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Dial (face) cleaning?

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Here is the Seiko 6602 with a different dial and watchband along side a Vintage Hamilton Pan Europ I am working on . A new crystal is on the way for that one and I am thinking of sending the dial to someone for a professional refinish .


Excuse my inferior pics . I will have to get a better lighting set-up .





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I would like to take my hat off to Jules Borel & Company for their excellent customer service . I ordered 2 gold tension ring type crystals for the Hamilton Pan Europ from the company . I did my measuring of the original crystal and case per Mark's great video on " How to fit a watch glass" . I ordered 2 per his suggestion in case one was too loose . Well , Jules Borel quickly filled and mailed my order , which was only $12.35 total for both crystals...pretty good for tension ring crystals . 

  When both arrived last Saturday the number on the packaging was correct , 272 for 27,2mm and 273 = 27,3mm ., but the actual crystals were both too small being  26.72 and 26.82 mm respectively . I checked and double checked everything , my crystal and case , the new crystals and package text , and the info for these on their website and yes ,they were too small . I emailed them Saturday with all the info and today Monday I received a phone call and Email acknowledging  my Email . They are sending me 2 new crystals that they have made sure to measure at no cost to me and told me to keep the original 2 that they sent me . They are not sure how the first 2 got mislabeled but they will check with their supplier .

  Best of all the CS Rep . told me that they aim for customer satisfaction no mater how large or small the order is .

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This is my first post to this forum. I have very rudimentary watch repair skills and only a modicum of knowledge about watch repair, so please have some forbearance. I have always heard that watch dials cannot be cleaned, but this watch has tempted me to try. I have attached a picture of the gold filled Elgin that I want to clean. I know that the picture is bad, but perhaps you can the black smudge around the numeral 1. Additionally, the gold numerals are dull and have a smug end appearance.

Here are my questions. Is it indeed always hopeless to try to clean a watch dial? Is there a way that I can brighten up the gold numerals?

Thanks in advance.

Hello BIll3 welcome to the forum!


Oh my my...be very careful with using any liquid on a dial. I would advise against any type of liquid-based cleaning!  The only thing I have used to give a dial a little brightening of the numerals and markers is a fresh, unused piece of Bergeon grey premium Rodico premium (no. 7033) or if you don't have that, a new piece of the regular green Rodico (no. 6033).


Even with Rodico you need to be careful not to rub the dial...only use a "blotting" method where you simply dab the dial in a vertical motion without any lateral movements. II would still emphasize caution because even Rodico can leave smears particularly on dark dials. I ruined a black Bulova dial because I rubbed it with Rodico. The resulting radiating swirl marks looked identical to those left on a black car that has been rubbed with a circular buffer.


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  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone.


I found this post and I couldn't believe my eyes.   I have always been ultra careful with dial faces.  This guy uses car polish and the results were amazing.  I still don't think I would try it but its certainly interesting reading.





I have always just left any dial face alone for fear of any damage.




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Mark I agree whole heart-idly  with you.  I was astounded with his results.  Perhaps ignorance is bliss.   It was a bold move on his part.   Now I must try it on an old dial face.




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Possibly the old varnish. If the print is under the varnish and sound this method should work but great care needs to be taken. I have found many watches to have the print on top of the varnish and tends to come off far to easily.


Got this old Smiths Astral in the other week:



Although the pic doesn't show it too well the dial was in a right state with varnish lifting, discolouration, water damage to edge etc. Took the plunge & dipped it in HG silver fast shine (Goddards silver dip is the same I believe). Most of the minute markers had lifted with the flaking varnish so the rest were removed. When dry sprayed with acrylic varnish.


The result:


Edited by Blacklab
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By all rights that JLC should have been ruined... such a beautiful timepiece too.

Nice work Blacklab, you guys are always impressing me with what you can do with dials, I've never made any serious attempt to restore any dials before, I'm too scared of it going wrong, but i have plenty of scrappers, would definitely be worth trying some of the methods I know of. 

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Good morning guys. New to the site and looking forward to the help and learning more. I'm cleaning a Seiko 6102 and have a dial where the clear coat has partly delaminated from the face possibly from past moisture incursion. The raised parts have a nasty appearance under, possibly dust but mainly the difference of colour between cavities and where original contact remains. Anyone had success in removing the clear coat and if so, how did you do it?

Thanks in advance

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