Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Since I recently acquired 21 watches in various states of function and condition,  I thought I'd share my technique for restoring acrylic crystals.  As a warning, there are items used in this procedure which can be harmful if used improperly, so please always read the manufacturer's warnings and heed them, thank you, and enjoy.


I prefer to begin with a dual sided Emory board similar to what is used in nail salons. They're flexible and conform to the curve of the crystal. The one I use comes with 2 different grits,  one coarse and one fine,  400 and 600 grit respectively.  I dip the Emory board in water and ensure a small puddle forms on the crystal. I begin with the coarse grit and start with a circular motion,  applying steady pressure.  As I sand, I rotate the watch in small increments being careful to not stay in one place too long and to maintain a circular sanding motion. I follow the natural curve of the crystal as well,  unless it's a flat crystal. After a few minutes,  I stop and check my progress.  I wipe off the water and acrylic residue and look for any obvious, deep scratches that remain.  If not,  I proceed to the next step, if so, I repeat the previous steps.  When I'm satisfied that the deepest scratches are gone, I thoroughly clean the crystal and wipe it dry. I now flip the Emory board to the fine side and repeat the previous procedure of circular motions.  Knowing when you have done it enough is honestly an issue of feel. When you first change grits,  the surface feels rough and there is resistance as you sand,  but that lessens as the deeper sanding marks are made shallow by the finer grit. This process should take less time than the first step.  Again I clean off the residue and thoroughly dry the crystal.  If im happy the the smoothness of the crystal,  I can now move on to the final polish. 20200123_060153.thumb.jpg.3f09f73493c50c90a0cfb44a6fb29a73.jpgI use a polishing compound from my employer that works amazingly,  however any glass polishing/scratch remover that contains Cerium oxide will work fine. For this step I take a cotton cloth and fold it over twice giving me 4 layers of fabric. I then dab a penny size drop of the Cerium Oxide cream onto it and then press the crystal firmly onto the cloth.  I then swirl the crystal around and around in a steady, circular motion, maintaining a firm pressure as I work. I rotate the crystal every few moments and I rock and tilt the crystal following the contour of the crystal. After a couple minutes of this action, I stop and wipe away the residual cream and inspect my progress. Most times, one cycle of the Cerium oxide cream is adequate, however,  if you miss a spot, repeat the process. The initial penny size drop of the cream is almost always enough. If you're  happy with the results you can wipe away all the residue and enjoy your work.

20200123_062131.thumb.jpg.99583ea874fdd94010edce78eea93592.jpgBTW, cerium oxide will lightly polish metals as well, similar to Brasso. This can help to remove scuffs,  light scratches, Oxidation and other residues on older watches. Lastly,  this entire procedure can be perform without ever removing the crystal from the case, as long as you are mindful of the case. Thank you for your time in reading this,  hopefully I've enlightened you and added a new tool to your watchmaking toolbox. (The crystal used in the photos of this procedure has microscopic crazing cracks from age and heat which are deeper into the crystal and this procedure does not remove those,  however,  for me it looks great.)

Edited by FLwatchguy73

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice end result.  I use a similar process finishing off with polywatch.  Care is needed to not press too hard, let the abrasives do their job.  If there are any deep scratches or deep micro-scratches, too much pressure will tend to make them worse, and can even become so bad as to make the crystal needing replacement (I know I have done it, especially with ladies watch sizes!!).  To protect the case a use duct tape or similar which stays in place even with some wetness present.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Of my antique show haul,  I have 2 watches left to overhaul. This watch is third from last. As you can see,  the crystal was in awful condition. This is yet another Birth year watch. I'm still amazed how great these Timex's look after some positive attention is given to them. 





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Topics

  • Posts

    • Thats interesting to know. I really only know them from the adverts they used to put on the back of the TV guides selling overpriced pewter items.   I think if you unscrew the screw a few turns to the right of the winding stem in the photo that would release the stem, but looking at your previous photos the other side looks looks pretty rusted so it might be seized.
    • Which model is it? When was it last serviced?   Accutrons are backwards of mechanical watches, in that you have the power source turning the escape wheel, which then powers the train up through the hands. In a mechanical watch there is an increase in speed and a reduction of torque from each gearing to the next, so there is almost no power on the escape wheel. In an Accutron the tiny power and movement of each vibration of the tuning fork is increased by 7 or 8 fold at each gear set, so that at the hour and minute hands there is tremendous power. The instantaneous date system on a 218 model will shake your wrist! And it would stop or hinder a regular mechanical watch.   The upside is a well adjusted Accutron is very reliable and runs for years and years, the downside is that they will run long after the lubrication had dried and grind the pivots to dust. I suspect the friction between the driving wheel and canon pinion has become weak, and the canon pinion and hour wheel are sticky, so the watch runs but doesn't move the hands. As the seconds pinion is before this intersection it continues to move, and the hand setting works since that is another gearing that drives the canon pinion directly.   As it does run, it should just need a service. But the longer it runs in this state the more potential damage that can be done.
    • About an hour and a half, but I have some helpful stuff like a toolmaker's microscope to get the position of the steady pins, screw, and point where it should sit between two teeth, a CAD program I can import an image of an original jumper, trace,  and then scale a traced drawing to size, and a little CNC machine that cuts out the part. The spring section still starts at around 0.15mm and gets thinned by hand to about 0.04 or 0.05, that's where the fun is.
    • I understand this seems to be a common problem related to the canon. Does anyone have any advice or a link to a manual or diagram that can explain how to fix this?   the watch gums fine and when setting it the hour and minute hands move correctly. 
  • Create New...