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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there folks. There was a very lengthy thread comparing dial restoration houses and the main houses were Kirk Dial and International Dial Co. of Ohio. The information was very conflicting.

The thread was issued a long time ago.
So, I thought I would ask again to get a some what more updated answer.

I am asking for a decent dial restoration house because I am on the verge of purchasing a vintage sekonda chronograph (BLACK DIAL VERSION) and will like to restore the dial.

Below is a link to a photo or sample of the watch and dial.

Poljot ?Strela? Chronograph (Poljot Cal. 3017)? | The Watch Spot


The input of members will be highly appreciated.

Thanks

Joey
 

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Hi Joey

Interesting post (cos a black Strela is my daily wearer)

Two thoughts:

If you’re buying a watch with a damaged dial, why is it damaged?
Particularly, is it corroded or has been damaged by water ingress, particularly round the crown/ pushers?
If so, I’d steer clear of the watch, as it has likely damaged the movement too


(Of course, the line between damage and patina is a fine one. My Strela has a ‘starry sky’ look, probably from being in a slightly damp attic or somewhere. The movement is fine)


Also, the Strela is a particularly fiddly dial, with all those subscales and small numbers
It will be difficult to do a redial with matching fonts, particularly 3s 4s and 7s, as modern ones are different
Will this really bug you every time you look at the watch?

So, have a think
The black Strela is a great watch, but the commonest 3017 variant. Is it worth taking time to find a cleaner example?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Joey

Interesting post (cos a black Strela is my daily wearer)

Two thoughts:

If you’re buying a watch with a damaged dial, why is it damaged?
Particularly, is it corroded or has been damaged by water ingress, particularly round the crown/ pushers?
If so, I’d steer clear of the watch, as it has likely damaged the movement too


(Of course, the line between damage and patina is a fine one. My Strela has a ‘starry sky’ look, probably from being in a slightly damp attic or somewhere. The movement is fine)


Also, the Strela is a particularly fiddly dial, with all those subscales and small numbers
It will be difficult to do a redial with matching fonts, particularly 3s 4s and 7s, as modern ones are different
Will this really bug you every time you look at the watch?

So, have a think
The black Strela is a great watch, but the commonest 3017 variant. Is it worth taking time to find a cleaner example?
Hi there and thanks for coming in to help. The truth is, I am not a vintage watch guy and so, I do like new looking watches, unfortunately. However, that does not mean that I cannot appreciate the artistic element. I think that aged watches are more beautiful in a lot of cases. However, it is just me when it comes down to it. I am in negotiations with someone in Russia and I am really confused at the moment. It is a poljot exacta. Is it okay if I can refer you to a thread I will be putting up much later today so you could chime in on the state of the watch. I will be asking some members opinions before I make a decision on the purchase.

Talk to you soon.
 

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These aren't terribly expensive watches if I recall correctly. Why not just be patient and buy one that is in good condition.
 

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Dial refinishers print the markings by using dies just as the original manufacturers did. (It's a very interesting process to see.) They normally stock many thousands of different dies to cover a vast array of different companies and styles. For very commonly seen styles they typically have a correct die with all of the markings needed for a specific dial. That's a best case scenario, and can result in a very accurately redone dial at modest cost. For more unusual ones they may need to take elements from several different dies to create the necessary markings. In those cases the dies used may not be exactly as original, but for the average person they might be considered close enough. But the more different elements that are combined into one dial, the more chances for something to be slightly off -- position or evenness of the printing. Obviously, the more complex the dial design, the more likely that something will be less than perfect. Transferring the engraving from a die to the dial is a real art, and unlike manufacturers who could set up the production line and crank out hundreds of dials in one run, refinishers are doing one-offs and have to do them as quickly as possible to be cost-effective. This usually means that even the best refinished dials are not quite up to the originals.

