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Discussion Starter #1
I've had a few people ask me what my method was for restoring a set of hands that came in a 6309 parts lot that I bought a few months back. I posted about restoring them in the middle of the process, then my son was born and I forgot to finish the post! I figured I'd dedicate a new post to them for posterity. I had previously attempted this on a set of hands for my Citizen 52-0110, and after experimenting a bit more with this set of hands, I'll probably go back and redo them.

Anyway, this is how they looked when I got them.


They were in pretty poor shape, so I didn't feel too bad using acetone to dissolve the old lume, even if it would chew up any finish they still had on them. This took longer than anticipated. I've read that apple cider vinegar can remove tarnishing and rust, so I may give that a try in the future.

Using a manicurist's buffing stick, I test polished the hands quickly. In this shot, the minute hand had been quickly sanded.


This was someplace in the middle of the process. I used the more abrasive side of the file until all the visible oxidation was gone, then I used the slick side to shine the bare metal.


When the time came to replate the hands, I looked at what jewelers would use. Everything seemed quite involved and required some specialized equipment to basically electroplate the parts. I knew that was more than I was willing to spend for an experiment, so I bought a silver plating product on Amazon. It's called Medallion Liquid Silver and I was prepared to be unimpressed. Much to my surprise, it did a great job and it actually does replate the metal through a chemical process.

Medallion sends a sponge that is far too coarse to apply it to watch hands, as it's intended for silverware. Instead, I raided my wife's makeup bin and used these makeup applicator sponges. They worked perfectly and they're cheap.


This was the state of affairs after I applied the silver liquid and cleaned off the residue. They were passable, but you could still see some imperfections in the hands. I was nearly satisfied with that result, but I learned that in order for the hands to look their best, you really have to work at making sure they're flat and smooth and that all the oxidation is removed. I did sand them a second time but I forgot to take a photo.


I finally had a chance to re-lume the hands. I use Noctilumina and I've been very pleased with it, although anyone who has relumed anything will tell you it's an art form in itself.


And here they are back on the watch.


Some general tips for working with the hands:

1) They bend very easily. What worked for me was to press them into a thin layer of Rodico to keep them in place while I gently polished them.

2) The pointy areas will catch on the emery board and the sponge, so don't apply a lot of pressure. This isn't a brute force technique, so take your time.

3) I likely wouldn't attempt this on hands that have become brittle from oxidation or that may be structurally damaged. I'd only really do this on a set of hands that is superficially oxidized.

I hope that can help a few folks. As always, attempt this at your own risk and I'd highly suggest doing it on something you don't care to ruin. Good luck!
 

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Great write up on this subject!

Another way to restore these hands could be to enlist the services of a skilled jewelry restorer. They could be dipped in a stripping compound and then Rhodium plated. The finished product could then be relumed to match ones dial lume.

I have not looked into the cost on this, but I don't think it would be prohibitively expensive. Maybe $20 to $30 per set not including relume.

Just a thought....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great write up on this subject!

Another way to restore these hands could be to enlist the services of a skilled jewelry restorer. They could be dipped in a stripping compound and then Rhodium plated. The finished product could then be relumed to match ones dial lume.

I have not looked into the cost on this, but I don't think it would be prohibitively expensive. Maybe $20 to $30 per set not including relume.

Just a thought....
This would be a great option as well, I hadn't even considered it. I've got a jeweler I know personally, so perhaps I'll give him a call sometime tos ee what he might charge.
 

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I envision this working well with hands that are not "corroded"

Once you strip and replate those you may be able to detect unevenness in the areas of prior corrosion with the naked eye.

A decent set without corrosion could turn out like new.

Just some more thoughts....
 

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Beautiful.

Reluming a dive watch that has lost the brightness in its lume and seeing it glow again is perhaps the most satisfying part of any rejuvenation or restoration project for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Get a set of hands a start doing it. If you never try to
do it you will not achieve it. He gave a way he does
them just follow his instructions and you can do it also.
That's It ......:)
This is absolutely correct. I am far from what you would call a craftsman. As a matter of fact, I read and write for a living! But I've slowly learned, watched videos, examined photos, experimented, and above all else asked a lot of questions from those who had previously done things like this. Sometimes the hardest part is taking that first step, but if you take it slowly, anybody can get the results I achieved above.

Keep in mind that I was using some polish from Amazon, my wife's makeup sponges, Acetone, and toothpicks. You never know until you try!
 

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Completely changed those hands, great work. Got a beautifully black set myself, but not going to get involved with them, have a wonderful habit of snapping the seconds hand.
On a complete different note, where did you get that strap from and what's the metal work on it like? Thanks for any help.
Regards, David
 

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Well done on the hands restoration and your skills as a writer are clearly evident in your write-up. Thanks for posting.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Completely changed those hands, great work. Got a beautifully black set myself, but not going to get involved with them, have a wonderful habit of snapping the seconds hand.
On a complete different note, where did you get that strap from and what's the metal work on it like? Thanks for any help.
Regards, David
Thanks for the comments. The strap is actually one that I handmade from Horween Dublin leather.


I didn't have a pic of the buckle on the one piece strap, but this is essentially the same strap and hardware, just two piece.

 

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Thanks for the comments. The strap is actually one that I handmade from Horween Dublin leather.


I didn't have a pic of the buckle on the one piece strap, but this is essentially the same strap and hardware, just two piece.

That is the type of strap I'm looking for!! Got a 6309 "beater" that needs a strap just like that. Says I'm a good strong strap, but I'm not particularly pleasing on the eye (not to offend your craftsmanship in making the strap), like the watch that'll be attached to it. Always my luck, what I generally like either isn't made anymore or a one off.
Regard, David
 

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That is the type of strap I'm looking for!! Got a 6309 "beater" that needs a strap just like that. Says I'm a good strong strap, but I'm not particularly pleasing on the eye (not to offend your craftsmanship in making the strap), like the watch that'll be attached to it. Always my luck, what I generally like either isn't made anymore or a one off.
Regard, David
hehe none taken -- that's particularly why I like that leather. The one piece strap was actually my prototype; and it shows because it's just barely long enough to wear. I think I'm on the second to last hole on it!
 
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