Without question, a Rolex is a mechanical marvel keeping time to within -4 to +6 seconds a day.  With 86,400 seconds in a 24-hour period (31,536,000 sec/year), a difference of +3 seconds per day is a deviation of 0.000035 (thirty five millionths) of a 24 hour run resulting in 99.99% accuracy. But like anything mechanical, care and service is involved with mechanical watches.  Even battery powered quartz watches require similar care and maintenance as they are machines as well.


With all watches including Rolex, it is good to keep your watch clean.  Each day give your Rolex a simple wipe down with a microfiber cloth to remove oils, salt, and other basic smudges.  Watches are similar to eyeglasses in that to use them effectively, the crystal needs to look clean. Additionally, dirt sticks to dirt better than it does sticking to metal, so keeping your watch wiped down keeps the new watch luster lasting longer.   As the years progress, people think that their Rolex requires polishing to remove scratches and to “clean” it.  In reality, most of the time a Rolex just needs some good cleaning.  Polishing a Rolex removes scratches, as well as metal, which should only be done by a Rolex trained watchmaker.  Between services, keeping your watch clean will make the original, new-watch shine last.


Wiping a watch down is just partially effective.  Utilizing a bit of cleaner is even better.  Like sunglasses, a little lens cleaner makes a huge difference when looking through a lens.  Perhaps the best watch specific watch cleaner is Veraet available at www.veraet.com. Veraet is specially formulated to clean down to the bottom of the grain in satin finished Rolex bracelets and is not so harsh that it compromises any rubber seals.

Aside from Veraet, there are a number of household cleaners that will work for cleaning watches.  Below is good for the watch itself.  If your watch has a leather strap, be sure not to get any of this cleaner on it.


Regular Shampoo or Dish Soap

Advantages: Available everywhere and cleaning your Rolex can happen the same time as washing the dishes and the soap is powerful enough to cut through the gick that stick to watches.

Disadvantages: Some think that dish soap and shampoo can deteriorate rubber seals and work its way in to the watch.


Baby Shampoo

Advantages: Easy to find, cheap, and cuts through the oil and sweat that makes dirt and gunk stick to stainless steel.

Disadvantages: Some think that baby shampoo can work its way through the rubber seals of the caseback, crown, or crystal. I have never seen that in my experience.



Advantages: Prevalent everywhere and cuts through the oil that makes dust/dirt stick to stainless steel.

Disadvantages: Some of the whitening toothpastes are abrasive and toothpaste remnants are sometimes hard to rinse out of cracks.



Scrubbing Bubbles

Advantages: My second favorite cleaner, but it’s powerful. Scrubbing Bubbles make stainless steel look just like new, similar to a shower fixture after Scrubbing Bubbles soaks on it for a while.

Disadvantages: Go easy on it as the chemical might be strong enough to deteriorate the rubber seals inside the case. Be careful not to soak too long especially around the watch seals. The Scrubbing Bubble wipes make being judicious on the cleaner easier.

I have found that the cloth used while cleaning also makes a big difference.  Here are some suggestions that I have found to be useful:


Microfiber Cloth:
Advantages: cheap, plentiful, but not always lying around.

Bath Towel:
Unless one lives in a cave, bath towels work well and are easy to find.

Works great but not always lying around (Veraet has some great cleaning cloths).



When washing your watch, be careful of three things:

Dropping the watch – Always clean over a counter or some soft landing.  A soap covered watch can be slippery.

Inspect your Rolex for water vapor under the crystal and check for loose bracelet screws.

Check that the winding crown is screwed in while cleaning.

Using these tips will keep your Rolex clean and looking new for years to come.

-Sheldon Smith