Removing scratch from DW-5030C crystal (naked case warning)
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  1. #1
    Member idkfa's Avatar
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    Removing scratch from DW-5030C crystal (naked case warning)

    If you are the sort of person that replaces your bezels every time they get a scratch, I would advise you to turn around. This isn't going to be pretty.

    I have no idea how it happened, but my DW-5030C got a scratch on the crystal. Scratch may not even be an accurate term, it was a small chip that easily caught your fingernail. Thing is, I barely wear this watch. I have probably had it out no more than a dozen or two times since buying it. I actually consider it my "dressier" square to wear to the office. To compare, I wear my GW-5000 like I stole it, sometimes 24/7, and the crystal is pristine. I actually like the rest of the watch wearing-in but deep scratches in the crystal really catch the eye.

    I was stuck with either living with the chip, replacing the crystal, or trying to polish it out. I don't like the idea of removing the crystal, it is pressed in with a gasket and isn't meant to be user serviceable, unlike the caseback. I didn't want to cause any issues with water resistance so I decided to polish the crystal.

    I immediate realized a problem with this; the case is ion plated. The crystal on these watches is pretty much flush with the case so polishing the crystal means polishing the case, which means goodbye plating. After a bit of thinking I decided that, because it would be hidden under the bezel, I would proceed. G-Shocks are tough as nails and I never have it out of the bezel anyways.

    I won't go into the process as it has been well documented before, but it was wet-sanding with increasing fineness of sandpaper before going to diamond paste. I didn't think to take a picture of the scratch.

    Here is the watch after 400 grit:



    and now 600 grit (actually silicon carbide paper):



    800 grit:



    1000 grit:



    (2000 grit picture missing)

    and now onto 3.5 micron diamond paste (3000 grit):



    2.5 micron (4000 grit):



    and 1.5 micro (6000 grit):



    I ran out of 1.0 and 0.5 micron paste restoring a DW-6600 so I need to wait until my order arrives to finish it up. It isn't perfectly clear yet and will probably take another couple of hours. With a high polish the case front actually looks kind of cool.

    Thanks for reading!

    Last edited by idkfa; March 20th, 2016 at 08:08.

  2. #2
    Member EXCALIBUR1's Avatar
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    Re: Removing scratch from DW-5030C crystal (naked case warning)

    idkfa,

    Nice save. Thanks for sharing the play-by-play restoration process.
    idkfa and Izzy_Does_It like this.
    EXCALIBUR1

    Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

  3. #3
    Member greg1491's Avatar
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    Re: Removing scratch from DW-5030C crystal (naked case warning)

    Awesome.

    Sanding off the plating of the case that is hidden under the bezel would be acceptable to me also.

    The end results will be spectacular I'm sure.
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    Greg

  4. #4
    Member ricardomfs's Avatar
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    Re: Removing scratch from DW-5030C crystal (naked case warning)

    We need more threads like this!

    Congrats pal, looks awesome!
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  5. #5
    Member domoon's Avatar
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    Re: Removing scratch from DW-5030C crystal (naked case warning)

    I must not the only one who think the "polished" case looks cool!

    I type butter on mah phon
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  6. #6
    Member Ash1979's Avatar
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    Re: Removing scratch from DW-5030C crystal (naked case warning)

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  7. #7
    Member FJay Iceberg White's Avatar
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    Good tread, idkfa.
    Did u use dremel?
    I been searching older treads, and dremel is way to go.
    If not, please be more specific what and how
    Dealing with same problem on my dw-5025
    Thanku

  8. #8
    Member idkfa's Avatar
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    Re: Removing scratch from DW-5030C crystal (naked case warning)

    Quote Originally Posted by FJay Iceberg White View Post
    Good tread, idkfa.
    Did u use dremel?
    I been searching older treads, and dremel is way to go.
    If not, please be more specific what and how
    Dealing with same problem on my dw-5025
    Thanku
    You definitely want to avoid using motorized tools with G-Shocks. If you build up heat too fast you can de-laminate the sticker on the inside. You actually need to be careful when doing it by hand even, I had to remove the module because polishing, even with diamond paste, was heating up the crystal enough to make the digits on the LCD black out for a second. I used large (about 12" x 12") sheets of wet-dry sandpaper (from the automotive department of a hardware store, with the exception of 400 grit which was in carpentry) with a few drops of water and sanding in a circular motion. I placed the case face down in order to keep things even. It took about two hours for sanding, mostly because I kept rushing ahead too quickly. If the crystal is not COMPLETELY frosted you will have visible scratches. The faintest line will be brought out as you proceed to subsequent grits. I had to re-do the 400 and 600 grit process because I rushed. I have spent about 3 hours polishing with diamond paste and even now I can see faint swirls in certain bright lighting (halogen track lighting in the kitchen). I am going to hit it for a while with 1.0 and 0.5 micron and call it a day. It really depends on how anal you are, it can take a VERY long time to restore complete optical clarity to the crystal, and you may always see some imperfections if you get really close.

    One thing to be aware of is that deep scratches require a non-insignificant amount of material to be removed. There is a slightly bigger gap between the screen and the bezel now.

    EDIT: Another thing to keep in mind is how much sandpaper you will go through, especially because finer grits seem to be more expensive (at least around here). Mineral crystal very quickly cuts through the abrasive particles and going over 'dead' spots in the paper will just waste your time. I went through 4 sheets of 400 grit, 6 of 600, 4 of 800, 4 of 1000, and 2 of 2000. I was alarmed at the number of 400 grit sheets that were required, but the scratch was evidently quite deep.
    Last edited by idkfa; March 20th, 2016 at 23:42.

  9. #9
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    Re: Removing scratch from DW-5030C crystal (naked case warning)

    Very nice work.

    A lot of effort though. It would be good if there was an easy way to just change the crystal.




    Mitch

  10. #10
    Member idkfa's Avatar
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    Re: Removing scratch from DW-5030C crystal (naked case warning)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch100 View Post
    Very nice work.

    A lot of effort though. It would be good if there was an easy way to just change the crystal.




    Mitch
    Popping out the crystal seems to guarantee that you break it. You have to re-use the gasket with the replacement. I have seen it done here before, possibly by kung-fusion, but I was trying to avoid replacing it.

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