Watch Plating 101 Primer 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14

Factors

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factor 7 - Surface finish: One of the most important and easiest factors to control in watch replating is the quality and brightness of the watch case's surface finish. Without special underplating, the electroplating process does not hide pre-existing scratches or pits. If anything the plating process will make a bad surface finish look even worse.

With this in mind it is important to spend extra time in the refinishing phase to remove deep scratches, fill in all surface pits and to rebuild worn design edges. This part of the process can actually take more time than the electroplating, especially if the watch is older and the contours of the watch case are badly worn.

Sometimes the deep pits and surface gouges can be gradually filled with a suitale metal during the underplating process. Other times it is necessary to melt a special gold or silver solder directly onto the bare brass watch case to fill any deep surface imperfections. This can be time consuming and requires a great deal of skill on the part of the refinisher. All prominent design edges must be redefined and polished. In addition all minor chips or gouges around the lugs that hold the watch band must be carefully removed.

It is better to fill deep scratches and surface imperfections than to try removing them with abrasive sanding. Too much sanding can ruin the watch case by making it too thin. This is especially critical for the "design contour" areas of the watch case that define its decorative beauty or contribute to its structural integrity (i.e. lugs, bezel around watch crystal).

After the major surface imperfections are removed, final polishing of the watch case to remove all other fine scratches are necessary. At this point all satin finishes should be uniform in appearance, and all shiny surfaces should be mirror bright and free of any surface irregularities. Finally, the watch is now ready to be replated.

This may seem like an extraordinary effort and it is. One could describe this process more accurately as "watch restoration" rather than just repolishing and watch replating. In some cases, if done correctly these important steps can greatly increase the monetary and intrinsic value of your vintage watch.

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