Who's set-up to polish Hardlex? - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum – Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Who's set-up to polish Hardlex?

Hi everyone!

I have a number of inexpensive vintage Seikos digitals who's only flaw is scratched up mineral glass crystals. I've tried polishing them myself by hand, with sandpaper drill bits, with cerium oxide paste and I just don't have the patience for that sort of toil and haven't been able to get a good result.

Is there someone out there who has a polishing wheel set-up (diamond tipped perhaps?) for whom this type of work just isn't a major chore? Am I dreaming hoping there's someone out there to whom I can ship half a dozen watches and get them back polished up without spending a fortune, or is that just not a thing?

Thanks!
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The time it takes to polish mineral glass crystals usually far out weighs the cost of a replacement, even with a lapping machine. I take my time with those and polish them when I feel like it, or when I'm watching TV. Get some good diamond paste, cerium oxide will take forever. Forget about it if you have deep scratches, those are near impossible to polish out, you have to remove enough of the surface of the crystal down to the deepest point of the deepest scratch.
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have a friend who's a glassblower (he does it for a university) who refinishes glasses for me - mostly customer's watches.



He does a great job and had only broken one in years of doing them.


He did a mineral in a digital for me last year.


There are guys here who do them but as zeke said - it's not cost effective and certainly not when it's just a round glass when a generic mineral can be fitted.
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have a friend who's a glassblower (he does it for a university) who refinishes glasses for me - mostly customer's watches.



He does a great job and had only broken one in years of doing them.


Harlex - he did one that we think was this. It was certainly harder than mineral and he didn't get it perfect - there were still micro swirls in it that he couldn't get rid off but he refinished it much better than it started.



He did a mineral in a digital for me last year.


There are guys here who do them but as zeke said - it's not cost effective and certainly not when it's just a round glass when a generic mineral can be fitted.
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The crystals I need polished are odd shaped ones from vintage digitals for which there are no replacements, otherwise I wouldn't bother. I totally understand that deeper scratches can't be removed, but I have many where they would be markedly improved just by polishing out the light surface scratches.

I'm surprised there's not an easier answer for this dilemma, since I'm sure there's a need for this type of service.

citizen-glass.jpg
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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A FB guy reckons 20 minutes to polish a mineral glass.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Adrian at Vintage Time Australia has a guy who polishes them.

He polished the chrome-rimmed super early Pogue crystal on mine and it came out looking NOS.


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Old 02-09-2020, 09:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Grammarofdesign View Post
Adrian at Vintage Time Australia has a guy who polishes them.

He polished the chrome-rimmed super early Pogue crystal on mine and it came out looking NOS.

Gorgeous pic
Very well done
Thank you for sharing it my friend
God Bless,John

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Old 02-10-2020, 12:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bradurani View Post
The crystals I need polished are odd shaped ones from vintage digitals for which there are no replacements, otherwise I wouldn't bother. I totally understand that deeper scratches can't be removed, but I have many where they would be markedly improved just by polishing out the light surface scratches.

I'm surprised there's not an easier answer for this dilemma, since I'm sure there's a need for this type of service.

Attachment 439949



Here's an easy answer for you;


send them to my friend in Hamilton, NZ and he'll do them for about $50NZ each + postage.
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Here's an easy answer for you;


send them to my friend in Hamilton, NZ and he'll do them for about $50NZ each + postage.
That's great info is he able to handle the onslaught of work we are about to send to him ?
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:04 AM   #11 (permalink)
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That's great info is he able to handle the onslaught of work we are about to send to him ?



No wonder he's already on holiday!
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bradurani View Post
The crystals I need polished are odd shaped ones from vintage digitals for which there are no replacements, otherwise I wouldn't bother. I totally understand that deeper scratches can't be removed, but I have many where they would be markedly improved just by polishing out the light surface scratches.

I'm surprised there's not an easier answer for this dilemma, since I'm sure there's a need for this type of service.

Attachment 439949

I'm polishing a Seiko Hardlex and casio DW-5600c crystal using just cerium oxide (the reddish variety). My observations-
1. The Seiko hardlex has deep scratches but it takes a long time to see any results. I'll be switching methods very soon.
2. The Casio 5600c crystal was in very poor shape with thousands of scratches (think a tempered glass table surface at a restaurant with a few years' wear) and it's responding very well to the cerium. I should be done after another few attempts.

To answer your question; get some cerium oxide and polish those Citizen and Casio digitals. Mix some on the reverse side of a sandpaper and rub the face down on the slurry in circles. You'll be satisfied with the results.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:39 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradurani View Post
The crystals I need polished are odd shaped ones from vintage digitals for which there are no replacements, otherwise I wouldn't bother. I totally understand that deeper scratches can't be removed, but I have many where they would be markedly improved just by polishing out the light surface scratches.

I'm surprised there's not an easier answer for this dilemma, since I'm sure there's a need for this type of service.

Attachment 439949

I'm polishing a Seiko Hardlex and casio DW-5600c crystal using just cerium oxide (the reddish variety). My observations-
1. The Seiko hardlex has deep scratches but it takes a long time to see any results. I'll be switching methods very soon.
2. The Casio 5600c crystal was in very poor shape with thousands of scratches (think a tempered glass table surface at a restaurant with a few years' wear) and it's responding very well to the cerium. I should be done after another few attempts.

To answer your question; get some cerium oxide and polish those Citizen and Casio digitals. Mix some on the reverse side of a sandpaper and rub the face down on the slurry in circles. You'll be satisfied with the results.
Surely there's a way to speed this up with a power drill or rotary tool?

