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

Factors

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factor 4 - Underplating: Underplating is closely related to factor 3 with regard to improving surface adhesion of goldplating. As its name implies, underplating is a series of plating processes that are used to prepare a watch for it's final plating in gold. The intent of underplating is to improve the tarnish resistance of your replated gold watch.

After the watch as been repolished, cleaned and rinsed, it is electroplated with a layer of bright copper. Electroplated copper readily adheres to the brass watch case and provides a good intermediate layer to help prevent porosity and the formation of oxides. For badly pitted and gouged watch cases, sufficient layers of copper can be plated onto the surface to fill and smooth out surface irregularities. After copper is plated onto the watch it is prepared for the next step.

Depending on the manufacturer, many medium and high priced vintage watches were also underplated with a layer of bright nickel prior to final goldplating. Bright nickel has many desirable characteristics that help improve the luster and durability of your replated watch. The most noteworthy advantage of nickel underplating is its ability to prevent corrosion from the brass watch case from reaching the goldplated layer. If there is any porosity in the goldplated layer, the nickel layer will prevent any surface contaminants from corroding the brass watch case; which in time would discolor the goldplated layer. Finally, a layer of nickel plating can help brighten and smooth out any minor surface irregularities on the watch case.

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