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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.
To offer a bit of an imperfect analogy: I stumbled across this Church while wandering around London when I was there for some business: Christ Church Greyfriars - Wikipedia. It had been bombed out during WWII. Rather than restore and rebuild, they left the shell of the walls and steeple that had survived and converted it to a public park. It struck me as a stark reminder of how crazy it must have been to live in London during that time, with daily raids, bombings, and uncertainty about whether the island would fall. I don't think that message and that feeling could have been conveyed with a rebuilt church and pictures of the destruction in some historical exhibit. It's only by standing in the ruins that you can, in the modern era as someone who did not live through the War, even begin to appreciate what that might have been like. I think that leaving the watch as-is is a bit like that.

You can't leave all the ruins as they were. Paris wouldn't be Paris if it hadn't been rebuilt after the War. Lower Manhattan wouldn't be Lower Manhattan if the rubble hadn't been cleared after 9/11. But I do think that selectively preserving some of the destruction and some of the history is important. It became real for me as I was standing in London looking at this Church. I imagine my children will feel something similar when they grow up and stand on the edge of the 9/11 Memorial in NYC. And I bet anyone who sees your watch--and who is lucky enough to hear its story as told by you--will have that same kind of feeling in a way that just cannot be replicated if the dial and hands are restored or removed and kept elsewhere.

But again, that's just my two cents. You need to do what will make YOU happy.
 

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I've been impressed by the well-reasoned thinking behind the answers you've received! Normally my instinct is to leave such items as original as possible, but there are some good cases made for restoration without replacing. If I were in your shoes I'd probably make a display case and keep that watch under glass, I'm not sure I would be comfortable wearing a family heirloom around every day, but might take it out for special occasions.
 

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If it were me, I'd have it restored. The reason being is I would never actually wear the watch in its current condition (knowing myself and how I am). Once restored I would wear it more frequently thus giving me the opportunity to tell the story.
 

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Immense sentimental value? Story to tell? Then I would keep the watch “as-is” and only treat the rust / corrosion to prevent further degradation of the watch case, dial and hands.

If you restore the dial and hands, then the watch loses the story behind it. It becomes another watch. Movement needs to be serviced though.
or consult @narembeen on how to go about restoration of sentimental pieces.
 

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I suspect much the damage to the dial (to me that is damage and not patina) occurred after your dad stopped wearing it. I can't imagine a watch without a crystal (which I suspect would have to be missing for that level of damage to occur) lasting more than a day in a war theater. But, that's just conjecture. If that were the case, I would have it restored. If you knew for certain that all the damage occurred during wear, then it would be a harder choice for me.
 

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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.
I agree - give the dial and hands a wipe with some sort of degreaser/cleaner (like WD40 is used on car parts for all sorts of jobs) and see if it'll take some of the thin stains off - probably need to use a q-tip on a test spot.

This way, you could possibly preserve the remaining paint and the most vicious crusties - it's the crusties that hold the history.
 

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Do car collectors leave vintage cars rusted? Unpainted? No. I would fully restore this watch. Bring this watch back to life is not losing any history this watch has survived.
Oh but they absolutely do. In fact that's the newest trend - and the classic cars that are commanding the biggest prices, now, are those that are as original as possible.
 

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I would have the watch movement fully serviced so the heart of the watch is healthy. Hopefully they can save the crown. Polish the crystal but if it's too badly damaged, replace it since that is only the window to the watch face. Clean and refinish the case surface, but don't remove too much material or purposely address dings and deep scratches. Carefully clean the original face and hands and reinstall. Don't refinish the face and hands in any way.
 

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I would restore the watch to its original condition if possible. If your father had handed down a "jeep" used during WWII would you leave it as is, rusted and not running, with all the body damage? No, you would restore it to its original appearance and know the story behind it. It is a beautiful watch, restore it to its glory and wear it proudly. Restoration is nothing to be ashamed of, it helps preserve the glory of the item. Even ancient artifacts are restored with careful attention to detail.

