Article By: Logan Hannen
What is up, watchfam?! Today, we’re going to tackle a question I’ve seen quite a lot, especially in vintage circles: should I polish my watch?
First, it might help to define what exactly we mean by “polish.” In this context, we’re specifically referring to the act of removing scratches and dings from surface of the watch’s case, bracelet, bezel, and lugs. This isn’t merely taking a rag and some cleaner to the surface in an effort to make it shiny again; no, this is the act of physically removing portions of the metal finish which does, by extension, degrade the integrity of the piece.
That sounds super doom and gloom, I know, but still, there are some who wholeheartedly support the notion of polishing your timepiece. Generally, these are the individuals who have purchased a watch pre-owned or vintage, and want to remove the scratches and dings so that, when future scrapes and bumps do happen, all of them will be that owner’s, not those of the previous one. It’s a weird kind of thing that I do completely understand. Each scratch tells a story, and it’s so much more meaningful when all of those stories are your own. That being said, it may not be that simple.
As I mentioned before, polishing does remove layers of metal from the case (or whatever part of the watch you’re polishing). Repeatedly doing this over time, as some do, can wear away the case to practically nothing. I’ve even hear stories of lugs being so overly polished that they eventually just snapped clean off (I imagine this is an extreme case, but it’s still something to think about). But even if that worst case scenario isn’t common, polishing can still drastically effect the value of a watch, particularly if its vintage.
Something else to keep in mind is that some service centers will do this instinctively as part of routine service. If you don’t want your watch polished, be sure to specify that in your service order.
Now, there is a ton more to this topic than we could reasonably cover here, so I recommend you check out this blog post by Bernard Watch Co. who go into far more details about the different aspects of polishing. Hopefully that gets you started, though, in determining whether you think polishing is something you’d be okay with doing. If you’re going to, though, just remember to keep it classy, watchfam.