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Polishing watch lenses and cases

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Fitron

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Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post28 Feb 2007, 13:03

I'vebeen trawling through the site and there appears to be very little information on it about polishing either the case or the lens so I'm hoping that we can chuck in our techniques into this topic and see if we can gather all the useful ideas into one easy to find subject-perhaps it could become a "sticky" if it gets big enough.

(very) Basics from me:

Polishing plastic lens - displex is fabulous but be careful not to go over the logo if you want to keep it.

Polishing a Pulsar case - check out azimoths_pls wonderful website as he gives some fab and detailed instructions on how to give the brushed surface a new lease of life.

Polishing to a mirror finish -try using cigarette ash and your finger - it WILL take a long time but the results are astounding.

I really don't know much more - anyone else willing to pass on tips and techniques for all.
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Mark A.

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re: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post28 Feb 2007, 18:14

Hi,

I could offer the following link to a list of buffing compounds from a very good U.S. distributor of equipment for the jewelry and tool & die industries:

http://www.gesswein.com/catalog/index.c ... N=24929828

I have used Crystal Clear compound, and I know that it works very well on plastic. All of the listed compounds require a motorized buffing machine and appropriate buff of some nature. Matching the buff to the compound and to the item to be polished is paramount. Their compounds for stainless steel are outstanding. I believe Gesswein has sales offices in Europe as well.

Azimuth's text on restoring a brushed finish is excellent. Here is a link for some text on polishing metal items to a mirror finish:

http://www.caswellplating.com/buffs/buffman.htm.

I have been working with and polishing noble metals for about three and a half decades, and know that there is a lot to the issue. The methods producing the best results also tend to be the messiest. A proper polishing machine and a myriad of abrasive items are required to produce high-end results. I just can’t think of a way around these facts.


Mark A.
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retroleds

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re: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post28 Feb 2007, 23:07

I was going to do "plastic lens polishing" in the "Quick Tips" at www.thedigitalwatch.com, but opted for soldering this month.
Lens next month.

Fast tip for final(mirror?) finish: cotton is harder than acrylic plastic...use a polyester cloth, lighly dampened with "Armor All" or a simular "Acrylic plastic revitalizer". Polyester velour material that has a rubber/vinyl backing is ideal, as the fibers usually come straight up(insteed of being wozen together), and therefore easily rinse clean of any particulate. :shock:
“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
― François de La Rochefoucauld
http://www.retroleds.com - Sales of vintage LED, LCD, analog watches, parts and gadgets - repair tutorials & tips
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tonyb

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re: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post01 Mar 2007, 04:38

Be careful not to generate to much heat with a motorized wheel or you will melt your plastic lens or cause streaking. I would recommend doing it by hand. Jewelry polishing clothes which are impregnated with polishing compound work great for both lenses and cases.

tony.
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: Polishing watch lenses and cases

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Led-Time

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re: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post05 Mar 2007, 19:33

That stuff looks a bit like a scotchbright scouring pad its quite abrassive we use them at work to dress up wear marks on metal parts.

I don't think I'd like to use one on a plated watch case though solid stainless maybe but only that.
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azimuth_pl

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re: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post10 Mar 2007, 02:12

hey Campbell,

it's a good idea to clean the forum of identical topics and combine them together.
the issue of brushing and polishing was mentioned a while back more than once: http://www.dwf.nu/viewtopic.php?t=152
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re: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post10 Mar 2007, 12:34

My bad :oops: , I only used "polishing" in the search facility - next time I'll add a few variations in....
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Led-Time

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: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post06 Aug 2007, 20:55

Lad's,

I need a bit of help, a Compu Chron watch of mine has a scratch across the glass crystal, I've managed to remove it using fine wet and dry abrasive paper but I can't get the smooth shiny finish thats required. I've done a bit of digging around the internet and it appears this substance "cerium oxide" is used in polishing glass does anyone have any experience re-finishing glass crystals using this stuff that they'd be willing to share.

One thing that did cross my mind was to take the crystal to a local opticians one that'll do a set of speck’s while you wait as they have the equipment to grind and polish glass to optical quality. But I’d like to be able to do this myself as it’ll be a handy skill to acquire but I need some guidance.

Cheers… :-)
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: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post06 Aug 2007, 21:05

You need some Cerium Oxide.
Google for it and you should find a supplier near to you.

Cheers,
Ian
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azimuth_pl

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Post08 Aug 2007, 00:06

Cerium Dioxide is the thing and I mentioned this on the forum already some two years back. Afterwards some gurus admitted they found it first but I'm not that picky to argue. I can get you a kilo or two of that stuff if you want. It's an orange powder that you mix to a paste and apply with water to a polishing cloth. Some people use "jewelers rouge (red)" which is the common name for the red powder Ferrium Dioxide FeO2 but it's not that good as CeO2.
You can also send the crystal to me - you might loose the logo depending where it is located against the scratch.
This is messy stuff and messy work with plenty of the paste flying around. You need to add water all the time to keep it cool and not crack the glass.
"The first and still only LED watch maniac in the East Block" - www.crazywatches.pl
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: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post08 Aug 2007, 18:53

Thank's for the offer Azimuth but I'am getting some from a guy at work who manufactures miniature glass trinkets and paper weights.

