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Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/24/2007 10:20 PM

I am curious to find out if there is a way to repair a scratched watch crystal / lens. I know it may just be easier to buy a new watch or crystal but for all of us that end up scratching to the point that you have to hold it a certain way to read the time, it would be nice if there is a product to repair them. Is there some sort of glass polishing compound or filler that can be used?

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#1

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/25/2007 2:58 AM

Probably one of the best polishing compounds I've ever used for polishing plastic watch crystals is a product called "Simichrome." Find your nearest Harley-Davidson dealer and they're bound to have some on hand. It's a pinkish paste that comes in a red and yellow tube, like a toothpaste tube. Squeeze a little bit on a damp, compressed cotton ball and, Presto!, you've got the perfect scratch remover for watch crystals.

Actually, Simichrome is a pretty good polish for just about anything that won't react adversely with ammonia (judging by the smell of the stuff, I'd say ammonia is one of the ingredients).

It also works well to remove scratches from CDs, but you must polish either in a circular pattern (small circles), or radially out from the center. Don't polish in a circle about the center of a CD because any scratches you may introduce (the cotton-ball must be very clean) can cover enough of a CD data track to obscure the error correction/detection codes embedded in the audio data. Radial scratches don't do this as they only obscure a "few" bits of each data track (as distinct from a music track, which is something else altogether).

For true glass or crystal crystals, you might try using a product like Glass Revive with a Dremel tool and a cotton-fabric buffing wheel. Run the Dremel tool (use a variable-speed model) at the lowest RPM for best results.

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#11
In reply to #1

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/26/2007 7:44 AM

Can it be used for removing scratches on a car dashboard?

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#19
In reply to #11

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do i

07/27/2007 3:29 PM

Depends on the plastic. Soft plastics? No. But first try a little bit on a Q-Tip in an inconspicuous part of the dashboard. Hard plastics (styrene, etc.) respond best.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do i

07/28/2007 12:40 AM

Uh, he's talking about a watch crystal? The last time I checked, my watch didn't have a dashboard... Well the clock in my car does, but that's beside the point.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do i

07/28/2007 2:22 AM

Yeah, but you can use the stuff to get scratches out of all kinds of things. It's the best polish I've ever used for plastics or metals, bar none. I even used it to polish the quarters the Tooth Fairy would leave under my kids' pillows. A Dremel tool with a small cotton polishing wheel made short work of it, but you had to use gloves as the workpiece got too hot to hold.

Btw, to remove any remaining Simichrome from the workpiece, you can use lighter fluid. But you have to be careful: some plastics will fog or craze if it reacts with the solvent. Doesn't matter with metals, though, and so you can use acetone if you have some on hand. Just don't use acetone with plastics.

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#2

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/25/2007 6:49 AM

Here is a simple yet extremely effective 'trick' that I've used time and time again to restore a scratched lens either for a multimeter or any glass or plastic see-through window...

It works so well that you can take a multimeter with a highly scratched window which you can barely read the digits and transforms it into almost as new all within a few minutes!!!

Buy a roll of graphics crystal clear non-yellowing sticky tape...

Carefully appy it over the clean but scratched area and smooth it down, leave it overnight and the adhesive will fill in the scratches making it almost perfect again!!

I've bought dud multimeters on ebay and after calibrating them etc... i've used this method to sell them in as new condition for ten times the price!!!

Oooops! don't tell the tax man will you!!

John.

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#4
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Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/25/2007 3:30 PM

Cool, Electroman! I'll try this.

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#5
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Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do i

07/25/2007 3:41 PM

The question said crystal. He says plastic. Big difference. I say toothpaste. Although I like his better.

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#12
In reply to #5

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do i

07/26/2007 1:05 PM

"The question said crystal. He says plastic. Big difference."

At one time all of the protective covers for wristwatches were made of a "mineral crystal". In recent years, as engineering polymers became stronger and less costly, and as the prices of wristwatches became lower in general, more and more watches, even some fairly expensive ones, were made with polymer (plastic) "crystals", so he could have been referring to either. But you are right there is a big difference in how to remove scratches between "crystals" made from polymers versus mineral (Sapphire, etc).

Never use a harsh chemical or solvent on polymers. It may remove the scratch, but also make the surface cloudy or hazy, turning transparent into merely translucent.

