Monthly Archives: March 2011

Vintage Erno Watch

Vintage Erno Watch

This is probably the oddest watch Ive bought over the last few years. When I opened the package and saw it I took a quick glance at the movement and threw it straight into the projects drawer. First of all it’s huge to the point of looking like a novelty watch¬† at 48mm x 26mm. Second, it’s made entirely of brass instead of the traditional brass case and bezel with steel back and insert.

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Watch, book and glasses

Vintage movement holder

Vintage movement holder before cleaning

While there are several effective ways of cleaning parts and tools this method was followed by the older watchmakers. It involves two solutions one of which you may have in your kitchen cupboard. The first solution is for rust removal for the simple reason the part may not be structurally sound underneath the oxidation. For that I use Earl Grey Tea. The tannic acid in tea is an excellent rust remover and there’s no foul odour to deal with. The longer you steep the tea the more tannic acid is released so twenty minutes or more is advised before removing the bag.

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Gruen 415 dial with yellowing lacquer

Gruen 415 dial with yellowing lacquer

Most often part of a restoration is going to include attention to the Dial. The first choice is to leave it alone as the aging process is part of what gives the piece it’s character. You certainly wouldn’t buy a vintage Submariner and start stripping the paint for a redial unless it was beyond what would be considered readable.

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