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Wearable Tech

Before and after: Polishing the Apple Watch

Like any stainless steel jewellery the Apple Watch will collect scratches over time. Here's how to remove those scratches without damaging the watch itself.

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Just two weeks into wearing the Apple Watch, and my timepiece was smothered with micro-scratches.

Like any piece of stainless steel jewelry, scratches are completely normal. But also like any piece of stainless steel jewelry, if you're not happy with scratches, there's a way to remove them.

Polishing stainless steel (and many other types of metal) works like this: A small amount of polishing cream is used to remove very thin layers of the metal. Assuming scratches aren't very deep, the cream will effectively remove the layer where the scratches exist.

"Remove a layer of my Apple Watch?!" Don't worry. It would take many more polishing sessions than you'll ever conduct to actually degrade the metal.

Here's what my Apple Watch looked like before the polish.

Now I'll guide you through the steps I took to give it that out-of-the-box mirror finish.

Prep

Remove each strap by pressing the adjacent metal button and gently sliding the strap out. Now you're ready to get started.

Wash your hands with soap to remove any oils. At this point, you might want to put on a pair of gloves to avoid extended contact with any polishing solution.

Finally, use a clean and dry microfiber cloth or 100 percent cotton shirt to clean the Watch. Now it's ready to get polished.

Polish and buff


Choosing the right kind of polish
There are essentially two types of solutions: creams and pre-soaked cloths. I tried both. In fact, I tried a few different products in each category (see photo), and found that while the creams give you more for your money, it's too easy to lose control and get the cream in the crevices of the Watch.

Pre-soaked cloths (or cotton) are the way to go. They're reusable, offer more control, and get the job done faster. The two products I tried and can recommend are Nevr-Dull and Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths.

How to polish the Watch
Gently rub the polishing cloth against any scratches on the stainless steel portion of the Watch, being careful to avoid making contact with the Watch face and heart rate sensors.

You'll know it's working when the cloth turns black and there's a light residue on the metal.

Then, take a clean 100 percent cotton cloth and buff the metal with rapid back-and-forth motions. Continue until the residue is gone and the mirror finish is restored.

Still see scratches?

If you still see scratches, you have two options. You can try going over the affected area once more to see if removing another micro-layer helps. If that doesn't work, it's likely the scratch is deeply embedded, and you'll need a professional jeweller to buff it out with special equipment.