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Instruction On How To Re-Enamel Watch Bezels & Rotating Rings...

9685 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  InvictaJ26
Authored by Isthmus

The following is the combination of a series of posts made by Jonathan Koch (AKA Swedefreak or Mr. Seiko), about how to restore/modify chipped or worn enamel on bezels and rotating rings of some of our favorite watches. The posts have been combined and reposted with Jonathan's consent. Enjoy the read:

Here are some mods I've done with Testor's model enamel. Been using this stuff for 52 years and it's very good for a multitude of tasks. These rotating rings and bezels are all done with this product:

The key to filling the bezel's channel is thin layers with at least a day's time to set. Though careful application is good, any excess can be wiped off the top surface of the bezel with a dab of thinner.

I usually leave enough room in the channel for several layers of clear water-based polyurethane varnish from the local crafts store. It comes in small plastic bottles that are economical. With this, careful application is a must. One needs to avoid air bubbles and coats that are too thick. Thick coats get a "blush", which is a cloudy appearance. Once blushed, the varnish must be removed. Again, at least a day between layers is recommended. Once the varnish is over the top of the bezel it can be carefully polished down so it is flush. This varnish is quite hard once sured and polished. I have had very favorable results with my modded Seikos.

To level and polish the varnish, I use automotive products---ultra-fine wet/dry abrasive sheets, 320, 400, 600, 1000 grit. Following the abrasives I use a liquid swirl-remover for final polish. This is essentially a wet rubbing compound meant for the last step in finishing a car's paint job. Although I do these steps on my mini-lathe, hand-working is fine, too. Just be patient. A perfectly flat slat of hard plastic or wood makes a good backer for the abrasive sheets.

By the way, this liquid polish is also good for touching-up acrylic crystals.

Blushing laquer and varnish has been blamed on many things, including excess moisture in the air and micro air bubbles in the hydro-carbon based material. With the water-borne material I've been using lately, it is the water itself that gets trapped within the hardening surface and has no way to evaporate. This makes learning patience a high priority exercise.

TESTOR'S MODEL ENAMEL should be available world-wide in hobby shops or better craft supplies stores. But be sure to use the regular enamel not the water-borne.

The enamel can be cleaned and thinned with everyday mineral spirits, the varnish is water-borne and the abrasive sheets and buffing liquid can be found at a good auto parts or paint supply store.

Oh---the brushes are a bit important, too. The enamel should be applied with a natural bristle and the varnish with synthetic. Water-borne finishing materials will swell a natural bristle to the point of its being useless but to smear-on the material.

Here are a couple of other examples of Jonathan's work using this technique:

and the brown bezel on this one:


If you would like to contact Jonathan for further help or clarification you can e-mail him at the following address:[center][color=#000000][email][email protected][/email][/center][left]Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the post. Now go experiment and please post your results.
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:) Hi: Thanks for a most informative review and use
of Testors on bezel inserts. Referring to your use
of orange and black on the diver, could you please
share where the numbers can be obtained or made
that have been applied on the insert. I am guessing,
but the material appears to be aluminum. Thanks
The insert in the second photo is from Alpha Watch. It is a chrome-plated brass reproduction of the Rolex Yachtmaster insert and fits the 6309, et. al. rotating ring nicely but needs to be centered and cemented in place with heavy-duty epoxy. The chrome is very thin and extreme care must be used when working with the piece to avoid damage.

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In the fourth photo, it not an insert but a whole rotating ring made in stainless steel and came with the watch. This rotating ring does not interchange with other watch cases.

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I hope this is helpful.

Thank you for the link to the site here in the UK.

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