Dirty watches
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  1. #1
    Member Bandido's Avatar
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    Dirty watches

    Hi.
    How do you fight with dirt and different kinds of oxides, rust, etc on vintage watches?
    Are you comfortable with unclear dials, blurred or scratched glass, stained hands, dusty crowns, salted and patina-tuned backs and so on?

    I like a lot of retro designs and vintage models, but the difficulty with finding nos conditions definitely stops me to buy something far from nearly new-looking watch.
    Looking around the forum I meet really tired watches.
    Is it ok to owners? What can be possible to do for this kind of watch?

    Is there a common way to restore this kind of watches?
    Or it harms the overall sense of the original product and gives that Frankenstein determination?
    Last edited by Bandido; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:29.

  2. #2
    Member mariomart's Avatar
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    Re: Dirty watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Bandido View Post
    Hi.
    How do you fight with dirt and different kinds of oxides, rust, etc on vintage watches?
    Are you comfortable with unclear dials, blurred or scratched glass, stained hands, dusty crowns, salted and patina-tuned backs and so on?

    I like a lot of retro designs and vintage models, but the difficulty with finding nos conditions definitely stops me to buy something far from nearly new-looking watch.
    Looking around the forum I meet really tired watches.
    Is it ok to owners? What can be possible to do for this kind of watch?

    Is there a common way to restore this kind of watches?
    Or it harms the overall sense of the original product and gives that Frankenstein determination?
    Great question, and the answer will always be subjective.

    I myself prefer to buy the best/cleanest condition I can afford.

    However, sometimes I come across such humble pieces who's less than perfect appearance actually gives the piece a soul and a story, something that reminds you that perfection isn't everything. I buy these pieces on occasion just to allow them to rest and reflect on the service they have given, call it retirement, not passing away.

    Here is one of my favourites


  3. #3
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    Re: Dirty watches

    If you're in an area that has watchmakers with experience and access to parts, it's quite easy to fix them up. Here's a Neva I purchased which had a dial so dirty you couldn't see most of the numbers. It was easy to disassemble and clean the dial with non-abrasive solution. Switched out the case with a Pobeda from the same time frame and had a watchmaker do some final cleaning and put in a new crystal.

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  5. #4
    Member EndeavourDK's Avatar
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    Re: Dirty watches

    IMHO it's all a matter of taste and preferences .....
    “The more I read & learn, the more I realize how little I know. And even what I think I know, I start to doubt"

  6. #5
    Member Bandido's Avatar
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    Re: Dirty watches

    As I can see, guys, the really old watches will remain old, if you just clean them and service.
    To be a wearable timepiece (for me), I would have to reprint the dial, replace the crown, relume, place a new chrome etc))))
    Too much for me.

    I have the only watch deserving such a long way, though))))
    My father's Raketa (that hockey puck style case).
    Green dial, rectangular hands, silver indices.
    In other way, if I will put it into NOS, I would not wear it). Jist pick it from the box, make some photos, publish on WUS, and put the watch back to the box)))).

  7. #6
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    Re: Dirty watches

    If you are interested in old watches restoration, you can check the "Before & After" thread. It's dedicated to DIY cleaning and restoring old soviets. There you can get an idea of what is possible and what's not. Work there is done by amateur enthusiasts, through basic "trial/mistake" process. There's no universal step by step manual, and results are not always spectacular from the first time.
    Cleaning the exterior and polishing the plexy crystal is the easiest thing to try, as it requires no dissassembling the watch. So no tools or watch knowledge is required.
    Some watches can be opened from the front (like Mario's Pobeda), so dust can be blown away from the dial and crystal wiped from the inside. These are things that can be done by anyone with steady hands, and they may (or may not) make a difference.
    Good luck!

  8. #7
    Member Odessa200's Avatar
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    I think the subject is a bit misleading. Lets separate Dirty watches from Used watches.
    If a watch is dirty from outside it needs to be cleaned and sanitized. End of story. The dirt can find its way to the dial and hands and only so much cleaning can be done there so be careful when getting a dirty dial and be ready to live with it.
    Then we are in the Used category: lost chrome and gold, worn down crowns, dents, scratched crystal, etc. In my view the main aspect is Harmony of parts. I see people get an old watch with cracked paint on the dial and then put new hands with super bright lume, or something like that. Now the watch looks fake and cheap even it is from original parts. The only exception to this is crystal. If you can get an original or close by shape to an original crystal and put it on an old watch then it will look good. Other than that I like to see the parts that aged together and look like they belong together.

    Many people have issues wearing used watches. I get it. Watch is personal. And this decision is personal.

  9. #8
    fla
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    Re: Dirty watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Bandido View Post
    As I can see, guys, the really old watches will remain old, if you just clean them and service.
    To be a wearable timepiece (for me), I would have to reprint the dial, replace the crown, relume, place a new chrome etc))))
    Too much for me.

    I have the only watch deserving such a long way, though))))
    My father's Raketa (that hockey puck style case).
    Green dial, rectangular hands, silver indices.
    In other way, if I will put it into NOS, I would not wear it). Jist pick it from the box, make some photos, publish on WUS, and put the watch back to the box)))).
    Simply buy a NOS/ as a new case, dial, crown and plex crystal, service the movement and assemble all into a new "old" Raketa. In Moscow/St-Pete it's not a big problem, still a lot of NOS or good spares for many of Soviet made Raketas, if it's not a 3031 and a couple of other rare models. It would be much cheaper than repainting and rechroming.

  10. #9
    Member Bandido's Avatar
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    Re: Dirty watches

    To have a NOS Raketa is not a big deal in Russia.
    Possibly I made a not clear example.

    I mean, if I will start the long way of restoration such a totally used watch they must have value for me like my father's watch.))))

  11. #10
    Member Odessa200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandido View Post
    To have a NOS Raketa is not a big deal in Russia.
    Possibly I made a not clear example.

    I mean, if I will start the long way of restoration such a totally used watch they must have value for me like my father's watch.))))
    That is one reason. But there is just a good feeling when you restore an old beaten watch. Trust me: it feels fantastic when you see results of your work. Even thought I can probably buy a lot of new watches, I do buy old beaters and fix them. For no other reason as to be able to do it.

    Take a look here https://youtu.be/mgNuOiW4pmE
    Mark can restore any watch he wants. His time he spent on this exceeds the value of the watch greatly. Why did he restore this one? Just because he can and because he loves it.

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