A daily-wear watch is exposed to all the sweat, dust and dirt that one can imagine, its links and joints collect the dead skin and sweat making it a breeding ground for germs and it rests on the bare skin of one’s wrist. Yet most people hardly ever take the pains to clean it. The tip given below is only for watches with a metal strap. Directly wiping with a disinfectant is recommended for leather/rubber straps.
I found that before disinfecting the watch, the best way to clean it is by pouring a few drops of petrol/gasoline on it. This solvent is able to dissolve the grease and dirt from deep within the watch’s surface. After thoroughly scrubbing the strap with an old and dry toothbrush, you can wipe it with a cloth and leave it to dry. If your strap has a lot of metal-metal links, then you will be surprised by the quantity of dirt that was hiding in your watch. Repeat the process if you see too much dirt on your cloth.
Best part about petrol is that it completely evaporates within seconds hence there is no risk of rusting or water damage frequent with soapy water cleaning. However still it won’t be advisable to soak the dial/watch mechanism in petrol.
PS: Petrol might dissolve the glue used to stick some gems/crystals on the watch strap. Also test in a small patch if you suspect that the paint/coating on your metal watch might be damaged in the solvent.