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^^^This. So perfectly stated.

If the condition of the dial is part of a story (which would seem to be QUITE the story, given the level of decay)... marooned on an island after a "3 hour tour... a 3 hour tour???"

Or is it a "barn find?" :)
This is the problem! Is neglect an important part of the story or was this smuggled out of a warzone inside something dark and wet? No need to go any further with that tired trope. But you get my point.

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So I have an old watch that has immense sentimental value to me that I have sent out to be restored. Wanting to keep much of the patina as to not take away from the story this watch has to tell I'm in a dilemma about the dial which brings up the need for your opinions. Would you have the dial restored or keep it the way it is. I realize in the end it's my choice but I'm curious as to what many of you would do in this situation. Any opinions are greatly appreciated. Here's the watch in it current condition before it was sent out. Thanks for looking and input.

View attachment 15863290
As other option I have t seen someone post yet is simply have it cleaned. If you work with a watch maker they may be able to come up with a compromise. Cleaning away some while still leaving the majority intact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
This is the problem! Is neglect an important part of the story or was this smuggled out of a warzone inside something dark and wet? No need to go any further with that tired trope. But you get my point.

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wow! just amazing.. thanks for your insight
 

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Full restoration. That dial looks terrible. Enough with the “patina” nonsense. That’s not patina - it’s damaged and neglected. Keep the old hands and dial safe if it means something to you. It will look beautiful when it’s done.
 

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i was going to do a post once the restoration was complete telling the whole story, but ill give some away now to give credence to my leaning towards keeping the patina. the patina is not from neglect. this watch was worn by my father in the pacific during WWII. that's why i am leaning towards keeping it as original as possible. not a lot of people have the chance to wear a working watch that father wore over 70 years ago in WWII. thanks to all for the responses so far. i truly do appreciate them
Then I would definitely keep the look of the dial. As suggested in my earlier post, as a minimum, what you need to do is to rid of all the rust and what is left behind will the the original paint and markings on the dial.

I see these types of watches as display pieces and don’t see them ever as a daily wearer. The faint markings on the dial is bearable for the few times you are going to put this on your wrist. I don’t think restoring the watch to its former glory is the way.

Like in heritage buildings that are restored, we give it a new life and retain as much of the original facade and materials as possible. Repairs are acceptable but they must be sympathetic to the essence of the structure. Building a new building to look like an old one takes away the “soul” of what the heritage stands for. Same as that watch. A new dial or new set of hands is meaningless because that dial, that hands did not fight in WWII.
 

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i was going to do a post once the restoration was complete telling the whole story, but ill give some away now to give credence to my leaning towards keeping the patina. the patina is not from neglect. this watch was worn by my father in the pacific during WWII. that's why i am leaning towards keeping it as original as possible. not a lot of people have the chance to wear a working watch that father wore over 70 years ago in WWII. thanks to all for the responses so far. i truly do appreciate them
Wow. That's cool. Can't wait to see what you do with it. I hope you'll continue to share!
 

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You could keep this dial tucked away and have a copy made/find a donor dial. You could have the dial placed into a shadowbox or display box. Alternately, you could keep that watch as is and restore another one. Do you think he wore the watch like that, or that is how it arrived in your care? It was probably still nice on his wrist.
 

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So I have an old watch that has immense sentimental value to me that I have sent out to be restored. Wanting to keep much of the patina as to not take away from the story this watch has to tell I'm in a dilemma about the dial which brings up the need for your opinions. Would you have the dial restored or keep it the way it is. I realize in the end it's my choice but I'm curious as to what many of you would do in this situation. Any opinions are greatly appreciated. Here's the watch in it current condition before it was sent out. Thanks for looking and input.

View attachment 15863290
For me the decision whether to restore the dial or not depends on the history or story and if the state of the dial is part of that story. For example, if the watch was worn underwater or in the mud trenches of a war and that’s why the dial became like that as opposed to the watch was worn but did not suffer any adverse conditions but it has patina’d simply because of neglect then I would definitely restore it. Bottom line, is the condition a big part of the story or not? Hope that helps.
 

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Normally I would recommend keeping it as it, but in this case I think a restoration is the best way to go. Get it all serviced up and then enjoy it.

Good luck.
 

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^^^This. So perfectly stated.

If the condition of the dial is part of a story (which would seem to be QUITE the story, given the level of decay)... marooned on an island after a "3 hour tour... a 3 hour tour???"

Or is it a "barn find?" :)
I agree. I'm curious what the story is (although I certainly respect your privacy not to tell). If the sentimentality is simply that this was a family member's watch and that the damage was done in the course of normal wear--nothing specific--then I'd probably get the dial and hands RESTORED (but definitely not replaced) so that it's functional and I could use it.

If, on the other hand, the damage is part of the story, I'd leave it as is. Just by way of example, if this was the wristwatch that your grandfather wore as he marched through Europe in WWII, or jumped from atoll to atoll in the South Pacific, and the grime and grunge was the result of all that, I'd probably keep it as is and wouldn't change a thing. So, for me, the story and history matters a bit.

But that's just my two cents, and I put it into practice in my own watches. When I get a new watch, I try to keep them nice, but I don't sweat scratches and marks, and I'm not militant about buffing them out. They show that the watch has been used, warn, and loved, and every scratch is a memory from when I've worn it. I view them differently when I pick up a second-hand watch, though. There, I try to buy watches without marks and scratches. And if the piece has some, I try to spot-buff them out if they are shallow enough. Other scratches are other peoples' memories, not mine, so I have less tolerance for them. The story behind them matters.
 

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I'd probably restore it and keep the original parts. It's not wearable as-is and it's "the watch" that's the memory, not individual parts. If the movement died and had to be replaced it wouldn't stop "the watch" from being important and carrying those memories.
 

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i was going to do a post once the restoration was complete telling the whole story, but ill give some away now to give credence to my leaning towards keeping the patina. the patina is not from neglect. this watch was worn by my father in the pacific during WWII. that's why i am leaning towards keeping it as original as possible. not a lot of people have the chance to wear a working watch that father wore over 70 years ago in WWII. thanks to all for the responses so far. i truly do appreciate them
Wow! I didn't even see this before my post with this as the hypothetical. I would definitely keep it as is. If that watch got your father through WWII, I wouldn't change a thing and I'd hope it keeps you safe the way it did him.
 

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Can you bear to look at it in the current state? Does its current condition elicit the sentiment you say you feel about it? Would restoring it reduce your feelings for the watch? Obviously all personal questions...just trying to help.
 
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