There is a common misconception amongst the watch community about watch polishing or restoration. The popular belief is that polishing a watch will reduce the resale value of the timepiece.
The myth has been perpetuated mainly by watchmakers who usually offer only a light polish as part of a watch service. Most watchmakers, however, are inexperienced in watch restoration. Watchmaking is their predominant business, and they therefore have primitive polishing equipment and only a rudimentary understanding of watch re-finishing techniques.
The notion that that restoration will affect value is true to an extent if the work has not been done properly. Inexperienced polishing can wear away the original angles and graining of a watch. A watch’s appeal is largely based on the quality of its finishing. Most will argue that case finishing is just as important as the internal movement - after all, one spends more time looking at the external features of their watch rather than the inner workings.Watches are visual objects of desire and poor polishing can make a watch less collectable and may affect its saleability in the future.
This in our view is the reason for the perpetuated stereotype associated with polishing and depreciation. However, cosmetic case polishing is an art in itself that takes specialist equipment and years of practice and training to master. When done correctly, a watch can be re-finished to within microns of original factory specifications. As long as the correct equipment and expertise are utilised to refinish a case, there is virtually no telling between a factory-new watch and one that has been refinished.
Fact : A considerable number of watches on the second hand market, if not brand new in plastic, have been cosmetically detailed in some way.
The Watch Collector Company specialises in timepiece restoration. We originally began restoring watches for most of the second hand watch industry, and are now the pre-eminent authority on Swiss watch polishing and restoration in Australia. We use the exact same technology and expertise that manufacturers use when finishing their watches during the production process. We use German and Swiss machinery which is very uncommon in Australia.
Whether you are buying or restoring your timepiece with us, you can expect our polishing to be done to the closest possible factory specifications.
|"As long as the same method is used to reproduce the finish then the metalwork will be indistinguishable from new"||Here is an iconic omega sea master bond. Often these particular models loose sharpness as they are extremely difficult to polish without correct machinery and expertise.
These are all photos of the one watch, the left column shows the watch being poorly and incorrectly polished at some stage. On the right shows the watch after being expertly refinished by us. You can clearly see that before, all the grained sides of the watch were softened and not sharp as they once were as well as the bezel.
A special machine called a conical grinder is used to achieve this unique finish.
The same machine would have been used to apply the finish to the case during the production process. As long as the same method is used to re-produce the finish then the metalwork will be indistinguishable from new.
In this scenario we used laser welding to build up the case to make sure that the proportions and dimensions of the case were as close as possible to original factory specifications.
|“After some laser welding and careful refinishing the watch looks like brand new again”.||Here we have a before and after of a popular Breitling Chronomat. On the left you can clearly see some heavy marks and dings in the case and bezel. After some laser welding and careful refinishing, the watch looks like brand new again. To achieve this, every screw in the bezel and all case components have to be dismantled and given individual attention using different methods of finishing.
This ensures that the same process is used as the manufacturer when finishing the watch. This way it will be indistinguishable from new once complete and by using laser welding we can fire the same composition of metal at problem areas to ensure the case is as close to factory specifications as possible.
|"Watches are a form of engineering and art that are visual objects of desire. The exterior cosmetic originality and quality of finish can very much so affect a watches value in the future."||
Here we have some before-andafter photos of the iconic Rolex Submariner which at some point was incorrectly polished. Notice that all bezel edges, flat graining on lugs and signature bevels ar now gone and softened.
In the second row you can clearly see the rounding-off in the bezel from over polishing using incorrect equipment. In the photo beside, it appears perfectly sharp just like it did when it was done at the factory.
The lugs are finished originally at the factory using a unique machine specially calibrated for each model. We use the exact same machinery and techniques to recreate the finish on all our Rolex pieces.
You can now see how the flat properly machined graining refracts light much better and replicates the Rolex factory finish.
The beveled shoulders in the case lugs have been a part of the Submariner’s design since the early 1950s. When done properly, they frame the case beautifully, but are easily lost when incorrectly polished.
These comparisons really illustrate the importance of maintaining the cosmetic integrity of your watch.
Watches are an object of engineering and art that are visual objects of desire. The exterior cosmetic originality and quality of finish can greatly affect a watch’s collectability and value in future.
|"There is a clear distinction between average restoration and factory refinishing"||
In figure 1 you can see what this Iconic Patek Nautilus 5711/1A once looked like. It has some harsh marks in its sharp beveled octagonal bezel.
|"These details are some of the important factors to consider when buying a Rolex timepiece.. "||The Rolex Factory Finish is one of the most difficult to replicate. We here at Watch Collector have spent years refining our re-finishing techniques to the point where we are able to return the finishing back to Rolex Factory standards. The photo, above left, shows a Rolex Submariner which has been poorly polished. The left side lug shows a curvature that doesn’t match the corresponding lug on the right. Through the use of laser welding the technicians at Watch Collector were able to build up the left lug thus bringing it in line with the lug on the right, resulting in perfect symmetry. Notice too the top edge of the lug has a coarse finish that looks like its been done with sand paper. It is adequate but it is not how the watch is meant to look. We were able to re-engineer this section of the case and also re-finish the edge of the lug and reapply its signature beveled edge as seen in the photo, above right.
These details are some of the important factors to consider when buying a Rolex timepiece.
|"Flawless Factory Refinishing On One Of The Most Difficult Models In The Business"||The Rolex Yacht-Master is a watch with a very unique finish. It has a paltinum bezel that is very delicate to work with and restore and it is by far one of the most difficult watches to refinish in the industry.
In Fig.1 you can clearly see the damage done to the bezel and the lugs. The lugs in this case were very lightly laser welded with the same quality steel in order to minimise material loss during refinishing.
Figure 2 shows the watch after it has been completed.