Polishing Hardlex with sandpapers only - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum – Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Polishing Hardlex with sandpapers only

Ive got a hardlex crystal from a 4205 and a slightly domed one from another watch. They dont have deep scratches afaik it just looks like hairline scratches. I'd like to preserve the originality of the watch as this was my dads.

Tomorrow im expecting to get an assortments of various grit sandpapers.

There are 4 sheets of each starting from grit 320 all the way to 7000.

Ive got a dremel tool but still on the fence if i should just cut the papers round and stick it on to the dremel or just polish entirely by hands.

I had no luck sourcing cerium oxide or diamond paste locally so...only sandpapers.

will this be enough?
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Cerium best for final polishing.

Often hairline scratches will polish out with just cerium oxide slurry.

Keep the glass cool or it will CRACK.

Imo dremel too many rpms, 1500-2000rpm is enough, not 10,000rpm.

Last edited by bry1975; 08-20-2019 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would get advice from the Australian Cricket Team. Steve Smith would be your best bet to ask the correct grade.
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Old 08-21-2019, 02:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Polywatch makes a glass polish kit. Probably some diamond paste or something.


Also heard dried up toothpaste can work.


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Old 08-21-2019, 02:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Buy a new glass


It'll still be your dad's watch - only the glass (and seals?) will have changed.
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Old 08-21-2019, 02:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acidstain View Post
Polywatch makes a glass polish kit. Probably some diamond paste or something.


Also heard dried up toothpaste can work.


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I've read one review of the polywatch glass product that says it doesn't work.


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Old 08-21-2019, 02:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I would get advice from the Australian Cricket Team. Steve Smith would be your best bet to ask the correct grade.

I hear it's far more effective than mints :-)


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Old 08-21-2019, 02:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I've read one review of the polywatch glass product that says it doesn't work.


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It does. Not on deep scratches, but a friend of mine tested it. He said make sure you rub against the grain.


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Old 08-21-2019, 02:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks @acidstain.


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Old 08-21-2019, 03:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nzwatchdoctor View Post
Buy a new glass


It'll still be your dad's watch - only the glass (and seals?) will have changed.
Good advice from a wise man, it will make the watch look better and its easier too.

If you are going to sand out scratches in glass do not use too coarse grade of sandpaper because it will only make more deep scratches that you will not be able to remove. I would start with 800 grit work down to 2000 and finish with Cerium Oxide. it will take an hour or two of finger destroying rubbing, personally I would not use a Dremel. Cerium oxide is necessary for that final polish, I have tried Diamond paste but IMO Cerium oxide is best, used with a fairly wet cloth, the Dremel just throws it off everywhere.

A while ago tom Hickman did some glass polishing using sand paper discs on a Dremel and finished with diamond paste which worked quite well.

Polishing glass is a PITA, I only do it if the crystal is unobtainable.
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Old 08-21-2019, 03:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I have a friend who's a professional glassblower who does my customer's watch glasses that need it.

He's a perfectionist and so does excellent work

Last month I sent him a Seiko SKX diver (I thought it would be easier / faster for the customer than a new glass I didn't have in stock) that wasn't badly damaged.

He said he wasn't totally happy with the job. I said send it back as I'm sure it would be fine. It wasn't = very unlike him.

I sent it back. He did more work on it and returned it.

It was much better - even over the black dial but still not perfect.

My customer is happy with it.



As Mike has typed - you're in for a lot of hard work that will (hopefully) turn out ok.



imho - get a new glass ftw
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Old 08-21-2019, 03:50 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Seriously don't bother, you'll be there for days doing it by hand. Diamond paste for the lightest of surface scratches.

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Old 08-21-2019, 10:39 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I tried the sandpaper and cerium oxide route with a 2625 crystal - the high-dome ones that fit snug up under the bezel insert (235W07HA00) are no longer available, only the thinner ones that leave a gap between the top of the crystal and bezel insert (235W07HN00), so I figured I'd try polishing the original one. After a lot of elbow grease sanding the crystal and then polishing with cerium oxide, I can attest that you can certainly do it, but if you have any deep scratches, you're removing a lot of glass to get them out, which can deform the dome of the crystal (it may be easier for flat crystals, I think). In the end, I was happy with the polishing, but not with the deformity, so I wound up using one of the thinner crystals I had on hand.

So yeah, I'm in the same camp as others that replacing is preferable to originality as the end product will be way better....particularly if the crystal is domed and the scratches are at all deep.

