How to clean different parts of the watch and when to replace them?


How to clean different parts of the watch and when to replace them?

Olivia Jones

Olivia’s main passion is fitness. She believes comfort and fashion can go hand in hand. According to her, even sports shoes can be stylish. A fashion watch complements her every outfit.

27 Feb 2023

We've talked about watch care and maintenance a few times on the blog. Even if you splurged on a fancy premium watch made with top-notch materials, it's still going to wear out eventually. Not just its looks but its performance too. So, how do you keep it clean and when should you think about replacing watch parts?


Basic watch care – how to take care of your watch?

First off, it's important to remember that everything, every material, will age and deteriorate over time, whether you wear it every day or store it in a box for a while. This is just a natural process that anyone buying a watch should keep in mind. And don't forget that you might have to spend some cash on servicing and replacing parts that wear out.


Cleaning the watches and proper storage in the box


Regular cleaning can help extend the life of your watch, but it won't fix everything. Some brands have models that are super tough and packed with features, but they still won't magically make dirt disappear.


How often should you clean your watch?

Well, if you neglect your watch for too long, accumulated dirt can not only affect the appearance of the watch, but can also lead to deregulation and malfunction of the movement or its complete breakdown. Why?


For instance, if you let a watch sit for a while, the lubricating oil can solidify and damage the delicate structure of the movement. On the other hand, if you wear it regularly, dirt can settle on the surface and sneak into the interior of the case, accumulating in the crevices of the bracelet links, at the gap between the case and lugs or around the crystal. So, it's a good idea to give it a clean every so often.


Cleaning a watch on a leather strap


That's why it's so important to regularly clean all elements, regardless of how often you wear your watch. You should do it once every few months, depending on the current condition of the device. You can either do it yourself or have your watch serviced by a reliable watchmaker.


Do you want to know how to disinfect your watch in a safe way? Be sure to click the link below.


How to clean the different parts of the watch and when to replace them?

A watch, like any object worn for a long time, wears out. Take care of its professional maintenance, from cleaning straps, bracelets, polishing cases and crystals to replacing batteries, regulating mechanical movements and refinishing dials.


Below, we give you tips on how to clean the various parts of your watches and when you should replace them with new ones.


How to take proper care of watch straps and bracelets?

Watch straps and bracelets are the parts most exposed to negative external factors. For this reason, they require more frequent care. On a day-to-day basis, it is sufficient to wipe them down with a soft microfibre cloth, and remove larger dirt as soon as it appears. However, proper maintenance is not everything. It depends above all on the type of material and the material of the strap.


Cleaning of watch straps and bracelets


First, it's worth bearing in mind one simple thing. If your watch has a low water resistance level and you worry that water will get inside and damage the movement, unfasten the strap or bracelet from the case before cleaning it.  


Leather is a super absorbent material that can really hold on to some strong smells. But, the good thing about leather watch straps is that you can clean them up with some tried and tested home methods. All you need is a teaspoon each of baking soda and water. Mix them up in a 1:1 ratio until a thick foam forms, and then coat the entire strap on both sides with the mixture. Let it soak for an hour and then wipe it down with a soft microfibre cloth to get rid of any foam. Once the strap is completely dry, wipe the outside of the strap again.


Cleaning leather watch straps


Done! It's that easy. If you want to take even better care of the leather material, however, you might invest in some specialised products that can protect it from cracks and keep it more durable.


Things are a little different with watches with a fabric strap. Those made of polyamide are more durable and resistant to abrasion than leather straps, so cleaning them is much easier. Their maintenance doesn't require so much effort. To effectively remove dirt and odour, all you need to do is wash the fabric strap in warm water with mild soap. Then rinse it thoroughly under running water and leave it to dry completely at room temperature.


Another type of watch straps are those made of plastic, silicone, rubber or elastomer. These are most commonly used for sports watches. This type of strap should always be properly cleaned after every workout or other demanding activity. Rubber and plastic are very easy to clean. If the watch is water-resistant, there is no need to remove the strap. It’s sufficient to wash the strap under running water or, if one prefers, one can possibly use soap or dishwashing liquid. The plastic strap should then be dried with a towel or left to dry completely. And Bob’s your uncle!


