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Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

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Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post14 Mar 2013, 03:18

I recently got a beautiful wittnauer but unfortunately it has a engraving on the front of the watch's face (metal part).
Has anybody ever tried to erase a engraving? Maybe polishing (sanding) and re-plating?!
If so? Any success?!
Thank you.
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Re: Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post14 Mar 2013, 03:28

Sure, but is this thing worth the effort? You say it's got a great body but an ugly face -can't you just put a bag over her head and not think about it? That was a joke. Wait, you say she's REALLLY ugly! - put a bag over YOUR head in case her's slips off. Double-bagger!

Can we see a picture - please? :mega:
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Re: Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post14 Mar 2013, 04:19

retroleds wrote:Sure, but is this thing worth the effort? You say it's got a great body but an ugly face -can't you just put a bag over her head and not think about it? That was a joke. Wait, you say she's REALLLY ugly! - put a bag over YOUR head in case her's slips off. Double-bagger!

Can we see a picture - please? :mega:


:grin1: Cracking up :grin1: I hear you M:)W:)M

Here is the picture of the "lady" :ha:
She could be a beauty with the right make up and right clothes :ha:
Wittnauer 2.jpg
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Re: Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post14 Mar 2013, 11:50

Unfortunately, this particular watch presents an impossible situation. Goldfilled and "goldtone", where the gold-colored metal coating is even thinner, simply give you no thickness to remove before you hit the base metal. Stainless steel and solid gold cases give a vastly greater latitude on how much metal can be taken off the surface. The best goldfill is 80 microns thick (.0032 inch), so anything beyond light scratches are impossible to remove without breaching the gold layer, so i have been able to restore only a handful of GF watches. On the other hand, I have been able to remove extensive and deep engravings from SS and solid gold cases (one particular 18K Calculator comes to mind). I think this is one you'll just have to live with and learn to love it as it is.
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Re: Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post14 Mar 2013, 12:45

I'd say this restoration should be fairly simple.
Wittnauer LEDs are goldplated unless this model with the fake stones is different?
the glass will pop out when heated in an oven...and I would believe the stones can also be easily removed that way.
remove buttons with a button press.
the case has straight lines and sharp edges so that's very easy when using sand paper to remove even deeper dents and the engraving.
as you move forward use smaller and smaller grit papers, finally polish to shine...and apply goldplate or chrome if you prefer.
assemble buttons, glass, stones and you have a brand new watch.
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Re: Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post14 Mar 2013, 16:57

I was going to ask this question as well, re: erasing marks.

Since we're on topic what's the favorite way to touch up spots with gold filled cases and bands?

Any products out there that members use? What about gold leaf - does that work in some cases?

I hear the older products nasty to work with, hence the question.
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Re: Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post14 Mar 2013, 18:11

goldfilled cases usually have far deeper engravings down to the base metal.
that is unrepairable unless you either fill in the holes with new gold (not cost effective and it will decolorize the whole case due to extreme heat...or you can even melt it).
or you can mechanically remove the goldfill and have it goldplated....practically undoable to achieve 100% removal of goldfill.
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Re: Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post15 Mar 2013, 04:48

It is chrome plated :-(
And yes the engraving is deep, all the way to the base metal :scratch:
I will se what I can do, and I soon as I get a solution, I will post it.
Thank you.
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Re: Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post15 Mar 2013, 12:05

then use the first approach described.
strip the watch and use sand paper, polish and rechrome.
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Re: Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post07 Apr 2013, 00:04

Oh well, i just did :grin1:
I got my Dremel (variable speed) put some white abrasive and barabim barabooommmm!! :-D
I had nothing to loose, because the watch had two engravings on the face, one on the top and one on the bottom.
My first polishing was I a success, it looks like a mirror, not even one scratch (i believe).
Wittnauer LED.jpg

See results :-D
I will take better pictures once I can find the appropriate band for it and I will post.
Thank guys.
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Re: Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post07 Apr 2013, 10:16

nice results!
just to be on the safe side if you're going to apply a full restoration then strip it to pieces.
I believe the glass rubies should move if you put the case to the oven for 10-20 minutes.
the easiest way to remove any deep scratches and engravings is to slide the case in parallel strokes on sand paper from large grit to smooth.
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Re: Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post09 Apr 2013, 04:42

azimuth_pl wrote:nice results!
just to be on the safe side if you're going to apply a full restoration then strip it to pieces.
I believe the glass rubies should move if you put the case to the oven for 10-20 minutes.
the easiest way to remove any deep scratches and engravings is to slide the case in parallel strokes on sand paper from large grit to smooth.


Hi Azimuth,
I just ordered a band for it and as soon as it arrives I will take a better picture.
I will disassemble the watch into pieces to do an overhauling :-D
I will try using a hair blower instead of using the oven.
Thanks for the tips :-D

By the way, I can't be more grateful for all the info you have posted in your website. If I had to pay $1 for every time I had to go check it out, you would be rich already just with my visits :grin1:
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Re: Can an engraving be "erased" from a watch?

Post09 Apr 2013, 14:45

glad to be of help, that's the whole point to share experience to save others from challenges.
you will need the oven as the hair-blower is to weak and does not produce an even heat distribution.
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