So, on a scale of 1-The Titanic how bad is this rust? Any hope?
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Thread: So, on a scale of 1-The Titanic how bad is this rust? Any hope?

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  1. #1
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    So, on a scale of 1-The Titanic how bad is this rust? Any hope?

    So I just bought this watch and the case and bracelet might be completely unsalvageable (that's fine, it was cheap and I like little projects like this; part of the process). But I have a couple other dead/broken corpses of this watch and I might finally have enough parts to Frankenstein together a decent looking (and working) version. My question is for anyone who knows anything about rust/corrosion on a stainless steel case. This *looks* basically beyond repair but I don't know and I'm willing to give revitalization a chance. I'm not crazy about using acids that will erode the metal. But I will if needed 'cause it can't get much worse. Would something like Evapo-Rust work? Anyone have experience with this?





  2. #2
    Member Baka1969's Avatar
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    Re: So, on a scale of 1-The Titanic how bad is this rust? Any hope?

    If the movement is in good shape I think you could probably polish that watch and have it look fairly decent. If the crystal is plastic, a little toothpaste might clear that up.

    You would probably have to disassemble each of the links to do a proper job. Also, don't forget to tape off the crystal before doing the case if you don't plan on removing the movement and crystal first.

    If you are patient you can probably get a good shiny even polish. The biggest challenge will be to get a quality and consistent brush, matte, sand finish after that. That's where the skill comes in.

    Expect dozens of hours of work and patience.

    All of this if you plan on keeping it yourself of course.
    You're either qualified or not qualified

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    Re: So, on a scale of 1-The Titanic how bad is this rust? Any hope?

    There's no way to remove rust without removing material. While many strong acids attack base material and oxides indiscriminately, even a chelating agent like Evapo Rust will remove material (the rust itself). It doesn't convert rust back to iron/steel. Since ER only attacks rust, you may be left with a pitted surface depending on how deep the corrosion goes, which means a polish (which removes material).
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    Member Lornegifford's Avatar
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    Re: So, on a scale of 1-The Titanic how bad is this rust? Any hope?

    It's a long way from being the Titanic. Looks like stainless steel that has lived up to its name (as in stain-less, not stain-free). Staining or 'rusting/oxidation' is a surface effect that in this case looks like it's only taken hold on the very outer surface of the metal. I can't see any pitting corrosion.

    Therefore a perfect job for a have-a-go repair.

    I'd suggest the following:

    Take the back off, remove the movement and, if it'll push out easily, then push out the front perspex 'glass'.
    Take the bracelet off and remove the clasp from the bracelet
    Gently start sandpapering (yes, fine grade sandpaper) the worst bits of corrosion following the line of the brushed finish that's on the case. If the corrosion isn't quickly disappearing then apply a little more force or switch to emery or more abrasive paper, keeping with the fine grade stuff though.
    Similar for bracelet and clasp, although a small rotary tool (like a dremmel) might be handy with all the fiddly cracks and crevices
    For the plastic glass then gently polish it using something good for the material. Toothpaste is mentioned above.

    Once everything looks nice and new again put the bits back together with new spring pins (the springs in the old pins have probably corroded as well).

    Overall it'll either be a relatively easy job or it'll all go horribly wrong!
    .....

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    Re: So, on a scale of 1-The Titanic how bad is this rust? Any hope?

    Also, if you want to stick to a more organic solution, the citric acid in lemon juice is another chelating agent like that used in Evapo Rust and will attack rust without harming the base metal. That, combined with a little elbow grease with a fine abrasive, should clean the case up with minimal material removal.
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    Member odd_and_vintage_fan's Avatar
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    Re: So, on a scale of 1-The Titanic how bad is this rust? Any hope?

    The back says "Base Metal Top" so the side of the case is wear-though to the brass underneath. It will need a new coat of plating.

    This outfit is the only one I've heard of to do that kind of refurbishment.
    Replateit.com - Watch Case Restoration
    yankeexpress likes this.

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    Member yankeexpress's Avatar
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    Re: So, on a scale of 1-The Titanic how bad is this rust? Any hope?

    You will end up polishing off the silvertone plating and end up with a brass colored watch case.
    OvrSteer likes this.

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    Member Horatius's Avatar
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    Re: So, on a scale of 1-The Titanic how bad is this rust? Any hope?

    Stainless Steel would make for better results. Check these before and after pictures, not a bad restauration:
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f21/my-...cd-671556.html

    Base metal is a lot softer, so you have to be carefull not to remove too much material. I had a chrome plated vintage watch redone, it was about €50 for the case work, but that was including the polishing. Chrome can be brushed, but it has to be a thick enough layer.

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    Re: So, on a scale of 1-The Titanic how bad is this rust? Any hope?

    Thank you so much, guys! Sounds like it's definetly worth the effort. I'm going to start by trying it myself and if indeed it's down to the brass, I'll send it off for a re-plating as Horatius suggested. I checked the pricing and I think it's super reasonable; full SS replating for under $100. I'll make a before/after/progress thread for it once it arrives and is in my hands. Thanks again.

  11. #10
    Member sticky's Avatar
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    Re: So, on a scale of 1-The Titanic how bad is this rust? Any hope?

    If you try to polish the rust off the case you may end up with a brass watch.

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