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6 Jun

Expert Tips On Cleaning Your Rolex Watch

As a proud owner of one of the most sought-after watches in the world, you probably already know that a Rolex is an engineering marvel made of the finest materials available and built to withstand intense environmental pressures. But anything mechanical requires periodic maintenance. That said, taking care of your Rolex should be a priority.

The good thing is that Rolex watches require very little user maintenance. However, we do not encourage cleaning them yourself—they should only be attempted by a skilled professional. While Rolex recommends a service every ten years, you can try to clean and protect your Rolex in between those appointments to keep it looking great!

Before we share tips on how to keep your Rolex looking great throughout the year, here’s some general information about Rolex cleaning.

Why consider cleaning your Rolex watch?

Rolex watches are designed for daily use and built to last a lifetime and beyond. But, as you wear your watch regularly, tiny dirt particles can get stuck. Not only does it impact the beauty and lustre, but the accumulated debris also impacts the functionality of your timepiece. Some common signs include sticking bezels, inoperable chronograph pushers and stretched bracelets.

Imagine the grime, dirt, and sweat that would accumulate on the watch if you service your Rolex every five to ten years, as the brand recommends. Dirt means scratching and smudging. So, the watch might require extra repairs during servicing, leading to a larger bill.

Save yourself and your beloved Rolex from the hassle by taking a few moments to clean it. Trust us; you’ll be much happier in the long run!

Things to know before cleaning your Rolex

Many people are hesitant to clean their Rolex because they fear damaging it. Keeping that in mind, we have listed the various do’s and don’ts when cleaning the watch.

  • Don’t use abrasive materials

Avoid using anything that could damage or scratch the watch or cause abrasions or imperfections. Don’t use toothpaste, baking soda, gritty clothes, rigid brushes, or any other harsh chemicals to clean the Rolex, which can cause permanent damage. Also, acidic substances like lemon juice can tarnish the metal of the timepiece.

  • Use microfibre cloth

Using a microfiber cloth to clean your Rolex does not cause abrasions. The cloth’s fibres are soft but strong enough to clean the dirt and grime stuck to it, causing no scratch to the watch metal. Remember, the fabric must be as clean as possible and free from any polish. It is best to use a new microfibre cloth.

  • Don’t submerge in water

Do not submerge your Rolex in water unless it is equipped with water-resistant Oyster cases. The Oyster cases include a locking crown that must be fully locked down before using water. If you have a vintage Rolex, ensure the gaskets are in excellent condition before submerging it in water.

  • Tighten the winding crown

The winding crown acts as the seal for your Rolex. It keeps the watch sealed from dust and water. Thus, when cleaning the timepiece with water, ensure the winding crown is tightly secured. This will keep your watch’s inner components safe while cleaning it.

Essentially, every Rolex timepiece has a winding crown, so keeping it as secure as possible before you begin the cleaning process is essential.

  • Remove the bracelet

 If you have the necessary tools, you can also remove your Rolex bracelet to clean it properly. Unlike some watches with fitted metal bracelets, Rolex bracelets can be removed from the case. This capability allows the wearer to switch up the look of their watch by swapping it with another bracelet or strap style.

Once you remove the bracelet, you can access the area between the inner surfaces of the bracelet links and the lugs on the case. The best tool to clean this area is a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush. Dip it in water and soap, and gently scrub the bracelet and case.

  • Use warm water

You need warm water, not cold or hot, to clean your Rolex watch. Cold water is not very effective, and warm water might cause imperfections, so a nice, moderate temperature is ideal. Store the warm water in a bowl and dip your brush in it.

  • Take a small amount of mild soap

Add mild soap to the warm water. Make sure the soap doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, as abrasive soaps can damage the watch unnecessarily. You don’t need a lot of soap, just enough to agitate and remove the dirt and debris from the piece. You can also put a small dab on the watch directly.

  • Wash your hands properly

Make sure to wash your hands properly before you begin cleaning your watch. This prevents the dirt from transferring to your watch. The dirt in your hand can cause scratches or damage to the delicate material.

5 Easy Steps To Clean your Rolex

Should your Rolex require more extensive cleaning than a simple wipe-off of its exterior surface, follow the steps below to get the desired results.

STEP 1: Screw down the winding crown

Before attempting to clean, it’s imperative to ensure the winding crown is sealed or locked properly to prevent water or dust from entering. Even when not planning to use water, it’s still important to lock the crown tightly to keep out the dirt.

STEP 2: Fill a bowl with mild soap and warm water

Fill a bowl with warm water and add a small dab of mild soap. If you don’t have a bowl, put a small dab of soap directly on the brush and work it up to lather while running your watch under the water. Please note that the soap should be ammonia-free, which causes discolouration.

