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by Theresa DiMartini June 03, 2020 4 min read

How long can COVID-19 live on your watch? 

The answer might surprise you. 

Read on to find out how you can properly sanitize your watch and stay safe during this global pandemic.

Numerous studies have shown that the coronavirus can live on surfaces in your home for hours to days. If you’re anything like me, you have frequently wiped down your countertops and door knobs with Clorox Wipes and have even let your cardboard packages quarantine for a few days before opening them. You’ve worn masks and rubber gloves, but have you taken the time to sanitize your watch? After conducting a bit of research, we think it’s definitely worth your time.

how to sanitize your watch
Image Source:
 Everest Journal

Metal and Stainless Steel Bracelets

According to Web MD, the coronavirus (the family of viruses that include the ones that cause COVID-19) can live on some of the surfaces you likely touch everyday. These surfaces include things like doorknobs, silverware, jewelry, and of course watches and watch bands! If you’re rocking a Rolex Submariner, Tudor Black Bay, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (in my dreams), or any other watch with a classic stainless steel case and bracelet, you need to know that the virus can live for upwards of  3 days on stainless steel and for a shocking 5-7 days on other metals such as gold and silver! That’s long enough to binge watch the entire season of Tiger King at least twice, which is something absolutely no one wants to experience again!

how to sanitize your watch
Image Source: Everest Journal

What about Rubber Straps and Nato Straps?

Lesser is known about how long coronavirus can live on rubber straps, such as those on the Rolex Yacht Master, or for all of you Rolex, Tudor, or Panerai owners rocking an Everest Band. However, rubber is inherently antimicrobial and anti-bacterial by nature, so wearing a rubber strap is likely your safest bet during this time. Many doctors, medical professionals, and frontline workers choose aftermarket rubber straps for this exact reason--they are both highly sanitary and very easy to clean. Not to mention, a rubber strap looks pretty boss on a Rolex.

how to sanitize your watch
Image Source: Everest Journal

Nato straps are generally made of fabric or nylon and therefore we feel like you should use the same precautions as you would for clothing. As suggested by a recent article in the New York Times, it is believed that because fabric is porous, any fabric should be treated the same as cardboard. Since the virus needs some moisture to survive, you should assume it can survive on your clothes or Nato strap for approximately 24 hours after any possible exposure. This risk increases if your nato straps retains moisture. 


how to sanitize your watch
Image Source: 
Everest Journal

How to Sanitize your Watch and Watch Strap

So, now that you just discovered one more thing to freak out about, let’s talk about what you can do about it. Keep in mind that most stainless steel and precious metal timepieces with sapphire and mineral crystals will not be compromised by most disinfectants, however this is not true for all watches. When you’re thinking about properly sanitizing your watch, here are some basic guidelines to follow. 

Step 1: If your watch is water-resistant, you should first remove any debris or dirt from your watch by washing the case and bracelet with warm soapy water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. It is important that you use warm water and not hot, as hot water could increase the risk of gaskets and seals expanding. Generally soap and water has been shown to be one of the absolute best ways to combat COVID-19. We recommend cleaning your watch in this way for at least 60 seconds. Make sure to get in between the links on the bracelet, especially on those jubilee bracelets!

how to sanitize your watch
Image Source

Step 2: Once clean of debris and dirt, you can sanitize your stainless steel or metal watch by using a small amount of high grade isopropyl rubbing alcohol (at least 60% alcohol). The best way to do this is by applying the alcohol to a cotton ball or q-tip and carefully wiping the surfaces of your watch. Alcohol dries clear and rather quickly, whereas using a Clorox Wipe will likely leave smears and streaks. Hand-sanitizer is not your best bet either as it often contains other ingredients. Of course you never want to fully submerge any timepiece into a vat of alcohol as that can definitely cause some damage. For rubber and fabric straps, you should stick with just liquid soap and warm water.

Step 3: Whether your watch strap is metal, rubber, or fabric, it is extremely important to let your watchfully dry after this process. You can let your watch air dry for 12-24 hours, or if you need it ready sooner you can use a hairdryer on the lowest heat setting to fully dry your watch.


how to sanitize your watchImage Source: Everest Journal

And that’s it! Your watch is now glistening, shiny, and COVID-free. In this time of uncertainty and world-wide unrest, you can never be too safe or too cautious. Cleaning and sanitizing your watch is a relatively simple process that you can do at home with minimal tools.  If you want to bring out the big guns, you can always contact a luxury watch service center or jewelry store to take care of your cleaning and sanitizing needs. Stay safe out there watch fam, and don’t forget to head to the ‘gram and post some before and after pics of your sparkling, sanitized, glorious timepiece! We love seeing your watch collection, so please be sure to tag @everestbands in your posts!

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Theresa DiMartini
Theresa DiMartini



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