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Porcelain-Enamel Dial Cleaning "Click" to Login or Register 
Picture of Grant Perry
posted
Porcelain-Enamel Dial Cleaning

I know this is an old subject, but I wanted to show how well Polident cleans hairlines out of dials. The "before" picture is a little poor as it was from the e-Bay listing of the watch. The second picture is after overnight soaking in Polident with warm water (to start). I haven't cleaned the case yet, so please ignore the grime Smile


Grant Perry


Before
 
Posts: 334 | Location: Ottawa, Canada | Registered: January 28, 2003
Picture of Grant Perry
posted
After.. I'm sure some people are going to think I replaced the dial, but there is still 1 hairline visable between IIII and V. Same dial Smile


Grant Perry


 
Posts: 334 | Location: Ottawa, Canada | Registered: January 28, 2003
Picture of Steven D. Jencso
posted
Wow! The dial looks terrific after the cleaning.

Is Polident the safest way to clean dials?

-Steve
 
Posts: 266 | Location: Dover, New Hampshire U.S.A. | Registered: February 14, 2005
Picture of Grant Perry
posted
I don't know if it is the safest way, but I have never had any problems.
gp


Grant Perry
 
Posts: 334 | Location: Ottawa, Canada | Registered: January 28, 2003
IHC Life Member
Picture of Robert Lee Milliron
posted
Polident did a fantastic job on your dial. Never tried that myself, but I may. Also, I don't know if it's against the rules to mention any particular product or seller, but I found a seller selling "a dial cleaner that really works", and let me tell you it DOES work!! You'd have to see it to believe it. If anyone is interested, e-mail me and I'll give more info since I don't think I'm supposed to put it on here. I was skeptical and just bought one bottle. The day after it came I bought 3 more, and a week or so later I bought 6 more just so I'd never run out. It's good stuff.
 
Posts: 663 | Location: North Carolina in the USA | Registered: June 01, 2005
posted
Go ahead and post the product name Robert.We recommend supply houses,dial painters,and other products that have served us well all the time.I know I do it all the time on the green board.One thing I do put in there at the end of my post is a disclaimer stating that I have absolutely no affiliation with the manufacturers of that particular product.I'm just posting the name of the product for a common good.
Thanks for suggesting another alternative,much appreciated
Respectfully,Bob Fullerton
 
Posts: 181 | Location: New Castle, Delaware U.S.A. | Registered: December 15, 2004
Picture of Steven D. Jencso
posted
I just tried cleaning an old dial with some efferdent that I had laying around. It did a pretty nice job. Now the dial is "clean and odor free" Big Grin
 
Posts: 266 | Location: Dover, New Hampshire U.S.A. | Registered: February 14, 2005
IHC Life Member
Picture of Robert Lee Milliron
posted
OK, Mr. Fullerton, I'll take your word for it, since I REALLY believe in this dial cleaner. Here's a link to it. And no, I have no financial interest in the product or seller, but he has an interest in me because I've bought 10 bottles of the stuff so I'll never run out "FINALLY-a-DIAL-CLEANER-that-WORKS".
 
Posts: 663 | Location: North Carolina in the USA | Registered: June 01, 2005
posted
Well Robert Lee,this could be a big problem.If you've bought that many bottles of dial cleaner I'm afraid that would make you a shareholder in that particular company.Definitely a conflict of interest. Smile
Thanks for the reply,see you at the regional in October.
Respectfully,Bob Fullerton
 
Posts: 181 | Location: New Castle, Delaware U.S.A. | Registered: December 15, 2004
posted
Robert

Save your money!! Comet Bathroom Cleaner is available in your local grocery store. It works good, never had a problem. It is a liquid, and I would not be surprised if that is what you are using and do not know it??.....Robert
 
Posts: 217 | Registered: February 16, 2004
IHC Member 32
Picture of Bruce Byrd
posted
Robert,
Tell us about the comet bathroom cleaner method. Do you dilute? if so, can you give us a breakdown. Thanks


Bruce Byrd
 
Posts: 888 | Location: San Diego, California USA | Registered: December 27, 2002
posted
I also use Comet Bathroom Cleaner spray. Nothing that is abrasive of course. I spray the dial and leave it face down on some cotton balls for a few hours. They always come out nice. For a little agitation placing the dial on top of the frige while cleaning works well.