STEP 3: Scrub your watch with a soft-bristled brush

Use a soft or extra-soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub the watch surface. The brush’s soft bristles will reach the tiny nooks and corners between lugs and bracelet links, and the warm water will remove dirt and debris stuck in them. Use a little pressure on the brush for deep cleaning. Ideally, the pressure should not push the bristles out to the sides.

STEP 4: Rinse the watch under warm water

Depending on how dirty your watch is, it may take a few rounds to scrub the watch. Once done, rinse your Rolex under warm water to wash away all the residues and soap. Rinse it thoroughly to ensure no soap remains on your timepiece, as residue can leave stains.

If you have a Rolex with a rotating bezel, like the GMT-Master, Submariner, or Sea-Dweller, consider rotating the bezel a few times while rinsing to ensure no soap is hiding under it.

Note: Don’t use your hands while rinsing as you don’t want to undo the hard work by leaving oil stains from your hand on the watch. It is best to rinse your watch while holding it at an angle as it ensures the water runs off the watch and doesn’t sit on it unnecessarily.

STEP 5: Dry it with a microfibre cloth

The final step of the cleaning process is to dry it off with a soft microfibre cloth. You must use a clean cloth free from polishing compounds or cleaning products. Using a microfibre cloth ensures that no hard fibres disrupt the natural finish of your beloved timepiece.

How to take care of your Rolex watch?

  • Wear your Rolex often

    Many consider keeping their Rolex watches in a drawer to safeguard them from the outside world, but unknowingly, they do more harm than good. A Rolex watch is something you should wear frequently and enjoy. Otherwise, what’s the point of owning one of the most luxurious watches in the world?

    Moreover, the Perpetual Rolex timepieces have a self-winding mechanism that functions through the subtle movements of your wrist or arm. So, leaving it off for too long will eventually put a halt and require you to reset it. Most Rolex models need to be worn every day to stay running. While letting your watch off the wrist won’t damage the movement, setting the date and time before you use it again can be inconvenient.

    • Clean your Rolex occasionally

    Only if you have a Rolex with a water-resistant Oyster case should you try cleaning the watch at home; otherwise, do not. Daily wear and tear can leave oil, dirt, and debris in the nooks, which can build up over time and interfere with the watch’s normal functioning. With that in mind, you should clean the Rolex occasionally to retain its lustre and ensure smooth functioning. (Refer to the above section to learn how to clean your Rolex at home.)

    Please note: vintage Rolex watches and Cellini models have cleaning methods different from those mentioned above. These cases aren’t water resistant, so it is best to take them to professionals for cleaning and protection.

    Adjust your Rolex date

    Every Rolex owner must possess the essential skills to change the date on Rolex. The process is relatively simple and can vary slightly depending on the Rolex model. Here’s what you’ve to do:

    • If applicable, unscrew the crown and pull it to the second position, which is usually where you can set the time.
    • Rotate the crown clockwise until the correct date shows in the date window.
    • Push and screw the crown back in (if applicable) to maintain water resistance.

    Please note: In some Rolex models, the date mechanism is engaged between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., so it’s best to avoid changing the date during those hours to prevent damage to the movement.

    • Don’t polish the watch yourself

    Some things should be left for the professionals, like polishing your watch. If your Rolex appears dull or is scratched after years of wear and use, take it to a certified watch repair centre to have the mark and blemishes removed and the surface polished to its original lustre.

    Many people don’t realise that polishing removes a fine layer of metal, and over-polishing can destroy the shape of the components and damage their function.

    Additionally, for a Rolex to be properly polished, the movement must be removed from the case, and various parts must be disassembled. This requires using specialised tools, which only a professional has access to. Even your local jeweller may not be able to polish it properly.

    So, if you’re concerned about scratches that appear due to regular usage, please contact a professional for the work to be done.

    • Feel free to wind your Rolex

    You can manually wind your watch through the winding crown unless you have an older Rolex model with a hand-wound movement. Moreover, like most automatic watches, Rolex watches have a built-in mechanism that prevents you from over-winding them, so you don’t have to worry about damaging them.

    3 steps to wind your Rolex watch manually:

    • Unscrew the winding crown completely until it is no longer secured to the side of the case.
    • Rotate the winding crown clockwise around 40 times until it naturally stops. Once the mainspring is fully wound, it won’t take any more tension.
    • After you finish winding the watch, screw the crown back to the case to protect it against dust and moisture and ensure water resistance.

    Please note: Winding your Rolex manually doesn’t ensure it will start running automatically. If your timepiece is still not running, consider gently rocking it back and forth to start the movement.

    Suppose the watch still doesn’t run after this. In that case, it is best to get it examined by a professional or authorised retailer who can diagnose the issue and determine whether any servicing, repairs, or maintenance are required.


    Rolex watches are some of the finest luxury watches available, and when properly taken care of, they last a lifetime and beyond. By following a few cleaning and maintenance steps, you can ensure that your Rolex stays in excellent condition and retains its value.

    Remember, a little attention to detail goes a long way in preserving the thing you cherish the most.

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