If you have a beloved watch, you want to ensure it looks its best. Having it polished every now and then is one of the best ways to keep your watch looking as new. But you may be surprised by how much a simple watch polishing can cost, especially for luxury models.
It costs $40-$400 to polish a watch, depending on what kind of watch it is, how thoroughly you want it polished, and if it needs any additional services or repairs. The cost is higher for luxury brands and vintage watches.
In the rest of this article, I’ll explain the cost of polishing a watch in more detail so you know what to expect before taking your watch to a professional. We’ll also talk about whether you should have your watch polished and if it’s possible to do it at home.
What Does It Cost To Get a Watch Polished?
Getting a watch polish is typically between $40 and $400. The wide price range is because the price of polishing depends on the following factors:
- What kind of watch is it? Is it from a luxury brand?
- Does the watch need additional servicing?
- How thoroughly do you want to watch polished?
- Do you want the entire watch polished or just certain parts?
The biggest determining factor of how much a watch polishing will cost is the brand and kind of watch it is. Luxury brands like Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Patek Phillipe will cost way more than cheaper brands.
This higher cost is because the polisher has to take extra care with these watches and because most premium brands only train their employees to clean and polish them.
So if you have a Cartier watch in need of a polish, you have to take your watch to an authorized Cartier center to have it cleaned, where they can charge up to $400 to service and polish your watch. Oh, and shipping costs are also on you!
If your watch is vintage, this will also increase the cost of polishing. The cost of polishing a vintage or antique piece is usually between $350 and $400, whereas a non-vintage luxury watch is usually around $350.
On the other end of the spectrum, cheaper watch brands like Timex, Invicta, and Nixon cost far less to polish, and almost any professional can accomplish the task. Polishing these kinds of watches is typically between $40 and $70.
Another factor in determining the price is if the polisher notices any parts needing repair while they polish. In this case, you’ll have to pay to fix these parts, and this service can drive up the cost considerably.
We’ve written articles on servicing costs (which often includes a polish) for several different brands. You can find the full service cost breakdown for brands like TAG Heuer, Breitling, Fossil, Omega, and Citizen by clicking these links.
There are also different levels of polishing you can get. For example, the luxury brand Vacheron Constantin offers two different levels of polishing service: light polish and full polish.
For the light polishing service, the polisher focuses on brightening, cleaning, and shining the watch without removing the metal, which is a great option for people with unique or expensive watches who want to maintain the piece’s integrity. This option also costs less because it takes less time, usually around $300 for a luxury watch.
The full polish removes all aesthetic imperfections, which may take off some of the original metal. This level of service will be more expensive because it is a more involved process and takes more time, usually costing $200-$250 extra for luxury brands.
You may also tell the expert to only polish certain parts instead of having the whole watch polished. The polisher may reduce the price in this instance because they’re doing less work, or they may increase the price because of the specificity of the request. I recommend getting multiple quotes from various locations to find the best price.
Should I Polish My Watch?
If you have a luxury watch, polishing it may decrease its value, as vintage watch collectors prefer the originality of an unpolished watch case. Polishing removes part of the metal and design.
Before you take your watch to a professional to have them polish it, I recommend taking a moment to consider if your watch is valuable enough to sell to a watch collector a few years down the road.
If your watch is from a luxury brand, or if it’s vintage, I would reconsider having it polished. Not only do these watches cost more to get polished, but the watch itself will also decrease in value after polishing.
We wrote an article about polishing watches and how it decreases the watch’s value over time, which you can find here. In essence, polishing reduces every watch’s value, but the impact is felt heavier with pricier timepieces.
The value of an affordable Fossil watch is naturally much lower than that of a luxurious and expensive Omega watch.
To get a smooth finish and glossy shine, professional polishers must remove much of the watch’s surface, including metal that cannot be replaced. This process alters the piece’s architecture and decreases its value in the watch collector’s market.
If you’re not planning on ever selling your watch and you’re planning on keeping it in your family, you can do whatever you’d like. Just know that if you ever want to sell it, you probably won’t be able to get as good of a price as if you’d left it unpolished.
Can You Polish a Watch at Home?
If the above prices seem outrageous to you, or if you have a watch that isn’t expensive or particularly special and you want to improve its appearance a little bit, you can try polishing it yourself at home.
You shouldn’t attempt to polish a valuable watch. Professionals are trained to do as little damage as possible while polishing; if you don’t have the same training or experience, you risk irreversibly damaging your watch.
If you are only looking to lightly touch up your timepiece, you can polish your watch with a soft-bristled toothbrush and some soapy water. Gently brush the areas in need of a touch-up until you’re satisfied with the result.
For a deeper clean and more glossy polish, you can use a jewelry polishing kit such as the Tryunnion Diamond Paste Polishing Kit from Amazon. I like this kit because it’s professional-grade but still affordable. I also like the diamond paste, which creates a beautiful, shiny finish on metal.
The cost of polishing a watch varies greatly depending on various factors, especially what kind and brand of watch it is, but it typically falls between the prices of $40 and $400.
If you have a particularly valuable or unique watch, you may not want to have it polished because doing so would decrease its value. For a more budget-friendly polishing option, you can opt to do it yourself.