TO RESTORE OR NOT RESTORE
VINTAGE WATCH DIALS
I like to say I am not a watchmaker .. rather a hacking master restoration expert restores history.
with over 35000 pictures, 1.2 mil Google requests every 15 days,+ near 10,000 articles online. i am obsessive LOL. ,
First Lesson: no one “paints” dials.
Dial Restoration Is An Art:
1) Restoring dials does not diminish price unless the time piece is rare or special. As a norm, for PATEK VACHERON ROLEX or other similar rare vintage models it matters. A Rolex oyster date? restore it. A Rolex dive from 1950? do not touch the original dial. if it is in terrible shape, say, a fractured patek pocket porcelain dial? store the old dial and have an exact to original one made, that way you can sell with both.
2) for every ten buyers, 8 will invest in the watch with restored dial.
3) pricing on restored watch vs worn out dial? 60% more
4) all watches with outlined raised numerals up to 1960 [some after] had radium. then tritium – now luminova.
5) radium life is 1000 years. radium glowed 24/7. on the other hand, modern non radioactive works off phosphorescence and zinc. it requires light to activate it.
6) 60% of old watches have radium dials!! But, after the glowing part dies, the only value is looks. and all radium ceased glowing decades ago. when the dial is mint and the old radium looks great. then it deserves to remain.
7) what vintage radium watches have collector value? mainly when the radium is orange color or some super thick high radium numerated watches like some pockets or look like the Bucherer i completed 5 years ago.
NOW, IF A RADIUM DIALED WATCH HAS CHARACTER. DIAL IS 70% AS FAR AS WEAR. AND DEAD RADIUM, WHETHER WHITE OR ORANGE, IS AWESOME LOOKING, THEN KEEP IT AS IS.
BUT MOST RADIUM DIALS FOR MILITARY RELATED (AND OTHERS) FROM 1914 TO 1965, NOT ONLY HAVE DAMAGE, BUT THE RADIUM IS USUALLY NOT CONSISTENT. THE LINKS ABOVE SHOW WHEN YOU SHOULD KEEP THE DIAL AS IS.
ON DRESS WATCHES WITH RADIUM HANDS AND “DOTS” OR MARKERS SHOULD BE RE-ILLUMINATED.
SOME COOL RADIUM DIALS CAN BE RESTORED TO SOME DEGREE BY LIGHTLY RE-APPLYING LUMINOVA IN WHITE BASE COLOR.
90″ OF DIALS THAT STILL LOOK GREAT, THE HANDS ARE RE-ILLUMINATED WITH LUMINOVA.
IF HANDS ARE THE ORANGE COLORED DEAD RADIUM, THEN YOU LEAVE IT AL AS IS.
AS FAR AS NON-RADIUM DIALS. THE SAME SITUATION APPLIES. IF THE DIAL HAS CHARTERER, LEAVE IT ALONE
IF IT IS DAMAGED. UNLESS IT MEETS THE RARE VINTAGE, RESTORE IT!
SO, IF YOU FIND AN ORANGE RADIUM LOOKING GREAT. INVEST!! BUT DO NOT LET A NICELY RESTORED DIAL DRESS OR MILITARY WATCH GET AWAY!
TO VIEW A FULLY RESTORED RARE ETERNA-MATIC 1949 MODEL -“THE ACTUAL FIRST BALL BEARING ROTOR AUTOMATIC CALIBER MODEL FOR MEN” WHICH, BY MY FACTS HERE, IN THIS ARTICLE, WOULD SAY, THE WATCH IS WORTH MORE ORIGINAL, LOOK AT THE BEFORE AND AFTER. I AM SURE THE AFTER WAS CORRECT!