How to Clean Stainless Steel Watch Scratches

Below we explore different ways how to clean stainless steel watch scratches based on tools you may have available.

Every watch enthusiast knows that watch material is key to creating exceptional timepieces. Stainless steel is used in creating great watch brands because of its excellent hardness strength and high oxidation resistance. The 316L is the industry standard stainless steel. It is resistant to magnetism, unlike other steel alloys, which is why it’s a popular material in most high-end dive watches.

There is also the stainless steel grade 304. This type of stainless steel is composed of 8% nickel and 18% chromium. Watch brands made from this type of stainless steel retail at significantly low prices. Aside from its low price point, it is highly prone to more corrosion than the 316L and 904L.

The stainless steel grade 904L is more pricey than the 304 and 316L. Today, this stainless steel grade is used by one of the most popular watch brands, Rolex, giving it the term oystersteel. Unlike other steel grades, the 904L contains more nickel, molybdenum, and chromium than the 316L. It also contains silicon, manganese, and copper, making it corrosion resistant than other types of stainless steel grades.

So, why should you invest in a stainless steel watch?

What makes a stainless steel watch such a popular investment?

Stainless steel is more much more cost-effective material than other precious metals such as gold and silver, which places it at a price point that works for a bigger proportion of buyers.

Not only is a stainless steel watch more affordable, but it has also become a popular material to use on sports watches, as it is a lot lighter and more robust than most other metals. These watch models include Rolex Submariner, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus. 

Thanks to the likes of Gerald Genta for his iconic design craftsmanship, the stainless steel sports watch became an iconic and highly desired watch that has become some of the best models to invest in to this day.

The chances of a stainless steel watch getting scratched are slim. However, you need to understand that everyone has their fair share of unfortunate events that may lead to a timepiece scratching.

Whether you scratched it against the wall or have no recollection of how the scratches came about, such dents can ruin your treasured timepiece.

Ways to Maintain Your Stainless Steel Watch

It may be easy to remove the annoying scratches on your watch. But, before you reach the point where you have to restore its perfect shine, there are several things you can do to prevent scratching.

1. Wear Responsibly
Removing scratches on your timepieces can sometimes prove challenging, which is why you must be careful about your activities whenever you are wearing your watch. If you are using heavy gym equipment or doing exercises, especially contact sports, it is possible to get your timepiece scratched. It’s also advisable that you remove your watch when doing anything physical such as moving heavy items or repairing broken furniture.

2. Choose your watch based on your activity
It’s important that you have more than one watch, for different aspects of your life. This way, you can alternate your more valuable and less valuable watches based on your activities. If you’ve got an expensive timepiece that’s important to you should avoid wearing it at all costs if you are going to do something that may result in your watch getting knocked.

Ways to Clean Your Stainless Steel Watch

Stainless steel watches are an extension of your personality, and they represent your values, sentiments, and choices. With time, watches quickly wear off or lose their value. This is why you must understand the basics involved in watch maintenance and the proper ways on how to clean stainless steel watch scratches.

1. Dremelling
This is among the most common methods used in scratch removal. All you need is a Dremel, your preferred cleaning product and cotton wool. The first step in this cleaning method is applying small amounts of your cleaning product to your Dremel’s head, before moving it around your watch for a few seconds.

It’s essential to take note that most cleaning compounds have a clouding effect when used on watches. This is why it’s recommended use a clean cotton ball fitted on your Dremel with a small amount of cleaning product.

2. Buffing
If your watch has deep scratches, you should consider using the buffing method when removing the scratches. When it comes to buffing, you either need a buffer (bench buffer) or alternatively convert your bench grinder into a buffer if you’ve got the right tools. Other important items you’ll need include an organic cotton buffing wheel, polishing rouge, safety goggles, and painter’s tape.

Buffing is a crucial step to follow when removing scratches from your watch bezel. All you need to do is tape off your case then remove your watch strap so that you protect it from any unnecessary damage. You need to make sure that you work with a microfibre cloth/soft towel. It would be best if you also put on safety glasses. The last thing you want is fine pieces of metal in your eyes.

The next important step is attaching your buffer wheel and then turning it on. Once your buffer wheel starts spinning, ensure that you apply a little rouge. When you begin buffing gently move the wheel from side to side. You have to be patient when working with this process as it can sometimes take longer than you expect. If you are buffing for the first time, you need to practise with the less expensive timepieces, and only try a costly watch once you have perfected your skills.

3. Using Toothpaste
Not got the right tools to carry out the other methods, why not try the DIY approach. Although it may sound unorthodox Toothpaste works incredibly well, making it a good alternative to traditional polish, especially when handling minor scratches on timepieces. However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t use anything abrasive or grainy when removing scratches. Its also recommended not to use toothpaste with coloured dyes, gel toothpaste, or whitening toothpaste. The best alternative is flavourless, plain white toothpaste.

When cleaning your timepiece using toothpaste, you should begin by inspecting your watch under bright light to locate scratches. The next step is to use a narrow masking tape to cover the bezel of your timepiece to prevent any damage. You should then squeeze a little toothpaste on your watch face, then rub it into the scratch with your finger. Let it rest for a few minutes, then remove it with a soft cloth, using circular polishing motions.

4. Wrapping it up
It is almost impossible to avoid watch scratches but when they happen you need to be aware of the steps you need to take to ensure that your timepiece is as good as new. All you’ve got to do is invest in the right tools and try the different methods of scratch removal based on the severity of your scratches. Never let stainless steel scratches ruin the aesthetic appeal of your watch.

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