The decision that I came to was based on if I were keeping the watch. There is the argument that "well, its worth more in original condition." Yes, that MIGHT be true, but the OP is not talking about selling a watch. They are talking about sentimental value of a watch for personal use. I would restore it.
 

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Oh but they absolutely do. In fact that's the newest trend - and the classic cars that are commanding the biggest prices, now, are those that are as original as possible.
True to a certain extent...a POS classic car, no matter how old that doesn't run and looks like crap is still a POS and isn't going to sell for close to what a good original restore will. For a car looks very clean, is all original and runs, then yes it will command the better price. If it's a rust bucket, its still a rust bucket. But I think that were not talking about value here. OP is keeping the watch, I would restore for the look. The story is the OP's and he will always know it. You can tell the great story of the battles it made it through. You can also tell the great story of how you restored the watch to its original glory!
 

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Oh but they absolutely do. In fact that's the newest trend - and the classic cars that are commanding the biggest prices, now, are those that are as original as possible.
Original does not mean rusted. I understand what you're saying. But this watch would not be a barn find.
 

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What would your father have done with it?

If I had a watch in the same condition that I wanted to give one of my girls before I passed, I'd have it fully restored to it's original glory, so it could serve them as it served me. As long as they thought of me every once and a while when they wore it. That's all I'd want, regardless of it's condition.

So, what do you think your father would have done with it himself? Only you can answer that. I hope whatever you decide, it brings you happiness.
 

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or consult “narembeen” on how to go about restoration of sentimental pieces.
You must like to stir up trouble. This is not funny. Why tag the posting handle of someone who was abusive and has been banned from WUS as well as multiple other forums?

His Rolex restoration was rubbish and the end product of the dial restoration was no better than a five year old’s painting. He spent a lot of money on it and this was done by a reputable watch restorer.
 

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I think it looks like a treasure map. Love it. If you can make it work and keep it looking like it does now, that’s the direction I’d go. A lot of people are doing this now with classic cars.

15864380
 

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You must like to stir up trouble. This is not funny. Why tag the posting handle of someone who was abusive and has been banned from WUS as well as multiple other forums?

His Rolex restoration was rubbish and the end product of the dial restoration was no better than a five year old’s painting. He spent a lot of money on it and this was done by a reputable watch restorer.
if you knew me, you would know i dont like trouble

First, i would have thought it a harmless tag since he’s banned and he would no longer get the notification.

Second, it was an attempt at humor. If it failed, it failed.

Third, i do see a parallel between the watch of OP and narembeem’s watch (not their intentions, just the watch). And there may be some lessons learned from the other.

Fourth, i dont quite understand your last paragraph. A reputable watch restorer did a rubbish job?
 

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if you knew me, you would know i dont like trouble

First, i would have thought it a harmless tag since he’s banned and he would no longer get the notification.

Second, it was an attempt at humor. If it failed, it failed.

Third, i do see a parallel between the watch of OP and narembeem’s watch (not their intentions, just the watch). And there may be some lessons learned from the other.

Fourth, i dont quite understand your last paragraph. A reputable watch restorer did a rubbish job?
Well, it’s not funny and there’s no humour to receiving incessant threats from him via PM. I have mentioned it before in that other thread you are in.

The dial of his watch was badly done and it looked like a child painted the marking on the dial.
 

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When I hear the word 'patina'. I think of a slight aged appearance due to natural wear the way a leather band slightly darkens over time, or a metal lightens/darkens in color, or looks more brushed from surface scratches, etc. What's depicted in the OP image is not what I call 'patina'. It's just outright damage and decay. Patina implies character with age. This just looks like junk. My vote's for restore.
 

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Well, it’s not funny and there’s no humour to receiving incessant threats from him via PM. I have mentioned it before in that other thread you are in.

The dial of his watch was badly done and it looked like a child painted the marking on the dial.
i sure hope youre not getting threats anymore.

that’s why precisely there is a lesson to be learned from his experience (assuming them to be true).
 
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