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Vintage dials...


mcass

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Generally any type of dial, first. And second, specifically this Longines. Some lettering is already gone so I don't want to damage it but at the same time it seems it could use some TLC. Or should I do nothing with it? 17157c9ad7b2891b6fee34f46aa36b95.jpg


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Don’t do it yourself you will only make it worse. It needs to go to a professional watch dial restore. It will be expensive so ask for an estimate.  It is a very good watch.

Edited by oldhippy
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As Hippy suggests, this can be dangerous territory.

There are many different techniques and materials used to create watch dials and they all react differently to different cleaning techniques.  In some cases you can safely wash in soapy water with a toothbrush and in others the lacquer will fall off taking the painted markings with it if you stare too hard at it... ask me how I know...

There are specialist dial restorers around who have learned the hard way and tend to keep their knowledge to themselves. I've never used one but those I have looked at will not generally give a quote without seeing the dial. Expect to pay at least £100 from what I've read elsewhere. See here for an example http://www.watchdialrestoration.co.uk/

S

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Being the Devils advocate, I would suggest having a go. Take plenty of photos, do the research and if it all goes south send it to a dial restorer. If you're not happy with the dial you may get a good result & save yourself £100 or so.

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9 hours ago, Blacklab said:

Being the Devils advocate, I would suggest having a go. Take plenty of photos, do the research and if it all goes south send it to a dial restorer. If you're not happy with the dial you may get a good result & save yourself £100 or so.

Don't be so stupid. Each of those markers are individually fixed to the dial. No matter what you look up on the net it doesn't provide you with experience which you don't have. The more damage you do the more it will cost. Longines watches are not a run of the mill they one of the top brands and can be highly sort after.

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Personally if as my dial I would find somebody that's specializes in this and send it to them. But isn't my dial and you're asking a question.

So first step of solving a problem is what is the problem? So typically a wristwatch dial is not dirty as it is sealed behind a crystal. So you're not looking at something that's dirty that can be washed you're looking at something that has aged with time. A lot of the white dials are frosted silver it's a silver finish it will tarnish with time especially as the lacquer disintegrates. The various lacquers they put on the paint everything can disintegrate with time. Washing is not going to help that at all. The printed letters that are falling off or whatever happen to them touching of those is going to make that much much worse.

Then fortunately there are still companies specializing in restoration of dials if you don't like the price of one shop around. Some of the pricing may have to do whether they have to make a special plate for printing the letters in other words they don't already have a plate for that dial.have to make a new one.

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Some of the letters in "Longines" are missing, and for me, that's it shot. I'd search for a replacement one. They do turn up eventually. I don't really like re-painted dials. 

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Just my opinion but old watches should look old the dial on yours would be perfectly exceptable to me its original and shows its age but is still usable.

I have seen many truly horrendous redials that look just too sterile and obvious thus ruining the look of the watch, I would live with it. Just keep it in mind and you may find one pop up on Ebay at some point but at this stage I would not be looking to do anything with the dial if it was mine. Once its restored it's no longer original and it cant be undone later, for now live with it and save your money.

On 12/28/2016 at 5:36 PM, mcass said:

Or should I do nothing with it?

Defintley in my opinion

Edited by wls1971
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6 hours ago, wls1971 said:

Just my opinion but old watches should look old the dial on yours would be perfectly exceptable to me its original and shows its age but is still usable.

If you look at the discussion groups with wristwatch collectors you'll notice that they don't believe in changing anything in the watch. Is not even clear whether they would be happy with replacing parts if they were broken I think the purists would be unhappy. So from a collecting point of view they would rather have a tarnished dial than a nice new shiny dial.

 

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On 12/28/2016 at 0:00 AM, mcass said:

 

How can you clean a vintage dial without damaging it?

"cleaning" implies "dirtiness", but most often vintage dials have corrosion or other damage, so cannot be "cleaned".

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unless you have a spare dial, don't.

90% of the time you make it worse and I'm speaking from experience of trying the so called different methods found on the forums (lemon juice, vinegar, dish soap, dish washer) and yes, I had roasted dials to test each method on.

none delivered what they promised.

either buy a new dial, get it refinished or soak up that patina which only comes with age.

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