How To Clean Silver at Home – Mechanical Pocket Watch Case

How To Clean Silver at Home  – Mechanical Pocket Watch Case

Hi and welcome back to the watch bench
this video is a single-issue video it’s all about cleaning a silver pocket watch
case and it’s part of a series of videos I’ve been doing on the restoration of a
1902 English Lever Pocket Watch which you can see there in
front of you. So I’ve restored the dial that was missing. The sub dial and the
movement has been also completely disassembled and ultrasonically cleaned
and reassembled and it’s running really nicely but the
case which is a typical solid silver 19th century / early 20th century pocket
watch case as you can see is very very dirty A lot of oxidization there but
this should clean up really really nicely. So yeah this video is on that
single issue – “how you clean a pocket a solid silver pocket watch case” …. so let’s
get on with it [Dramatic background music !!!] and here we are with everything we need
to do a thorough clean of this pocket watch case now the good news is that we
don’t need any kind of special harsh chemicals for this everything that you
can see in front of you is something that you would commonly find in in most
kitchens now the most important thing that is this ingredient here we need
some bicarbonate of soda and you’ll probably need of good tablespoon full of
that that sets up a chemical reaction with some aluminium foil and I’ll show
you how to use that in a moment and that’s a reaction that is beneficial for
this process I recommend that you use some latex protective gloves and if at
all possible make sure that they they fit you reasonably well so you’re not
fumbling around with loose gloves we will need also some table salt it’s
useful to have some kitchen towels and some very hot but not boiling water okay
so what’s the process anyway the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going
to take the aluminium foil but tends to work best with the shiny side up so
we’re just going to tear a piece of that off and put it carefully shiny side up
into the bowl like this okay back down there okay try not to stick a
hole in the bottom of it although it doesn’t really matter and there we are
doesn’t have to be completely tidy that is certainly good enough so what we’re
going to do then is we’re going to take bicarbonate of soda and in this case
I’ve got probably got about two tablespoonfuls in there so I’m just
going to put all of that in okay I am then going to take the table salt and
pop a good measure of that in that same amount okay and now we put in the hot
but not boiling water now you will get a little bit of reaction at this point
that’s a good sign so we’re just going to put that in there that’s going to fizz
up a little bit – don’t worry about that! and we then going to take the watch with
our plastic tweezers here and just pop it carefully in the mixture like that.
Now it’s important that it touches the sides of the aluminium so that the
chemical reaction can happen well I’m also just going to cover the watch here
as well so that it’s all covered and we can spin it around in there as well so
we’re just going to leave it in there for a little bit and manipulate it a
little bit like that turn it on its side okay now you can already see on the
sides here that this black tarnish in a particular we look at the back now
already you can see a lot of this black tarnish disappearing so we’re already
getting a good result here. If I just bring it
out momentarily you remember what it looked like at the start of this video
and now you know even in those few seconds you can see just how clean this
particular pocket watch is. so the pocket watch case now has been in there for
about between five and seven minutes and as you can see I’ve moved it around a
few times but it is a whole lot cleaner than it was before we started this
process just gonna grab it properly here so I don’t drop it
and then bring it up to the camera to show you okay so let’s just grab that
and … So remembering that we don’t use boiling water so we don’t burn ourselves
in this process but as you can see we do have some that stubborn bits here and at
this point what we can do is go in gently with an old toothbrush so and we
pop that back in there now and just show you that part. So amongst the tools that
you tend to have in your watch making kit is a toothbrush like this you don’t
want to use it too hard because we don’t want to scratch the metal it’s unlikely
to do that because the the plastic is not as hard as the metal obviously but
nevertheless we don’t really want to ‘go at it great guns’. So you can just have a
little any sort of dirt hanging around here and there okay and so now what we can also do you are
they’re going to be happy enough with it a first pass or what we can do now is we
just do the process again and what we would do is take any remaining
bicarbonate of soda and there’s actually none in this but I’ll go and get another
one in a minute and then rub that in into the cracks and and [laughing] crunnies!!!? [laughing more] I was gonna say but I don’t think that is actually a word but you know … in the little bits here
where it’s tight to get in rub a little bit of salt in there and then repeat the
process so I’m just gonna do that now I’m not gonna video that because you
know don’t really see there and then I will show you once I’ve taken it taken
out. Okay let’s do that. Okay so I’m back with a new piece of aluminium foil I’ve
got the old bicarbonate the soda there always have stuff in this bitter reserve
on here and I’m just gonna sprinkle a little bit of this onto the watch itself
okay so just moving that out of the way and pop in the watch case here. What
we’re gonna do now is just sprinkle a little bit over over that so that we can
work it in to the nooks and crannies which was the phrase I was actually
after a few moments ago just like that okay and there is dampness on the watch
anyway that you can see so we’re just gonna work that in now to the part of
the watch where we have still got a little bit of tarnish ok so just working that in with
the toothbrush again doesn’t really want to be a toothbrush that you actually use
to clean your teeth and I wouldn’t also use a powered toothbrush for this for
obvious reasons because you don’t want to so we’re just working that in working
that in into the little nooks and crannies and same with the salt put a
little bit of salt back on it ok a little bit salt on it ok. More than you
would put on your chips probably and just working that in nicely and gently
with the toothbrush. Now! Important point! if this was a pocket watch with keyless
works in other words a pocket watch that wound from this position here you’d find
a crown that you actually turned then I would disassemble that before doing this
process because there are actually a few parts in there that we’d want to
disassemble anyway for oiling the watch up. There we are!
We’ve um we’ve put some stuff actually into the nooks and crannies there. So
let’s get that in focus then at the front here and they all do now is simply
repeat the process so we’re going to put in about a couple of tablespoonfuls of
bicarbonate of soda and again the same of table salt ok and Chuck in some warm
but not hot water what hot but not boiling water I should say, it is quite hot
and then again having done that we’re going to shut that in there and look for
that reaction again and now that we’ve worked it all in there that is gonna
turn out so, there we are! That’s the major process
we’ve got a little bit of who said knocking the tripod we’ve got a little bit of
tidying up to do back the watch bench once we’ve dried it off. So I will cut to
that now. And there it is then all nice and dry back on the watch bench and as
you can see not immaculate but really really much much cleaner than it was
before you can see all the dark oxidization is gone has got just in some
of the bits here you can see there’s a little bit of tarnish remains actually,
largely that is hidden anyway, but what you can do at this point if you really
want to shine it up and I would be careful as a general rule with watches
because quite often particularly with more modern watches there is a
propensity for people to over shine them particularly if they’ve got brushed
finish but in this case it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to finish this already
quite shiny as you can see look at that look at the gleam on that so were there
now but you can finish it off with some some of this sort of stuff some Silvo
as we call it in the United Kingdom here which is just a general kind of silver
polish you just be really really careful where they don’t rub too hard and then
take it off with a kitchen towel and you can use a cotton bud like this just get
into some of the nooks and crannies but anyway hardly needs it because as you
can see this is a really, really good job done on this case already. I am just
going to finish it up with a little bit of silver, but there we are! If you want
to clean your silver whether it be a pocket watch case or any
other type of silver that as I’ve just explained in this video is not a bad way
to go about it if you are interested in watches and horology then please
subscribe to my channel I am always posting videos on all sorts of topics to
do with both antique, vintage and modern watches that I have the pleasure of
restoring at the watch bench here so yeah I hope this was useful thanks very


  1. Hi what is the name of this watch as I have recently been given one identical to the one in your video could you do a short video on how it ope s up as I don't want to force anything and damage it thanks in advance

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