How to properly clean a watch

How to properly clean a watch

Watches and Crystals’ step-by-step guide to flawless timekeeping.

At Watches and Crystals, we believe you should maintain an elegant timepiece to preserve its quality. The good news is that caring for your watches can be simple; as a team, we have produced some straightforward advice that you can practice at home to keep your piece looking perfect for years to come. 

Before we begin, consider the dynamics of your watch; each watch brand will have specific features to consider, such as water resistance and sapphire glass. It’s also crucial to bear the age of your timepiece in mind: educating yourself on these can save a lot of water damage and heartache! For instance, none of us here are about to suggest you dunk your grandfather's vintage timepiece in a sink of bubbles! 

Before taking any action, having a precise understanding of the functioning of your watch will aid you with the cleaning process. However, with our handy guide, gone are the days of a quick wipe on your shirt before a meeting. 

Time for the technicalities. 

Whether you own a women's or men's watch, we are here to help you understand the nitty-gritty details of your cherished timepiece. Studies suggest your watch strap can contain over 250 bacteria colonies per cm2, 3,746 per cent more than your average toilet seat. 

The bacteria, found on mostly smartwatches, included Staphylococci (which causes skin infections and food poisoning) and Enterobacteriaceae (a bacterial family that includes E.Coli and Salmonella). Interestingly, gold watches contain the least bacteria, as gold is known for its anti-bacterial properties. 

With all this in mind, let's start with the best ways to clean a watch.

The Tools

The list of requirements for giving your watch a thorough cleaning is not as complicated as you might think; all you will need is the following:

  • A watch brush or soft bristle toothbrush
  • Kitchen Roll
  • Microfibre Cloths
  • Antibacterial soap or wipes

The Process

With all your kit sorted, read on discover our extensive step-by-step guide:

1. Time for an Audit

Before you begin cleaning, examine your watch's condition. Look for any damage that permits moisture to enter, and pay close attention to how the crown or other moving components perform. 

Next, focus on the crystal's edge to check for chipping or indications of insecure fastening. Using a small magnifying glass may be helpful during this process. If you are still trying to determine your watch's condition, we recommend visiting an expert to double-check everything is in order before cleaning.

2. Detach the Strap or Bracelet 

Following a thorough check, use a suitable spring bar tool to remove the bracelet or strap from your watch. Doing so will give you access to the lugs' interior side and the bracelet's end-link, the two places harbouring the most bacteria. Some smartwatches have built-in features for ease when removing the strap from your timepiece, so consult the manual if you require assistance. While we'll get to cleaning the strap, set it aside for now.

3. Wipe it Down

Carefully clean every nook, crevice, and cranny of your watch face with an antibacterial wipe or a microfibre cloth dipped in soapy water; ensure you squeeze most of the liquid from the cloth to avoid water damage. This stage should clear off the most prominent dirt and allow you to access the more stubborn grime clusters in difficult-to-reach places. 

4. Deep Clean

If any residual gunk remains after wiping, take a toothbrush and softly press the bristles into the troublesome spots. 

Then, brush away any remaining dirt with a finishing brush (or a dry soft-bristle toothbrush). Please be aware that a toothbrush can scratch softer metals, so it's best to be as thorough as possible with the wipe, particularly on precious metal cases. If you need more clarification, consult a professional and treat your watch to an expert service. 

5. A Polished Finish

Finish the cleaning process with a soft, clean microfibre cloth to rapidly soak up any extra moisture and help remove oils from your skin while holding the watch. 

Then, to guarantee that the fabric makes contact with all the hard-to-reach areas, including the bezel edge, the crystal edge, the inner lugs, and the case back seam, wrap it around your finger and carefully press it in with your fingernail. Now your watch face should return to the luxurious quality you chose when purchasing. 

6. The Bracelet or Strap

Finally, no matter the material, you can place your strap into a bowl of lukewarm soapy water and then use a microfibre cloth to remove dirt or grime. If you have a metal bracelet, using a soft bristle toothbrush in the crevices can help loosen off any dirt. Next, remove your watch strap from the water and immediately pat it dry with kitchen roll to remove any excess moisture from your timepiece.

Now your beautiful watch should be up to standard, and you can be confident you have extended the longevity of your piece. We hope you found our guide helpful and educational; for other tips on how to make the most of your products, head to our blog.

Watches and Crystals are an established UK supplier of watches and sunglasses and an authorised retailer for many of our brands. With more than 20 years of industry expertise, we have built strong relationships with our brands that allow us to provide our price-match promise.

We hand-check everything that leaves our warehouse to ensure your order is secure, taking full responsibility for any losses or damages during transit. Our goods are brand new, authentic, and have a 2-year manufacturer/seller international warranty. Please contact us should you have any questions.

Batteries for Life

We offer free battery replacement for the lifetime of your watch. You only pay postage.

Free bracelet adjustment

To ensure the perfect fit, we will adjust your strap free of charge to ensure utmost comfort.

60 day returns

Decide in your time. All we ask is that the item is returned in original, unworn condition. See return policy here.
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