Scratches on your stainless steel watch’s case shatter the heart, and you can almost feel the pain of the scratches, especially if you spent a good fortune on the watches. The good news, however, is that you don’t have to let that pain linger and reawaken every time you look at your watch.
Thanks to watch enthusiasts that have suffered before you, you can get rid of the scratches at ease, and from home if you are dealing with small and superficial scratches. We say this because if yours is an expensive watch with deep gouges, perhaps from scratching the watch against concrete or other hard surfaces, it will be wise that you get the watch professional.
Therefore, the recommendations below are ideal for the removal of light to moderate scratches.
How to remove scratches from stainless steel watch cases?
Before we look at some of the effective methods for removing scratches from your stainless steel watch’s case, what causes the scratches?
Well, the scratches on your watch’s case could be caused by different things ranging from normal wear and tear to accidental scuffs that occur if your watch rubs against a rough surface, for example, concrete. The scratches might also result if you scratch your watch against metal.
Depending on the cause of the scratch, the scratches might be light and more superficial or deep.
If you love this topic, you can read this post: How to Remove Tarnish from Stainless Steel Jewelry
How to remove the Scratches step by step?
In this article, we look at some of the most effective scratch removal solutions for your watch’s case.
Method 1 – Carnauba Wax Polish
For the longest time, carnauba wax has been used to wax and remove scratches from cars’ metal surfaces. As a result, it doesn’t come as a surprise to see that you can use the same product to remove scratches from your stainless steel watch case.
In this method, you’ll need your car polish carnauba wax and soft cotton fabric. For the fabric, you could either use a microfiber piece of fabric or facial cotton wipes; but you should never use a piece of cloth when cleaning your watch with carnauba wax because it will leave marks and it might even worsen the scratching.
Now that you have everything you need to clean your watch and remove the scratches let’s jump right into it.
First, secure the worktop with a soft cloth or fabric to protect the watch from unnecessary damage or more scratches.
Apply a little wax on the facial cotton fabric. For the best result, ensure that the wax is not all dried out, it should be a little soft.
Next, rub the wax on the areas of the case with scratches, along the grain, gently. As you gently rub/ buff the fabric on the watch, you will notice that the white piece of cloth turns black. Don’t be frightened by this. The dark color means that the wax is doing the intended job, eating off the metals, and removing the scratches in the process. Keep buffing for a few minutes, say 5 minutes. After 5-10 minutes (could be more if the scratches are deeper), you will notice that the scratches start disappearing. You can buff a little longer if the scratches take time to disappear.
It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t buff all the areas of your watch. It’s okay to buff off the areas with the glossy finish, however, if the top of the watch has a matte or textured finish, do not buff. Polishing will affect/ cut off that beautiful texture/ engravings. So, if there is scratching on the textured part of the watch, you should take the watch to a professional watch restorer.
Method 2 – Polishing
Besides using car carnauba wax to remove the scratches from your watch, you could also try polishing. Just be careful not to over polish the watch’s case because every time you polish it you are removing/ eating away at the metal and you might end up removing too much metal.
In this method on stainless steel polishing, you will learn how to remove the scratches gently without affecting the integrity of the metal.
- Buffs (satin and muslin buffs – two each)
- An abrasive compound
- Polishing compound/ rouge
- A tape
- Rouge polishing cloth
- Finger cots/ gloves
- Polishing motor
- Cleaning solution
7 Steps You Need to Know
To get started, ready your polishing motor and then place the muslin buffs on your spindles as the motor runs. Set your motor’s speed to medium
Apply the polishing compound on the buff by applying gently. You might want only to apply a small amount of compound to start out with. Be careful not to put too much of the polishing compound. And you can always add some of the compound afterward, if necessary.
For your safety, you might need to wear safety glasses or even finger cots when buffing. A dust collector also comes in handy as it will collect extra debris.
- Since this polishing process focuses on the deeper scratches, you will be polishing over the glossy and the brushed areas of your watch. To do this, ensure that you are working with medium motor speed/ pressure and then start buffing. When buffing, keep the motor running along the grain and not against it. Also, the watch should be moving as you buff because doing this prevents excess distortion and wear. At the same time, you shouldn’t hold the polish on one are for long – keep the buffing motions even throughout.
- For sharp edges and flat surfaces, use a hard felt wheel. And for the back of your watch’s case, polishing should be done in light motions using a rouge polishing cloth. The cloth will not, however, remove the deep scratches without removing much of the metal and the engraving. So, if you have to get rid of deep scratches, you might want to take the watch to a professional for laser welding. Just be ready to spend good a bit more money than you intended.
- The other thing you should know is that if yours is a two-toned stainless steel watch or a stainless steel watch with gold plating, you will have to polish these areas separately. Should you choose to polish the watch as a whole, use a light buff and a rouge polish instead of the motor for the plated areas to protect the gold plating.
- Important: When polishing the case, you must be extra careful not to polish the crown or the chronograph buttons directly. Doing this will keep intact the knurled grip, patterns, and the logo, while also preventing breakage from the polishing motor’s pressure. In this case, a 3M radial disk is recommended when using the flex shaft machine, polishing in and around the case.
- If you are trying to remove scratches from a high-end watch, we recommend disassembling your watch – remove the gaskets, movement, buttons, glass, and don’t forget to detach the strap.
- After polishing, clean your watch to get rid of any and all compound residue. Failure to clean the watch after polishing could result in the contamination of the next polishing wheel you use, even making it abrasive – you don’t want any abrasive material near your watch. For cleaning, make use of a gentle cleaning solution and scrub off any residue using a soft-bristled brush. To ensure that you clean it well, dry the watch using a soft and dry lint-free cloth.
- For extra sparkle, you could use a polishing compound then clean it using a cleaning solution.
When removing scratches from your watch’s case, you need to pay attention to the delicate parts. So, while you can polish most parts of the case, you should use a rouge polishing cloth around the chronograph buttons and the crown. Also, make use of high-quality and safe materials/ tools for the desired sparkle. But if yours is a high-end watch, get it to a professional.
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Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.