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Lume Rot on Seiko 7548 Hands - Best Option?


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Greetings fellow horologists.

Would there be a lume doctor in the house? Hope everyone's keeping well. 

I've got this Seiko 7548-700B that, aside from a clean movement that's absolutely rust free, the hands seemed to have had a kickboxing bout with the mold monster and came out the loser. As you will see on the succeeding pictures, rot had crept in from the edges of the hands and worked its way towards the lume.

My intention for the watch is to restore it to its original glory with keeping all parts OEM as much as possible. The crystal will have to be replaced and the gaskets as well but my dilemma is what to do with the hands.

Options dancing around my head:

  • Remove original lume, clean and polish the hands and relume. It'll be weird because the markers won't light up while the hands will. 
  • Lightly scrape off molds. Then, dab with cotton swab (Q-tips) moist with household bleach in the hopes it will bleach the black gunk.
  • Just leave it alone and bask on its originality. The Seiko DNA remains intact.

What about you guys? What would you do?

A definite conundrum.

Thanks so much.

Jesse

 

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I guess I shouldn't talk because I've been known to throw originality out the window in favour of looks. But it's one of those things where either you go all out or you leave it. Having pretty hands but tired lume on the dial and bezel pip will look worse in my opinion. and the thing is, bleaching might work on one dial but will ruin another - you can just never predict these things. Personally? I'd remove the old bits and keep them somewhere safe and replace with new parts. If you pass the watch on, the buyer can decide what he wants without you potentially ruining original parts.

EDIT: Just removing the lume on the hands and polishing them won't work out like you hope. The plating on the hands have been compromised, so you'll have to replate them as well. This from my own experience, YMMV

Edited by gbyleveldt
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10 hours ago, gbyleveldt said:

I guess I shouldn't talk because I've been known to throw originality out the window in favour of looks. But it's one of those things where either you go all out or you leave it. Having pretty hands but tired lume on the dial and bezel pip will look worse in my opinion. and the thing is, bleaching might work on one dial but will ruin another - you can just never predict these things. Personally? I'd remove the old bits and keep them somewhere safe and replace with new parts. If you pass the watch on, the buyer can decide what he wants without you potentially ruining original parts.

EDIT: Just removing the lume on the hands and polishing them won't work out like you hope. The plating on the hands have been compromised, so you'll have to replate them as well. This from my own experience, YMMV

Fair point. It does look like getting replacements, whether OEM or Aftermarket, is on the radar and I plan on changing the bezel as well but it has to be the pepsi bezel.

What I think will drive me crazy is the lume on the replacement hands that for sure will luminate in the dark whilst the rest of the hour markers will be dormant. Maybe I can remove the lumes on the new hands and just replace it with flat lume like material, plus I have to colour match it to the rest of the markers.

Thanks for your response. 🙂

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On 7/1/2022 at 1:44 PM, HouseofGeorge said:

My intention for the watch is to restore it to its original glory with keeping all parts OEM as much as possible. The crystal will have to be replaced and the gaskets as well but my dilemma is what to do with the hands.

If you want to "restore it to its original glory" and replace the bezel, I would replace the lume and paint the seconds hand.

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On 7/3/2022 at 1:47 AM, mikepilk said:

If you want to "restore it to its original glory" and replace the bezel, I would replace the lume and paint the seconds hand.

That's right. What about the hands though, how would you clean it? Just scrape off the gunk from the metal and remove the lume? It will have to be re-plated to a shiny silver/chrome finish. The seconds hand would be an easy paint with flat white and flat black.

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I had similar looking hands on my 7548.  I removed the rotted lume and relumed them.  The silver plating on the hands is very thin and won's survive any polishing.  Some have used Magic Rhodium on the hands to bring back the silver.  This product seems to have disappeared from the US market.  You can't do anything to repair the pitting. 

I did just enough to remove the lume and corrosion.  The inside edges were gently cleaned as much as possible without disturbing the plating.  I have hands that look like they have been around the block but are perfectly readable day and night.  I work a lot at night and I need lume.  I make no apologies for have watches that are usable.  Acetone is the only solvent I've found that reliably removes Seiko lume. 

Some of the after market hands I have used lately have been junk.  They pressed on too easily and thina a tissue paper.  On one watch they have slipped out of place and need to be replaced.  I'll take worn looking Seiko hands over after market any day. 

The 7548 and 6309 hands are flat and have sharp edges.  Most reproductions have rounded edges and corners that just don't look right. 

On your bezel, you may find the little plastic circle pushed into the hole.  Having that little bit goes a long way to improving the look of the bezel. I use UV cure varnish as used on fishing flies to mix lume paste for these.  It waterproofs the lume powder and glues the pip in place. 

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