The dial in question is very complex, with a lot of elements, most of which are not likely to be found in the stocks of dies that refinishers have on hand. I doubt any refinisher in the US has a supply of Soviet dies so it's unlikely that any US refinisher could come very close to matching that. One option is to have a new die made. This entails photographing the original dial, cleaning it up in Photoshop, and using the digital file to engrave a new die. This is a time-consuming and expensive proposition, and the cost goes up with the complexity of the job. Having a correct die made to duplicate that dial would be very expensive, and certainly not worth it here since it's not an especially valuable watch, nor a treasured heirloom.

The bottom line is that you're unlikely to find that either Kirk or International would be able to easily and affordably refinish it to look as original. Your options would be to live with it as it is, accept a very different design composed of several elements that more-or-less resemble the original markings, or wait for a better example to come along.
 

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Sure, I’m happy to comment on the watch
Probably worth asking on the Russian forum too

NOS condition will be tricky to find, as the last ones were made in 1979

However, you *can* find good ones with persistence: this white one scrubbed up well (the case and face were in great condition, I suspect it had been forgotten in a drawer)




If like-new condition is important to you, how about one of the 3133-powered reissues? They’re bigger, but some of them are lovely
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
These aren't terribly expensive watches if I recall correctly. Why not just be patient and buy one that is in good condition.
Men, I wish that were true. The pool is drying up and there are all kind of left overs from ppl using them for spares and then putting them out for sale again. There aren't that many left, trust me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sure, I’m happy to comment on the watch
Probably worth asking on the Russian forum too

NOS condition will be tricky to find, as the last ones were made in 1979

However, you *can* find good ones with persistence: this white one scrubbed up well (the case and face were in great condition, I suspect it had been forgotten in a drawer)




If like-new condition is important to you, how about one of the 3133-powered reissues? They’re bigger, but some of them are lovely
That is what I have been looking for all over the net, a piece that has barely been used but needs scrubing up.
BY the way, the 3133 is all over the place (very common) now and is nothing like the 3017 in terms of beauty and rarity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dial refinishers print the markings by using dies just as the original manufacturers did. (It's a very interesting process to see.) They normally stock many thousands of different dies to cover a vast array of different companies and styles. For very commonly seen styles they typically have a correct die with all of the markings needed for a specific dial. That's a best case scenario, and can result in a very accurately redone dial at modest cost. For more unusual ones they may need to take elements from several different dies to create the necessary markings. In those cases the dies used may not be exactly as original, but for the average person they might be considered close enough. But the more different elements that are combined into one dial, the more chances for something to be slightly off -- position or evenness of the printing. Obviously, the more complex the dial design, the more likely that something will be less than perfect. Transferring the engraving from a die to the dial is a real art, and unlike manufacturers who could set up the production line and crank out hundreds of dials in one run, refinishers are doing one-offs and have to do them as quickly as possible to be cost-effective. This usually means that even the best refinished dials are not quite up to the originals.

The dial in question is very complex, with a lot of elements, most of which are not likely to be found in the stocks of dies that refinishers have on hand. I doubt any refinisher in the US has a supply of Soviet dies so it's unlikely that any US refinisher could come very close to matching that. One option is to have a new die made. This entails photographing the original dial, cleaning it up in Photoshop, and using the digital file to engrave a new die. This is a time-consuming and expensive proposition, and the cost goes up with the complexity of the job. Having a correct die made to duplicate that dial would be very expensive, and certainly not worth it here since it's not an especially valuable watch, nor a treasured heirloom.

The bottom line is that you're unlikely to find that either Kirk or International would be able to easily and affordably refinish it to look as original. Your options would be to live with it as it is, accept a very different design composed of several elements that more-or-less resemble the original markings, or wait for a better example to come along.
Thanks very much for the lengthy input. Some times, I sit down and wonder how the old manufacturers were able to make those dials, considering the methods that they used. Anyways, as for the dial looking like the original, I am not that bothered unless it is completely off. I do not mind it slightly different but not easily noticeable. I will be asking around with some dial restorers, maybe someone will be able to. Appreciate the input, talk to you soon.
 
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