21.06.2023 - Accessories

Watch Cleaning Guide

Spring is upon us and there’s nothing like a good clean to keep your luxury watch in tip-top condition.

We’ve been asked all kinds of strange questions including whether you should clean a watch with toothpaste. We say no!

Read on as we share how you can clean your watch at home to keep it looking pristine.

Whether it’s made from stainless steel or gold, timepieces can get scuffed from time to time so keeping up a regular cleaning schedule will protect the metal and stop it from dulling. 

Read this first

The last thing you want is to cause any issues for your watch when you just wanted it to look like new! Go through this list before you start and you will thank yourself later.

  • Check the waterproof rating. If your watch is not water-resistant, you will not submerge it during cleaning.
  • Tighten any little screws and the crown. Do not operate the pushers during cleaning. If the watch is a chronograph, as with unsealed cases, the overall security of a watch can be compromised if wet.
  • Consider the material of your strap. Is it leather? Be careful — leather requires special care. We suggest removing it and cleaning separately to the watch case. On the other hand, if the strap is metal, can be cleaned with the same technique as the case.

Now you know which parts of the guide you need to read, let’s find out what items you will need to get started.

What you will need

  • Soap or cleaning solution
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Glass polish
  • Watch cleaning brush

If you have any doubts about the tools you have, or want your watch cleaned to a higher standard, our luxury watch cleaning kit, which is just £38.95 and holds everything you need for a great shine.

How to clean your watch

Water resistant watches

The good thing about cleaning water-resistant watches is: they can get wet!  Any watches resistant to 50 meters are fine to be cleaned using warm water and a soft cloth. 

First, remove any excess dirt or debris from the watch. A soft brush is an ideal tool for this. Compressed air can also work, but don’t spray too aggressively, just enough to dislodge loose dirt and dust.

Dip the watch in lukewarm, soapy water. Then dry with a microfiber cloth. Pay attention to the nooks and crevices, such as between the lugs or in the crown.

Non-waterproof watches

If your watch lacks water resistance – perhaps it’s a vintage watch or a more fragile chronograph – it needs to be treated differently and with much more care than a more robust, modern, professional dive watch.

If you’re wondering how to clean a non-waterproof watch – usually defined as having resistance of 30 meters or less – it’s important to take special precautions to protect your watch during cleaning. 

You should avoid submerging this kind of watch in liquid and instead use a soft, lightly damp cloth and a soft cleaning brush to take away any debris.

Older watches

When cleaning a vintage or older watch consider its age and last date of service as both these factors will contribute to the effective water resistance of your watch. 

If your watch is older or has gone a while between services, water resistance is diminished due to drying gaskets. They can easily crack, and if this happens, moisture can get into your movement and rust it. 

Harsh chemicals can also cause the watch to deteriorate so it’s advised to use a mild specialist cleaner or mild soap and warm water.  

If you see any drops of condensation appearing while you are cleaning, visit a local jeweller immediately to prevent further damage.

Inside of watch

Cleaning the movement of a watch involves the disassembly of the timepiece and shouldn’t be attempted without proper training. If you think your watch needs internal cleaning, contact us for a full service. Your watch should get a full service approximately every five years.

How to clean your watch strap or bracelet 

As with your watch, when cleaning a bracelet, consider its water resistance and material. You’ll want to be very careful with a vintage watch.

If you are able to separate your leather bracelet from the watch, you should.

Leather straps

Leather straps can start to look weary due to sweat, getting wet, dust dirt or body oil.

In the luxury watch cleaning kit, you’ll also find a leather ‘restore and revive’ cleaner which is perfect to keep your leather strap looking new for longer.

The natural and organic leather restoring and reviving balm in Luxe Watches’ cleaning kit enhances the look and prolongs the feel of the leather, whilst also adding a waterproof coating. You just need a small drop on your microfibre cloth to bring it back to life.

Metal bracelets

Use a soft brush with a gentle cleaning solution (or water if you don’t have a kit) to remove any debris from steel watches.

For more precious metals, such as gold or platinum, we recommend just using the microfibre cloth as too rigid a brush can scratch the metal.

Using our watch cleaning kit

Included in the kit is a microfibre cleaning cloth which removes any dust or dirt from the bracelet by creating a static charge. Smart, hey? Any residual dust can be removed by wetting the cloth.

Next, try the specialised watch cleaning solution which you can submerge your watch in and happily leave for 15 minutes.

Once it’s finished relaxing in the solution, use the crafty cleaning brush to get to grips with first in awkward places such as the bracelet links or around the crown.

Finally, the watch polishing cloth is perfect for that last buff and a super sheen to leave your timepiece looking as good as new.

Buy your watch cleaning kit here.

Need more help?

If you’d like any more advice on how to clean your watch, contact our team who would be happy to help. 

We also offer luxury watch servicing, with a commitment to maintaining the highest standards across all brands of luxury watches.

Our watch servicing process means your precious timepiece will be well looked after and you will receive it back as close to flawless as possible.

Read more

  1. https://www.rolex.com/watch-care-and-service/caring-for-your-rolex
  2. https://www.patek.com/en/retail-service/services/importance-of-maintenance
  3. https://www.cartier.com/en-gb/services/request-service/care-adjust-repair/jewellery-care