In digging deeper into this I've realized there's another challenge here. The digitals have the crystals pressure fit into the cases.
Seems that to polish the crystals with professional gear (a diamond tipped polishing wheel or with diamond paste I'm guessing), you have to press the crystals out of the case first, which is risky because they often break. Adrian told me as well, that the crystals on the digis, which are flat, when professionally polished, will become slightly domed. He says this doesn't distort the optics though.
I still have more leads to chase, but I haven't found an obvious solution yet that doesn't involve me toiling over each one for hours with sandpaper.
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Old 02-12-2020, 01:03 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Member DonJ53 is a dab hand at polishing crystals, he did some 6130-704X ones for me, perfect, we had a trade deal but unfortuanatly I let him down on my side due to unforeseen circumstances

He did a few posts explaining his system I think.
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Old 02-12-2020, 01:52 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Do you mind listing the case #s of your watches? If i have them available in aftermarket, it might be more economical than paying someone’s labor to polish them.


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Old 02-12-2020, 04:05 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradurani View Post
Surely there's a way to speed this up with a power drill or rotary tool?

In digging deeper into this I've realized there's another challenge here. The digitals have the crystals pressure fit into the cases.
Seems that to polish the crystals with professional gear (a diamond tipped polishing wheel or with diamond paste I'm guessing), you have to press the crystals out of the case first, which is risky because they often break. Adrian told me as well, that the crystals on the digis, which are flat, when professionally polished, will become slightly domed. He says this doesn't distort the optics though.
I still have more leads to chase, but I haven't found an obvious solution yet that doesn't involve me toiling over each one for hours with sandpaper.





It's always better to keep the glass in the case so you have more to hold on to.

Steve did a glass for me that I couldn't keep in the case and it was very difficult for him to do
It's very unlikely that a skilled person would dome an otherwise flat glass.
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:47 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Member DonJ53 is a dab hand at polishing crystals, he did some 6130-704X ones for me, perfect, we had a trade deal but unfortuanatly I let him down on my side due to unforeseen circumstances

He did a few posts explaining his system I think.
Don doesn’t polish crystals for others anymore, I did PM him today (as he seemed to have the technique down well & hoped he’d do some for me I’d pay for) but he replied saying he won’t and also won’t be posting projects on here anymore(?)

I did try and reply but forum says he’s not allowing PM’s to be sent now(?)

Hopefully all is ok, and if you read this Don I was going to say totally understand as it’s time consuming.
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:52 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Do you mind listing the case #s of your watches? If i have them available in aftermarket, it might be more economical than paying someone’s labor to polish them.


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Seiko C153-5007
Seiko M158-5009
Seiko C515-5009
Seiko S800-0019
Citizen 60-1012 <-- the one I'm most keen on and surely the rarest

Thanks!
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:55 PM   #19 (permalink)
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It's always better to keep the glass in the case so you have more to hold on to.

Steve did a glass for me that I couldn't keep in the case and it was very difficult for him to do
It's very unlikely that a skilled person would dome an otherwise flat glass.
So I don't have to have the crystals removed from the cases to polish them? Interesting. I was hoping that. I'm guessing that it depends on the watch. Some of mine have raised edges around the crystal which surely are an impediment. Others, it seems like you could do them in situ
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Old 02-13-2020, 01:49 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I used dremel to speed up the process but again that is after having the crystal out of the watch. The main issue with dremel is the heat and having the crystal attached to the watch might cause other unforseen issues such as the gaskets melting or damaging the LCD unit. If you're going to use a dremel make sure to keep it at very low RPM and having a bucket of ice next to you would be helpful. For deeper scratches you'll need to use various grit papers from 300 all the way to 5000 and avoid cross contamination by washing in between sessions.



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Old 02-13-2020, 10:17 AM   #21 (permalink)
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The 5600c crystal is still attached to the case while I polish. Dremels on any crystal with graphics on the underside (Casio) will cause delamination; the graphics will peel away due to the heat. Of course, sanding the crystal prior to the cerium stage is an option but I've seen examples of restored DW5600c s where the crystal appears wavy so I'm sticking to just the Cerium on the back of a sandpaper.
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Old 02-13-2020, 02:26 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Seiko C153-5007

Seiko M158-5009

Seiko C515-5009

Seiko S800-0019

Citizen 60-1012 <-- the one I'm most keen on and surely the rarest



Thanks!


Well, i have all 4 seikos but unfortunately not the citizen.


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Old Yesterday, 03:02 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bradurani View Post
The crystals I need polished are odd shaped ones from vintage digitals for which there are no replacements, otherwise I wouldn't bother. I totally understand that deeper scratches can't be removed, but I have many where they would be markedly improved just by polishing out the light surface scratches.

I'm surprised there's not an easier answer for this dilemma, since I'm sure there's a need for this type of service.

Attachment 439949
Half the problem with that kind of crystal is that there is a chance each time you remove the crystal that it shatters.
I have had thin digital crystals explode hundreds of times.
I've used WD40 around the gasket and a bit of heat from hair dryer to help, but still risk.

VintageDigitalWatches on youtube even went as far as epoxying a knife to the crystal and levered it off, then removed the JB weld from the glass.

I have a guy in Australia,
I've also polished my own by glueing them onto a bolt and turning them in my drill and using sand paper blocks + cerium oxide.
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Old Yesterday, 04:09 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Don doesn’t polish crystals for others anymore, I did PM him today (as he seemed to have the technique down well & hoped he’d do some for me I’d pay for) but he replied saying he won’t and also won’t be posting projects on here anymore(?)

I did try and reply but forum says he’s not allowing PM’s to be sent now(?)

Hopefully all is ok, and if you read this Don I was going to say totally understand as it’s time consuming.
Last time I "spoke" to Don he said the same, shame but I think he was a little disgruntled about something.
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