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Old 02-08-2019, 03:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Case refinishing

I was talking with a friend this week about case refinishing, imo its a strange subject really.

In the past I have refinished quite a few cases 6105-811Xs and 6309-704Xs and imo made better than a decent job, got the original finishes about right and most importantly kept the case lines correct.

But I would only refinish a case that needed it as I always prefer an original finish but I hate well worn/beat up cases as I have never bought into the every dink, bump etc tells the history of the watch camp unless of course its been to the moon or something similar

I would prefer a good case with a good original finish with perhaps a dink/rub here and there to a refinished one (jmo).

In general I should say most guys don't like a polished/refinished vintage Seiko and it does tend to reduce the value ?

But strangely enough it seems fine for Swiss models like Rolex which often get polished when in for service and Omega.

I bought a MK11 Speedmaster last year that had been used and it showed it which you would expect with a 50 year old watch.

So off it went to one of the best guys in the land Rocco at watchworks and it came back today having had a full case restore, dedication removed from the case back, full service, crystal, hand set, crown, pushers, amazing result.

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Omega before.


and after.



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Old 02-08-2019, 03:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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He certainly changed the look of the 6309 case!

Yes, he really is amazing at what he does and after seeing posts of his work on TZ over the years....well impressive to say the least.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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When its done that well John its hard to argue with. How often do you see them done that well though?


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Old 02-08-2019, 10:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow, what an amazing job on that Omega Speed master case.
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I could quite happily live with that. Very nice
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You make a great point John because if a watch goes back to the factory and they spruce up the case to.factory specs, does that ruin the watch? I generally agree with you on leaving cases original - I guess it depends on who does the case refinish, if it's redone to factory original and if the quality of the work is up to snuff.

The MKII is gorgeous. Wouldn't give it a second thought. thanks for the share.
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Beautiful watch John. I love the finish on that, a radiated brush finish is probably my favorite. From what I understand also is a case polish was part of a proper service, so who knows if it really is a factory finish or a pro finish? Sure, nothing beats having an original finish, but I'm with you. A polished case beats a case too nicked to wear. I think it's worth it if you can polish a case and restore a nicked up piece.
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Old 02-09-2019, 03:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Generally I am with you JB and prefer good condition lightly used and only consider refinishing a case if it is ruined as I hate beaten up watch cases.

The conflict I have is original ex works condition is polished/brushed so scratches and dents are non original but to restore means metal has to be removed so the case can never be restored back to original,only close to.

The omega refinish is fantastic though and I could live with that!
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I think having the Mk II refinished to 'new' is fine and absolutely the right thing to do. As you say, doing similar to an actual Moon watch would be a different matter entirely.
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Going back to the 'factory' is always a risk as they'll do what they want and the owner has no say.

I've seen / heard of Rolexes having bracelets replaced etc that didn't need it done, wrong dials fitted etc


I have a G-P here that they fitted the wrong glass making it not water resistant (a wr model) and the glass isn't think enough so sits low in the case.

I have a '59 GMT that they fitted a nos '72 dial.

The customer had no say in the changes and they wouldn't interact or retract what they'd done
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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For myself the Only Time a case needs refinishing is when the owner wants to reflect on what an Original example would look like. We all know we can't go back once the damage is done. I had a 6138 refinished because I decided to create a project watch that I enjoyed being a part of. The watch turned out Fantastic in my eyes. That is what matters to me. We all have choices in this matter. Would I have a case refinished because of a ding...No. There is nothing like the real thing what ever it is. I prefer to have my watches exteriors untouched as I buy them, Or I just won't make the purchase. If there is a possibility of a sympathetic reduction of undesirable wear, One must step back and re-read this entire post. Thank You John for kindling the reminders we all should Heed. Enjoy your watches the way they are
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Old 02-09-2019, 01:33 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I agree with all that has been posted thus far. Just thought I would send out some "props" to our friend Tom, aka SeikoPsycho for his fine work on my 6309.

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Old 02-09-2019, 02:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeke441 View Post
Beautiful watch John. I love the finish on that, a radiated brush finish is probably my favorite. From what I understand also is a case polish was part of a proper service, so who knows if it really is a factory finish or a pro finish? Sure, nothing beats having an original finish, but I'm with you. A polished case beats a case too nicked to wear. I think it's worth it if you can polish a case and restore a nicked up piece.
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Originally Posted by pollyc View Post
Generally I am with you JB and prefer good condition lightly used and only consider refinishing a case if it is ruined as I hate beaten up watch cases.

The conflict I have is original ex works condition is polished/brushed so scratches and dents are non original but to restore means metal has to be removed so the case can never be restored back to original,only close to.

The omega refinish is fantastic though and I could live with that!
If its done properly very little metal is removed as you can see Rocco laser welded the dedication first before lapping. He also welds any dinks in the cases before refinishing whereas most of us just refinish the case and remove the amount of metal needed, pro versa tinkerer




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Old 02-09-2019, 07:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RussMurray View Post
I agree with all that has been posted thus far. Just thought I would send out some "props" to our friend Tom, aka SeikoPsycho for his fine work on my 6309.


Thanks Russ! I appreciate your kind words!


I also prefer a case finish that's original but generally they have seen better days and I don't fall into all the "Hype" about original finishes. With the exception of dings + dents, when a light re-finishing is done correctly case lines are not disturbed and only light scratches are removed which doesn't remove but a minute amount of metal. It's more of a "touch up" to the finish rather then a full blown re-finishing.



For the most part, whether or not a finish is original, may be based on pure speculation. On a 40 or 50 year old watch, who's to say it wasn't re-finished correctly 20 years ago, and then knocked about looking like a battered original all over again.