Plantwear watch - cleaning of fabric and silicone watch straps


What about watches with bracelets? A bracelet, no matter what material it’s made of, just like jewellery can lose its original beauty over time and will need cleaning once a quarter or so. The bracelet should be thoroughly cleaned with a prepared mixture of water and soap or water and dishwashing liquid (REMEMBER! Never do this with toothpaste!) and then leave to soak for a maximum of 30 minutes. After this time, rinse off the soap remains from the bracelet with a soft-bristled toothbrush or cotton pads.


So, there's still one big question left to answer - when should you replace your watch strap or bracelet? Well, it all depends on how often you wear your watch. If you put it on every single day or very often, the strap will wear out way quicker than if you only wear it once in a blue moon. Plus, you have to think about watch care and maintenance. The straps and bracelets come into contact with your skin and all kinds of cosmetics, which can mess with the material and speed up the deterioration process. So, as a general rule, you should swap out your strap every six months to a year.


Replacing watch straps


How to polish cases and crystals?

The topic of polishing the case and crystal has already been addressed on our blog. You will find all the necessary information related to polishing all types of crystal under the following link.


Why is polishing a watch crystal so important? The cause of scratches and damage to the crystal is mostly due to inappropriate storage, e.g. storing the watch in a box together with other jewellery. The crystal can only be polished if the scratches are minor. In the case of significant scratches, or even cracks and dents, it is necessary to replace the crystal immediately, before the damage leads to more serious damage to other parts of the watch. Such a watch shouldn’t be used or worn at all.


Never replace the watch crystal yourself, as this can lead to significant damage to the entire watch. What's more, if you decide to do this on your own, your warranty will automatically be voided in the event of a claim.


Cleaning the watch and polishing the glass


The service of replacing the watch crystal should be entrusted to the manufacturer's service technicians (if the device is still under warranty) or to a professional watchmaker (when the warranty period has expired). Replacement at a specialist doesn't necessarily cost a lot of money. It all depends primarily on what material the crystal is made of. The price of replacing synthetic and mineral crystals is quite low. The price of replacing sapphire crystal glass is a bit pricey, and this is due to the fact that the cost of producing sapphire crystal is more expensive. 


Cleaning and replacing the watch crown

One thing that often gets overlooked when cleaning a watch is the crown, and people hardly realise that it needs replacing too. It should be taken care of in the same way as the rest of the watch. It might seem like no big deal, but things can get a little tricky when it's time to replace the crown.


The crown, as the protruding element of the case, is the most vulnerable to damage. Therefore, it should be replaced every time it becomes damaged, e.g. if it breaks off, becomes deformed or gets scratched.



Cleaning and replacing a watch crown


Can you replace the crown yourself? Sure thing! But just like swapping out the crystal, there are some risks involved. If you don't do it right, you could end up with a wonky fit or even damage the crown. And if that happens, you'll be in hot water because it could cause leaks in the watch case. And once dirt, moisture, and water start getting in, it's only a matter of time before your watch gets completely damaged.


When replacing the crown, it is worth going to a watchmaker who will carry out this service professionally. The price of replacement doesn’t cost much. Every crown is unique and the type of damage is also different, so usually the price is determined individually depending on working time necessary to perform the service. Once the repair is done, it's a good idea to have the service centre double-check the tightness of the watch to make sure the crown replacement and repair were done properly.


Cleaning and replacement of individual watch parts


Watch cleaning – check how to do it properly

To make sure your watch is in good condition and that everything is working as it should, it is a good idea to have it serviced from time to time. A watch should be serviced at least once every 5 years. Do you want to enjoy your watch for many years? Be sure to take good care of it and try to clean and service it regularly.


Just click on the link below to learn how to easily clean your G-SHOCK watch!


Olivia Jones

Olivia’s main passion is fitness. She believes comfort and fashion can go hand in hand. According to her, even sports shoes can be stylish. A fashion watch complements her every outfit.