Clean crystal for 1970's Timex
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  1. #1
    Member mougino's Avatar
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    Clean crystal for 1970's Timex

    Hello Vintage forum!

    I own a 1976 auto Timex which I opened and tuned the movement (it's now +/- 15 spd), and put adapted (with difficulty) a 20mm metal bracelet on the 19mm lug-to-lug.

    The crystal is very badly scratched: see pictures. It's hardly readable.

    What are my best options to source a replacement crystal?

    I tried eBay and local repairers to no avail.

    Thanks!

    Nicolas

  2. #2
    Member kurt1962's Avatar
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    Re: Clean crystal for 1970's Timex

    Short of getting a new crystal, I wet sand the crystal with extra fine grit modeler’s sandpaper, light pressure, and a few separate passes to remove the scratches. Then, I use Scratch Out buffing compound to remove the haze of the sanding and polish the crystal.


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  3. #3
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Clean crystal for 1970's Timex

    You can give it a try with a well known method, without changing the crystal. It works well on all acrylic types, and I have done this many times. Otherwise you have to change it completely.

    Go over it with altra-fine sandpaper 1500 grid. The crystal will go totally blind, but dont worry.

    Then, do the same thing with sandpaper 2000 grid.

    After that, you use a product called Polywatch, available at the Internet everywhere. Spread a drop around it and rub firmly with a cloth until the crystal is clear. You might have to proceed this procedure. If the scratches are too deep (which they usually aren't), you will have some of the deep ones left.

    Now, if you don't have the sandpaper, which you usually can't buy in single sheets, and considering that the Polywatch is not for free, it all adds up to be more ecpensive then a replacement crystal. I get those for around $ 2,00 a piece.

    Of course, swapping the thing will require tools, in this case a crystal lift.

    As a collector with many watches, I have both, the material for the above described treatment and the tools for a complete change, as well as enough replacement crystals at hand.

    In the end, a watchmaker should not charge much, something around 10 to 15 bucks at most.

    Text added: The posting of Kurt1962 has crossed with mine. He is saying about the same thing what concerns 'cleaning' the crystal.

    More text added: Michael's post also crossed with my added text. He is more of an expert than me, so if he can spot too much damage already, get a new crystal. But you need the tools (crystal lift) and you must measure the diameter exactly before ordering. If you have a crystal lift, then getting a replacement is the most effective version. It's peanuts plus postage.
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; January 10th, 2018 at 13:33.
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  5. #4
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    Re: Clean crystal for 1970's Timex

    mougino...from what I can see from your Post, you will need a new crystal: the damage here looks to be cracks that go through the entire crystal, not simply scratches that may be polished out.

    I suggest that you do an Internet search for "watch parts"...there are quite a few places out there, and I reckon you will discover one or more that appeal to you.

    A really good resource is also "Dave's Watch Parts"...if he does not have what you need, he will be able to help you continue your search. Good Luck! Michael.

  6. #5
    Member mougino's Avatar
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    Re: Clean crystal for 1970's Timex

    Thanks for these first feedbacks. I forgot to say that I tried the cloth with toothpaste beforehand as I've read about it in another thread. But I see this was not the proper method when the scratches are more important so either sandpaper and Polywatch, or replacement crystal it is!

    I went to my local watchmaker shop: they proposed me 55€ to replace the crystal inc. service. That seems atrociously expensive but doesn't surprise me (I live and work in Paris Business district, lots of people can pay this price w/o blinking).

    I don't think the scratches are that deep and cross the whole crystal TBH... I'm adding some macros if my poor phone camera allows it:

    Nicolas

  7. #6
    Member mougino's Avatar
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    Re: Clean crystal for 1970's Timex

    Re,

    My first post was misleading: the crystal looks unreadable and very badly scratched in poor light conditions only (first post pictures).

    In plain day outside it is easily readable and scratches are hardly noticeable...

    I'm not a specialist so I don't know how serious it means the scratches are.

    Nicolas

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    Member Amadeus's Avatar
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    From your post it reads as if the €55 is including service of the movement. In that case it's not a bad price at all.

  9. #8
    Member mougino's Avatar
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    Re: Clean crystal for 1970's Timex

    Quote Originally Posted by Amadeus View Post
    From your post it reads as if the €55 is including service of the movement. In that case it's not a bad price at all.
    Nope, service of opening the watch, changing the crystal and re-closing the watch (w/o guarantee of water resistance they added).

    No service of the movement.

    Nicolas

  10. #9
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    Re: Clean crystal for 1970's Timex

    Here is how I polish a crystal. I start with 2000 wet/dry sandpaper, used wet. Take your time and wipe off the residue after a bit of time. Remaining scratches will still be seen. Take your time. After that I get a paper towel, tear off a couple of small squares and polish with Brasso - a metal polish. Next I use Meguiars PlastX to finish it off. All 3 products are available in most any auto parts store and this same combination can be used to restore your plastic head light lens so the cost can be more or less justified. You will now have enough to do at least 200-300 watches and several cars head lights! The Plastx is also great to un-cloud convertible windows, etc.
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  11. #10
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Clean crystal for 1970's Timex

    The pictures are better now. 55 Euros is just rediculous, even for Paris and exceedes the value of the watch. A service (taking the movement apart etc.) is most likely not even possible on this watch, as the movement was not designed for that and everything is riveted together.

    I guess it's a Timex cal. M32 like this one here

    bidfun-db Archive: Watch Movements: Timex M32

    A replacement crystal (acrylic) sells for 2 Euros or better if you buy them in sets.

    Try polishing it as described, see also here on YouTube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONY8GnEoy_U

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrdSfL8w0Zo


    Get the sandpaper from eBay. If you buy it in Paris, they charge you for a sheet 20 x 20cm, grid 2000, about the price of an oriental rug. I know the place well. I worked for some time on Avenue des Champs-Élysées about 200 meters away from the Arc de Triomphe (opposite the Mercedes showrooms). You have to sell your life insurance to pay for a coffee in that area.

    And let us see the outcome when finshed
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; January 10th, 2018 at 23:13.
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