Beginners Guide to Watchmakers Polishing Cloths

Written by: Maz P
Updated on:

As a watchmaker or enthusiast, there is no doubt you agree that your timepieces should be well maintained and taken care of. There are so many different tools and accessories that align with this that you can invest in and add to your toolkit but watchmakers polishing cloths are one of the most affordable and fundamental additions.

A watchmaker’s polishing cloth will help to maintain the brilliance of your treasured timepieces whilst also being a compact item which you can carry with you to ensure your watch is always looking its best, even when you’re on the go. Watchmaker’s polishing cloths perform the same role but there are different varieties to choose from.

If you are yet to purchase your first watchmaker’s polishing cloth, you may be unsure of why exactly you need one and which to choose. Here at, we’re here to help you on your journey, even with the simpler side of things like adding a watchmaker’s polishing cloth to your toolkit.

What are Watchmakers Polishing Cloths?

Watchmakers polishing cloths are a special fabric treated with chemicals. It’s not like a regular cloth for cleaning dirt, this one has a polishing effect and is designed specifically for watchmaking or polishing fine metals. When you use it on your watch, it can help remove scratches and hairline marks that dull the appearance of your timepiece to make your watch shine again. It’s like giving your watch a makeover by restoring its beauty and luster.

Choosing the right cloth is important as different watches need different types whilst different cloths achieve different results. Using a polishing cloth is a simple but effective way to keep your watch looking its best and preserving its charm for years to come. It is a fundamental maintenance tool for preserving the aesthetic appearance of your timepieces.

Do I need Watchmakers Polishing Cloths?

In my personal opinion, every watchmaker needs a watch polishing cloth. However, this answer is definitely subject to opinion as it is not a critical tool but once you use one, it is likely you will never look back.

Whether or not you need a watch polishing cloth depends on your personal preferences and the condition of your watches. A watch polishing cloth is a useful tool for maintaining the appearance of your timepieces especially if you own watches with metal or polished surfaces that are prone to scratches and dullness over time.

If you want to keep your watches in pristine condition and minimize the appearance of scratches and minor imperfections, a watch polishing cloth can help. It provides a convenient and effective way to gently remove surface blemishes and restore the shine to your watches with a compact size that allows you to do this on the go.

Polishing cloths are a better alternative to an abrasive paste which some people use for polishing. Watchmaker’s polishing cloths are gentler and are less likely to remove metal from your watch. If you want to polish your watch without risking too much, a polishing cloth is a safer choice.

Ultimately, the decision to use a watch polishing cloth depends on your individual care preferences and the level of maintenance you want to invest in your watches. If preserving the polished appearance of your timepieces is important to you, a dedicated watch polishing cloth is a valuable addition to your watch care toolkit.

How to use a Watch Polishing Cloth

Before using a watch polishing cloth, it’s important to know that using different cloths achieve different results with many that are only effective on certain materials. It is important to understand whether you are using the right cloth for your watch surface. For example, one of the most common mistakes is using a polishing cloth onto a brush surface. Whilst this can get rid of scratches, it will also change the brushed look of your watch.

The polished parts of your watch are the easiest to polish. The cloth effectively removes scratches and minor imperfections by buffing the surface and re-polishing to revive the appearance. Brushed areas, however, are trickier. Brushed surfaces need the right tools for the brushed look and require knowledge and confidence.

If you are not at that stage in your watchmaking journey, I’d highly recommend leaving this task to professionals until you have reached that skill level. It is also recommended to start with a hidden part of your watch to see if you like how it looks after polishing before you do the rest. This is a top tip for every time you begin with a new type of polishing cloth.

Using the cloth is simple. You just need to gently rub it back and forth on the watch to lightly buff the scratch or imperfection. If your watch has bigger scratches, you might need to press a bit harder or rub for a little longer.

Once you have finished, simply wipe away any residue and check if you like how it looks. If you still see scratches or are not completely happy with the result, just repeat.

If you want to protect the brushed parts of your watch, you can put tape on those parts so you don’t accidentally polish them with the cloth. Using a watchmaker’s polishing cloth is incredibly straightforward and is one step in your watchmaking that has beautiful results.

