The wearables trend isn’t going anywhere. What started with marathoners wearing bulky GPS units on their wrists (proclaiming “If I collapse, pause my Garmin!”), has now moved into the mainstream with a wide ranged of fitness trackers, the Apple Watch, smart jewelry and luxury timepieces. According to NPD Group’s Wearables Report, one in ten U.S. adults now owns a fitness tracker. And while the Apple Watch dominates the smartwatch market, other brands, including Bulgari and Tag Heuer, are entering the fray with luxury versions that more closely resemble traditional wristwatches. Smart jewelry is also coming online in the market, offering smart options that are more aesthetically pleasing and in a variety of styles, including rings, bracelets and necklaces.
One question that’s sure to arise from your wearables-wearing customers is, “How do I clean this thing?” It’s a good question, especially since they are often wearing them during their workouts, which means the piece is exposed to sweat, suntan lotions and body oils.
Apple recommends cleaning an Apple Watch with a non-abrasive and lint-free cloth, lightly dampened in water if needed. They suggest avoiding soaps, cleaning products, compressed air and anything with heat (like a hair dryer). The bands can be cleaned in the same manner, though extra precaution should be taken with a leather band if you are using water.
Smart jewelry, such as that from industry pioneer Ringly, offers an alternative to a smartwatch for women seeking a more fashionable look. Because these pieces are made of gemstones and fine metals, they require careful cleaning. Most smart jewelry cannot be submerged in water or any kind of cleaner, but if the metal becomes discolored or tarnishes, or if the stone is smudged, it can be buffed with a polishing cloth.
Fitness trackers have recommended cleaning procedures that vary from device to device. Jawbone recommends cleaning with a clean cloth dampened in isopropyl alcohol, gently rubbing the outside of the band with the cloth and avoiding submerging the band in a liquid. Fitbit suggests removing the tracker itself from the wristband before cleaning the band with warm water and a mild detergent. The tracker can be cleaned with a cotton swab dampened with isopropyl alcohol. While Nike suggests cleaning their Fuelband with mild soap, water and a soft cloth, or with a cleaning liquid available in an electronics store for harder-to-remove accumulation.
Bulgari’s Magnesium smartwatch veers from the Apple Watch model; it’s a self-winding mechanical wristwatch but with a special chip, antenna and app. While Tag Heuer’s already-sold-out Carrera Connected is made from grade 2 titanium, though plans are in the works for models made from gold and with diamonds. These luxury pieces should be cleaned like their less-techy brethren, using a soft, slightly damp cloth to clean the watch case and bracelet. You can also use a mild or gentle jewelry cleaning formula to remove more stubborn dirt and oils, but rather than submerging the watch, simply gently dip the band and remove, using a very soft jewelry brush in the hinges, if needed. Leather bands should be wiped gently with a moistened cloth or using a leather cleaner. Fine watches should also be taken to a jeweler every three years for servicing.
As the wearables trend continues to expand, jewelers should be prepared to provide care and cleaning guidance for their customers, who are likely to turn to them for their expertise.
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