I look at it this way, If I owned a nice vintage automobile, would I polish the paint to have it look it's best or would I go around boasting, yeah it's dull, but it's "Original"??
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Tiger UK View Post
I was talking with a friend this week about case refinishing, imo its a strange subject really.

In the past I have refinished quite a few cases 6105-811Xs and 6309-704Xs and imo made better than a decent job, got the original finishes about right and most importantly kept the case lines correct.

But I would only refinish a case that needed it as I always prefer an original finish but I hate well worn/beat up cases as I have never bought into the every dink, bump etc tells the history of the watch camp unless of course its been to the moon or something similar

I would prefer a good case with a good original finish with perhaps a dink/rub here and there to a refinished one (jmo).

In general I should say most guys don't like a polished/refinished vintage Seiko and it does tend to reduce the value ?

But strangely enough it seems fine for Swiss models like Rolex which often get polished when in for service and Omega.

I bought a MK11 Speedmaster last year that had been used and it showed it which you would expect with a 50 year old watch.

So off it went to one of the best guys in the land Rocco at watchworks and it came back today having had a full case restore, dedication removed from the case back, full service, crystal, hand set, crown, pushers, amazing result.

I want to be a Pedant



Omega before.


and after.



Thats about the best Ive seen, that speedmaster looks factory. Wow!
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:29 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Tiger UK View Post
If its done properly very little metal is removed as you can see Rocco laser welded the dedication first before lapping. He also welds any dinks in the cases before refinishing whereas most of us just refinish the case and remove the amount of metal needed, pro versa tinkerer
I've looked into micro welders just for repairing cases. I'd much rather fill in material and take it down to the original surface, rather than take a few mils. off the whole plane to remove a ding.

I think this 6106 I did a few weeks ago is a good example of something too dinged up to wear, but worth refinishing to save it. The dings and the weld spots on this were too much, for me anyways. I couldn't see just a new crystal and a cleaning making this presentable.

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Last edited by zeke441; 02-10-2019 at 01:37 AM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:56 PM   #17 (permalink)
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wow, zeke, that's an inspiration to me. i am not there yet,
i am very much in the amateur/tinkerer/artist mode, all of what
i do is subtractive. but your results are excellent, if you'd like
to practice on one or two of mine i'd send them to you...

this rocco is an absolute master, no doubt...and i remember seeing
a spencer klein video in which he mentions a retired engineer who has
figured out how to replicate old seiko factory finishes, i remember in
particular his mentioning the "salt n' pepper" finish on a bullhead
which looked remarkably new and perfect....maybe spencer could
tell you who he is. i'd go be an apprentice....
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:05 PM   #18 (permalink)
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This was refinished...In the flesh it has that beautiful Shimmer that only a Radial finish can produce.



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Old 02-11-2019, 06:14 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterrizzo View Post
wow, zeke, that's an inspiration to me. i am not there yet,
i am very much in the amateur/tinkerer/artist mode, all of what
i do is subtractive. but your results are excellent, if you'd like
to practice on one or two of mine i'd send them to you...
Thank you, Peter. Offering to send me something to work on is the best compliment.


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This was refinished...In the flesh it has that beautiful Shimmer that only a Radial finish can produce.
That is absolutely beautiful. I love that radial brush finish, probably because it's the most difficult to do. Each line has to point dead center and not cross to look right.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:51 PM   #20 (permalink)
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This was refinished...In the flesh it has that beautiful Shimmer that only a Radial finish can produce.



i have always wondered what kind of a jig they'd use to create
a radial finish...anyone know? are those lines made one-by-one?
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:00 PM   #21 (permalink)
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And the Obligatory Wrist Shot...

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Old 02-12-2019, 06:18 AM   #22 (permalink)
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And the Obligatory Wrist Shot...

The refinish on that came out A1 David, very nice job.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:48 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I would love to be able to do work like this...very impressive...

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Old 02-26-2019, 09:52 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTigerUK View Post
I was talking with a friend this week about case refinishing, imo its a strange subject really.

In the past I have refinished quite a few cases 6105-811Xs and 6309-704Xs and imo made better than a decent job, got the original finishes about right and most importantly kept the case lines correct.

But I would only refinish a case that needed it as I always prefer an original finish but I hate well worn/beat up cases as I have never bought into the every dink, bump etc tells the history of the watch camp unless of course its been to the moon or something similar

I would prefer a good case with a good original finish with perhaps a dink/rub here and there to a refinished one (jmo).

In general I should say most guys don't like a polished/refinished vintage Seiko and it does tend to reduce the value ?

But strangely enough it seems fine for Swiss models like Rolex which often get polished when in for service and Omega.

I bought a MK11 Speedmaster last year that had been used and it showed it which you would expect with a 50 year old watch.

So off it went to one of the best guys in the land Rocco at watchworks and it came back today having had a full case restore, dedication removed from the case back, full service, crystal, hand set, crown, pushers, amazing result.

I want to be a Pedant



Omega before.


and after.



Wow, love the Mark IIs and I know how difficult it is to get the case lines correct and the radial sunburst brushing on top having disassembled mine for light case refinish and cleaning. You pretty much have to use a lapping machine to get it to factory. Installing a new crystal on one of these is also a challenge. Here is a pic of my two Mark IIs, one vintage and the other a new Re-issue. They are amazing looking pieces of art, aren't they.
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Old 02-26-2019, 09:57 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterrizzo View Post
i have always wondered what kind of a jig they'd use to create
a radial finish...anyone know? are those lines made one-by-one?
I spent a lot of time researching my Mark II when I acquired it last year. I believe Omega uses a lapping machine to create the radial sunburst lines on these cases. Some have figured out other ways to do it using mini belt sanders and 240 grit with excellent results.
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