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"Make sure the band is completely dry before wearing the watch again." The process above works for just about everything. With leather, the process of soaking up moisture and then drying out again is what causes the material to break down and crack.The key here is to make sure leather stays both clean and conditioned.In other words, cleaning your watch shouldn't cause a rash on your wrist, or change your brown leather strap to black.Also, if you wear a watch or bracelet made of unfinished leather, pay extra attention to the directions, because not all products work for unfinished hides.Since your serial number falls between those two numbers, you know that your watch was made in 1917 or 1918. Cases and watches were often made by different companies and each usually has its own serial number. Be sure to use the table that is specific to YOUR brand of watch when looking up your serial number.
If you leave it with a shop, it comes back clean and shiny, and you don’t have to be the one to face the grime on the toothbrush you reserved for jewelry cleaning.
We hear tales of guys whose leather watch bands developed a "cheesy" smell, or who finally took off their heirloom Rolexes and found black grime between the links. Just think of an average day this summer—your watch band is exposed to sweat, sunscreen and even spilled beer.