Dial restoration - repainting illegible numerals.
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  1. #1
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    Dial restoration - repainting illegible numerals.

    Hi all, a bit of a long shot but here goes.
    I'm about to receive an old Alpina watch (1940s) and the dial's numerals are very faded. As a classically trained artist I have the skill set required to repaint these on. There is enough of the original showing for an outline. My question is this, if you were going to do this, what medium would you use? I do not intend to touch the dial's finish in any other way so would be applying the medium onto the existing paint or lacquer.

    Acrylic paint is favourable and as it would be set behind a crystal should be fine?
    Oil paints have too long a drying time.
    Indian ink has been traditionally used but would it adhere to lacquer?

    I'd be using super fine modelling brushes to apply the medium. Slight irregularities in line formation would, in my opinion would be no different to the dials of the day.

    This isn't an ask of whether one agrees with tampering vs the au naturel debate. It's not a watch I'd ever be looking to part with, nor is it terribly valuable. It's more about the challenge for me and making a faded dial more user friendly.

    As always your wealth of experience is greatly appreciated.


    Thanks Russ.

  2. #2
    Member little big feather's Avatar
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    Re: Dial restoration - repainting illegible numerals.

    LOL...I think you have much more knowledge than any here on what paints to use....Maybe ask a local watchmaker what they use.
    rfortson and Der Amf like this.
    Any watches posted may be seen as gifts,borrowed or found property and not as personal property of Little Big Feather.

  3. #3
    Member rfortson's Avatar
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    Re: Dial restoration - repainting illegible numerals.

    I agree. I doubt you'll find many here more knowledgeable than yourself.

    Check out the tools/materials used to clean a dial. I'd assume you'd want to safely/properly clean the dial first before painting it. I've heard here about some putty-type substance that you roll over a dial to pick up loose dirt. But yeah, go ask a trained watchmaker.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Dial restoration - repainting illegible numerals.

    Maybe ask in the Watchmaking and Vintage sub-forums.
    Der Amf likes this.

  6. #5
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    Re: Dial restoration - repainting illegible numerals.

    Perhaps get a couple of other, cheap/worthless, vintage watches and do a few practice runs first.
    rfortson likes this.
    WI, working on the S.

  7. #6
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    Re: Dial restoration - repainting illegible numerals.

    I'm gonna go with acrylic. It flows easily and dries waterproof. Rodico is the putty - it removes surface grease and as I don't want to destroy the patina is about all the prep I can afford!

    The watch only cost me £25 so is about as cheap as I'm gonna find. Needs servicing, a bloody good polish, a new crystal the hands need polishing and reluming........ The red plasticky looking strap will be removed IMMEDIATELY!!

    An Alpina was the first movement I ''repaired'' and it's bigger brother, the 592 (this is a 586) was the standard used in the Swiss Watchmaking schools back in the day due to it's build quality.

    Here's a pic pre-surgery. When she arrives I might document the full end to end process if anyone's interested???Name:  IMG_20140731_223407.JPG
Views: 180
Size:  107.1 KB
    npulaski likes this.

  8. #7
    Member Noam the Newt's Avatar
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    Re: Dial restoration - repainting illegible numerals.

    Lovely watch! You might find that with a new acrylic crystal and a gentle wipe down on the dial, it might look good enough as it is. If you repaint the dial, good luck and I hope you get the desired effect.

  9. #8
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    Re: Dial restoration - repainting illegible numerals.

    Thanks! I think the numerals are almost gone! But until she arrives I won't know for sure. EBay's photos are very low Res these days!

  10. #9
    Member watchgeekwatchnut's Avatar
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    Re: Dial restoration - repainting illegible numerals.

    Quote Originally Posted by rizon75 View Post

    Here's a pic pre-surgery. When she arrives I might document the full end to end process if anyone's interested???Name:  IMG_20140731_223407.JPG
Views: 180
Size:  107.1 KB
    Yes, please post your work here on WUS, I'm sure many of us would like to see the restoration

  11. #10
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    Re: Dial restoration - repainting illegible numerals.

    Pas de problem.........
    Not sure when (or if?) it'll arrive as it is coming from Turkey...... Still it can't be as slow as the parts for another watch flying in from the US which took well over a week from one post office to another one 2 miles away down a perfectly straight road!

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