Most visitors online was 1660 , on 12 Dec 2020
More to do with retaining shape and details than conserving precious metal I think. With plated cases you certainly want to be able to finely control material removal.I have been doing all of my cases by hand up to this point. The cases that I am speaking of are all non-precious metal, typically nickel, and I purchased over 100 of them. I am aware that when doing precious metal cases, gold filled,or rolled gold plate, that you would certainly want to do those by hand. I was just wondering if the pictured motor and buffing wheels would be correct for cleaning up largely size 18 non-precious cases?
There is no reason why precious and plated metals cant be polished. jewelers do it all the time. it takes experience and can be done very well with little material removal. It all a matter of knowing what to use on what. I suggest Rio Grande for rouge, compounds, buffs, etc.
I guess everything is relative. I asked Kikuchi Nakagawa how long he spends polishing each of his cases (which are all finished to an insane degree of polish and attention to detail) and he said he spends a full work week of polishing with abrasive papers on various sticks and files.Buffing is a very long process, a stainless steel piece you can expect 20-60min depending on severity of wear on the case.
it depends on the case. But yes on some cases I spent about 45min just buffing one edge. And the entire case took me about 3-4 days to finish. I have done the buff sticks and sanding and what not but i never liked the results, although i know there are some that can produce some amazing results doing so. The only sanding i do now is when i do radial lapping or lapping between lugs using a belt sander. there is this tool that you can use that attaches to the case and slowly rotates it while you lap. I have seen it but can never find it and dont know what its called, so i built a DIY version with a very low rpm motor, i think it was like 16rpm or something like that.I guess everything is relative. I asked Kikuchi Nakagawa how long he spends polishing each of his cases (which are all finished to an insane degree of polish and attention to detail) and he said he spends a full work week of polishing with abrasive papers on various sticks and files.
There are full courses in watchmaking schools dedicated to case polishing. And even (or maybe "especially") when using a good machine with the appropriate wheels and grit there is a very good chance of messing a case up. Making something look shiny again is the easy part, maintaining case geometry while doing so is where the skill comes in. If you are interested, look up @zimmermanwatchrepair on Instagram. They do some pretty impressive restoration using laser welding, buffing and lapping with various jigs to restore cases to original finish. It helps to see how a case CAN look when properly polished when deciding which approach you want to take.
Personally, I'm not skilled or confident enough that I can remove material so precisely with a buffing wheel that I would attempt it on a case. I use abrasive backed 3M papers of decreasing grit size on a piece of pegwood cut to my needs. Takes more time but results are more controllable and better in my opinion.