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Replating Cases "Click" to Login or Register
 
IHC Life Member
South-Bend Expert
Picture of Frank Kusumoto
posted
Plating old brassed out cases. I'm presenting two pictures of a short restoration project and was prompted to document it because it is becoming more common. With the price of gold where it is now cases are being scrapped again. Not just solid gold but RGP and gold filled. Gold prices look like they are staying steady or going up. I saw people at a regional buying old worn out cases by the pound, all headed for the smelter. People, there are more movements than there are cases. So anyways...
 
Posts: 1045 | Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A. | Registered: October 08, 2004
IHC Life Member
South-Bend Expert
Picture of Frank Kusumoto
posted
Here's the piece of trash case. Before it is plated it has to be polished to a very smooth shine. Usually with a buffer and some simichrome or rouge.

 
Posts: 1045 | Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A. | Registered: October 08, 2004
IHC Life Member
South-Bend Expert
Picture of Frank Kusumoto
posted
Here is the finished case. It is first plated with nickel and then with a thick coat of gold. It is a fairly durable finish and looks better than old brass!

 
Posts: 1045 | Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A. | Registered: October 08, 2004
posted
Nice!

Did you ever replate that Hamilton Rigid-bow that you bought from me? I recall that the case has lots of good detail but was badly brassed. I agreed that it was a great candidate for replating.
 
Posts: 989 | Location: Flagstaff, Arizona USA | Registered: June 19, 2005
IHC Life Member
South-Bend Expert
Picture of Frank Kusumoto
posted
Peter,

Excellent suggestion! That old Hamilton Model case would probably look very nice replated. I think I'll do it nickel just for fun! Plus, in nickel, they're alot easier to polish. Razz

I'm wondering if people have anything to say about the value of cases that have been replated. What is the disclosure factor? What is going to be the ultimate test, or will it become a side issue like "is that crystal original", most people don't care as long as it looks good.

Below is a picture of the edge wear on the Hamilton Model Case. Typical ring wear. When I do some more plating I'll post a picture of the finished results.

Frank "407" Kusumoto

 
Posts: 1045 | Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A. | Registered: October 08, 2004
IHC Life Member
South-Bend Expert
Picture of Frank Kusumoto
posted
Oh, I forgot I had my plating equipment all set-up!

 
Posts: 1045 | Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A. | Registered: October 08, 2004
IHC Life Member
South-Bend Expert
Picture of Frank Kusumoto
posted
So what do I have now? I don't even know what a Hamilton Railroad Model case goes for these days. I left the slight "ridge" between the gold and brass because I don't want this to be passed off someday as unbrassed. The line demarcation between the gold and brass can be polished down to a point where it is very hard to see the line and would fool a casual observer.
 
Posts: 1045 | Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A. | Registered: October 08, 2004
IHC Member 376
Watchmaker
Picture of Samie L. Smith
posted
Frank good looking job do you use the wet bath plate.. Smile
 
Posts: 3203 | Location: Monticello, Kentucky U.S.A. | Registered: June 24, 2004
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
Frank, what does a job like this usually cost someone? I know it would depend on the amount of surface and gold required to cover the brassing, but if it's not bad, can you offer a ball park figure?

Is this a service you're planning to offer, or is this just something you're doing for your own experience? Inquiring minds want to know! Smile

Regards! Mark
 
Posts: 3603 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
IHC Life Member
South-Bend Expert
Picture of Frank Kusumoto
posted
Samie and Mark,

Yes, I use the wet plate bath, low voltages and very clean and polished surfaces. If you were wondering if it was pen-plating... NO! Smile

The price of plating doesn't depend much at all on the amount of surface and gold required to cover the brassing. The price is in the time/work. The surface to be plated has to be mirror smooth or as close as possible. After pre-plating with copper and/or nickel and possibly even silver or rhodium there's more polishing. Then for that "perfect" job there's more polishing at the end and perhaps several more light plating coats. The whole point for me is to do it right so that it's going to last a very long time. This isn't something that you can rub off with your thumb. If you leave it nickel or rhodium plated, which looks very nice, you can't rub it off with simichrome and a rag. The basic cost is time which includes set-up time. With my small kit I wait until I have a fair amount to do and then spend a day on it. Others who do this for a living are certainly far more economical. The people who have this all down to a science are jewelers. If you want something plated that's usually the place to go. Quality of work will vary of course. But now you know if you have a brassed case you can ask them what they pre-plate with. Big Grin

I do plating mainly for myself because I'm a bottom-feeder and like to recycle. It's a common trait in us Colorado natives. I also do plating for hire but usually only in combination with other watch repairs. I'm also certainly not very good at plating, being dull and slow, so don't take my word about any of this to be very informative. Big Grin

Frank "407" Kusumoto
 
Posts: 1045 | Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A. | Registered: October 08, 2004
Picture of Stephan Gaal
posted
Hello Frank. If you are concerned that your replated cases will be passed off as something else then why not come up with come kind of mark you can put inside the case below the makers name before you plate it. In effect you have become part of the history of that case so why not put a mark on to show that. I have a small plating machine myself but have never done anything with it. Could never find a place to get the supplies in small amounts. I think the machine is German. Even has a heated table for the plating jars and a rotating head above if you need to have the subject moving in the bath. I don't know what it was origionally intended for but it looked to good to let it go to the tip.
 
