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So I've been reading a lot on the forum here. First, thank you to everyone here. I've learned a lot, which is nearly nothing compared to those here. Being as I'm not overflowing with discretionary income, I've made my first purchase, but it's a cheap one. The case is rough but it "works" and it only cost $10 (with an extra non working watch to boot!). It's a Croton Nivada Grenchen. When I opened it up I was pleasantly surprised at the condition of the movement. It appears to be in great shape. My plan is to remove the movement and crystal and separate the crown. Then gently sand down the crown and case and then electroplated it (possibly nickel?) myself. I'm more confident in my ability to restore the exterior than to even touch the movement without damaging something. I'll leave that to the professionals. I'll update when I found out how many seconds/day it's off.

I know it's not a "special" watch, but it will be for me. My first automatic movement, my first Swiss, and my fist vintage. I know it won't raise much excitement on here but I hope to improve upon its condition and if all goes well, I'll be brave enough to spend some $$$ on the next one.

Thanks all. I'll post updates as I fix her up.
 

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Welcome. I think it is great. I know that there is a lot of discussion of the expensive and exotic around here. I for one welcome another person who appreciates the more common brands and models.

BTW - the movement does like to be in good shape. I like that the regulator is centered and the finish on the movement is even. I don't see any watchmaker's marks on the inside of the back - it may be that it has Never been serviced.

Good luck with your watch journey - it can be a real slippery slope and pull you into all kinds of things you would never expect.
 

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. . . . I'm more confident in my ability to restore the exterior than to even touch the movement without damaging something. I'll leave that to the professionals. . . . .
Why do you have this level of confidence?

Do you have previous experience in metal refinishing of fine goods?

Jewelry manufacturing experience?

Have you worked as a polisher?

Or as a plater?
 

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I have never refinished a watch case, but I imagine that it is challenging to prep the surface properly while also maintaining the sharp edges. I'm not confident that "sanding" is the best approach. Maybe you can research this.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Why do you have this level of confidence?

Do you have previous experience in metal refinishing of fine goods?

Jewelry manufacturing experience?

Have you worked as a polisher?

Or as a plater?
I usually don't start a project before researching ad nauseum. I won't just go at the case with 80 grit sandpaper, that was more a poor choice of words. I will be making sure I can clean up the case before I start. I am more confident on the nickel plating (then possibly chrome over it). My main concern is that nickel fills well (why it's done before chrome) so I am worried that it make effect clearances. So I'll have to be super picky on how long I let it plate so it doesn't get too thick. So I have to choose between too much, or not enough to protect it. That's why I have to see how deep some of the nicks are. If it isn't as bad as some look, I may just have it chromed if I can fine someone who will just throw it in with a job they're already doing (for cheap). There is a good industrial plating company close by.

I won't destroy the thing. Don't worry. Once I make up my mind on best way to proceed I'll probably even run it by a jeweler I know.

After that (assuming much) I will maybe buy some oil for the jewels. Or just look up a watch service center near me.

That all being said, multiple people responded in a way that seems awfully critical. I kind of expected it, as it's pretty common on newbie threads. I get it. I'm probably the new idiot about to destroy something. But people need to get off their high horse.

Thanks to all the pleasant people! I'm excited to be learning and enjoying something new!
 

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I personally think everyone has the right to experiment on their personal low cost pieces, even with the possibility of destruction. That's how we learn. I say have fun doing it!
 

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That’s a fantastic pickup for $10. Never mind the negativity, go at it with gusto. Worst case is you’ve blown some time and money, best case you’ve learned something. Don’t forget to update this thread I’m really interested to see how to playing goes.


Follow me on Instagram @ciccio_started_it
 

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I actually didn't see any negativity, but maybe I am just more accustomed to the straightforward way we generally discuss things on F11. In any case, welcome to watchuseek, and best of luck on the restoration. You might be able to glean some ideas from this site: Replateit.com - Watch Case Restoration.
 

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I usually don't start a project before researching ad nauseum. I won't just go at the case with 80 grit sandpaper, that was more a poor choice of words. I will be making sure I can clean up the case before I start. I am more confident on the nickel plating (then possibly chrome over it). My main concern is that nickel fills well (why it's done before chrome) so I am worried that it make effect clearances. So I'll have to be super picky on how long I let it plate so it doesn't get too thick. So I have to choose between too much, or not enough to protect it. That's why I have to see how deep some of the nicks are. If it isn't as bad as some look, I may just have it chromed if I can fine someone who will just throw it in with a job they're already doing (for cheap). There is a good industrial plating company close by.

I won't destroy the thing. Don't worry. Once I make up my mind on best way to proceed I'll probably even run it by a jeweler I know.

After that (assuming much) I will maybe buy some oil for the jewels. Or just look up a watch service center near me.

