Thread: Refinishing dials

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  1. #1
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    Refinishing dials

    Hello,

    I know that refinished dials generally impair the value of high end vintage watches however I have a few questions...

    I'm looking at adding a nice vintage watch to the collection, either a 1940's Vacheron or a ref 96 Calatrava.

    Many of these come with dials in poor condition or badly refinished. I'm not interested in the value to a collector but wish to wear it every day. I'm therefore interested in restoring the dial to how it would have looked when purchased.

    Are there refinishers who can take a badly refinished dial (dodgy printing an all) and restore it to how it should have looked when new? I'd be looking for the highest quality work so it's on a par with the quality of an original dial.

    Is the cost likely to exceed the value of the watch?

  2. #2
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    Re: Refinishing dials

    I'm no expert, however I did have the dial of my Dad's old 1972 Omega Constellation redone at International Dial. It was cheap and it looks exactly like a $20 job. Lots of dust trapped in the clear lacquer :o(

    I have seen other sites offering this service on the net, but you have to do your own investigation. Keep in mind that if you are so fussy that perfection at 10x loupe viewing is mandatory...best of luck in your search.

  3. #3
    Member Outta Time's Avatar
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    Re: Refinishing dials

    Keep in mind, professional places that restore dials will NOT make it exactly as it should be. They can't, because it is illegal, I was told. That's why the fonts are almost correct, but not quite. They are copywritten and trademarked, in all cases. (I'm talking currently active companies, like Omega) What an industry guy told me was, there has to be something about the dial that identifies it as a restored/repainted dial. I understand Patek will do it on their own watches, but the price is fairly steep.

  4. #4
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    Re: Refinishing dials

    Quote Originally Posted by Outta Time View Post
    Keep in mind, professional places that restore dials will NOT make it exactly as it should be. They can't, because it is illegal, I was told. That's why the fonts are almost correct, but not quite. They are copywritten and trademarked, in all cases. (I'm talking currently active companies, like Omega) What an industry guy told me was, there has to be something about the dial that identifies it as a restored/repainted dial. I understand Patek will do it on their own watches, but the price is fairly steep.
    I'm not sure about this, and the laws may be different in Canada, but most countries have "fair use" clauses in their copyright laws that means that the logo can and will be reproduced exactly if it is for use in repairing a watch dial. I speak with some authority on this, as I occasionally have my plate maker (I used to do some dial printing) make plates for some dial printer friends of mine in other countries who can't find stainless steel plate makers for pad printing. The logos are copied exactly and they are in accordance with the law.

  5. #5
    Member Outta Time's Avatar
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    Re: Refinishing dials

    It was online, and I don't remember where (what country) the guy was from. I had made a reference to a dial restoration company here in Canada, so it may not apply. Do you have pad printing contacts in Canada? I would imagine this is something that is quite in demand.

  6. #6
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    Re: Refinishing dials

    Quote Originally Posted by Outta Time View Post
    It was online, and I don't remember where (what country) the guy was from. I had made a reference to a dial restoration company here in Canada, so it may not apply. Do you have pad printing contacts in Canada? I would imagine this is something that is quite in demand.
    No, I don't, but I'm happy to supply stainless plates to anyone who needs them. All plates I supply are 0.5 mm, so they are very inexpensive to mail. My turn around time from receiving the graphics to shipping is usually between a week to ten days. Costs generally run in the $ 200 to $250 per plate range, so some dial printer put as many as six and eight logos on one plate.

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