HOW TO: DIY cheap crystal repair - scratch removal tutorial
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  1. #1
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    HOW TO: DIY cheap crystal repair - scratch removal tutorial

    Evening Gents,

    Also posted this tread on the seiko forum (because of the watches), but would be equally good here, as this is aimed at Acrylic Crystal, found on plenty of vintage watches.. hopefully this helps someone!

    Recently i posted this thread showing my bargain car boot find - King seiko 5246:

    https://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=417320

    Awesome watch, which had only one problem... the Acrylic crystal was very scratched. Thanks to the suggestions of stefano34 and Pandamonium i have managed to turn this:



    Into this:



    Granted, this is not as good as a new crystal... but its very close! Plus i have not had to spend lots of time and money finding the right replacement crystal - if even possible!

    This is how i did it:

    Firstly, sorry if this is common knowledge and something you guys do all the time. But i did do a thread search and did not find anything.

    Also, im sure people have proper equipment and better ways of doing this... but this is my first steps into watch (cosmetic) repair and am amazed how easy and cheap it is to do this.

    Firstly, you will need a watch with an Acrylic Crystal which is in need of repair. Luckily, a work colleague has a vintage seiko that had a nasty scratch, plus normal wear an tear. After telling him about my DIY repair to my KS he gave his watch today for the same treatment.

    Its a 1975, 7006-5000. Notice the scratch from 7 to 1







    Once you have the watch, you need the tools... I say tools, but infact, its stuff you are likely to have in the house - if you have a female in the house!

    The first thing. A nail polishing block - Ask the ladies in the house, or go to your nearest Supermarket? Boots? Superdrug? and it looks like this:



    Each side has a different grade of glass paper, from a rough grade to a side that buffs. From what my girlfriend says, this is standard and each side is normally numbered from 1 to 4! In the case of this one, 1 was the rough side, going through to 4 the buff ('Shiner') side. Please note, I have not used side 1 (the roughest) at any point. One of these will cost about £2...

    The second thing you will need is.... Toothpaste:



    Nothing special.. I assume the cheapeast tube will do the job?

    Right, when i did my KS (I have since done 3 other watches this way), i have left the crystal in the case. But, as this watch has a very easy crystal to take out, I did... but you dont have to!

    I then started but using side 2 (called ridge remover on this block) in a circular motion to 'sand' the top of the crystal (This is the only time i have needed to use side 2, as the scratch was quite deep). When i first did this, i thought i was killing the crystal... it looks like this:




    If you wipe this off with a damp cloth, it does not look as bad, but you will see the crystal has lots of mini scratches... Once i could see the main scratch had been rubbed out, I moved onto side 3 "nail smoother"



    I have also found adding a bit of moisture to the surface when doing this helps.... once you have worked out the mini scratches, you are left with a slightly cloudy crystal with minute scratches. Wipe off the crystal powder and get the toothpaste.



    Using a cloth ( I used kitch towel/paper) rub the tooth paste around in circular motions once again for a couple of minutes. I had to repeat the sanding with side 3 and toothpaste buffing twice to pick up all scratches.

    The end result:







    Like i said earlier... this is not as good as a new crystal... but its very close. And with a watch like this, when a replacement is hard to find, this gives many more years of use to a tired crystal.

    The one thing i would say if you plan to do this, is: TRY IT ON A CHEAPY OR CRYSTAL THAT IS ONLY GOOD FOR THE BIN!!!

    Thanks again to the guys that suggested this and sorry to those of you that think this was a waste of your time reading (as you already know this)or a bit amateurish.

    But to Noob's like me... I hope this helps
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Twitter: quickpicmarc

  2. #2
    Member Niccolo's Avatar
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    Re: HOW TO: DIY cheap crystal repair - scratch removal tutorial

    I heard you could polish acrylic with toothpaste, but this is the first time I see a proper tutorial. Thanks for taking the time to do this!
    Cataratas do Iguaçu, Brazil => http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9KyiwSscdo

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    a voyage of discovery

    Looks great!

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  5. #4
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    Re: HOW TO: DIY cheap crystal repair - scratch removal tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by Niccolo View Post
    I heard you could polish acrylic with toothpaste, but this is the first time I see a proper tutorial. Thanks for taking the time to do this!
    You are welcome... If it helps one person, it was worth it! Thanks Enough.. I am really happy how it worked out.
    is that my watch likes this.
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Twitter: quickpicmarc

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    Re: HOW TO: DIY cheap crystal repair - scratch removal tutorial

    Well done, I use exactly the same principle but use Autosol instead of toothpaste (I save toothpaste for stainlessstraps/bracelets along with a toothbrush)
    Definately not a waste of time as you have kept te original crystal and you can now read the watch...I am, pretty sure finding crystals for both of these Seiko's would have not been easy...It really bringsthe face out on your Seiko, I love the snazzy 70's brown..rocking!

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    Re: HOW TO: DIY cheap crystal repair - scratch removal tutorial

    Forgot to add you can use the same priciple and equipment to do stainless cases and even solid gold ones just be careful to keep the original shape of the case, on brushed cases you just leave out the finer grades of polishing and 'brush' one way only in the same direction as the original if that makes sense?

  8. #7
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: HOW TO: DIY cheap crystal repair - scratch removal tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by stefano34 View Post
    I save toothpaste for stainlessstraps/bracelets along with a toothbrush
    Or put them in the cutlery tray of your dishwasher.
    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.

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    Re: HOW TO: DIY cheap crystal repair - scratch removal tutorial

    Well done. I really like the dial on the KS, beautiful.

    When it comes to method, I use metal polish instead of toothpaste. The two finest blocks, the buffer and the polisher are really great for ss cases that have no real scratches but are hazy or dull. The polisher block really produces a shine.

  10. #9
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    Re: HOW TO: DIY cheap crystal repair - scratch removal tutorial

    Thanks guys,

    If it helps one person, it was worth doing. If you do try this out, let me know how you get on!?

    I really would recommend this to anyone... as you can see from the time on the watch, it really does not take that long (time shows 40mins - in reality, that was about 20mins of actual work). Plus a lay person (like me) could do this without worry of doing any real damage! I would like to stress again, I practiced on a crystal that was only good for the bin, but that came up great, so i have re-vamped 3 or 4 watches since!

    At the end of the day, i now have an awesome looking KS, which i am wearing with pride today... whereas before, i had an awesome KS which i had to explain to people was awesome, as all they could see was the scratches.... and all this really cost me was 20mins.... well worth it!
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Twitter: quickpicmarc

  11. #10
    G-Shock & Sales Moderator DragonJade's Avatar
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    Re: HOW TO: DIY cheap crystal repair - scratch removal tutorial

    Nicely done. You didn't say, but did you use side 4 at all, or just the toothpaste?

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