How To Clean Your Watch And Strap At Home

With the holiday season approaching, and many of our watches undoubtedly in need of a good sprucing up, Collectively, let’s say they know a thing or two about how best to approach the task.

If Your Watch Is Water-Resistant (Approximately 50 Meters And Above)

The most typical watch to clean is one with a good water resistance, think approximately 50 meters and above (such as the new Rolex Submariner, pictured above). Any lower than this and you will want to take some special considerations while cleaning, but by and large most watches offer some degree of water resistance. Also, if your watch’s bracelet is water resistant — i.e., metal or rubber — you can keep it attached and clean it along with the watch, though if the bracelet lacks water resistance (think leather), remove the strap and clean it separately.

The equipment you’ll need will be a gentle soap (such as hand soap or Dawn-brand dish soap), warm water, a bowl, a small, soft brush (such as a soft toothbrush), a protected cleaning area (such as over a layered towel), and a dry microfiber cloth. The process is as follows:

Fill the bowl with warm water and a small amount of soap to create a gentle soapy solution.

Dip the brush in the solution, and gently brush the watch to clean. If your watch is made of a precious metal (such as gold), you will want to use either an extra-soft brush, microfiber cloth, or just your hands to avoid damaging the softer material.

Once cleaned, gently rinse the watch with non-soapy water. If your watch is moderately water resistant (50 meters to 100 meters) you can accomplish this via a quick dip, if your watch has an excellent water resistance (such as those at 100 meters and above), Albers noted you could rinse the watch directly under a running faucet which can help you flush out any remaining debris.

Dry the watch completely using a soft microfiber cloth.

If Your Watch Has Little Or No Water Resistance (Approximately 30 Meters And Below)

If you have a watch like Rolex GMT with little to no water resistance, usually defined as 30 meters or less, then it is important to take special precautions to protect your watch during cleaning. We recommend using “a soft, maybe [lightly] damp cloth” to clean, but to avoid submerging the piece lest you cause “significant damage” to the timepiece. We recommend cleaning a watch without water resistance using only “a dry soft toothbrush” to physically brush up any debris, and then to “clean it up with a cloth.”

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