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Watch Polishing Process Revealed

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The article titled “Watch Polishing Process Revealed” provides an in-depth look into the professional process of watch polishing. The author, Watch Eric, shares his own experience with having his AP Royal Oak watch polished and emphasizes the importance of finding the right watchmaker for such delicate work. With over 50 years of experience, Eric’s trusted friend, located in Miami, ensures that the proper steps are taken to achieve a flawless watch refinish. The article aims to shed light on the intricate steps involved in the polishing process that many overlook, and presents a video showcasing each stage, from disassembling the watch to reassembly and final testing.

Having your watch polished can be a nerve-wracking experience if you don’t have the right expert to handle it. Watch Eric, the author, shares his personal perspective as a watch enthusiast and emphasizes the significance of choosing a competent and experienced watchmaker. This article is a valuable resource for those looking to understand the detailed process behind achieving a pristine watch refinish, and it provides a video that visually captures each step for a better understanding.

Watch Polishing Process Revealed

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In the world of luxury watches, attention to detail and craftsmanship are paramount. One aspect of watch maintenance that often goes unnoticed by the average watch owner is the process of watch polishing. A watch may lose its shine and develop scratches over time, but with the right watchmaker, it can be restored to its former glory. In this article, we will delve into the various steps involved in the watch polishing process, shedding light on the meticulous techniques employed by skilled watchmakers.

Choosing the Right Watchmaker

Choosing the right watchmaker for your precious timepiece is a critical step in ensuring a successful polishing process. The watchmaker should ideally have specialized experience in watch polishing and should be well-versed in handling different brands and models. Look for watchmakers who have a reputation for excellence and who use state-of-the-art equipment. Additionally, it is essential to find a watchmaker who understands the unique characteristics and requirements of your watch.

The Importance of Experience

Experience is a vital factor when it comes to watch polishing. A skilled watchmaker with years of experience will have developed an acute sense of touch and an eye for detail. They will know how to approach each individual case, bracelet, and dial, taking into account the specific materials used and the watch’s overall design. Experience allows them to understand the intricacies of different polishing techniques and determine the appropriate level of pressure and time required for each task.

The Steps in Watch Polishing

The watch polishing process consists of several steps that vary depending on the type of watch and the desired outcome. Let’s explore each step in detail.

Machine Lap & Polish

The initial stage in watch polishing involves using specialized machines to lap and polish the watch case and bracelet. Lapping is the process of removing scratches and imperfections from the surface of the watch using abrasive materials. The watchmaker carefully selects the appropriate abrasives, such as diamond paste or emery cloth, to ensure precision and efficiency. Once the lapping process is complete, the watch is polished using polishing compounds, leaving the surface smooth and gleaming.

Cleaning & Steaming

After the machine lap and polish, the watch undergoes a thorough cleaning to remove any traces of abrasive materials or polishing compounds. Ultrasonic cleaning machines are often used, utilizing high-frequency sound waves to dislodge dirt and grime from hard-to-reach areas. Once cleaned, the watch is steamed to remove any remaining particles and to restore its luster.

Taping Polished Areas

To protect the polished surfaces from potential damage during subsequent polishing stages, the watchmaker carefully applies tape to cover them. This ensures that only the desired areas are subject to further polishing, preventing accidental scratches or inconsistencies.

Watch Polishing Process Revealed

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Satin Finishing

Satin finishing is a technique commonly used in watch polishing to achieve a distinctive brushed effect on metal surfaces. It involves the application of abrasives, such as abrasive pads or brushes, to create parallel lines or circular patterns on the watch case or bracelet. The watchmaker carefully controls the pressure and direction of the abrasives to create the desired satin finish, adding texture and sophistication to the watch.

Hand Satin Technique

In some cases, particularly with high-end luxury watches, an additional level of refinement is required. The hand satin technique involves manually creating delicate satin finishes on intricate details, such as the edges of the case or the links of the bracelet. This meticulous and time-consuming process requires exceptional skill and precision, and only experienced watchmakers can execute it flawlessly.

Machine Turning for Satin

For watches with complex designs or patterns, machine turning can be employed to create a satin finish. This technique utilizes a specialized machine that rotates the watch case or bracelet against abrasive brushes or wheels. The machine turning process is carefully calibrated to achieve consistent and precise satin finishes on intricate surfaces.


After the various polishing stages, the watchmaker meticulously reassembles the watch, ensuring that each component is properly aligned and secured. This process involves delicately handling the movement, hands, dial, and other interior components, ensuring that they are correctly positioned and functioning flawlessly.

Crown Reinsertion

The crown of the watch, which allows for winding and setting the time, is carefully reinserted, ensuring a proper fit and smooth operation. The crown is a crucial component of the watch, and the watchmaker must ensure that it is aligned correctly and functions seamlessly.

Bezel Screw Down

For watches with rotating bezels, the watchmaker ensures that the bezel is securely tightened and rotates smoothly. This is essential for dive watches and chronographs, where the bezel plays a vital role in tracking elapsed time.

Water Pressure Test

To ensure the watch’s water resistance, it undergoes a rigorous water pressure test. The watchmaker places the watch in a specialized pressurized chamber and subjects it to increasing levels of water pressure. This test ensures that the watch can withstand the intended water resistance rating, giving the owner peace of mind in various environments.

Bracelet Assembly

If the watch has a bracelet, the watchmaker carefully assembles it, ensuring that each link is properly connected and aligned. Bracelet assembly requires attention to detail and precision to create a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing fit.

Watch Completion

Once the watch has undergone all the necessary polishing, cleaning, and assembly steps, it is meticulously inspected to ensure that it meets the highest standards of craftsmanship. The watchmaker will examine every detail, ensuring that the movement is accurate, the aesthetics are flawless, and the timepiece is ready to be returned to its owner.


The watch polishing process is an art form that requires skill, experience, and a deep understanding of the intricacies of luxury watches. Choosing the right watchmaker is crucial in achieving the desired results and preserving the integrity of your timepiece. From machine lapping and polishing to hand satin techniques, each step is performed with precision and care. By entrusting your watch to a skilled watchmaker, you can be confident that your cherished timepiece will be restored to its former brilliance, allowing you to continue enjoying it for years to come.

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