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Discussion Starter #1
I have a bunch of 3M polishing paper, but don't want to try this on the bracelet unless I know how it will look. Have any of you used 3M polishing paper, or if you haven't, what do you recommend to polish out minor scratches while still achieving the same finish that Rolex gets after they polish the watch band?

http://www.ottofrei.com/store/product.php?productid=4019&cat=0&page=11

Thanks in advance.
 

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You should pick something cheap up to experiment on before you attack such an expensive watch. I got some sanding foam stuff from bostonwatchexchange.com and tried it out on an old Nautica watch with a similar oyster bracelet. I was so impressed with the results it gave me the confidence to take out some small scratches I collected on my band, piece of cake with a little know how.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You should pick something cheap up to experiment on before you attack such an expensive watch. I got some sanding foam stuff from bostonwatchexchange.com and tried it out on an old Nautica watch with a similar oyster bracelet. I was so impressed with the results it gave me the confidence to take out some small scratches I collected on my band, piece of cake with a little know how.
Good suggestion...I have a few citizen watches with similar satin finishes...I was thinking about this stuff:

http://www.thewatchprince.com/s.nl/it.A/id.168/.f?sc=10&category=49
 

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I have no before pictures but you have to trust me that the Nautica watch was in some seriously bad condition especially on the buckle underside links, but looks about new now in my opinion. I wore that watch for maybe seven years and you can see the watch head is brassing a bit from general wear, I didn't dare touch the watch head to fix it up at all in fear of making it worse.

My only advice is you will encounter three types of finished surfaces on stainless; matt, brushed and polished. A matt finish is damned hard to do anything with but brushed and polished each have a different buffing pad you can use on them and erase many mistakes. With the brushed surfaces between the two watches here I uses a little corser pad on the Nautica because it was generally in much worse condition. I suppose I could have brought it up a little more by doing more work with the finer pad but it looks OK and it's not like I am going to wear it nice places anymore as the Seatime takes up the dirty jobs now.

Better pictures than I can attach here from my home server:
http://scottjal.ath.cx:85/ebay/watches/DSC01043.JPG
http://scottjal.ath.cx:85/ebay/watches/DSC01044.JPG
http://scottjal.ath.cx:85/ebay/watches/DSC01046.JPG
http://scottjal.ath.cx:85/ebay/watches/DSC01053.JPG
 

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I have gotten good results by putting 600 grit sandpaper on a cloth flat on the table and then dragging the bracelet straight across it while applying pressure on the back of the bracelet into the paper. If you are careful and move the bracelet in a straight line it is very close to the original finish.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What did you use on the Rolex? I didn't catch any specific product names in your post...thanks!

I have no before pictures but you have to trust me that the Nautica watch was in some seriously bad condition especially on the buckle underside links, but looks about new now in my opinion. I wore that watch for maybe seven years and you can see the watch head is brassing a bit from general wear, I didn't dare touch the watch head to fix it up at all in fear of making it worse.

My only advice is you will encounter three types of finished surfaces on stainless; matt, brushed and polished. A matt finish is damned hard to do anything with but brushed and polished each have a different buffing pad you can use on them and erase many mistakes. With the brushed surfaces between the two watches here I uses a little corser pad on the Nautica because it was generally in much worse condition. I suppose I could have brought it up a little more by doing more work with the finer pad but it looks OK and it's not like I am going to wear it nice places anymore as the Seatime takes up the dirty jobs now.

Better pictures than I can attach here from my home server:
http://scottjal.ath.cx:85/ebay/watches/DSC01043.JPG
http://scottjal.ath.cx:85/ebay/watches/DSC01044.JPG
http://scottjal.ath.cx:85/ebay/watches/DSC01046.JPG
http://scottjal.ath.cx:85/ebay/watches/DSC01053.JPG
 

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I used standard old cape cod polish cloth on the mirror portions and that is some good stuff, learned abut that elsewhere on this forum.

