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Discussion Starter #1
I was searching for some time a replacement for poliwatch as I find it crazy expensive - £7 for a tiny tube. So one day I ran across a post where somebody mentioned Autosol as an alternative. I thought I'd give it a try. Hmm.. this was definitely not the result I was hoping for. From 1 scratch I end up with the following.

It doesn't worth any money at all but for me it has sentimental value. Any thoughts of how can this be fixed without replacing the glass as I would like to keep it in its original state.


 

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You need a new crystal my friend, that is too far gone.
I have seen older crystals sometimes go like this after polishing, my Bulova Watertite's crystal when I used Polywatch went like it (a little), and an old crystal for a no-name went uber-crazed when I used wet&dry paper and Brasso.
I think it is something to do with the older crystals, and not the use of Autosol.
 
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That doesn't look like scratches but rather stress fractures and the only fix is a new crystal. I believe that it occurs when the crystal shrinks because of age. Often one don't see them until it's polished so as said by bobbee it's not the Autosol that did this.

So it's becuaes Autosol worked you see them but don't use it to much as I get sick every time I use it.. :)
 

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That doesn't look like scratches but rather stress fractures and the only fix is a new crystal. I believe that it occurs when the crystal shrinks because of age. Often one don't see them until it's polished so as said it's not the Autosol that did this.
So possibly with an older crystal pressure from polishing could cause this too??
 

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I would agree, they look like stress fractures.
Perhaps the pressure of cleaning caused them?
Perhaps they were there already but the cleaning made them more visible.
 

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So possibly with an older crystal pressure from polishing could cause this too??
I'm not sure but I guess it's possible as it's always crystals that are harder that show these micro cracks, I use a microscope when I check out a crystal before any polish and they show up now and then and mostly on not Swiss watches.
 

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I use autosol with no problems and even recommend it to others, this is a stress fracture and would probably of gone like this with or without polishing it. What you may of thought was a scratch was probably the beginning of a fracture. I woke up one day with the same fracture on a watch and had to replace it with another, but even the new one ended up with another fracture probably caused by a small amount of dirt on the case edge when installing so had to buy another.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
indeed you guys are right. these are stress fractures as the scratch I tried to polish was made accidentally by me. . then it means I should get a microscope to check the crystal before starting polishing to avoid things like this happening? I guess I'll be ordering a new glass as there is no other choice.

thanks
 

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Its just one of those that can happen, I never ever use a microscope before polishing, like I said even if you did use a microscope a could see a fracture it would still end up like this over a short period of time, due to temp change or slight resting on it etc
 

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Well a microscope costs a lot of money so if you aren't going to use it beyond peeking at crystals it's cheaper buying a bunch of crystals. If you want you could use a hairdryer to warm up the crystal as this will make it softer and it won't fracture as easy when you polish. However a weak crystal should be changed anyway but sometimes there is no replacement to be had so then warming it is the best option.

One odd thing is that for me more Citizen watches then any other brand have had these sensitive crystals.
 

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At the risk of sounding pedantic… I'll pop up at this point to make a few observations. First of all, Polywatch has a solvent in it that actually softens the plastic. It 'melts' the top of the crystal and if you polish the whole thing long enough (and across the scratches, rather than along them) then you'll fill them in. The plastic will then re-set smooth.

Brasso and Autosol are abrasive cleaners and may take out scratches in many circumstances, but their action isn't the same as Polywatch. Cerium Oxide is another micro-abrasive that can be useful for some crystal refinishing. But all three are abrasives.

Plastics age, and get more brittle as they do. Depending on the actual mix of plastics used in manufacture, some are are more brittle than others. Making plastic is a balancing act.

By the way, in my experience, some early plastic or acrylic glasses react quite strangely with modern interventions, there seems to have been a period where their were coated with some sort of top coat like a varnish and they just don't like anything. If you're lucky, you can rescue them with Micro Mesh paper, used wet, and going up to 12000 grit. I've also used this technique on mineral glasses that couldn't be replaced and had to be repaired.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
thanks for the heads up. well autosol is not really intended for glass polishing while polywatch was specially made to do so. I just hoped to find a replacement that won't cost £7 for 5 grams. In the future I should probably be more careful and avoid unnecessary damage to my watches.

do you use anything else for the final polish after the wet paper?
 

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I use Brasso, if you only have a couple of "grit" sizes in wet & dry, Brasso polishes the foggy finish away. Extremely fine grits can do the same, but with a lot more "elbow grease" required!
Bob.
 

