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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My brother recently asked me to polish his Rolex Explorer 36mm. Apparently he likes to wear it during ATV racing in the desert so it looks like it's been shot out of a cannon into a sandpaper factory.

I managed to get it to a remarkably decent finish using wet sandpaper to a high grit, then Mother's Mag polish and finally some Cape Cod "Juice"

but I can still see micro scratches specially against bright light at steep angles

A friend who owns a machine shop gave me a tube of diamond lapidary paste, the label says "200,000 grit"

Anyone have experience finishing mirror polished surfaces with this type of diamond paste?

I should point out all the work has been an will be done by hand, the final finish using a micro fiber cloth.

I have zero skills using a Dremel or a buffing wheel.




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I don't know how fine a grit sandpaper you went up to but I'd go to at least 2000 grit before polishing. Ideally, it should look pretty shiny before you begin polishing. Polishing will take forever to remove any visible scratches, even micro scratches.

As for the polishing step, if the diamond polish is really 200,000 grit then you will likely grow old and gray trying to make a mirror finish by hand. Get a variable speed dremel and a felt wheel and run it at low speed till you get comfortable (you shouldn't ever need more than 50% speed). I've had very good success with this method using Simichrome polish. When the polish turns dark and starts getting sticky stop, clean the residue, add more polish and start again. Despite what some doomsayers will say I defy you to damage stainless steel with metal polish and a felt wheel. You'll set the felt wheel on fire before you remove a significant amount of metal. Of course, this only applies to polish. Abrasive pastes, jewelers rouge, etc and you take your chances. Good luck.
 

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I don't know how fine a grit sandpaper you went up to but I'd go to at least 2000 grit before polishing. Ideally, it should look pretty shiny before you begin polishing. Polishing will take forever to remove any visible scratches, even micro scratches.

As for the polishing step, if the diamond polish is really 200,000 grit then you will likely grow old and gray trying to make a mirror finish by hand. Get a variable speed dremel and a felt wheel and run it at low speed till you get comfortable (you shouldn't ever need more than 50% speed). I've had very good success with this method using Simichrome polish. When the polish turns dark and starts getting sticky stop, clean the residue, add more polish and start again. Despite what some doomsayers will say I defy you to damage stainless steel with metal polish and a felt wheel. You'll set the felt wheel on fire before you remove a significant amount of metal. Of course, this only applies to polish. Abrasive pastes, jewelers rouge, etc and you take your chances. Good luck.

Correct. Don't use the diamond paste on a wheel until you attain an almost-perfect polished finish. Diamond paste won't remove much more than fingerprint oil (ok, I'm exaggerating) - it's the final step after the watch looks like it's new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't know how fine a grit sandpaper you went up to but I'd go to at least 2000 grit before polishing. Ideally, it should look pretty shiny before you begin polishing. Polishing will take forever to remove any visible scratches, even micro scratches.

As for the polishing step, if the diamond polish is really 200,000 grit then you will likely grow old and gray trying to make a mirror finish by hand. Get a variable speed dremel and a felt wheel and run it at low speed till you get comfortable (you shouldn't ever need more than 50% speed). I've had very good success with this method using Simichrome polish. When the polish turns dark and starts getting sticky stop, clean the residue, add more polish and start again. Despite what some doomsayers will say I defy you to damage stainless steel with metal polish and a felt wheel. You'll set the felt wheel on fire before you remove a significant amount of metal. Of course, this only applies to polish. Abrasive pastes, jewelers rouge, etc and you take your chances. Good luck.
Thank you for the advice, I actually managed to get it to a very very polished finish, and Mother's mag really did the trick, I can perfectly see my reflection on the mirror surfaces.

It's just that I'm so ocd about micro scratches I needed to buff it out further, hope the paste at least gives me a better finish.

Btw I'll buy a Dremel and some polishing wheels this weekend, I'll practice on an old Seiko lol


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Any advice for how to hold the Dremel secure the watch head?
Dremel in one hand watch in the other. This should not be a situation where you should worry about flinging the watch out of your hand. I'll also use a towel on the bench to help hold the watch in a certain position. Don't apply much pressure, let the speed and polish do the work. You won't have the felt Dremel wheel on the surface more than 10-30 seconds before the polish starts turning dark. When that happens stop. Wipe all the polish residue off the watch, apply a dab more polish and start the Dremel back. If you follow this pattern you shouldn't have to worry about excessive heat buildup, it will get warm but no problem to hold.
 

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Dremel in one hand watch in the other. This should not be a situation where you should worry about flinging the watch out of your hand. I'll also use a towel on the bench to help hold the watch in a certain position. Don't apply much pressure, let the speed and polish do the work. You won't have the felt Dremel wheel on the surface more than 10-30 seconds before the polish starts turning dark. When that happens stop. Wipe all the polish residue off the watch, apply a dab more polish and start the Dremel back. If you follow this pattern you shouldn't have to worry about excessive heat buildup, it will get warm but no problem to hold.
You don't want excessive heat buildup in any case, it'll be bad for the movement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You don't want excessive heat buildup in any case, it'll be bad for the movement.
That's one of the main reasons I don't use any power tools, I'm much more precise with a micro fiber square wrapped around a Pen Cap


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