"Jeweler's rouge" is a name applied to a material, ferric (iron III) oxide, that may be supplied in many different forms. As a crumbly solid or in powder form it may be dangerous, because the dust could be inhaled. It is safest to use in a paste or a solid matrix that you wet, mixed with clay or other neutral media as a binder to prevent inhalation as dust. This is a very fine but extremely abrasive material that is worked very slowly as a final mechanical polish for metals and minerals, including some glasses and ceramics, especially mineral watch crystals. I believe you can buy it at Wal-mart and many other stores in the safe, usable form.

I am unfamiliar with the Simichrome product, but it sounds like a great alternative for the polymer "crystals".

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do i

07/26/2007 2:16 PM

simichrome is great. I believe it is Deutsch made. I use it (sparingly) on all kinds of metals. I even touch up some of my favorite coins. (shhh)

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#15
In reply to #2

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/27/2007 5:19 AM

I live in Sri Lanka and I do not understand what you mean by graphics crystal clear non-yellowing sticky tape...

Is there any manufacturer?

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/27/2007 6:43 AM

Sisira, its used for graphic artists to use as optically clear very sticky tape that will last for years without yellowing...

You could try ordinary sticky tape, but usually the tape yellows with age and it also doesn't have the same thickness of adhesive...

You can of course use a clear spray lacquer, this fills in the scratches nicely, but the material has to withstand the chemicals and it takes time as well as if you make a mistake its difficult to remove, if you make a mistake applying the tape i.e. you catch an air bubble, you can just peel it off and start again!

John.

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#3

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do i

07/25/2007 11:36 AM

another trick for crystal. Use old fashioned tooth paste. Not the gel. apply a dab and polish out changing cloth or cotton ball often.

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#6

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/25/2007 11:39 PM

Yes Brasso works realy well. If the scratches are generaly all over the best method is to use a cloth pad pour a little brasso on and place the pad on a flat surface rub the watch in cicular motion with even pressure. If a deep scratch using the brasso on a cotton bud is better. This will give a bit of distortion though. which ever way you go check often as it does not take long to polish out the scratches.

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#7

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/26/2007 12:52 AM

Glass polishers in disposable packs may be procured from neighbourhood retailors, which may be used to polish the lens with cloth.The professional way is to use appropriate grade (particle diameter gets smaller with each stage of grinding an polishing) cerium oxide powder -water slurry as polishing compound and polyurathene pad as polsihing pad.

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#8

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/26/2007 12:53 AM

If it's become that scratched, then it certainly isn't sapphire. (Mohs 9.0). Just search on Google for crystals, they're dirt cheap.

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#9

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/26/2007 5:47 AM

I haven't tried it on watch glasses but CDs are easily 'refurbished' by rubbing a candle over them and polishing off. My watch is just over 20yrs old and the glass has no visible scrathes. The satin finish of its titanium case is all polished to hell but the glass is perfect. Is it good for Supermen??

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#10

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do i

07/26/2007 6:12 AM

Talk to your dentist. He/She has the tools and materials to do the job.

Bob

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#14

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/26/2007 4:55 PM

Most auto parts stores will have polish to remove scratches from windshields. They will also have polish for plastics. An auto polish will remove some if there not too deep. So will toothpaste.

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#17

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/27/2007 2:44 PM

I'm telling ya, sapphire crystals are very inexpensive. And there's a lot of companies on the web that sell them.

One thing you haven't taken into consideration is that good watch crystals are coated on both sides with an anti-reflective coating. I guarantee that ANY amount of polishing will remove the AR coating.

Just sos ya knows.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/27/2007 3:15 PM

Perhaps a good alternative, but more durable than "sticky tape" and less messy to replace, would be one of the "screen saver" films that are available for the LCD displays of a PDA (Pocket PC, Palm Pilot, etc.). They are fairly inexpensive and easily cut to fit your watch face. If you don't like how it looks, or if it gets damaged, just peel it off and throw it away!

Hint: They are best handled with tweezers and cut with a really sharp scissors, like the ones on a Swiss Army knife. The tweezers help prevent your fingerprints from showing up in the adhesive!

