Salt water etching of watch dial
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Thread: Salt water etching of watch dial

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  1. #1
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    Salt water etching of watch dial

    Long time lurker and first time poster. I'm finally hoping to try to build (okay, assemble) my own watch some day. One of the things I've been working on is a way to create a custom dial. I thought I'd share my first somewhat successful attempt. This was a brass plate etched in a salt water electrolysis bath for about an hour. The design/image resist was the toner from a laser printer on a special toner transfer paper. Not too shabby, especially from farther away. This up close scan shows the bite on the brass wasn't the cleanest. The dial on the left is 35.5 mm and on the right is about 39 mm. Patina created with a dunk in some liver of sulphur and then the high points buffed out. I'm a bit concerned about the thickness of the dials at about .75 mm, but I can always sand the heck out of the back of them if I need to. Maybe this is a process people already use quite a bit?

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  2. #2
    Member 1afc's Avatar
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    Re: Salt water etching of watch dial

    That's an interesting concept.

    Depending on the look you are wanting you may also be able to polish the front of the dial so you would have the high points buffed. That might improve readability but success would also depend on the uniformity of the etch I guess.

    How do you intend to attach the dial posts?

  3. #3
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    Re: Salt water etching of watch dial

    Never heard of the process but I love the one on the left!

    My only concern would be raising the hands high enough to clear everything.

    Mike
    In dog beers I've only had one.

  4. #4
    Member PeterK.'s Avatar
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    Re: Salt water etching of watch dial

    Looks good with time Im sure you will get better
    what movement/caliber are you planing to use?

  5. #5
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    Re: Salt water etching of watch dial

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! Below is another test I tried yesterday. This time etched on sterling silver and immersed in a bath of ferric nitrate. Silver seems to etch a lot better than the previous brass test. I don't think I'll need to worry about raising the hands up. The etch is actually far more subtle then it looks in the photos so I don't think I'll have a clearance problem, but we'll see when I get the movements. For one of them I've got an ETA 2824-2 clone and the other an ETA 6497 clone. Tried to find the cheapest Chinese knock offs I could locate because I know I'll probably be breaking some things as I learn. Working on the dial faces is fun, though. Not sure yet what to do about putting pins on the back of the dial for properly securing to the movement. Brass I could solder them fairly easily. Soldering sterling is rather a pain and I'm not that good at it. I'll have to play around with it.

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  6. #6
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    Re: Salt water etching of watch dial

    Has there been in more progress? I am looking forward to seeing it.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

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