For the brushed portions on the Nautica I used a standard brushed refinishing pad from:
http://www.bostonwatchexchange.com/servlet/the-56/Satin--fdsh--Brushed-Refinishing/Detail
They are local to me and have a web store and sell on ebay as well. You can see from the better pictures that the Rolex has a finer finish on it. For that I got a standard old 3M sanding sponge at the hardware store like this: http://www.nextag.com/sanding-sponge/search-html
I can't remember what the grit was but I used something that felt a couple steps finer than the other stuff. All it had really was a couple fine desk diving scratches and they disappeared almost instantly.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I tried the grey 3M polishing paper on a Seiko Arcutra SS...a little too fine...then I tried the green...still too fine. I had previously taken scratches out of my SMP bracelet clasp with a standard 3M ScotchBrite sponge would get at a store (used green side, brush in ONE direction only). Interesting to note that the hardness of the Rolex SS didn't allow for the same "dramatic" brushed effect as on the Seiko (good, because the brushed pattern is more subtle on the Rolex anyway), but it looks great, and now I (and we) have a means of taking scratches out of the bracelet. Note, it doesn't look as dramatic in real life without flash...flash picks up the brushed strokes a lot more than reality.

Edit as of 12/19/07: After wearing the watch in different lights, and looking at it at more angles, I decided that the brushed pattern left by the Scotch Brite was a bit too agressive (and it can create some of the brush "lines" deeper than others). I "reapplied" the gray 3M polishing paper by taping it over a sponge to give me the ability to hit the whole link at once, and to give the polishing paper a little "give," again, brushing the SS links in only one direction. The result is excellent. I checked the Rolex website and to my eye the brushed pattern I created is a 95% match (good enough for me, and good enough to now know that I can buff our minor scratches on my own without having to send the watch away for 3-4 weeks).

So, you can use the 3M Scotchbrite sponge to take out the scratches (coarser), and then use the gray 3M polishing paper to create the same finish (finer).

One tip, I "draped" one link over the index finger of my non-sanding hand at a time so I could get the "in between" spots as well. Pics:


So,

 

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Paduncan:

From your photo's it appears to me that the finish is too coarse. Oyster bracelets are traditionally a 'satin' finish with just a suggestion of mono directional grain.

Your photos suggest the bracelet needs further polishing with a finer micron cloth.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Paduncan:

From your photo's it appears to me that the finish is too coarse. Oyster bracelets are traditionally a 'satin' finish with just a suggestion of mono directional grain.

Your photos suggest the bracelet needs further polishing with a finer micron cloth.
That is why I used the gray 3M polishing paper to take it down a notch so to speak.

However, if you go to the Rolex website, and check out their SS Subs they have featured, the brushed look is quite accentuated.

http://rolex.com/en/#/en/xml/collection/rolex-gallery/submariner/index

Here are three more pics after I went over it with the finer polishing paper, using three different lighting sources (natural, indoor, flash)





 

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That looks a whole lot better:-!

You photo's can be improved with diffused lighting or outdoors in overcast weather.

This is my 14060M after a 15 micron polish pad. Outdoor shot using a camera tripod, no flash, 1/30th sec.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
So, it looks like 15 micron is the way to go if one wishes to buff out scratches in a SS sub.

:-!
 

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Stainless steel has a "natural protective oxide layer" which keeps it from corroding.

In my opinion, trying to keep it to the most original, keeps it the most protected. Just use some soapy warm water to clean it.

http://www.mcnallyinstitute.com/04-html/4-1.html

One of the many reasons not to destroy the protective layer on stainless steel.

"If the protective oxide layer is removed from stainless steel because of rubbing or damage, the "bugs" can penetrate through the damaged area and attack the carbon in the metal. Once in, the attack can continue on in a manner similar to that which happens when rust starts to spread under the paint on an automobile."
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Are you saying that Rolex doesn't know what they are doing, as they polish the bracelet, and case everytime you send the watch to them?

Stainless steel has a "natural protective oxide layer" which keeps it from corroding.

In my opinion, trying to keep it to the most original, keeps it the most protected. Just use some soapy warm water to clean it.

http://www.mcnallyinstitute.com/04-html/4-1.html

One of the many reasons not to destroy the protective layer on stainless steel.

"If the protective oxide layer is removed from stainless steel because of rubbing or damage, the "bugs" can penetrate through the damaged area and attack the carbon in the metal. Once in, the attack can continue on in a manner similar to that which happens when rust starts to spread under the paint on an automobile."
 

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No, not at all.

Alot of it is all "variables" and "environments".

Everybody who wears a watch does something different with it.

If I was to make a guess, I bet they polish the watches and cases after people send them to get any "sctraches" out of it after they worked on it.

Anyway, I just thought it was something interesting to think about and maybe some "great imformation".
 
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