Types of Watchmakers Polishing Cloths

Whilst watchmakers polishing cloths all have the same purpose, not all are created equal and the performance and end result achieved is completely different. It is therefore important to research into different cloths and also maybe experiment to discover which cloth you prefer.

Cape Cod Polishing Cloths

Cape Cod watchmakers polishing cloths rank as the top choice amongst watchmakers. Designed for polishing metal rather than watches specifically, their widespread popularity is down to their exceptional performance in effectively polishing watches.

These specialized cloths have a slightly moist texture which allows them to efficiently polish various metal types. These cloths also have a delightful vanilla fragrance and leave behind an anti-tarnish finish on the polished areas of your watch. Plus, Cape Cod polishing cloths are reusable and therefore offer great value for money.

Cape Cod Polishing Cloths Variety Bundle Cape Cod Polishing Cloths Variety Bundle
  • 4x6 Polishing Cloths (6)
  • 12x12 Buffing Cloth (12)
  • Pair of Nitrile Gloves
  • Horsehair Detail Brush
  • Foil Pack of 2
Pieces in Set: 21
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Blitz Premium 2-Jewelry and Watch Polishing Cloths

Key Features:

  • 3 Levels of Cleaning: This premium jewelry care cloth is designed to clean, shine, and protect gold, silver, and platinum jewelry. It’s a comprehensive solution that ensures your precious pieces look their best.
  • Made in the USA: Since 1912, Blitz has been manufacturing high-quality polishing cloths in the USA. Trust in their expertise and commitment to excellence.
  • Nontoxic and Eco-Friendly: Crafted from 100% cotton flannel and treated with the finest green ingredients, Blitz cloths contain no harsh chemicals or abrasives. It’s safe for both your jewelry and the environment.
  • Extra Large Size: Blitz generously sized cloths allow you to clean even larger pieces of jewelry conveniently.
  • Multiple Uses: Not just for jewelry and watches! Safely polish coins, fine metal musical instruments, and other lightly tarnished household metals.

Connoisseur Polishing Cloths

Connoisseur is another option for watchmakers polishing cloths. These cloths are versatile and suitable for cleaning and polishing all types of watches. Whether your watch is made of gold, platinum, silver or steel, these cloths are compatible.

What sets the Connoisseur cloths apart is their dual-cloth approach. The inner cloth effectively removes dirt and tarnish from your watch’s surface. Once the cleaning is done, the outer cloth steps in to brilliantly buff and polish your watch, removing scratches and achieving an impressive luster. This distinctive two-step process achieves great results and makes Connoisseur’s polishing cloths a leading choice for your watchmaking toolkit.

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Watchmakers Polishing Cloths FAQ

There are several different options for polishing a watch including abrasive pastes and watchmakers polishing cloths. Watchmaker’s polishing cloths certainly have an advantage as they are more delicate and gentle on the watch surface. Whilst it is completely up to personal preference, polishing cloths are a safer and more convenient alternative.

The best cloth to polish watches is subject to opinion. Every watchmaker has different preferences and you may find that the most popular cloths are not the one for you. Finding the best cloth to polish watches is highly unique and you may need to go through a little trial and error to find the type you’re happy with.

Yes, you can use a polishing cloth on a Rolex. For Rolex watches, Cape Cod polishing cloths are the most popular as they achieve great results on timepieces from this brand. However, if you do not feel comfortable or skilled enough to polish a Rolex with confidence, it is best to leave it to professionals for peace of mind.

There are many recommendations across the internet advising to use toothpaste as a low-cost alternative for watch polishing. As toothpaste is an abrasive, it can technically perform this role but I would not recommend it. Toothpaste is not designed for polishing watches and the hardness level of the abrasive could damage your watch’s appearance. It is advised to use either a watchmaker’s abrasive paste or a watchmaker’s polishing cloth for this task.

If you think I’ve missed anything or have anything to add, please comment below.


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I started WatchmakingTools to share my passion and knowledge with those already bitten by the watchmaking bug. I’ve often spent hours searching online for answers on a specific issue, and even though there is a wealth of information out there, it hasn’t always been very useful, hence why I wanted to share my own findings.

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