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How do you clean watch hands?

  1. JimInOz "Helpful Hints from Heloise" of bracelet cleaning. Jun 11, 2021

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    Not the big ones, I mean the tiny tiny hour and minute recorder hands from a chronograph.

    I'm servicing a Seiko 6138 at the moment, and the two tiny white hands had been held by dirty tweezers, or had fallen into the La Brea tar pits during a previous service/restoration.

    So how do you clean these tiny things without damaging/losing them?

    My first task was to find some means of holding these little buggers, so off to the garage to find some soft wire.
    Because the diameter of the hole in the hands is less than 1.0mm, I needed some very fine wire to hold on to them.

    After some experimenting, I stripped some 240V appliance cord and got some nice fine copper strands about 0.15mm dia.

    WireStrands.JPG

    I then looped the hands onto the wire and twisted the wire ends so no escapees.

    The first cleaning step was to soak the hands in a diluted dishwashing liquid solution, and after an hour, a gentle clean with a fine artist brush. Most of the dirt was removed but there was still some tar like substance on the surface.
    As the hands seemed to have an enamel paint finish, I decided to use a fairly benign solvent (iso-propyl alcohol) so a dab on the brush and a tickle on the gunk and off it came.

    HandCleaning.jpg

    A rinse under running warm water and an air dry resulted in nice clean hands.

    HourHandDone.jpg

    Not perfect, but much much better than what I started with.

    MinuteHandDone.jpg
     
    WestCoastTime, TasMike, MtV and 9 others like this.
  2. topfox59 Jun 11, 2021

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    I wash my watch hands following government advice “singing happy birthday twice thru”::rimshot::

    Sorry Jim couldn’t resist
    Russ
     
    927AB598-F115-4A07-A427-2A85BFA0F4C9.jpeg
  3. JwRosenthal Jun 11, 2021

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    I thought all you watchmaker types did it this way

    CDF74CC7-5C6C-4FDC-B01A-F1D6361530A3.gif
     
    Stripey, Léon P and Duracuir1 like this.