperfect application, and worthy of ordering a second set to try and get a better stick, with perhaps less soapy water.

The crystal protector deserves another word. It’s easy to see the face through the plastic. The reflection off the top of the surface can show a bit of an orange-peel texture. Again, I’d rather have that then a chipped edge of a crystal, which is something you see in 2nd hand sales listings sometimes.

Here, you can barely see the added height of the stickers to the crystal and bezel insert. Look for their edges.

Does it feel weird to cover a metal watch in plastic? A little. Have other watch friends noticed the orange peel surface of the crystal protector reflected in the gloss dial? Yes, on close inspection. But I’d much rather have that than a ding or scratch in an expensive watch, or scratch other things like the laptop with the clasp of a metal bracelet. It works great, and I’ll be doing this to other watches. Darren’s prices are available at his eBay store


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