If you could give me any tips or the best method to polish the crystal that would be great… :-)
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azimuth_pl

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Post08 Aug 2007, 20:43

you'll decide what is best and most convenient. here is my story:
I use a horizontally mounted felt disc on a drill fixed to a table.
I wear an apron, gown, cover (you tell me which one is the correct word ;) and goggles. I also install a covering wall of cardboard (or other stuff) around the drill (approx. 300 degrees) to prevent the paste from flying in all directions.
I mix the powder with just a teaspoon of water and add more if needed to get a wet paste. I apply that evenly to the felt disc and spray water additionally on top. I turn the drill on to remove the excess of water and I start polishing.
Medium to high speed. More water and added more often if higher speed.
The best trick is to polish with the crystal still in the case as that allows to pour in water into the case and close it firmly. The water will not dry out and it will also cool down the crystal from the inner side.

if the crystal is heavily scratched then you have to start with sandpaper and a few drops of water. use different grades of the paper until you get an even matt surface. polish afterwards and that shouldn't take more than 10 minutes. apply paste when needed but not to much as that will fly away anyway. the particles of the paste will still be present in the felt disc and will polish the crystal anyway.
"The first and still only LED watch maniac in the East Block" - www.crazywatches.pl
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Led-Time

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: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post08 Aug 2007, 23:40

Brilliant Azimuth, thank you very much... :-D

I'am really looking forward to having a go at this now.
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: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post09 Aug 2007, 12:07

We need a youtube video for this :idea:
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Post09 Aug 2007, 12:58

sorry, I don't have 4 hands ;)
it would last an hour or so and more to upload.
I'll take some pics and post after polishing my next lot.
"The first and still only LED watch maniac in the East Block" - www.crazywatches.pl
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: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post09 Aug 2007, 15:23

sorry, I don't have 4 hands ;)


Unlucky for your girlfriend ;-) ........but a tripod, of course there is the chance that a camera could get splatted during filming.......
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Post02 Sep 2007, 00:56

as promissed here is my LED glass polishing process in detail.
the flat felt disc enables water to stay put. my drill has speed control which I adjust according to the glass type (thick, thin, mineral, etc.)
I apply just a bit of the cerium dioxide paste and turn the engine on to remove the excess of water (to decrease the level of chaos/mess during work).
a cardboard wall is useful to keep the surroundings clean, an apron for yourself and glasses/goggles might be handy.
ImageImage
ImageImage
During polishing I spray water approx. every 2-3 minutes and check the effect at that every step - it's better to check more often than to remove to much of the glass.
A lot of the cerium particles remain on the disc so I just add water but also add a teaspoon of the paste once in while when the cerium color gets weaker.
The best effect is achieved with higher temperatures therefor I don't use gloves so that I can feel the heat increase on the glass.
Once it's starts to feel uncomfortable I make a short break to cool down the glass and add water.
ImageImage
ImageImage

This process requires some experience. Most crystals with deep scratches need to be treated with abrasive paper first.
Otherwise it will take a lifetime to achieve an even shining surface.
Signed crystals need special attention by polishing them at the edge of the disc and covering the logo with you fingernail.
I suggest to have medium length fingernails (at the day of the nailcut?) during this process as that will also help to keep control of the crystal on the flat rotating disc.

A good idea is to keep the crystal in the case which will make it easier to get a better grip and control the process.
I also fill in the case with water and sometimes also close it with the caseback when I have to check the outcome very often.
The water will cool down the glass from the inside and prevent damage.
The last picture shows you a Pulsar P3 crystal after 20 minutes of work.
I didn't take a picture before the polish but imagine an entirely scratched surface just like the surroundings of the Pulsar logo, which could not be removed due to the small distance to the logo.
"The first and still only LED watch maniac in the East Block" - www.crazywatches.pl
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: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post02 Sep 2007, 11:27

WOW... :shock:, excellent stuff the finish is very impressive, now I know what to do I'll give it a go. You weren't kidding about the mess it makes. Did you make the felt disk yourself because I found a sheet of felt at work last week and could easily make up something similar.

Thank's for posting the picures... 8-)

When I first saw the upside down disc I thought you were going to give us a pottery lesson... ;-)
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azimuth_pl

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Post02 Sep 2007, 12:25

almost pottery - yep that's the word :) messssssy!
you can make a felt disc on your own but there are cheap accessories at every hardware store.
you buy a disc-mount and apply with Velcro any abrasive, polishing or other discs. these cost 5$ on average.
"The first and still only LED watch maniac in the East Block" - www.crazywatches.pl
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: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post02 Sep 2007, 16:08

Very good description and photos - although I'll probably never need it because I don't restore old watches, I still enjoyed reading it :-). I simply love when people explain what they do (I think this process is called learning ;-)).
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: Polishing watch lenses and cases

Post04 Sep 2007, 19:10

Facinating azimuth_pl. A second life for our old crystals. :!:
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