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Old 08-21-2019, 11:45 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGlimited View Post
I would get advice from the Australian Cricket Team. Steve Smith would be your best bet to ask the correct grade.
You'lll get nothing out of old Sandy Smith - he's got concussion
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Old 08-21-2019, 12:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
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On Hardlex, you will get little out of sandpaper, wet and dry or Cerium oxide until all the scratches have been reduced with diamond paste. If they are light scratches work from 20 down to 0.5.

https://www.thewatchsite.com/34-watc...26-8100-a.html

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Old 08-21-2019, 12:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nzwatchdoctor View Post
Buy a new glass


It'll still be your dad's watch - only the glass (and seals?) will have changed.


I would agree with this Moe, or leave as is if wanting to preserve its own history, your fathers.
Of course the crystal would have to be nos, so bringing back some of what your dad experienced while checking time, when new. But, buffing the original surface evenly, if that’s even possible, to remove scratches would alter the ‘original’ crystal effect, or look of dial underneath.
I would get an oem crystal and save the original to itself for sentimental reasons and options to swap back and forth.
I’ve had bad experiences trying to remove scratches and then polishing with sand paper and diamond paste all by hand, too much work and the results weren’t good enough, horrible really!
I have a few watches with crystals that have been polished, but I don’t know how or method. And although no scratches are visible the surfaces aren’t perfectly even as on a factory surface. So the glare or reflections look warped.


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Old 08-21-2019, 03:30 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I have had some success refinishing hardlex crystals on some of the watches I have restored. I would not use sandpaper by hand. I have had some success using a dremel tool and the hard felt polish impregnated polishing heads. I then use various grades of diamond lapping paste. I place the crystal on a damp shop towel when polishing to help reduce the heat generated. Apply a small dab of paste on the surface of the crystal and work it with the dremel flat top felt head in a circular motion on low to medium speed. Plan on a decent job taking 2 - 3 hours of polishing effort. Do not overheat the crystal. Go until the polish is about gone on the surface and then buff clean with a microfiber and cool for a minute or two before going again. I start with .25 micron diamond paste for most of the work and then go to 1.5 micron for mid grade and then 5 micron for final polish. Light scuffing hazing will go away fairly quickly. Deeper scratches will take some time. As you work, clean the crystal and look through it to a shop light. You will be able to see the imperfections or nicks and scratches in the crystal. Once you can hold it up to the light and see few or no defects, you are getting close.

Another option for you and one I experimented with early on was using regular automotive polishing compound like Turtle Wax. Not quite as effective as diamond lapping paste but it did make a different in the crystal appearance and reduced some scratches.

Take my advice and put the sand paper away. You will just ruin the crystal with that stuff. Good luck with it.
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Old 08-21-2019, 07:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks alot guys for the advice and method. Unfortunately, I only got to see them after i had started my first attempts. I attempted to start first with one of my SKX spare crystals. And when I was happy I decided to proceed with polishing the crystal on my 6139-7010.

This was all done using sandpaper and dremel. I had started off with grit 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500 and 2000 all done by hands. Both dry and mostly wet.

Once I was done I proceeded with the use of my dremel. Started off with silicone carbide papers grit 2500, 3000 and finally with 5000 all wet. I had circular cut outs each and attached to the felt wheel by rodico(improvised with what I had). Because my dremel has a minimum speed of 10,000rpm, I could only use it each time for about 7-10 seconds before crystal would heat up. I had an ice bucket next to it and I'd dunk it in there each time lol ofcourse crystal was off the watch


Well I'm quite satisfied with the results. See the before and after for yourselves.

BEFORE


AFTER

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Old 08-21-2019, 07:52 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Oh yes and something I forgot to mention. It took me about an 1.5 hour
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Old 08-22-2019, 12:06 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Looks like it came out well. Great job.
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:19 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Very good and with the right equipment as pointed out in my link it does produce a very good job, relatively quickly and with little cost.
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Old 08-22-2019, 03:05 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Oh yes and something I forgot to mention. It took me about an 1.5 hour
That's a good jobfor the time spent.
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Old 08-22-2019, 03:43 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Looks like you took the sharp edge right off the crystal...

But it's better than before. I think it's really hard to preserve that edge when the crystal is domed.
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Old 08-22-2019, 04:32 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Depending upon how much you think your time is worth, it's normally better to just replace the crystal. With the crystal out, you can clean all the crap that builds up between the crystal/gasket/case. I have a lapidary disc/grinder, even with that, it's usually cheaper to replace the crystal.

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Old 08-22-2019, 05:15 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
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With the crystal out, you can clean all the crap that builds up between the crystal/gasket/case.
Which you do anyway when reworking a crystal out of the case
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