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Cleaning your wristwatch (with videos)

Crown and buttons

If dirt builds up around the crown and buttons, you may no longer be able to operate your watch. Soiling of this sort can be avoided by taking care to keep your watch clean and taking steps such as habitually turning the crown or pressing the buttons. As mentioned in the video below showing how to clean your watch case, we recommend that you clean the crown and buttons whenever you clean the case.


Because your watchstrap is always in contact with your skin, it can become badly soiled with sweat and dust. Cleaning is essential to keep the watchstrap clean. The cleaning method used differs depending on what your watchstrap is made of.

Cleaning video for metal watchstraps

Metal watchstraps

Continuing to use dirty metal watchstraps can lead to rusting. When coupled both with dirt and sweat, rusting can seep out onto clothing and cause staining around the cuff as well as problems such as skin rashes.

Sweat on the watchstrap should wiped off with a soft absorbent cloth. To remove particularly heavy soiling, wash the watchstrap with soapy water using a soft toothbrush or similar tool. However, wrap the watch case in plastic cling wrap or a similar protective material to keep water away from the case, and dry the watch thoroughly after washing. If the watch will not be used for a long period, wipe any sweat or dirt off the watchstrap and place the watch in a well-ventilated spot. Do not place the watch in a sealed container.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is a type of steel that contains chrome and nickel to deter rust. The chrome bonds with oxygen in the air and forms a thin film on the surface of the steel, which protects it against rust. However, this does not mean that stainless steel never rusts. Exposure to contaminants such as sweat and dirt can break down this film and lead to rusting.

Cleaning video for leather and rubber watchstraps

Leather watchstraps

Because leather watchstraps use natural materials, some changes over time are unavoidable, such as abrasion, deformation, and discoloration. Be aware that you will need to replace the watchstrap at regular intervals. When putting on your watch, leave the watchstrap slightly loose to allow good ventilation around the strap.

If the watchstrap gets wet or sweaty, quickly wipe off the moisture by wiping the watchstrap gently with a soft dry cloth.

If you get a skin rash or similar irritation, immediately stop using the watch and consider replacing the watchstrap with a different material (metal, rubber, etc.).

Take care to avoid contact between the watchstrap and volatile chemicals, bleach and substances that contain alcohol (cosmetics, detergents, etc.). Contact with such materials can cause fading, discoloration or premature aging. Note also that direct sunlight and other sources of strong ultraviolet radiation can also cause discoloration and deformation.

Rubber watchstraps

Rubber watchstraps can be washed in water provided that the watch case is protected from exposure to water. However, it may be impossible to remove discoloration (color transfer) caused by contact with dirt and dyes in clothing or other sources. You should avoid using the watch with items such as clothing or bags that are likely to transfer color to the watchstrap.

By its nature, rubber can deteriorate (hydrolyze) due to contact with solvents or airborne moisture. If your watchstrap loses its elasticity, cracks or otherwise deteriorates, consider replacing it.


Because the case is always in contact with your skin, it also can become very soiled with dust and sweat. Cleaning is essential to keep the watch case clean.

Cleaning video for metal cases

Caution: To remove dirt using running water as shown in this video, your wristwatch must have a water resistance of at least 5 bars (“W.R.5BAR”, etc.).

Metal cases

Continuing to use a dirty metal case can lead to rusting. When coupled both with dirt and sweat, rusting can seep out onto clothing and cause staining around the cuff as well as problems such as skin rashes. Sweat on the case should wiped off with a soft absorbent cloth.

Plastic cases

Some watches use plastic as the material for the case. Such watches bear the “RN”, “PLASTICS”, or “SS-RN” marking on the case back.

Note the following precautions when using your watch.

Avoid proximity to the following materials: Chemicals such as flammable gasoline, benzine, thinners, alcohol, cosmetics and similar liquid sprays, nail polish, nail polish remover, adhesives and paints: Contact with the watch can case discoloration, deterioration or other damage to the case and watchstrap.

Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and ultraviolet light: Doing so can cause changes to surface colors.

Do not expose to water, and if moistened, immediately wipe dry:Leaving moisture on the watch can cause the color to fade or be transferred onto other objects.

Do not rub too strongly:Doing so can not only damage the watch, it could cause the color to fade or be transferred onto other objects.

LCD panel

The expected lifespan of the LCD panel used in your watch is roughly 8 years (around 70,000 hours). As the panel nears the end of its life, the numbers and letters may become indistinct and difficult to read. Using the watch in excessively hot or cold environments may further shorten the lifespan of the LCD panel. Use your watch appropriately, bearing in mind the characteristics of its LCD panel.

Darkens at high temperatures

At temperatures above 60ºC, the LCD panel may briefly turn completely black. This is a phenomenon that occurs when the panel’s liquid crystal, which is in an intermediate state between liquid and its original solid state, changes to a fully liquid state. Once the temperature cools down to a normal level, the panel reverts to a liquid crystal state and the original display reappears.

Becomes sluggish at low temperatures

At temperatures of 0ºC and below, the LCD panel may be sluggish when displaying seconds, etc. This does not indicate a defect but is a result of slower responses due to the increased viscosity of the liquid crystal. The display will again operate normally once the temperature warms up to normal levels.

When the display becomes hard to read

Before deciding that the LCD panel has reached the end of its life, try the following:

Replace the battery (non-chargeable watches): The display may become hard to read if the battery has run low and is not providing enough power.

Request repairs:If you replace the battery and the display is still hard to read, the cause may still be something other than the LCD panel, such as a battery contact defect.

If it is clear that the LCD panel has reached the end of its life, the panel can be replaced provided it is still within the parts retention period.