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#22

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

08/13/2007 11:42 PM

Tooth paste.. is great for this, I have been there and it works, be gentle.... Aaron

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#23

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

08/14/2007 12:09 AM

Of course, the ultimate is the liquid abrasive they use for finishing off fiber optic connections - one million grit! You can get it for ten bucks a bottle on eBay.

Remember, though, that most modern watch crystals are anti-reflective coated on both sides. Any polishing will remove the AR coating on that side of the crystal. Which brings me back to my original idea... You can find an identical watch crystal to what you have on the Internet and it'll cost you all of about $3.00 American.

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#24

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

08/14/2007 3:24 AM

The watch crystal I have is glass, I wasn't sure of what to use to polish glass, but I want to thank all of you for the replies. Sometimes when a topic is left a little vague there is more information to be shared among us. I will try the simichrome, graphics tape and others. Thank you all. I do want to share one of my secret polishes. It is called "Busch's super shine aluminum polish" It works great for all metals, even gold.

I can get a jewelers shine out of stock stainless, titanium, aluminum, brass etc. in no time at all. It really takes the hand work out of polishing and pulls the oxidation from the metals faster than anything I've seen. It shines to a billet finish very quickly and can give you the clay-bar/rouge shine without the dangerous inhalation hazard. I have breathed that before, it is no fun having bronchitis from it. search for a retailer near you and pick up a bottle for $5 USD. Very nice product, not safe for plastics. Thanks for the contributions, I am going to pick up some of these items discussed and give them a shot. Thanks again!

Also: Does anyone know if crocus cloth can be purchased in finer grades than the reddish brown color? It is denim material with a rouge/clay-bar sprayed on it and dried. I have tried finer clay-bars and would like to get the gray or white, etc. to be able to get a mirror finish on a few things.

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

08/14/2007 3:45 PM

As far as I've seen, crocus cloth indicates the grit. It goes to that and no further.

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#26

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

10/19/2008 2:26 PM

I purchased a KIT product in Walmart, SCRATCH REMOVER, for less than $2.00 and it worked great with a polishing cloth. I would suppose it would depend on the depth and width of the scratch for overall success.

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Anonymous Poster
#33
In reply to #26

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

07/16/2010 5:18 PM

what exactly was the "KIT" you purchased at WalMart? do you know the name of it, or maybe which department to look for it?

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Anonymous Poster
#27

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

12/08/2008 3:12 PM

Just wanted to thank everyone. I just tried the toothpaste and it really works.

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Anonymous Poster
#28

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

04/08/2009 4:00 PM

Toothpaste worked great for my casio FT-1000H face.

it made it look good as new

But it only works with shallow scratches but deep ones need some stronger adhesive.

fortunately, my scrates were so shallow so it made it look new

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Anonymous Poster
#29
In reply to #28

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

05/04/2009 2:00 PM

what if the surface is not scratched but has turned "cloudy"? thanks in advance

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

05/05/2009 5:01 AM

If it is "the surface" then any of the polishing techniques in this thread will do. If the cloudiness is below the surface then you have no option but to replace it.

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#31

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

06/15/2009 3:40 PM

Just tried Brasso on a paper towel and rubbed circular and rubbed crossways on the deepest scratches. Wipe off and rub again if needed. My Casio crystal was scratched half way across and is now clean and clear again.

It also says on the can that Brasso is recommended for plastic watch crystals.

Worked for me!

Steve Conway

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Anonymous Poster
#32

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

11/04/2009 9:09 AM

In answer to your question:

Here is a very simple method I have discovered that will remove minor

scratches that are not too deep on a watch crystal. Add a small amount of

toothpaste on crystal,wait about 10 to twelve minutes for it to dry. Then with

your finger you rub or polish in a circular motion for around 5 minutes. Then clean

remaining all off with a soft paper. (Kleenex or toilet paper ) If this does not work

your scratches are too deep. Take it to a Jewelers, and he will try with a more

abrasive product and his little buffing machine,costs around $7.00 to $8.00.

I do hope I have been some help to you. Yours Truly,

The Old Duck Co.

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Anonymous Poster
#34
In reply to #32

Re: Can a scratched watch crystal or lens be polished out? If so, what will do it?

02/16/2011 7:36 PM

Never use any form of paper, paper scratches, even if albeit minute.

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