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porpoisevhr

suggestions on how to clean these dials?

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hi guys,

below are two watches i've purchased recently and i'm wondering if you could some beginners advice on how to smarten them up.

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this first one has some staining and a few small areas where the paint seems to have chipped away. does there exist a cleaning solution specifically for watch dials? would it be possible to buy some paint to touch up the chipped areas, and how easy would it be to make the repair blend in? are there any methods i should avoid using so that the existing dial doesn't get further stained or smudged?

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this second one's lume(?) seems to have disintergrated. should i find some way to remove the existing lume, or is there an easy way to reapply lume without it becoming disastrastious? also, is there a chance this 1950s watch could be radioactive?

i've included pics of the movements so if any of you know anything about these watches please feel free to shed some light

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many thanks

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The short answer is that this type of cleaning and repair is more of an art than a science. I find that a gentle wash with a soft brush and some warm water and maybe a little detergent to remove any surface dirt is as far as I am willing to go. Any more aggressive measures are likely to remove dial printing and color. Touch up painting is even more difficult and I don't like the look of dials that have been "refinished", preferring to shop harder for original dials in good condition. That, of course, is a personal decision. It is possible the lume on the Moscow watch is radium as this had not been totally replaced until the early sixties. If you do any cleaning you should be careful not to inhale any radium dust that may be present prior to cleaning, the main danger.

The first movement is the ZIM 2602 movement used during the '70s right on into the early '90s The Metatechnical Cabinet - ZIM 2602.

The second movement is the First Moscow Watch Factory (later Poljot) 41m, the first soviet central second hand movement. This movement first appeared in the early fifties and was used on into the early sixties when it was replaced by the 2408 kirovskie movement and the shock proof 2409 stolichnie movement which were thinner and capable of having a date mechanism mounted. A hacking version of the 41m was used in the 1MWF sturmanskie watches issued to military pilots of the day, not available to the public. A 17jewel shock-proof version of the sturmanskie was worn by Juri Gagarin in the first manned space flight.

 

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Have to agree with schnurrp. The only thing I will do is use a make-up artist's q-tip and some warm water and gently wash the open sections of the dial, well away from any markings. I had a CCCP Vostok Amphibia dial that all the markings and lume crumbled to dust with a light swipe of a fine-haired brush, and one time of that happening is more than enough for me

 

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Usually, I use a damp Q-tip as per the others' recommendations. Rubbing alcohol is a pretty aggressive cleaning agent I occasionally use that helps remove most dirt and grime from a dial -- but bear in mind, it'll quite easily take any printing, paint, and/or lacquer along with it, and it won't do anything about scratches. Or you can always take a chance and try to find one of those strange white-out crayons...

I'm more of a risk-taker when it comes to cleaning dials, but I've certainly had my fair share of disastrous outcomes. Just consider that any dial cleaning has the potential to ruin the watch, and weigh whether it is worth it to you before you begin. I'm so picky, often I'd rather take the risk, but this of course depends on many factors such as the price I paid, the rarity of the dial, the amount of 'restoration' needed, my personal value attached to the piece, and so on.

 

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