Posts: 436 | Location: South Victoria, Australia | Registered: January 18, 2007
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
posted
The replating mark is a great idea! Before we all sink into the "Silveroid Sea" of despair, let's try to get a plating service going. I am sure I speak for many of us who would suppport someone who can do this as we lack the experience and tools for the job but have plenty of candiates that would really "shine" when they are so treated.
 
Posts: 6532 | Location: Southern California in the USA | Registered: July 19, 2007
IHC Life Member

Picture of Jerry King
posted
I know this is over a year since the last post was made to this string, but, how was it left, do we have a service that we can send our brassed & otherwise less than perfect cases to for replating?

And what happened to the idea of adding a replating mark to the case for identification?

Also, how do you handle a face that is scratched? Just replace it or can they be buffed out?

Your comments please....

Jerry
 
Posts: 2860 | Location: Chino, California in the USA | Registered: June 23, 2008
IHC Member 107
Picture of Brian C.
posted
I would like to know what the plating people have to say about cleaning the cases in an ultra-sonic cleaning machine. I've had cases come out of my machine with all the plating gone. Not a good experiance. Also, how does the plating hold up when buffed on a buffing machine?
Brian C.
 
Posts: 1832 | Location: Epsom, New Hampshire USA | Registered: December 14, 2002
Watchmaker
Picture of Leon Harris
posted
Hi Jerry and Brian

Jerry on your scratched face question. If it is the crystal you are talking about, yes plastic ones can be buffed. But it is just as easy to replace with a new one. If it is the dial face what is scratched most of these can not be buffed and will have to be refinished.

Brian on the cleaning a plated case in the ulra- sonic cleaner. This should only be done very quickly and should not be left in for any amount of time. Because of the plating process it only puts a small layer of gold on the case. I have seen a very nice looking case put in a cleaner only to find out it had some kind of a cream polish to make it look good. So after it was cleaned it will look like a brass case. And, if you buff a gold plated case, if will buff off very easy. On the gold filled case they will take a light buffing and still look good.

I have the equipment to plate cases but do not like to do this. Because, if the watch is used at all the plating will wear off pretty quick.

Hope this answers some of the questions on this good topic.
 
Posts: 305 | Location: Livingston, Tennessee USA | Registered: May 20, 2006
IHC Life Member

Picture of Jerry King
posted
Thanks Leon, I saw you in another string and I will be getting in touch with you as well as William White on crystal's.

It is nice to be able to deal with folks within your own organization.... IHC 185 is the only place to be....

Jerry
 
Posts: 2860 | Location: Chino, California in the USA | Registered: June 23, 2008
IHC Member 107
Picture of Brian C.
posted
Thanks Leon,
I bought a plating machine outfit years ago from a jeweler. When I saw what it did, I threw it in the dump. In my opinion, plating a gold filled case is only hiding the problem long enough to sell the case on eBay.
Brian C.
 
Posts: 1832 | Location: Epsom, New Hampshire USA | Registered: December 14, 2002
IHC Member 1101
Site Moderator
Picture of Steve Middlesworth
posted
I am just curious. There seems to be that there were processes that were used a hundred years or so ago but can't be duplicated today. Why can't a case be replated today to be just as durable as it was then? The same is true for enamel dials. I guess the good thing about dials is the level of forgery is easy to spot.

Steve
 
Posts: 1975 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: March 18, 2008
IHC Life Member
South-Bend Expert
Picture of Frank Kusumoto
posted
Steve, it could be done. You would have to shine to a mirror finish the entire case. You would have to mask off all the threads, the inside of the bezel, etc. so you wouldn't get a buildup there that would make it impossible to screw the case back together. Then you would have to use quite a bit of gold to get a really thick finish.

I'll do it for about $1000 if you want a really good job done that's almost like they did it in the old days. What old brassed case would you want this service done on?
 
Posts: 1045 | Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A. | Registered: October 08, 2004
IHC Member 1101
Site Moderator
Picture of Steve Middlesworth
posted
Frank,

I see your point. It would be very time consuming to do that. It would be great to see an old video of how a case was made. Like the movement, a lot of technology went into it I'm sure.

Steve
 
Posts: 1975 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: March 18, 2008
posted
Steve

I know of a video/cd made by an english casemaker, Martin Mathews. I have visited his house and he has followed casemaking through from previous generations in his family.

The video was made in conjunction with the Kent Branch of the Antiquarian Horlogical Society, (I am a member) and is excellent it shows all the processes for making a pocket watch case based on traditional techniques.

I can put you in touch if you are interested.

I have no commercial interest in this just a desire to see that the skills are not lost but passed on for future generations. You would need to deal with Martin direct. Will an english CD work in the states?

Kind Regards
Clive Driscoll
 
Posts: 265 | Location: Westbrook, United Kingdom | Registered: June 15, 2007
IHC Member 1101
Site Moderator
Picture of Steve Middlesworth
posted
Clive,

I am not sure if the formats are the same.

Steve
 
Posts: 1975 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: March 18, 2008
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