If you are reading this blog, you care about your watch and you want to make sure to treat your watch appropriately. I feel you! Ivan, Anna and I were also wondering what would be the best way to clean our watches. We tried different products, from a simple toothbrush to multi-product solutions. Our conclusion was that none of these options seemed to be appropriate in terms of safety and user experience. In fact, none of these products appeared to be designed specifically with the user in mind.
Cleaning a watch with a toothbrush is an option, of course. But is it designed for it? How do you know the bristles won’t scratch your watch or parts of it?
From a technical perspective, there are two main elements to cleaning your watch, namely the physical and the chemical process. That’s why you need to know your watch before you think about cleaning it. Is it waterproof? What materials is it made of? Can you also clean the crystal and the bracelet?
Especially when cleaning gold watches or any watches made of softer metals, please keep in mind that they are more delicate and they will scratch faster than, i.e. watches made of 904 steel or forged carbon fibre. Therefore, the brush needs to be soft-bristled to avoid scratching your watch.
Looking at the chemical side of things you should never use any detergents using alcohol, as they may dry out seals and act abrasive on some parts of your watch, such as the crystal, rubber straps, specific coatings such as antireflective coating etc. Also, you should avoid using traditional hand soap, or dish soap to clean your watch as these products often contain oils, moisturisers and perfumes which may stick to your watch and build up further residues.
In case you do decide to clean your watch with a toothbrush anyway, we recommend reading this full article by Hodinkee. For ourselves we decided that this approach does get you results, if you have the right toothbrush and soap, but it is not a very pleasant undertaking - at the end of the day you could use a toothbrush to clean plenty of things, but you usually don’t, so why would you clean your watch with it?!
Now, another option to clean your watch is the ChronoPen, and please cut us some slack for being a little biassed here. The ChronoPen was specifically designed to gently yet thoroughly clean your watch, no matter what metal it’s made of. From yellow gold, rose gold, bronze or platinum to stainless steel, carbon, white gold and aluminium. The ChronoPen has got you covered. It is also a great tool to clean your metal bracelet, rubber strap and caseback. The brush of the ChronoPen comes with extra soft and extra long bristles so you can reach every small nook and cranny and really remove the grime in between the links of your watch’s bracelet. The Swiss-Made cleaning agent inside the ChronoPen is specifically made to be friendly on all metals and common watch case materials. This means that the liquid is non-alcoholic, non-abrasive and also contains no oils or other substances that may build up residue. In return, just like the brush, the liquid inside the ChronoPen is designed to remove dirt and grime carefully, yet effectively.
It is not only safe and effective, but also a neat solution to use in itself, as it combines the liquid and the brush in one. Let’s not forget that we also want to have fun with our watches, hence the cleaning experience is important and part of the fun.
Afterall, how you clean your precious timepiece is up to you, but this is how we do it: 1. Give the watch a quick rinse under a tap.
2. Pump the ChronoPen a few times to apply its cleaning liquid on to the watch. 3. Start cleaning the watch case with the bristled tip of the ChronoPen, brushing it in circular motions. Don't forget about the caseback and all the finer details attached to the case, like the bezel, crown area and between the lugs. This is the most important step and the more time you will take on this step, the cleaner your watch will be.
4. Continue the cleaning motion with the ChronoPen brush on the metal bracelet or rubber strap, gently moving the brush tip through all the small gaps and details. Carry on all the way down to the clasp (another part, that is often very dirty). 5. To finally remove all the dirt and grime you just lifted, rinse the watch and bracelet thoroughly under lukewarm tap water. 6. Last but not least, dry off the watch and bracelet with the extra thick cotton towel that comes with the ChronoPen.
If you have the time for it, we do recommend taking off the bracelet as this allows you to reach the small corners even better.
Stay tuned for a guide about cleaning leather straps and watches that are not water resistant, like most chronographs and complicated calendar watches. We will soon provide some help and instructions for those timepieces as well.