Aaron
 
Posts: 945 | Location: Geneva, Illinois in the U.S.A. | Registered: November 19, 2002
posted
Bruce and Aaron

The Comet Bathroom cleaner does come in a spray bottle. I pour a small amount on a saucer and lay the dial (porcelan) face down over night. Take dial out of solution next day and rinse with dish washing liquid. Dial will sparkle as new!....Robert
 
Posts: 217 | Registered: February 16, 2004
IHC Life Member
Picture of Robert Lee Milliron
posted
Thank you for showing me how dumb I actually am. I couldn't believe that stuff could really be liquid Comet so I huffed right down to the Food Lion and bought some, and.....it's the same stuff!!!!!!!!!! I feel like a [boy] in a nudist camp with a muzzle on. But the stuff I bought on-line worked, so I guess I'm not totally totaled.
 
Posts: 663 | Location: North Carolina in the USA | Registered: June 01, 2005
posted
This method also works exceptionally well on jewelry. Especially on items like pocket watch chains. Cool


John Southerland
 
Posts: 78 | Location: Greenwood, South Carolina USA | Registered: May 20, 2005
IHC Member 163
Picture of Mark Cross
posted
Aaron, if that's what you used to clean up the Elgin dial on the BWR you just sent me, I can attest to the fact the method does a WONDERFUL clean up job. It looks brand new! Eek High regards! Mark
 
Posts: 3815 | Location: Estill Springs, Tennessee, USA | Registered: December 02, 2002
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle
posted

NOTICE: That "Finally a Dial Cleaner That Really Works" product is actually "Comet Bathroom Cleaner" as you see below re-packaged and priced very much higher for a very big profit... Do not be fooled! Now THIS is what you want...

Comet Bathroom Cleaner, it is real, inexpensive and easy to find.

You'll find it in most grocery stores and apparently Wal-Mart carries it all across the contiguous states. For reference 067811219586 is the UPC Number. At 17 ounces for for less than two dollars in our locale that is a pretty good deal. I use a slightly worn soft bristle tooth brush to scrub, rinse thoroughly in warm water then blot-dry the dial with a soft towel and LOW HEAT using an ordinary hair dryer.


Here's the Comet Bathroom Cleaner we purchased at Wal-Mart...


 
Posts: 10552 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
IHC Member 32
Picture of Bruce Byrd
posted
I can attest to the Comet Bathroom Cleaner working. I put a beat up Rockford dial into the comet and put it on top of the fridge overnight...I looked at it this morning and WOW.. I used an old toothbrush to work the Comet into the cracks then put it back on the fridge for a couple more hours.... Can't even see where the hairlines were without a loop... Best $1.99 I have spent in awhile


Bruce Byrd
 
Posts: 888 | Location: San Diego, California USA | Registered: December 27, 2002
posted
I've never tried that. Did you check to see if that particular Comet has bleach. If so, I'd be worried about letting it set overnight. Some dials have very fragile numbers and you could easily cause them to fade.

I won't mention what I use because it could be dangerous. Suffice to say, the dial is only dipped for a few seconds and then immediately rinsed and dried.
 
Posts: 986 | Location: Flagstaff, Arizona USA | Registered: June 19, 2005
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle
posted

Peter,

It says "NO BLEACH" on the label. And... "glazed porcelain" is actually listed!!! I have immersed many dials in this solution without problems and have occasionally soaked some unusually dirty Glazed Porcelain-Enamel Dials overnight. After the first few minutes of soaking the hairlines usually begin to whiten, so do it step-by-step soaking for a few minutes at a time.

However, if you do notice any numeral fading stop immediately and rinse with cold water then air-dry. My method of drying is to gently "pat" the dial with a soft cotton cloth and then LOW HEAT on a regular hair dryer. Warm air drying is better and far safer than high heat for a number of reasons including your personal safety.

Some early, older dials from before around the beginning of the Twentieth Century are have been found to be susceptible to the numbers fading when soaked for long periods or vigorously scrubbed. For that reason, on older dials try soaking for only 3 to 5 minutes at a time as a precaution. Be careful in scrubbing on them as well.

