The refinishing of watch cases and bracelets is a skill set in its own right, separate from that of watchmaking. There are certain makes and models of watch we see for refinishing more than others – notable examples being the Rolex Datejust, Submariner and the Omega Seamaster. With each watch we need to use different skills, polishing wheels, mops and compounds to restore the finish back to a good standard.
When refinishing and restoring the aesthetic condition of a watch case and bracelet it is important to balance the level of wear and scratching, with the originality of the piece and value of the item. One must be realistic as to the level of finish it is possible to achieve.
We have the skills needed to refinish a range of different metals and style of watch case and bracelet. We also have the experience to advise when it’s best not to polish, or when to do so but only lightly. It can be a fine line, but unnecessary, ill-advised or poor-quality polishing can negatively impact on the value of a watch and be detrimental to the overall appearance.
This watch is a modern ladies Omega Constellation with a bicolour case and bracelet. The bracelet shows considerable scratching, though we should be able to improve on this quite significantly.
The first step was to remove the movement from the case. Once the movement is removed we can disassemble the case and bracelet. Everything is taken apart and we disassemble the bracelet down to its individual components, separating out the gold bars from the steel links by removing the pins and tubes.
The refinishing process involves refinishing each component using our Durston double polishing motor. For the gold bars we use a special mop with a compound designed to give a stunning bright finish. To restore the brushed finish of the steel links we remove any major marks by hand before using a specialist graining wheel. Each link also has a slight high polished bevelled edge. We carefully polish this section taking care not to round the edge.
Once the refinishing is complete, a final ultrasonic clean is given. All the pins and tubes are also cleaned, this ensures everything is absolutely spotless. Once all components are dry we can begin the reassembly process, putting together the bracelet and refitting the movement into the case. We can then test for water resistance. Once fully reassembled, the results are truly stunning – a vast improvement and our client is sure to be delighted.
David Clark FGA DGA MJVA PJDip. PJGemDip.
Managing Director, JVA Registered Valuer®
W.E. Clark & Son Limited