Breitling and TAG Heuer Watches

How to clean, care
& service
your watch

A highly technical instrument, a watch is designed to be worn every day meaning it needs the utmost care and attention. From how to clean a watch, to watch servicing, our guide has everything you need to know.


Waterproof vs water resistant watch

What’s the difference between a waterproof and water resistant watch? Well, water resistant means able to resist the penetration of water to some degree but not entirely. Waterproof means impervious to water.

In the watch world, water resistant and waterproof can cause some confusion. The term the watch industry usually uses when describing a watch’s performance in water is ‘water resistant’, because no watch is completely ‘waterproof’. There’s always a limit to how much water pressure a watch can resist. However, some people may refer to a watch with extremely high water resistance levels as ‘waterproof’ – but these watches are still not absolutely waterproof.

The water resistance of your watch refers to the static pressure it can withstand, not the actual depth of water it can be used in. For example, 50m water resistance doesn’t mean you can dive up to a depth of 50m. The 50m refers to the pressure it can experience if it was static at a depth of 50m, but as soon as you move the watch, the pressure rises. Therefore, a watch with a water resistance of 50m is actually only suitable for shallow swimming, not diving:

  • 3 ATM / 30m: Splash proof and waterproof in small amounts of water
  • 5 ATM / 50m: Can be submerged in water. Suitable for shallow swimming
  • 10 ATM / 100m: Suitable for swimming, snorkelling and water sports
  • 20 ATM / 200m: Ideal for scuba diving
  • 30 ATM / 300m: and over: Professional and deep-sea

Top tips for using your
watch in water:


Cleaning the case

For water resistant watches, use a soft toothbrush and mild soapy water before rinsing with cold water and polishing with a soft dry cloth. Always rinse with warm tap water after immersing it in the sea or a pool, and if your watch has a rotating bezel, rotate the bezel gently while cleaning it to dislodge any debris like sand or salt. If your watch isn’t water resistant, avoid exposing it to any type of moisture. Instead, simply wipe it with a soft dry cloth such as these Connoisseurs Jewellery Wipes.

    OMEGA Speedmaster

    Stainless steel watches

    Use a soft toothbrush and mild soapy water to clean metal bracelets. Rinse with cold water and use a dry cloth to polish it.

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    Bronze watches

    When bronze comes into contact with oxygen, a chemical reaction occurs called ‘oxidisation’, which causes a thin layer of oxidised copper to form known as ‘Patina’. This coating protects the underlying materials against corrosion and changes the colour of the bronze itself. It gives your watch its own individual character and uniqueness, which is pretty cool. Different brands have different cleaning tips:


    Clean your watch with warm, soapy water and soft cloth to dry it with. TUDOR recommend to not use any cleaning agents.

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    Oris recommend you don’t remove the patina as it acts as a natural protective layer for bronze. However, if you discover unsightly marks, clean your watch carefully by mixing salt with a little vinegar and rubbing it in using a soft brush. Rinse carefully with water.

    Shop ORIS
    Shop Bronze Watches
    Hublot Big Bang

    Ceramic watches

    Ceramic is extremely high scratch resistance, so your ceramic watch won’t pick up small scratches and marks. However, ceramic is much less resistant to shattering so be careful not to drop your watch on a hard floor. To clean ceramic, a soft toothbrush and some warm, soapy water is all you need. Rinse with cold water and use a dry cloth to polish it.

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How to clean watch straps

Leather watch strap

For leather straps, avoid getting it regularly damp, exposing it to direct sunlight and contact with chemicals like perfumes, solvents, and detergents. It’s a good idea to clean your leather strap after any form of activity, as dust, dirt and sweat can cause stains and odours.

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Rubber watch strap

Like leather straps, rubber straps shouldn’t be exposed to chemicals like perfumes, cosmetics or oily products. As a lot of divers’ watches use rubber straps, it’s important to remember to clean the strap with warm water after wearing it in the sea to prevent the high salt content from damaging the strap.

