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Watch Review

Ultrasonic Cleaners and You

Paul Altieri

ultrasonic cleaners and you

Like most watch lovers, I have my rituals. Whenever I get a new piece, I grab my old soft toothbrush and go to work with some soap and water. I do the same thing once a month thereafter because I like my watches to sparkle, and if I’m not lying I just like doing it. It gives me a chance to appreciate all the edges, bevels and all the special details we grow to love.
However, I recently bought two pieces that have introduced a whole new level of concern, the dreaded ‘bracelet stretch’. The vintage ‘President’ and Jubiliee bracelets are prone to this malady, and I now own both. I’m lucky in that my particular Day Date has a very tight bracelet…but for how long?


After doing some research, it seemed that wearing the bracelet too tight or too loose didn’t matter. Keeping it on a winder didn’t matter either. What mattered was keeping the bracelet very very clean. Enter ultrasonic cleaners, everyone was talking about them. I jumped on Amazon and picked up this reasonably priced Ultrasonic cleaner. So far, I’m having a blast with it, and the particular one I got came with a nice cloth and gentle cleaning solution.

Ultrasonic cleaning basically works by vibrating a pool of water with an object in it. The vibrations create tiny bubbles that glom onto small particulates of dirt and debris and pull them off. Jewelry stores often offer jewelry cleaning, using the same appliance, for $30 per session. Well for basically the same price, an ultrasonic cleaner can be yours to use whenever you want.

The rules of ultrasonic cleaning when it comes to watches seem to be:


Because of the cleaning process two things can apparently happen. First, the vibrations can push bubbles past the seals and gaskets and second, the frequency of the vibration can mess with the frequency of the balance spring. The kit I bought has a special watch stand that holds the head above the water while draping the bracelet into the cleaning bath below.

1675 getting a bath for its Jubiliee bracelet.

1675 getting a bath for its Jubilee bracelet.

Notice that the water line is below where the bottom of the head is.

Notice that the water line is below where the bottom of the head is.

Since I love to tinker with all new gadgets, I’ve tried it out on lots of other things too and it really works a charm, such a great investment. I’ve also enjoyed using the cleaning products that Varaet makes, and may post about them someday, but for now, I’ll leave you with my sparkly clean GMT Master

Paul Altieri