No matter how hard you try, your watch will get dirty when you wear it every day. If you have a watch on a leather strap, it might even get smelly.

No matter whether it is a $200,000.- Patek Philippe or a $350.- Seiko. Every watch needs its occasional cleaning. Otherwise, you can add extra cheese to your platter:

wrist cheese
Yes, I’m talking about wrist cheese here. I’ve asked some watch people to give their opinion and tips. It seems like there are not many in favour of wrist cheese. They came up with a list of cleaning tips to prevent and remove the wrist cheese. Below, the five most often heard responses (spoiler alert: not all are useful tips).

  1. Most of them use a soft cloth and soap to clean their watch periodically. They often use a toothbrush or toothpick to reach difficult places and gently rub the watch clean.
  2. Microfiber glass wipes are also famous for the weekly or daily cleaning sessions, especially for the crystal parts.
  3. Take a shower with your watch.
  4. Use your t-shirt to clean the watch gently.
  5. Put the daily beater in the dishwasher (I would strongly avoid this method 🙂 )

An example of a cleaning session (number 1):

Of course, those cleaning methods are for watches that are waterproof to some degree! With older watches, your only option is mostly soft cloth and nothing related to soap or water. Best is to let your watch cleaned by the watchmaker now and then. He or she will disassemble the watch and thoroughly clean every part in an ultrasonic bath. Be careful with using soap; it might affect the seals of the crown and case. Make sure to rinse your (waterproof) watch afterwards properly.

In terms of intervals, I noticed slight variations, but most of the people clean their watches multiple times a month when they are wearing them. The interval is often related to the wrist time and how easy it is to clean the watch.

wrist cheese

I also asked a watchmaker Kalle Slaap about cleaning watches thoroughly. He came up with the following short advice and tips:

“Proper cleaning will be done by removing the movement from the case. An ultrasonic bath is used to clean in all nooks and crannies. Never put the movement in an ultrasonic bath. Be very careful with aggressive and abrasive agents. If you want to clean yourself, use peg wood so you will not leave any scratches on the metal. Use moist children’s toothbrush and stay away from ammonia or other aggressive agents. The best way to wipe your watch clean is organic Chamois. That’s exactly what we use in our professional workshop. Chamois is by far the best material to clean watch crystals.”

When in doubt, it’s always best to first contact a watchmaker before you (mighty) permanently damage your watch.

I hope the given cleaning tips will help you. Thanks for reading, keep your watches clean and see you in the next episode!

Cleaning an old bracelet. Check out the black wrist cheese fragments from the 1980s.