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Cleaning watches

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by alaaro, Aug 15, 2004.

  1. alaaro

    alaaro Senior member

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    Since theres so much watch talk recently, I'll toss out another one...

    What's the best way to clean a watch, outside of taking it to a jeweler to clean it? Is just soaking it in soapy water ok?
     
  2. armscye

    armscye Senior member

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    This is far too complex a topic to provide you with any rules. You are obviously "unsophisticated."

    Just kidding, Alaaro-- you're coming in at the intermission in a watch flame war, and those are the ternms being thrown around. Your question is a perfectly appropriate one.

    I'm assuming you are referring to a cleaning of a mechanical movement, since there isn't too much to clean in a quartz watch. This must generally be done by a watchmaker, who typically uses an ultrasonic bath in a special solution, combined with disassembly and what laymen would see as an infinitesimal amount of lubrication at pivot points. I know of no one other than a few very serious hobbyists capable of such work at home, and the equipment is quite specialized. So off to the jeweler you go. You generally can't go too far wrong by looking for your local Rolex dealer.
     
  3. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    There are a few variables to consider when cleaning a watchcase / bracelet (watchcase that is at least water resistant for 10 meters or more).

    First, if your watch is made out of a solid metal (steel, gold, platinum, etc...), cleaning is a fairly easy proposition: simply fill a sink 1/2 full with warm / hot soapy water and shake watch back and forth inside the sink a la ultrasonic. Whilst shaking the watch use your thumb to rub the watches surfaces (including the crystal) to dispense with excess grime and dirt.

    After a thorough cleaning, discharge the water in the sink whilst, running the facet with the hottest water your hands can stand to remove all the soapy water from the watch. After the watch has been removed of foreign elements, save the water, take a clean towel and wipe down the watch to fully dry. Important tip: open the clasp of the watch when cleaning, if the temperature is too hot, clasps have a tendency to stick, and opening the clasp after cleaning the watch may require the jaws of life.

    If the watch has a leather (or other non-metal) strap, I would recommend that you remove it before immersing the watch in water.

    For watches with rubber parts (or rubber coated), I would be quite careful to read the manual and see if there are temperatures or types of chemicals (i.e. soap) that may ruin the rubber.

    Obviously, the abovementioned is for cleaning ONLY, if you have scratches or other types of abrasive marks on the watch, I would recommend you take the watch to the most qualified watchmaker / polisher you can find (sending the watch to the factory is usually a good proposition).

    Jon.

    EDIT: If you have a watch with a appliquÃ[​IMG] bezel cover, like those found in Rolex sport watches (submariner, GMT, etc...), do not dip in hot soapy water, as they have a tendency to become dislodged, discolored or a combination of both. I would clean the bezel with just cold water and quickly dry with a clean cloth.
     
  4. alaaro

    alaaro Senior member

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    Yeah I just meant like the outside, in between the links, etc. Just as a way to avoid having to pay the jeweler, I wanted to see if I can do it at home...

    Image, thanks for the ideas. I'll give it a whirl. Worst case, and I have no luck, I'll find a watch dealer, like you said armscye.
     
  5. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    To clean links you can try an old toothbrush to reach the little crevices that might be too complex to clean.

    Jon.
     

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