How to remove scratches from stainless steel watches?

Last Update:

It is disheartening to see your favorite watch having scratches, yet it is unavoidable. One option available for removing these scratches is to get it polished by a professional watchmaker. But there are a number of ways to remove scratches from the stainless steel of a watch at home by yourself. Also, it is important that the value of the watch is not lessened.

Stainless Steel Watches

Different Options for Removing Scratches from Stainless Steel

Jeweler’s Cloth:

Jeweler’s Cloth

A jeweler’s cloth removes scratches from polished surfaces. The jeweler’s cloth is made of double cloth. The inner one is infused with a red polishing powder. The outer cloth protects the hands from getting dirty from the red color of the polish. Jeweler’s cloth is most suitable for removing fine scratches. Also, a jewelers cloth is used for removing fine scratches from polished stainless steel and brushed stainless steel.

Carnauba Wax Polish:

Carnauba Wax Polish

This polish is usually used for polishing cars for removing scratches. But this same wax polish can also be used for removing scratches from your stainless steel watch. One important consideration while using this polish is that it needs to be applied with soft cotton fabric because using a piece of cloth will leave marks on the watch.The method of removing scratches with this wax is very simple. Apply the wax to the fabric .Just rub the wax on the area from where you want to remove the scratches. After rubbing for a few minutes, the scratches would disappear. However, the parts of the watch on which this should not be applied. Do not apply if the watch top is made of matte or textured finish as it might remove the text. For removing scratches on the textured part, professional help should be acquired.

Nail Buffer: 

Nail Buffer

Easily available in any departmental store, available in different kinds. The method for using this nail buffer is very simple. Rub the nail buffer in one pattern, either upwards or downwards. This will give the stainless steel of your bracelet a brushed finishing. It can be done for 10 minutes or more. For deeper scratches, more time will be required.

Scotch Brite: 

Scotch Brite

Find a fine quality, rub in one direction, put pressure, go in one direction for a nice finish, not for deeper scratches, doing it persistently for 5 to 10 minutes, can be applied on the entire bracelet, plenty of pressure is required

Rotary tool: 

Rotary Tool

The rotary tool is another way for removing scratches from stainless steel. Use a clamp to hold the rotary tool to fix the rotary tool into a clamp. Two abrasive wheels made of soft flexible rubbers are used for this process. The abrasives used for this purpose are rubberized wheels that are impregnated with Aluminium oxide. One out of the two wheels is rough and the other is much softer. Fix the abrasive in the rotatory tool which is held by a clamp. For this purpose use the rough abrasive first. This helps to remove the deeper scratches first. Move the wheel along the stainless steel of the watch. This will remove all the scratches from it. Then change the abrasive and put a soft one in place of the rough abrasive. Lastly, scratch the stainless steel with a Scotch Brite for better finishing. 

Some Important Considerations before Polishing a Stainless Steel Watch

  • Before attempting to remove the scratches, it is important to determine the kind of finishing your watch metal has. Different metals can have different finishings such as polished, brushed, and matte. You can not make the mistake of polishing a matte finishing with that of a brushed one. Determining the finishing of the watch helps to avoid such goof-ups with the watch. 
  • Polishing needs to be done with care because polish removes scratched metal and the use of more than required polish can end up eating up too much metal which is not desired.

Photo of author


Hey, all you watch lovers out there. I am Ben Pearson. My love for watches developed when my grandfather first gifted me his Rolex watch. I have kept that watch with me for over 20 years. And there are many others in the collection. My keen interest in watches has led me to have my collection. My love for watches is not just a hobby. I have studied watchmaking, and today I work in a watchmaking company. Now, I m here to share my knowledge about watches with other watch lovers.