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New Watch Alert: How to clean your newly purchased used / vintage watch

It's the end of the year, and with all those wrapped boxes sitting under a tree or on your tabletop, we're all going to be getting at least one new watch to look at before 2020 comes along.

Now if you're like me and can imagine the kind of "essences" left behind by the last person wearing the watch, this article is for you. Not every watch person does cleaning for the watch every time they take it off, and after a long day at work there's going to be quite the amount to clean.

If you notice, when you get that vintage or used watch there's always a kind of oily feeling to it. That's only normal because there's a natural layer of it on our skin and that gets transferred to our watches. Our hands are also constantly in contact with that stuff.

To find out how oily your hands can be, just press your thumb on your watch crystal and see.

Now that you're sufficiently convinced that you will need to clean every new watch that comes along, I'm going to share how I do it.

1. The Dry Shower

There are polishing cloths out there that help with removing the layers of oil on the watch surface. They're typically the same kind you get with your glasses. Those will do just fine and I like to give the watch a good run through with the cloth when they're just out of the box.

For the more stubborn layers of oil I use the type of cloth that is made for polishing jewelry. These are textured more and can give the surface a nice rub. Just don't press too hard if you're using it on gold in case you end up giving it hairline scratches.

2. The Spit and Shine

These are especially necessary for the areas in between the lugs, and in bracelet end links. Those are two areas that the grime can really set up shop.

Dip an old soft bristle toothbrush into warm water and pat it dry. Then give those corners a good scrubbing to get those stains and accumulated dirt out. Wet the brush a little more if the dirt is really stubborn, and if there's a particularly tough one to get out use a wooden toothpick to gently persuade it.

Don't forget to do the spaces inbetween each link! A wipe with a clean tissue should finish it off finely.

3. The Spa Treatment

If the above methods don't clean the watch sufficiently, then I'd place the bracelet into an ultrasonic cleaning machine and let it run to take out ALL THE DIRT. You're going to be surprised at how much there is trapping in between the links.

For the watch head, the best way to clean it is really with soap and water. Be really sure that the gaskets are all in before embarking though.

4. Leather Care

There's only one way to treat leather straps that come with the watch.


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Best viewed on desktop, because you should really take your time with vintage.

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