Tips On Removing Fine Scratches From AR Coated Crystal?
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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Tips On Removing Fine Scratches From AR Coated Crystal?

    Good evening Ladies and Gents!

    I recently picked up a pre-owned IWC Mark XVIII and while i'm extremely happy with the watch, there are a few fine scratches on the AR coated crystal - one in the centre near the IWC logo and one near 9 o'clock. Is there any easy way to remove the fine scratches without having to send it to IWC? I have read about people polishing off the outer coating but I don't necessarily want to do that and alter an otherwise perfect watch.

    Thoughts? Any tips or direction would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Tips On Removing Fine Scratches From AR Coated Crystal?

    The only way for you to remove scratches is to abrade the surrounding material down to the level of the scratch. Not the visual result you are looking for. I have not read of repairs to ar coating. It could be replaced or removed completely. Or you could learn to live with the imperfections.
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    Member TKiteCD's Avatar
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    Re: Tips On Removing Fine Scratches From AR Coated Crystal?

    If it is also AR on the inside, just buff off the exterior coating. Dumbest thing ever was when companies started coating the exterior as well.

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    Member MissileExpert's Avatar
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    Re: Tips On Removing Fine Scratches From AR Coated Crystal?

    Depends on which side the AR coating is. If it's on the surface, don't touch it. If it's under the surface, a very fine diamond paste could buff the scratch out, but you do risk changing the optical quality of the crystal and you may get some distortion where you've buffed out the scratch. Generally speaking, it's more preferable to either leave the scratch intact, or just replace the crystal.

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    Member TwentiethCenturyFox's Avatar
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    Re: Tips On Removing Fine Scratches From AR Coated Crystal?

    That is a high end watch, I would not endorse trying to rub/polish off the coat unless it was an invicta.
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    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Re: Tips On Removing Fine Scratches From AR Coated Crystal?

    Quote Originally Posted by MissileExpert View Post
    Depends on which side the AR coating is. If it's on the surface, don't touch it. If it's under the surface, a very fine diamond paste could buff the scratch out, but you do risk changing the optical quality of the crystal and you may get some distortion where you've buffed out the scratch. Generally speaking, it's more preferable to either leave the scratch intact, or just replace the crystal.
    Say what? Are you saying not to polish the external surface, where the scratch is, but, it's OK to polish the internal surface where of course there would be no scratch (i.e. take the watch apart simply to deal with the AR)? Or what?

    Anyway, as moderator John MS noted, you basically have limited choices available--one is to lightly polish the area of the scratch, but this will leave the surface with patches of no AR surrounded by AR--not so appealing. Or, you could take that diamond paste (or other compounds) and polish the external AR completely off--many people do that, and no, you will not distort the underlying Sapphire crystal, which is much harder and more resistant than the surface-applied AR layer. A third alternative is simply leaving it alone. I've polished off many external AR coatings on a variety of watches--no issues, no problems, and for me, the look is better (more transparent) than with an external AR coating even if it is unmarred--reflections are still curbed, since of course the underlying (internal) AR coating is still there.

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    Member mleok's Avatar
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    Re: Tips On Removing Fine Scratches From AR Coated Crystal?

    If the goal is to only remove the AR coating, then I would suggest avoiding diamond paste, which can reshape the sapphire crystal as well. Some people have suggested polywatch together with a low speed Dremel.


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    Re: Tips On Removing Fine Scratches From AR Coated Crystal?

    Assuming the watch has external AR and the scratches are in the AR and not the crystal, your options are:

    1. Buff off the external AR entirely
    2. Replace the crystal with a factory-fresh one
    3. Live with the scratches
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    Re: Tips On Removing Fine Scratches From AR Coated Crystal?

    I have taken off a couple of sketchy AR coatings with Polywatch and a good flannel buff wheel on my Dremel with great results.

    Not hard if you know what you are doing, but you don't want your first attempt to be on your IWC.

    melok is correct, lapping paste is too aggressive.

    Polywatch is harder to hotspot if you can vary your speed with the dremel.

    Patience, a steady hand and a plan works wonders.



    Live with it or take it to a pro for assistance, IMHO.

    Good luck.
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    Re: Tips On Removing Fine Scratches From AR Coated Crystal?

    As far as I’m aware you have two choices. Either polish it to remove the external AR or send it away to have the AR removed and reapplied. Thinking about it there’s a third option - you could leave it alone and live with it as it is.

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