How Much Does it Cost to Polish a Watch?

Do you want to get your watch a fresh look with a polish? A polish from a certified Rolex dealer will cost you more than a polish at your local jeweller.

But how much does it actually cost to polish a watch?

Before you read about the costs of polishing a watch, you first want to know the pros and cons of polishing a watch.

The article “Should you polish your watch?” discussed the arguments for and against polishing watches.

If, after reading this article, you still want to polish your watch back to a shine, you are probably interested in how much it will cost.

The answer to our question is wide, and polishing a watch can cost anywhere from $50 to $500.

The answer to the question of why this is so is not simple because it depends on several factors, such as:

  • Is it a luxury watch or not?
  • What kind of metal is it made of?
  • Do you leave the polishing to an officially registered service centre, or do you trust an independent watchmaker recommended by a friend?

In this article, I will also give you the answer to the following questions:

  • How thoroughly does the watch need to be polished?
  • Does the whole watch need to be polished or just a part?

But first, let us talk about the price.

Price

As I said in the introduction, the price depends on several factors; first of all, whether it is a luxury watch or a watch from a relatively low price category, and then it is essential what metal the case or the bracelet of the watch is made of.

I did a little research and found that the price range is very wide, and polishing a watch can cost anywhere from $50 to $500.

Of course, a luxury watch has a high price tag, so the cost of polishing, maintenance and other procedures should be higher than non-luxury brands.

However, the previous research revealed another criterion that affects the price that I had not thought of before, namely that the price also depends on the geographical location, i.e. the country where you live.

For example, in officially registered Rolex services, light polishing costs $270 in Dubai, and $150 in New York, while it is free in Toronto; imagine that.

Registered service centres will usually give you a discount on polishing if you have the watch serviced at the same service centre, and polishing is often included in the price of the service.

A full regular service, including a light polish, will cost around $600-700.

As I said, I compared the cost of polishing Rolex watches in different parts of the world for research purposes.

The price is similar for other luxury brands, and you can assume that the price of polishing cheaper brands is many times lower.

Also, I have given the prices of registered service centres.

Unofficial services will undoubtedly charge you less for this service, but it does not mean that you will get lower quality.

You need to find a good and reliable watchmaker.

Another important factor is the material the watch is made of.

Stainless steel is the most common material we come across in watchmaking, and due to its hardness, it is also the easiest to polish.

Polishing is not recommended for watches with gold plating because polishing removes the surface layer of the metal, which means that the gold plating is removed, and the base metal, such as stainless steel, comes to the surface.

Gold is a very soft metal that is very easy to polish to a high shine.

With gold, the watchmaker tries to remove as little material as possible so as not to devalue the piece, so heavily scratched gold generally cannot be fully restored.

Only used on the highest-end watches, platinum is harder than gold, but the same polishing techniques apply.

Due to its specific features, polishing watches made of the above materials is generally more expensive than polishing a stainless steel watch.

Light Polishing or Full Polishing?

In the article’s previous part, I mentioned the term light polishing several times.

This process, also known as brightening, is an excellent compromise between aesthetic appearance and preservation of the watch.

It involves cleaning the watch and making it shine without removing any material, thus preserving the aesthetics and original appearance of the watch.

This superficial polishing is particularly effective against micro-scratches but does not mitigate scratches or deeper blows.

If deep scratches or blows need to be removed, a full polish is required.

This process removes the surface layer of the metal, changing the shape and dimensions of the case or bracelet.

This type of polishing should be avoided, especially for luxury or vintage watches, as it detracts from the value of the watch.

Most collectors value a watch that shows all signs of use more than a freshly polished watch that looks like it just left the factory.

Polish the Whole Watch or Just a Part?

When you buy a new watch, the first scratches will most likely appear on the bracelet and only on one or two links.

Then a legitimate question arises: “Should you polish the whole bracelet or just these two links”?

The answer to this question depends on the condition of the rest of the bracelet and the watch.

If the bracelet is new (or at least looks new), you can polish a few links so that you do not notice any difference from the rest of the bracelet.

However, if the rest of the bracelet has micro scratches or other minor signs of wear, the freshly polished links will be visually different from the rest of the bracelet, which is not what we want.

The same principle should apply to the watch case.

For example, you can polish only one scratch on a lug, but only if it is not noticeable in relation to the entire case.

In all other cases, it is necessary to polish the entire case to achieve a uniform appearance.

Conclusion

After everything you have read in this and the previous article (Should you polish your watch?), first and foremost, you should carefully consider whether your watch needs polishing.

If you decide to do so, I recommend that you do a light polish and leave the work to a registered service centre, even though it may be a bit more expensive.

Do not try to save a dollar and be cheap on your watch when it comes to maintenance; remember, a timepiece can last you a lifetime if taken care of it the right way. Maybe even longer.