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There is nothing 'wrong' with using autosol or any other abrasive over polywatch - it's more a matter of choice than in being right or wrong. Your crystal fractured because of the pressure you applied whilst polishing - but that pressure would have been applied sooner or later whilst you were wearing it. All you have done is to become aware of an existing flaw in the watch by accelerating something that would have happened anyway. Better it happened in a controlled environment than say an impact somewhere wet where it might have failed completely. You should look at it as a good thing - of course if your aim in polishing was say to flip a watch cheaply, then you may view it somewhat differently as the cost eats into your profit margin.
 

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At the risk of sounding pedantic… I'll pop up at this point to make a few observations. First of all, Polywatch has a solvent in it that actually softens the plastic. It 'melts' the top of the crystal and if you polish the whole thing long enough (and across the scratches, rather than along them) then you'll fill them in. The plastic will then re-set smooth.
I highly doubt this 'solvent' claim for Polywatch.
'Melting' of the plastic by solvents and re-fusing melted plastic into deep scratches? Have you observed this/
Is the plastic sticky in its melted state before it re-sets. What stops dirt being trapped in the melted and re-set plastic?
 

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I never said anything about deep scratches, so don't know where you got the idea from. With deep scratches, I use Micro Mesh paper, as noted previously, a product I find better than Wet/Dry paper. And I was just quoting this leading website that sells it:

"HOW IT WORKS
The plastic crystal is very slightly dissolved and ground down by tiny abrasive particles. The edges of the scratch marks are then smoothed off and the cracks filled in with some of the original plastic from the watch crystal.
"


And this guide:

"First, I used a lens cleaner to make sure there were no oils or debris on the watch crystal from being handled. The presence of hand oils gets in the way of the process, and its best to start with as clean a crystal as you can.
Second, I placed a small amount of Polywatch directly on the crystal (you don't need as much as you see in the animated GIF below). I found it was better to apply small amounts and buff it until it is gone, and then repeat.
Third, I began to rub the Polywatch into the crystal. A Q-Tip (cotton swab) didn't work great so I quickly switched to a piece of t-shirt and a cotton cleaning cloth from Varaet, which made it much easier to apply even pressure. A cotton ball can also be used.
I spent about three minutes quickly rubbing the crystal and adding more Polywatch with very firm pressure, and felt it get warm to the touch after I was done. From what I understand, part of the process is that by rubbing the crystal fast, the friction and chemical compound melts a very thin layer of the plexiglass, redepositing it into the scratches on the crystal.
Finally, after both crystals were done, I took a microfiber cloth and wiped any excess compound off the crystals and cleaned them up.
The results were spectacular and lived up to the hype I've read about online. Such a cheap tool to keep in your watch maintenance arsenal, especially if you love vintage plexiglass watches (Moonwatch purists I'm looking at you). Both crystals were much clearer and all the visible scratches I examined before using Polywatch were just gone. Highly recommended!"

It works well for me, and I find the price reasonable given the amount of crystals it does. I find no reason to disbelieve that a mild solvent effect, coupled with a micro abrasive compound, will lessen the appearance minor scratching and scuffing and find that Polywatch works pretty well for most day-to-day tidy ups. But I use a variety of approaches depending on the situation.

I highly doubt this 'solvent' claim for Polywatch.
'Melting' of the plastic by solvents and re-fusing melted plastic into deep scratches? Have you observed this/
Is the plastic sticky in its melted state before it re-sets. What stops dirt being trapped in the melted and re-set plastic?
 

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I highly doubt this 'solvent' claim for Polywatch.
'Melting' of the plastic by solvents and re-fusing melted plastic into deep scratches? Have you observed this/
Is the plastic sticky in its melted state before it re-sets. What stops dirt being trapped in the melted and re-set plastic?
I have seen this on early plastics and you first get a earthy smell then the surface goes muddled and it turns sticky so there is a chemical reaction taking place. I never use Polywatch on watches before the 1930's but I came across a 1950's watch that gave this result as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I highly doubt this 'solvent' claim for Polywatch.
'Melting' of the plastic by solvents and re-fusing melted plastic into deep scratches? Have you observed this/
Is the plastic sticky in its melted state before it re-sets. What stops dirt being trapped in the melted and re-set plastic?
As a matter of fact the answer is "nothing". First time I used polywatch I did not clean the crystal and the result was a scratch free glass but with a black dot trapped inside. Which means a dust particle was melted together with the plastic. Habitant already detailed how it works.
It's true that deep scratches won't come off entirely and they require too much quantity of product. This is actually the reason for which I have used an abrasive compound as Autosol.
 
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