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Good morning everyone,

I just started working on this 1940's (I believe) Fontaine watch.  I've disassembled the watch and will be cleaning everything soon but I am a bit stumped on what to do with these hands.  I've never 

worked on hands before so this will be a first.  I thought about re-luming the hands and color matching to the numbers.  Maybe repaint the seconds hands.  What would everyone recommend here?

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Radium risks in watch repair are manageable, but realize that actively disturbing the lume layer is the most risky thing you could do. If you go that route rather than sourcing replacement hands that would be acceptable, be sure to work wet so no airborne dust is created. 

As far as soaking, there are a variety of binders that have been used to lume those old hands, so you might need to do some trials with both polar and non-polar solvents to see what would have an effect. Sometimes old lume seems to lose integrity and falls apart when you do no more than blow on it, but other times it acts as if it has petrified to stone!

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