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Author Topic: Metallic Watch Face Preservation.  (Read 1316 times)
SalieriAAX
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« on: February 05, 2009, 11:35:13 am »

Looking through eBay and various websites, it's obvious that ca.1930s, Art Deco-y watches with metallic faces seem to be extremely prone to corrosion, discolouration and flaking. I have such a watch but with a face that's in pretty excellent condition:


-and I was wondering what I could do to prevent it from going the same way. Is it just a case of keeping the watch airtight? Only it seems a little unlikely that the watches with badly preserved dials (the vast majority, or so it would appear) all have bad seals. ANyhow, I've only opened the front cover once and it was really bloody tricky so I'm confident that it's a good seal.

And thoughs? Advice?
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rogue_designer
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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2009, 06:40:26 pm »

I suppose you could lacquer the face to help preserve it. *shrug*
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SalieriAAX
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2009, 08:38:06 pm »

I suppose you could lacquer the face to help preserve it. *shrug*

Ah, thanks. Such a thing did vaguely cross my mind, but I wouldn't know where to start. What kind of lacquer would one use? Also, the seconds dial has an extremely fine ridged concentric ring design, would lacquer not smooth that over?
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rogue_designer
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2009, 09:40:00 pm »

Yes, you'd have to use a very thin coat. Perhaps an airbrush applied version.

On second thought though, much of the beauty of the metal faces comes from the differential polish/finish of the face. And that might be subdued or eliminated entirely with any sort of coating.

I guess keep it dry (a dessicant pack in wherever it's stored when not in use) and hope for the best.
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HAC
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2009, 09:57:02 pm »

Lacquer is indeed the cure and the problem. The original painted metal dials were lacquered after painting to preserve the paint and protect from discoloration. The spots and such that one sees on some examples are where the lacquer coat has deteriorated or been damaged (usually by moisture).  There's really not much that can help with an older watch to prevent spotting, save keeping them as in a low humidity enviroment. 

Its most likely that your dial is already lacquered, if its stayed in good shape this long, then the best thinf you acn do is to store it (when not being used) in a low humidity, cool dark place (I store my wiathes in a lined watch box.. and I have one of those small silica gel dessicant packs in the box as well..)


Cheers
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« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 09:59:49 pm by HAC » Logged

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JingleJoe
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« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2009, 12:06:17 am »

I have one of those small silica gel dessicant packs in the box as well..)
Put in two for good measure Wink also I seem to remember that those things can go off, in that they have an expiration date, so replacements may be in order some time in the future!
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« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2009, 07:16:43 am »

I have one of those small silica gel dessicant packs in the box as well..)
Put in two for good measure Wink also I seem to remember that those things can go off, in that they have an expiration date, so replacements may be in order some time in the future!

My father's surveyor's level came with a largish drawstring bag full of silica gel beads, which was to be kept inside the case. As I recall, the beads were pale pinkish, but would turn blue as they became saturated with moisture. The bag bore printed instructions to spread the beads on a sheet pan and gently bake them back to pink.

Not sure how that helps, except it's something to keep an eye out for.
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