Brushed Vs. Polished Stainless Steel Watch(Who Wins?)

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Should you polish your stainless steel watch? Is brushed stainless steel watch a preferable option to the polished watch finish?

Will polishing the watch lower the value of the watch?

These are just some of the common questions that come to mind when it comes to stainless steel watches, especially when it comes down to maintaining the value of the watch.

Is brushing or polishing suitable for protecting the stainless steel watch from getting oxidized?

Keep reading to find some of the answers to these questions.

But before we do, it’s important to remember that the finish that goes on the stainless steel watch is a crucial design element that ensures its use in various applications.


What is a brushed stainless steel watch?

A brushed stainless steel watch is a watch with a rather dull finish as a result of friction.

For the brushed finish, the stainless steel is polished using a fine-bristled brushed set on a belt or on a wheel that moves in the same direction throughout the duration of the brushing. Thanks to the brushing, the matte sheen leaves a dull finish.

So, even though the brushed stainless steel watch loses its light reflectivity, it retains that dull, matte sheen while retaining its luster.

Brushing the stainless steel watch also means that the steel surface contains fine lines that move in the direction of the brushing, hence that distinct look.


What is a polished stainless steel watch?

The polished stainless steel watches refer to the stainless steel watches that undergo a hardening treatment that offers the stainless steel’s high-impact resistance, retaining that nice, polished surface.

It is a signature stainless steel coating that gives the watch its extreme toughness and hardness, as well as its high-impact fatigue resistance and the subsequent good wear.

Regarding the polished finish, the stainless steel watch can have a satin or a grained finish or a mirror/ brightened polish.

Brushed Vs. Polished Stainless Steel Watch

Polishing is important because it improves the appearance and the consistency of the watch while also helping in the fabrication, blending, and repair of the stainless steel after welding, masking off the minor damages while also making cleaning easy.

You could, therefore, think of polishing as the process of removing dings or scratches from the surface of your watch. It involves the physical removal of some portions of the metal finish, and it will, unfortunately, degrade the watch’s integrity.


Pros & Cons of Brushed Stainless Steel Watch

Brushed Vs Polished Stainless Steel Watch


  • Nice, rugged, sporty finish
  • Excellent luster
  • Beautiful and not too shiny
  • It lasts longer, with no need for regular polishing
  • An easy way of highlighting the different or specific parts of the watch


  • It may stain


Pros & cons of polished stainless steel watch

Brushed Vs Polished Stainless Steel Watch


  • Nice mirror-like shine
  • Good reflectivity against light
  • Nice, satin finish
  • Long-stroke construction pattern for that nice polished look


  • The polishing degrades the quality of the stainless steel watch over time.
  • Requires constant cleaning



Why do People Prefer a Brushed finish versus a Polished Case?

Brushed Vs Polished Stainless Steel Watch

The first reason why most people opt for the brushed-finish stainless steel watches rather than the polished cases has to do with the fact that the polished look of the watch gets dirty easily, and you’d have to wipe it down once or every two days.

Besides scratches, the polished stainless steel is a total magnet for dirt, smudges, hairline scratches, and grime. You also have to deal with the visible fingerprints.

The polished case for the stainless steel watch is also preferable because the polished look shows a lot more scratches, which means that the scratches draw more attention to the watch. On the other hand, the scratches don’t really show up easily on the brushed finish stainless steel watches.

Then there is the fact that the polished stainless steel cases are more common with the dress watches.

Brushed Vs. Polished Stainless Steel Watch

And since more people like the tool or the divers watches, the polished, bright watches aren’t a preferable option for most people. The tool or diver watches often come with no or little polish, and they are mostly brushed.

The other winning characteristic of the brushed finish stainless steel watches is that the brushed-finish watches tend to be a lot less blingy, and in case of scratches, you can correct them easily.

Regarding fashion tastes, it’s a lot easier for you to dress up the brushed stainless steel watch cases than the polished case.

And because of the common blueprints that show up on the highly polished stainless steel watches, they aren’t ideal for daily wear, well, unless you are going for the dress watch look. The brushed stainless steel case has a sport or a more rugged finish, a preferable look for most men.

Brushed Vs. Polished Stainless Steel Watch

You could also argue that some of the polished, shiny stainless steel watches are cheap or cheap-looking, and they might not work for you if you are going for that nice, elegant look. The fake chrome or plated-chrome looks a little fake, and most people prefer the mixed brushed-polished look for a nice finish.

Finally, there is the fact that the brushed stainless steel watch gives you the option of refinishing that brushed look by yourself using the 600 wet sandpaper or even the automotive rubbing compound, hence that nice finish. You cannot do the same with a polished stainless steel watch, which scratches easily. 

Polishing is only possible using professional equipment, and you’d have to service that watch after every 4-7 years – this is hardly the case with the brushed finish watches.



The brushed stainless steel is preferable to the shiny polished stainless steel, and though the watch may be made of genuine, high-quality stainless steel, polishing a vintage stainless steel watch, for example, could degrade the quality and value of the watch, and the watch’s silhouette won’t be the same again.

The scratches are less visible on the brushed watch, and dirt, smudges, or fingerprints will not show off on the watch easily, as would be the case with the shiny polished stainless steel watches.

Since the brushed or the satin stainless steel finishes are pretty much formed from uniform scratches, removal of the scratches would be pretty much refinishing the metal. The brushed finish could be coarse or fine, subtle or deep.

So, with these differences in mind, the brushed finish stainless steel watches are often preferable to the polished shiny watches.

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