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Polishing Watch

Professional polishing

Polishing your watch is slightly different to cleaning it. Cleaning removes dirt and grime, whilst polishing removes scratches and restores shine. If you’d like your watch polishing, we recommend you bring it into store and one of our experts can do it for you, or we can send it off to the brand.

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Helpful hint: if you need your watch strap altering, we’d recommend either using our watch strap size chart or bringing it into store where our experts can help.

View the Guide


Storing your watch

Another way to help increase the lifespan of your watch collection is to make sure you’re storing them correctly. Leaving your watch on the side or in a draw can scratch it (amongst other things), so it’s important it has a safe place for when you’re not wearing it.

Things to avoid

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Learning the watch movements


    Quartz watches are powered by batteries which need changing over time. If you’re wondering how long do watch batteries last, on average the life of a quartz watch battery is around two to three years. The more functions a watch has, the quicker the battery will run out. Some quartz watches are equipped with battery end of life indicators, where the second hand will commonly jump in five second intervals when the battery is running out.

    Shop Quartz Watches

    Wondering how does a mechanical watch work? Well, a manual mechanical movement is the oldest type of watch movement made and requires daily winding in order to work. Here’s how:

    • Remove your watch from your wrist before winding.
    • Always wind your watch fully at the same each day, being careful not to force the crown.
    • It should be wound until you feel tension or tightness on the crown.
    • Stop winding as soon as you feel resistance, as forcing the crown can damage the mechanisms.
    Shop Mechanical Watches

    An automatic movement was first introduced in the 20th century. It’s powered by movement and therefore winds itself whilst worn on the wrist, so it doesn’t need daily hand-winding. You can discover more about how to wind your automatic watch with our helpful guide.

    Discover The Guide
    Shop Automatic Watches

Servicing your watch


    We recommend you have a maintenance service on your watch every 18 to 24 months, although this will depend on the brand, the watch model and your own personal use. Refer to your specific user guide to double check what timings you should be adhering to. This will help ensure its water resistance and accurate performance of the movement.

    This service includes (although it might vary slightly by brand):

    • Rating/ regulation check
    • Replacing the crown, gaskets and battery for quartz movements
    • Water resistance control
    • Cleaning of the case and bracelet
    • Overall quality control check

    A complete overhaul service on your watch is recommended every four to five years, although again the frequency we recommend will depend on the brand and your own personal use.

    This service includes (although it might vary slightly by brand):

    • Dismantling the movement and cleaning, oiling, regulating, reassembling all of the parts and checking all of the functions
    • Repairing or replacing any worn movement parts
    • Replacing the crown, gaskets and battery for quartz movements
    • Water resistance control
    • Cleaning of the case and bracelet
    • Final quality control


We answer your watch FAQs

From changing your watch battery to the most googled questions about luxury watches, discover the answers to everything you want to know.

  • How much is a watch battery replacement?

    The price for a watch battery replacement depends on the watch itself and the individual components involved in replacing the battery. The best way to get an accurate quote is to visit us in-store where our experts can assess your watch.

  • Where can I get a watch battery replaced?

    Depending on the brand, we can send your watch to its manufacture for a battery replacement. Discover our list of brands to see if we stock yours first and then visit your nearest Beaverbrooks where our experts can help.

  • How to get condensation out of a watch?

    Condensation on the inside of your watch can be caused from a large temperature difference, your watch leaking, or because you have not closed the crown of the watch properly. We’d recommend checking the crown is closed and put it to one side for a couple of hours - if the condensation hasn’t gone then take it to your nearest Beaverbrooks where our experts can help.

  • Is it worth it to repair a watch?

    To repair or not is down to you as the owner. Was it given as a gift? Does it represent a special milestone? How much do our experts say it’s going to cost? Does the price of repairing it outdo the price it was originally purchased? These questions will help answer whether it’s worth it or not.