Watches are prone to gathering dirt and cleaning it may seem daunting as many materials are often used in its making. Whether leather, fabric or metal we show you the best way to keep your watch clean and ticking.

SWEAT: Your Watch's Biggest Enemy!

Salt water is one of your watch's biggest enemies, and it's exposed to it constantly from your sweat. Other contaminants include skin oils, dirt and substances such as lotions and insect repellents. Only ever attempt to clean the band and the outside of the watch—leave the inner workings for a professional.

For daily cleaning, wipe the band and watch with a damp cloth, then with a clean, dry cloth.

For more extensive cleaning, remove the band by releasing the pins on both sides of the watch.

  • Clean a leather band with saddle-soap, then follow up with a quick buffing using a clean, dry cloth.
     
  • Wash a fabric band with a bit of dishwashing liquid and water, rinse in clean water and then lay flat to dry.
     
  • Clean a metal band by soaking it in a solution of dishwashing liquid and water, then use an old toothbrush to scrub it. Rinse thoroughly in clean water and dry with a soft cloth. 

Check the crystal (the transparent face plate) and have it replaced immediately if you notice any damage to it or to the face of the watch, which indicates moisture has entered. A jeweller can also buff out scratches in a plastic crystal.

To store your watch, keep it in an individual compartment in a jewellery box or wrap it in a piece of soft cloth (see below left).

To clean the inner workings, take the watch to a professional. Mechanical watches (the kind you have to wind) need an overhaul about every two years, and analog quartz watches (with hands and batteries) need one every three to five years, just about when you need to replace the battery anyway. Digital watches, which have no mechanical works, don't need an internal cleaning, although you will eventually need to replace the battery.

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Image source: Guy Sie

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