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How to Upgrade an Old Watch

Get a New Watch Look for Your Old Wristwatch

You’ve been wearing your old standby for years. It’s been your watch for a long time now and you still love it. But you wouldn’t mind an upgrade. A freshening up of the old wristwatch.

Here are some tips and tricks for updating an old watch to give it a fresh new look.


First things first: give your watch a deep cleaning. An old watch can look a lot better if you take some time and elbow grease to really clean your watch. Take the watch bands off. Use an old soft toothbrush in the cracks. Eye glass cleaner works well on the face. And a soft cloth to buff the back and sides.

A watch that gets worn gets dirty. And that dirt can slowly buildup and take the luster from your old watch. Clean it up for starters and see whether that helps.



The simplest upgrade is to find yourself a new watch strap. A new strap is an easy change that most men can do themselves. But it makes a big difference. You’ll be surprised at how different your old watch looks when you change out the watch strap.

But first, what size watch band do you need? Watch straps are measured in width where they connect to the watch. Also: in millimeters (the Swiss did create our industry). A normal watch strap will be 20mm or 22 mm across. Once you know that, you can figure out whether a new watch strap will fit your old timepiece.

In terms of watch bands, there are tons of options. We love NATO Watch Straps because they are so easy to change out (you can do it in seconds). But there’s everything from metal watch straps to leather to rubber. Because watch straps are relatively inexpensive, you can grab a few and change them out frequently depending on where you’re going.



Sometimes it’s worth adding a new watch to your collection. If you really want a completely new look – and the watch band isn’t enough – try giving yourself other options.

We think all men should have three or four types of watches in their collection:

But, if you’re near the ocean you can add a dive watch. If you travel at least one should be a GMT watch. There are so many fun watches, that it’s hard to choose.

Adding a new watch to celebrate a personal accomplishment is a wonderful way to build your collection. And it keeps your old standby from feeling too used or old. It freshens things up.



This is probably why you’re reading this article. Can I change the movement on my old Quartz watch to a mechanical movement? Technically it is possible, but it’s very difficult.

When you change out the movement, you’ll need the exact same size/design of movement to fit in your old watch. It can be found. But you’ll also have to change out the crown, the hands and possibly the face of your watch. In other words, you’ll have to build a new watch.

We do have a tendency to build our popular watches in an Automatic and Quartz version. That way the aficionados can go mechanical/automatic. And the everyday guys can go Quartz. So for our Blackfish mens watch you can upgrade. But that is very difficult for other watches.

I would strongly recommend just adding a mechanical watch to your collection over trying to upgrade the movement. They will cost about the same, but with vastly different levels of frustration.



So there you have it. We recommend giving your old watch a thorough cleaning and then trying some different watch bands. We do not recommend changing out your movement. Instead, find a new great watch that will give you a little something different.

At Smith & Bradley we focus on affordable watches that are designed to last a lifetime. Check out our watch selection here. Or find a new watch band here. And keep enjoying that watch your dad gave you.