Carefully read the all the posts in this topic, the suggestions above and those by others who have used this and other products. Reading this topic carefully is very important to understanding the procedure. Actually read this topic, don't just skim the posts. I have found this product is safe enough to let most later glazed dials soak overnight if needed, but recommend doing this procedure step-by-step soaking for a few minutes at a time.

Most once ugly dials can now be beautiful, but try cleaning your worst dial as your first effort. Wink


Below, the back of this product container...


 
Posts: 10552 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
Picture of Steven D. Jencso
posted
Lindell,

Can you link this thread over to the "Watch Repair Questions and Answers" forum. It would be useful in that forum also.

Thanks,
-Steve
 
Posts: 266 | Location: Dover, New Hampshire U.S.A. | Registered: February 14, 2005
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle
posted

Good idea Steve, consider it done!

Wink
 
Posts: 10552 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
posted
Lindell,

Thanks for posting a photo of the product - I knew exactly what I was looking for when I went shopping.

Barb

Wink
 
Posts: 315 | Location: Los Angeles, California USA | Registered: April 07, 2005
E. Howard Expert
posted
Hi,
I am sorry to be sour grapes on Polident. I stopped using it several years ago when it damaged and removed artwork on a Vacheron-Constantine old c1910 glass enamel dial. Make sure your dial has a factory clear coat and that the enamel artwork is fired in good.
Thanks, Ray
 
Posts: 6 | Location: Akron, Ohio in the U.S.A. | Registered: November 30, 2003
Picture of Jerry Treiman
posted
Ray's precautionary comment is valid for any cleaning method. Some added-on artwork or labeling can come off quite easily. The Howard "Abbott Sure Time" dials are one example where the words are easily removed by almost any method as they were not fired into the dial surface.
 
Posts: 1455 | Location: Los Angeles, California USA | Registered: January 14, 2003
IHC Member 32
Picture of Bruce Byrd
posted
Good points. So far out of the 20 dials I have done, I have not had one fade.

Since I opened my trap and touted the use of Comet Bathroom Cleaner, I thought I would put my $1.99 where my mouth is. The dial you see below is off of my 17 Montgomery Ward thin model. As you can see there are several hairlines and a chip. I placed the dial in the comet solution upside down in a bowl. I placed it on top of the fridge, and will lightly brush with an old tooth brush in about 2-3 hours (just rubbing your finger over the top of the hairlines seems to work well also.

I will post another picture when the dial is done. I started the soaking at 0900 pst

Bruce Byrd

THIS IS BEFORE:

montgomery_ward_dial_cleaning
 
Posts: 888 | Location: San Diego, California USA | Registered: December 27, 2002
IHC Member 32
Picture of Bruce Byrd
posted
Here is the dial that I posted earlier today. As you can see, the hairline between the 2 and the 3 is barely visible. I brushed it once with a soft bristle brush. Once it was finished soaking, I cleaned it with dish soap and dried it with a old t-shirt.

AND THIS IS AFTER:

 
Posts: 888 | Location: San Diego, California USA | Registered: December 27, 2002
posted
Wow! I just stumbled upon this thread (and this web site) while doing a Google search on dial cleaning...Interesting!

When you guys say that you place the dial face down in the liquid, do you put anything between the face of the dial and the container?
 
Posts: 16 | Location: Hills of Eastern Connecticut | Registered: August 27, 2005
IHC Member 376
Watchmaker
Picture of Samie L. Smith
posted
now we know what to do ,,next time you go to a show be sure and take a good loupe ,, what looks like a perfect dial------may not be as good as you thought.. Big Grin Wink
 
Posts: 3208 | Location: Monticello, Kentucky U.S.A. | Registered: June 24, 2004
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle
posted

You're right Samie! One that looks great at first glance may have just been cleaned... Eek

Welcome Tony! You'll see my "Dial Cleaning Kit" in the image below. I use that same kind of old and well-worn toothbrush for cleaning both dials and cases. That's a 16-size double-sunk porcelain-enamel dial you see sitting face-down on a plastic grid (optional) inside a used but carefully washed-out margarine tub. I leave the dial cleaner in the plastic tub between uses and wrote "Dials" on the lid with a felt-tip pen.

It is not mandatory to have that plastic grid but I felt it was a good idea.


My handy and dandy but not so professional cleaning kit...


 
Posts: 10552 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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