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Watch Education How to Clean Your Watch: Metal Bracelets

With the change of seasons and temperature, it is important to remember to keep your watch clean and maintained. Cleaning a watch is an easy task that can be down when you change straps or after a day out.  Depending on how often you wear your watch, and the activities you do, it may need a more detailed servicing and cleaning done by professionals.  Most modern watches can typically wait to be fully serviced every 5 years but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep them clean.

Always do your research before using cleaning products on your bracelet; lye, ammonia and other harsh chemicals, aren’t good for stainless steel or metal bracelets.  Typically any grease-cutting dish washing soap will are perfect for removing the accumulated dirt without damaging the metals or removing the finish.

Cleaning the Bracelet

Before You Begin

It’s important to remember to keep your watch strap maintained in addition to the case itself.  Metal bracelets can allow dirt and dust to sit in the joints which can then lead to damages later and expensive replacements.  Make sure you have the right tools for the job you you are going to completely remove the strap for a more detailed clean.

If you’re cleaning with the watch case still attached to the strap: be careful with the water.  You watch should be at least be marked for 50m water resistance, this way you will not have to worry about exposing the case to water while cleaning.

Remove a Watch Bracelet from Case

Metal Bracelets

Metal bands can withstand more elements than a leather strap but should still be maintained and properly cleaned. If you’re comfortable removing the bracelet, you can remove it to get into the smallest details at the joints and connecting pins, while not having to worry about damaging the case.  Grit and other elements can act like sandpaper against the metal bracelet so cleaning it carefully is important.

These elements can cause damage to the finish on the watch band or even leave black deposits on your skin or clothing from an accumulation of dirt.  If your watch is water-resistant and you are wearing it swimming either in the pool or ocean, you should carefully rinse the bracelet under running water and dry it carefully with a soft cloth.  This will avoid any harsh chemicals or salt water from damaging the metals.

If your bracelet is in good repair and not noticeably dirty, it is best to keep it that way with a daily wipe with a damp cloth after wearing; this will help avoid any backup of grime on the bracelet.  When you are able to remove the bracelet for a more detailed clean in the joints and pin areas, you will find it much easier and less time consuming.

For those wearing their watch daily, a full clean of the bracelet should be done monthly.  For watches worn less often, and depending on wear, a detailed clean can be done every few months.   If you’re wearing your watch and there is a large amount of perspiration or water on the strap, wipe it with a soft cloth as soon as possible to avoid a buildup of elements and damage to the finish.

How To Clean A Watch Bracelet

For a more detailed clean without taking your watch to a servicing center, a soft brush and soapy water should be used, followed by a quick rinse under fresh water and soft towel dry.  Avoid putting too much pressure on your brush while cleaning, this can lead to unwanted scratches.

Double check the type of soap you are planning on using, you will want something that is soft and doesn’t contain harsh ingredients which can damage your watch.  While cleaning, work gently to avoid scratching the bracelet with any dirt that you may loosen.  Don’t forget to get between the links while using a soft brush, this is where most of the dirt will accumulate.

Professional Servicing

If you begin to notice scratches on the bracelet, you might consider taking it to a watch repair center for a full polishing.  The service center can also do a detailed cleaning of the bracelet if you cannot remove it easily or you don’t have the proper tools.  A professional, authorized, service center can also complete a full overhaul on your watch if it is needed.

About Emily Smith
Newbie to watches but a quick learner. She loves the history of watches and loves learning how they work. She prefers Rolex and Omega watches but is learning the history behind other brands. Her watch of choice right now is her vintage Omega Ladymatic that is a mere 19mm. She has her eye on a few others including the Plum dial Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36mm and a Patek Twenty ~4 (4910/10 A011). While she enjoys the look of vintage watches, she is excited to learn about new models and build her collection.

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