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3 Easy Steps to Getting Your Luxury Steel Watch Clean

Having your own luxury watch collection can be fulfilling, especially if it took a while to accumulate all the pieces that grace your watch shelf today. However, collecting watches also comes with a set of responsibilities, one of which is giving each timepiece the proper maintenance it deserves.

It may seem like a waste of time to clean watches that are lauded for their durability, but the truth is even a little bit of maintenance can extend the life of a watch. Proper maintenance means not only will you be increasing its life span, but you will preserve its value and sometimes, even increase it! Think of a vintage watch that has been regularly serviced versus one that is no longer working. The one in good condition may be worth even more than its original value, depending on the model!

Of course, it is easiest to take your luxury watches to a professional for service so that you don’t risk damaging it by attempting complex maintenance yourself. But if you have a few everyday wear pieces you don’t mind trying to clean yourself, here are our recommendations:

Regularly Wipe It Down After Wear

Wristwatches go through a lot on a daily basis. You use your hands daily for a variety of reasons, which means they will be exposed to dust, dirt, and residue. Even when you aren’t doing labor, just the mere act of sweating and adding products such as sanitizer, hand cream, and lotion onto your hands can let it slip onto your watch and cause a bit of damage to the steel.

To help remedy that, get into the practice of wiping down your watches after use. You don’t need to use a wet wipe. Instead, use a soft microfiber cloth and wipe gently. This will help to remove any residue sticking on the strap and case. Doing this every night immediately after removing your luxury steel watch can make a world of difference in the long run.

Use Mild Soap for the Straps and Head

If it’s been a couple of weeks of using your luxury steel watch and you’re worried about grime, don’t worry! Steel watches, luxury or not, can be pretty easy to clean, and most are designed to have at least some level of water resistance. A  good old-fashioned scrub with a soft brush and some mild soap and water will remove most gunk that builds up.

There are a number of soaps marketed specifically for watches, but for pieces you wear every day, any mild soap that you can apply on your skin will do. While cleaning your watch, be sure to use a gentle hand. Many recommend soaking the watch head and casing for a bit in soapy water, though it’d be better to just dip it than risk exposing it to too much water. Take a clean toothbrush and gently rub the crevices to remove the dirt underneath.

As for the watch strap, the same method applies. Just be mindful of how you’re scrubbing the material. Some luxury steel watches will have stainless steel straps that are very durable, while others use leather which can be more delicate and prone to warping or discoloration.

Dry and Check the Watch Functions

After using soapy water and rinsing your luxury steel watch, it’ll be time to dry it. Pat it with a dry microfiber cloth that can help remove the water and show its pristine and clean condition after washing.

Be wary of any malfunction on the watch’s part. If you notice condensation start to form on the inside of the casing or if the watch’s hands aren’t moving anymore, bring the model to a watch store as it likely needs repair.

In Conclusion . . .

Following these steps can ensure that your luxury steel watch will be in great shape for years and even decades. Even so, it’s always best to pay for professional cleaning whenever possible, especially for those one-of-a-kind watches you only bring out for special occasions. And of course, remember that most automatic watches require service at fixed intervals to ensure proper operation. During these service visits, your watch will be given a top-to-bottom treatment, including cleaning.

Need a luxury watch store and professional service center in Los Angeles? Feldmar Watch is an authorized dealer of luxury watches that also offers repair and cleaning services. Get in touch with us today!

About The Author: Tom Roth


Born in Washington state, Tom developed an interest in photography during college at University of San Diego. There, he got started in music journalism, interviewing artists and taking photos at concerts. A life-long tinkerer and collector, it wasn’t long before Tom became fascinated with fountain pens and watches.

Those interests collided in November 2020 when Tom started at Feldmar Watch Company where he lives out every watch geek’s dream: photographing and writing about timepieces. When he’s not tinkering with his watch collection, Tom can be found traveling, biting his nails while watching PNW sports teams, and taking flying lessons.

Read more from Tom Roth

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