Timepiece Tinkering: How to Perform Proper Watch Cleaning

Water-resistant stainless steel watches are the easiest to clean and can tolerate extended water immersion. Such timepieces are, thankfully, available and sold by select vendors. For example, Seiko Divers is a market leader in scuba divers and athletic timepieces.

To keep a watch in good working order, it must be serviced on a regular basis. This can even be done at home by yourself! There are, however, a few things you must know beforehand especially if your watch is old or not water-resistant. Read on to learn more about proper watch cleaning.

What to Take Note Of

To begin, ascertain that the water-resistance of your watch reaches up to 50 meters. If it’s less, take extra caution when cleaning it.

You can use either a soft dry or damp cloth to clean a non-waterproof watch, but don’t submerge it. Then to avoid damaging the softer components in your watch, clean it with an extra-soft brush, a microfiber cloth, or your hands alone.

Note that even a stainless steel Seiko diver watch will tarnish over time. Activities like swimming, sea exposure, and even sweating can all cause rust to grow on stainless steel watches. Fortunately, marks of corrosion can be removed from watches to extend their lifespan.

Consider the watch’s age as well as the last time it was professionally serviced. Older watches and watches that have not been fixed in a long time will have less water resistance due to age and drying gaskets. Gaskets weaken and become brittle over time, allowing moisture to rust your movement. Remember to replace a watch’s crystal, case back, crown, tube, and pusher gaskets when they become old and dry.

Procedures for Proper Watch Care

Before you start cleaning your wash, you’ll need to gather your tools. Some essentials you’ll need are:

  • Two pitchers of warm water for your watch and bracelet
  • Light hand soap or dish soap
  • A clean, soft toothbrush
  • Two microfiber garments that wick away moisture
  • Toothpicks
  • Antibacterial sanitising wipes
  • a spring bar disassembly tool

With these on hand, you can now go through the proper steps of cleaning your timepiece. Listed below are six steps you can use as your guide.

  1. Examine Your Timepiece

Examine your watch with a magnifying glass. Examine any holes or cracks that may have allowed moisture to enter, as well as the crown and any other moving parts. Additionally, your watch requires service if the crystal is chipped or seems to be loosely attached to the casing.

  1. Remove Your Bracelet

The removal of the band allows access to previously inaccessible regions. Remove the watch’s bracelet or strap with a spring bar tool if you are comfortable doing so. This will allow you to clean the interior of the lugs as well as the end link of the bracelet.

  1. Clean the Watch

Clean every nook, etching, and edge with a wipe. A simple once-over should take less than a minute, and even the most tenacious dirt accumulations will be revealed by a clean watch.

Fill one bowl halfway with warm water and whisk to remove any soap particles. Half-fill the second basin with warm, clean water.

Secure the winding crown and any pushers before immersing your watch case in the soap water. Gently scrub the case, case back, and dial side with your fingers. Scrub the lugs, bezel, and case back gently, but not the crystal.

Then to clean the crystal, gently wipe it with a soapy cloth. Rinse it thoroughly in a clean, warm water basin, and blot it dry with a soft towel. Afterwards, set it away.

  1. Use Your Toothpick

Work the cleaning wipe with the flat edge of a toothpick. Remove any leftover sticky debris especially the troublesome regions. You must remember, though, that toothpicks can cause damage to more sensitive metals, so wipe thoroughly, especially on expensive metal casings.

  1. Use the Microfibre

To quickly absorb excess moisture, add a silky microfiber finish (and oils from your skin when you handle the watch). Wrap the cloth over your finger and use your fingernail to reach for the bezel edge, crystal edge, inner lugs, and case back seam.

Dry with a microfiber cloth to remove any remaining moisture or oils. To clean the watch casing, simply use a cloth and your fingernail. Gather what is left and keep your watch as pristine as possible.

  1. Reassemble!

When both are completely dry, use the proper tools to reattach the bracelet to the case. Your new timepiece is now complete and ready to wear.


Today, in the age of a pandemic, we are frequently urged to keep our hands clean. In turn, we naturally desire to clean our wristwatches because they are so close to our hands. With this information in hand, you can clean your own watch regularly. Simply make sure you are equipped with more research and tools before you begin!

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