DIY dial resto
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Thread: DIY dial resto

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    DIY dial resto

    I saw a post on the poor mans watch forum about using water transfer decal inkjet paper to make a new watch dial face so I though I'd give it a try. I wanted an everyday user pocket watch and saw a 1926 Elgin on ebay with a bad dial that looked like a good candidate. This one is the model A Ford of pocket watches with a 7j 303 grade movement, Elgin made over 2,000,000 of these so lots of parts around. This one was from the estate of a watch maker and was claimed to be a good runner the winning bid was $26.00. It did run good but the last service mark was from 1993 so while I had the dial off I cleaned it up and got out the oil can.

    I started out stripping the old paint off the dial there was a thin coat of textured metal under the paint maybe nickle ? I removed this metal coat with 600 wet & dry sand paper then polished the face back with Simichrome. I put down three coats of spray lacquer to seal the brass from oxidation then took all the dial dimensions with my dial calipers and recorded them in millimeters. I used a CAD program to draw the dial, I use this program for my work and know it well so it only took a few minutes to draw it up. I chose the Georgia font as it is bold and I though would be easy to read, I made the font as big as I could squeeze in @ 4.5mm. I next printed it to scale on my inkjet printer and cut out the decal with an Exacto knife. After applying the decal I gave it three more coats of lacquer, the manufacture of the decal paper recommended a Krylon clear spray but I had lacquer on hand and it worked OK.

    Nit picking: this is not a dial face you would want on an expensive collector piece, at the right angle if you look close you can see the edge of the decal around the sunk part of the dial, there are the typical very fine dust particles that show up in the lacquer and I lost a little detail on the second hand dial when I cleaned it up. So good enough for a user but if you want it perfect spend the big bucks.

    I've got a 20's vintage art deco wristwatch with a trashed dial face guess it's the next candidate.


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    DragonDan likes this.

  2. #2
    Member Marrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    East Yorkshire, UK

    Re: DIY dial resto

    Well I'm impressed. As you say, you wouldn't want this done to a half-decent dial, but its made a very presentable watch.

    Thanks for telling us how you did it. And Merry Christmas.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  3. #3
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Great Lakes - USofA

    Re: DIY dial resto

    Interesting. I like it!
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

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  5. #4
    Member JohnnyMonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Surrey, UK

    Re: DIY dial resto

    Now that's an interesting read, and that dial has come out pretty good I think

    Thanks for sharing

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