Before and After pictures of pocket watch case dents removed.

Shawn Moulder

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Sep 13, 2017
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Would any one be kind enough to show any before and after pictures of dents removed from a pocket watch case. Especially solid gold cases. I'm debating if I should get a case restored or not. Thanks
 

Ethan Lipsig

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Shawn, I have had dents "removed" from quite a few solid gold cases, with generally good results except on case rims because of their complex shapes and access issues. More important, no dent removal efforts have made the case worse than it was to begin with. Perhaps I have just been lucky in who I use for dent removal (currently my local jeweler, who is very good and reasonably priced), or perhaps because I have never had a badly dented watch.

I don't have any great before-of-after shots to show, because I haven't kept many before shots or the dents weren't very visible in them. The best set are these photos of the inside and outside of the front or back of an 18k Louis Audemars hunter.

IMG_4738.JPG IMG_4734.JPG

Here are a pair of 18k Touchon case backs from which dents have been removed.

IMG_0407_edited.JPG IMG_3813_edited.JPG
 

svenedin

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Jan 28, 2010
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I have had good results with getting dents out from gold cases, silver cases and base metal (nickel silver) cases. Gold seems to me the easiest because the metal is soft and the cases tend to be relatively thin. Nickel silver is tricky. The metal is tough and the cases are usually quite thick too. Some dents can be gently pushed out with a finger whilst supporting the case on the other side on a thick rubber block. Other dents need wooden dollies of varying sizes. I have never tapped the dents out by hitting the dolly with a jeweller's hammer but rather pushed and rubbed the dent out with hand pressure only. It can be time consuming and patience is required. It can be quite hard work on thicker base metal cases. You have to keep checking the dent in good light and turning the piece to see where it needs further work. Sometimes the dent is almost perfect but still shows in certain light. In such cases the dent is probably an imperfection about the thickness of a layer of paint but the eye still sees it in the right light. For these I polish what remains of the dent out. Dents are far more difficult if the case is engine turned as there is potential to damage the engine turning. Also if a case is plated the final step of polishing may remove the plating. I have obtained good pocket watches cheaply because the cases were dented and removed the dents to the point that nobody would know they had ever been damaged.

I cannot find many before and after photos right now but here's a nickel silver watch I did IMG_5886.jpeg IMG_5923.jpeg . Apologies for the reflections.
 
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svenedin

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Hi Stephen,

This looks great! Would it be too much asked how it was done in detail?

Best regards, Bernhard
Hello Bernhard. Yes I can write something later this week. Basically, no metal tools are used. It is done with wooden dapping tools (dollies) and a pushing/rubbing action. No hammer is used either. Just hand pressure which can be judged more easily. The deep scratches are polished out with abrasive pads (by hand) which does result in some loss of metal.
 
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