How to clean a mechanical watch

Like any watch lover, you must know how to clean a mechanical watch. Those precious babies must be taken care of! This week, we’ve compiled a few tips to  help you carefully clean-up your watches and don’t forget that cleaning your timepiece is important for their style and their longevity.

Cleaning water-resistant watches:

First of all, you’ll need to separate the case of the watch from its strap. For a steel bracelet, you may keep it in place but cleaning will be less effective. Secondly, before starting we recommend you to gather an old toothbrush, a little recipient (like a bowl), soap, and clean soft cottons (from an old t-shirt for example). Now you are ready! Let’s follow the five steps below to give another life to your watch:

  1. Once again, separate the watch from the strap for full effective cleaning. If you do not know how to, or don’t have the right tools to remove your strap, we recommend you not removing it, you could damage your lugs. You can use scotch tape while removing the strap if you are using a tool that might scratch the lugs.
  1. Lock the crown by totaling screwing it. You should always check your crown, even for daily use. It must be well screwed to guarantee a total water (and dust) resistance.
    NB: crown gasket deteriorates over time, don’t forget to check the water resistance once in a while at a watchmaker’s workshop (more info here).
  1. Fill-up the recipient with tepid water and soap and plunge your watch in it. Use plastic recipient like tupperware to ensure not scratching your watch
    NB: do not use detergent products -> only natural soap
  1. Scrub both the case and the bracelet with your toothbrush. Either inside or out of the water, or both!
  1. Dry the watch with a clean soft cotton. You can also use a dryer to reach all the various parts of the bracelet.

That’s it! Your watch is clean again and ready for a new accuracy check here! Keep in mind that as keeping your watch clean keeps it looking great and fresh, it is also better for both the watch’s operations and its resale value.

Cleaning NON water-resistant watches:

As for water resistant one, removing the strap will allow you yo remove maximum of scratches and dust. Same precaution, do not try to remove it yourself if you don’t know how to do it, you do not want to scratch your watch or damage the lugs! You should rather head to a trusted watchmaker. Then, do not prepare a bowl of water, but only an old toothbrush and dry clean soft cotton. Basically, skip step 3 from above and delicately scrub the watch with the dried toothbrush. Here you are, ready to wear a clean watch!

Cleaning the strap of a watch:

And what about the leather and rubber straps?!

Let’s start with leather straps (from alligator, to calf skin):
Those straps are natural as they are made from animals. Therefore they are more subject to deterioration and usually you’ll need to change them every two years especially if you wear them every day.

But to extend their lifetime, you can follow those basic tips:

  • Do not leave the strap under the sunbeam: colors will be rapidly damaged.
  • Don’t wear leather strap when you do your sports: perspiration will deteriorate the strap on both stitching parts and leather. Rather pick-up a rubber or bracelet strap when you want to keep a watch with you. (We know how being watchless can be difficult, even only for the duration of a sports session!)
  • Avoid water contact. If this should happen, quickly dry your strap with a soft cotton.
  • To clean it: gently scrub it with soft cotton

Unfortunately, no magic tips will offer you a 10-year lifetime to your leather strap. But if you take care of them, they might last longer. For better resale value, we also recommend you to present your watch with a brand new strap.

The rubber strap:
Do you remember the quartz’ powered Swatch you used to wear during your childhood? Do you remember the bracelet turning yellow at one point?

Yeah, basics rubber usually looses the colors after long time under the sunbeam as well. Of-course today you can trust rubber from luxury swiss watchmaker, however you should always keep in mind not to leave them under the sun, this could also damage their texture.
To clean it: use tepid water with soap and gently scrub with soft cotton

Elsewhere, rubber straps are good companion for all occasions. It’s more of a style criterion 😉

One last thing: Do you know which watch component Rolex does not manufacture themselves?

-> The leather strap, and the cyclopes are the two last components not integrated to the Rolex manufacture. Rolex does all other components, including melting its own steel and gold bracelets as well as manufacturing their brand new Oysterflex rubber strap!

Rolex Oysterflex

See you soon for a next article to share our love for mechanical watches !