That all being said, multiple people responded in a way that seems awfully critical. I kind of expected it, as it's pretty common on newbie threads. I get it. I'm probably the new idiot about to destroy something. But people need to get off their high horse.

Thanks to all the pleasant people! I'm excited to be learning and enjoying something new!
Unless recently serviced powdered rubi, steel particles, detritus and congealed lubricant will be present between the pivots and holes - jeweled or otherwise.

The addition of oil to this rather stable amalgam makes a perfect lapping compound assuring and hastening the destruction of the movement.

Metal polishing in europe is an advanced multiyear course of study beyond that of the horloger.

The polisher would then serve an apprenticeship with a master.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Unless recently serviced powdered rubi, steel particles, detritus and congealed lubricant will be present between the pivots and holes - jeweled or otherwise.

The addition of oil to this rather stable amalgam makes a perfect lapping compound assuring and hastening the destruction of the movement.

Metal polishing in europe is an advanced multiyear course of study beyond that of the horloger.

The polisher would then serve an apprenticeship with a master.
This makes sense. Any ideas of how to find a reasonably priced watch service? (am I searching for a unicorn?) I'd rather start slow and focus on the case, than get in over my head with messing with the movement.

Sorry about being a baby earlier. Chock it up to my optimism being dashed by reality...
 

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This makes sense. Any ideas of how to find a reasonably priced watch service? (am I searching for a unicorn?) I'd rather start slow and focus on the case, than get in over my head with messing with the movement.

Sorry about being a baby earlier. Chock it up to my optimism being dashed by reality...
Ideally you would find a local independent watchmaker.

You can try the links in this thread: https://www.watchuseek.com/f11/watch-repair-geographical-location-search-engines-3433002.html

If you want to mention where you live, people might give you personal suggestions in the thread, or by PM.
 

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hi and welcome, I only pop in now and then don't seem to have the time or just been buying newer pieces (Russian and Japan pieces), congrats on your purchase and for 10$ worth experimenting on and finding your strength and weakness on this hobby. Most of us here would of bought a watch to tinker with and destroyed so be ready for a disappointment lol would be great to see your progress esp on the case just don't over sand the shape of the case.
 

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hi and welcome, I only pop in now and then don't seem to have the time or just been buying newer pieces (Russian and Japan pieces), congrats on your purchase and for 10$ worth experimenting on and finding your strength and weakness on this hobby. Most of us here would of bought a watch to tinker with and destroyed so be ready for a disappointment lol would be great to see your progress esp on the case just don't over sand the shape of the case.
Thanks! I'll go easy on it. Just need to prepare it enough to re-plate it. Just got it apart. Otherwise I'm going to try to VERY gently clean the dial.
 

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Also, I am in Topeka Kansas. Doubt I have watchmakers close by. I need to figure out where to get a new seal for the back and figure out if there ever was one on the crown. Maybe I should get a watchmaker's book... Anyone want to suggest one? Or anyone want to give one to a poor dad who just found out number 4 AND 5 are on the way??? Wish I could figure out what causes this...
 

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Did you check the search engine for watchmakers? There is an AWCI-certified person in Lawrence.
Central State Watch Services
Site down. Phone to voicemail. Will follow up. Thanks.

So I cleaned up the dial and hands and polished the crystal. I'm probably going to replace the crystal because it's cracked, but I kind of like it. We will see. I like the clean look of the dial, as it's not yellow anymore. I did have a couple disappointments. Two of the second marks came off, so I decided to clean them all off. I actually like how clean it ended up looking, and was super pleased the brand markings didn't come off. What I was really bummed about was the "SWISS" mark came off under the 6. It came off faster than anything else. Super gentle, nothing I could do. Pretty dissapointed. Otherwise, barely visible pitting all over the dail, I don't really mind. It is old after all. Put it back together because I have get to order the chemicals for plating. I think I may get a band for it and call it good until I can plate it and service it. I don't plan on wearing it until it's serviced, but I'd like to see how it looks with a leather strap, since I've never seen it with anything.

The case also cleaned up nicely with some 800 grit sandpaper which frankly I was just doing for nickel plating prep.

I'm actually kind of excited to see it with fresh nickel, so I'll probably do it soon. Maybe. What do you guys think? Leave it or re-plate it?
 

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Although you seem to be happy with the results, I'd say you've completely ruined the dial by removing the minute marks, lume plots, "SWISS" text, the "I" in "AQUAMATIC", etc. The dial was decent before, and now it's pretty awful. Sorry, but that's a collector's perspective.

Comparing the before and after photos of the case, I can see that you've lost the sharp outer edge of the bezel. Less is more with vintage watches.
 

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As long as you are happy with it then sod what anyone else thinks! I am personally too scared to even buy vintage watches maybe I will try something some time.. Enjoy your 'new' piece :p.
 
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