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Thread: Lapping machine - case example pics on page 3

  1. #1
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Lapping machine - updated 13/1/13

    My watchmaker has recently acquired a lapping machine (actually he's been waiting for it for over two years now) and after sorting out the electrics - as they require 3 phase wiring - finally got it up and running yesterday :)

    Here's a very quick demonstration of the what it can do on a case back. This is my old Seiko 6138-3002 bought of ebay many years ago. The dial, handset and case are in good order but some muppet had tried disguising some tool slip marks by sand or bead blasting the outer case back, very badly :roll:

    Before





    After






    Hopefully my pics demonstrate quite a transformation, there's no other way of attaining this highly polished and consistent finish.

    He also showed me some cases he'd been practicing on with multiple case finished i.e. starburst graining, horizontal and vertical graining and well as highly polished finishes like the example above. They were very impressive and transformed somewhat battered cases back to pretty much original factory finish. No pics of those I'm afraid as he's keeping them for samples and honing his skills.

    Anyway just thought a few here might be interesting to see a little of a lapping machines capabilities. I'm hoping to be able to see Rocco in action on the machine, take a few snaps and do a write up. It won't be for a while though as we both have other commitments for a few weeks.

    Cheers,
    Gary
    Last edited by Omegary; 13th January 2013 at 19:30.

  2. #2
    Grand Master seikopath's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Very interesting post Gary , thanks
    "the only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."

  3. #3
    Master
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    I have a watch that requires a similar sort of repair... whereabouts is he based?

  4. #4
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Sent you a PM.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  5. #5

    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    What a difference the right tools can make, in the hands of someone who knows how to use them :)
    There might be some competition for Bienne :wink:

  6. #6
    Master Raffe's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    That is an impressive improvement. Must be quite abrasive?

  7. #7
    Master
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    interesting post and what an improvement.
    that caseback looks quite strokey now.

  8. #8

    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    thats a great looking finish.

    i sometimes wonder why i am bothered with the back of a watch but some just look ace

  9. #9
    Master
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    A fantastic restoration. So I take it these lapping machines either ain't cheap or are hard to find or both?

    Ant

  10. #10

    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    An interesting post - I've got a caseback with a bad tool mark in it myself and had previously thought it beyond repair. Seeing that though has made me wonder.

  11. #11
    Master wadsy's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Good job 8)

  12. #12
    Master minkle's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Quote Originally Posted by Omegary
    I'm hoping to be able to see Rocco in action on the machine, take a few snaps and do a write up. It won't be for a while though as we both have other commitments for a few weeks.
    Right up my street.. looking forward to it!

  13. #13
    Master Henrik Gelardi's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Amazing technology demonstrated... Wish my guy had this, but maybe one day ... :)

  14. #14
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Very nice but a lot of material has to be removed, right?

  15. #15
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Quote Originally Posted by Raffe
    That is an impressive improvement. Must be quite abrasive?
    Quote Originally Posted by feilersen
    Very nice but a lot of material has to be removed, right?
    I was always led to believe that lapping a case was quiet an aggressive procedure and a lot of metal was removed, in essence one wrong move could potentially muller the case completely. However my watch guy says it's actually very gentle and you have pretty much finite control. So in cases that aren't too deeply scratched or with large dinks you don't need to remove very much at all.

    My Seiko case back had been pretty badly butchered and had an inconsistent case thickness because of the attempt at disguising the tool slip marks. Rocco took off as little as possible to get it looking presentable again but probably removed more than he would with a less damaged example.

    Quote Originally Posted by frp422
    A fantastic restoration. So I take it these lapping machines either ain't cheap or are hard to find or both?
    Rare and expensive unfortunately, only three in the UK that I know of (and one of those might well be just a rumour) and even second hand they cost about the same as a new, bigger engined and well equipped German saloon car.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  16. #16
    Master Martin123's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    An amazing difference

  17. #17
    Grand Master
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    I`d heard a rumour about this too :wink:

    There are some refinishing jobs that really do need this type of machine; I have a couple in my own collection that could do with the starburst finish re-doing and I know I couldn`t get it 100% right myself.

    Paul

  18. #18

    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Is he happy for you to post his details up here? I suspect between us we'd help him pay for the machine... and I speak as someone who's just signed off on a CHF1000 Bienne restoration of a MkIII Speedmaster, mainly because I thought it was the only option for getting the starburst finish back...

  19. #19
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Quote Originally Posted by 2wrists
    Is he happy for you to post his details up here? I suspect between us we'd help him pay for the machine... and I speak as someone who's just signed off on a CHF1000 Bienne restoration of a MkIII Speedmaster, mainly because I thought it was the only option for getting the starburst finish back...
    It's very early days yet as he only got the lapping machine up and running properly today.

    I'm sure he wouldn't mind me posting his details up, however I'd like to give him some time to get comfortable with the machine and I don't want people to anyone to think I'm unfairly promoting his services over other watchmakers.

    I think he might only offer case refinishing with a service as he doesn't want to get into potential disputes with people claiming the movement was working perfectly before it was removed for a case refinish etc, etc. Plus being a perfectionist he'd hate to make a watch look factory fresh knowing full well that the innards were fubar.

    I've given him a couple of cases with multiple finishes, including starburst graining, to practice on. Once they're finished I'll post up some before and after pictures.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  20. #20
    Master
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Gary,

    Your location says "Bristol", and your OP mentioned "Rocco", now setting aside anything I or others may already know, the cat is somewhere in St. Andrews now, a long way from the bag!

  21. #21
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Quote Originally Posted by DS3R
    Gary,

    Your location says "Bristol", and your OP mentioned "Rocco", now setting aside anything I or others may already know, the cat is somewhere in St. Andrews now, a long way from the bag!
    Probably being thick as usual but I'm not sure what you're getting at here :scratch:

    My watch maker is indeed in Bristol and St Andrews is also a district of Bristol as well as the famous Scottish town but he's not in either location. Confused? You will be :lol:

    Anyway if anyone wants his details drop me a PM.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  22. #22
    Craftsman
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Fabulous finish and what a difference. Great job and thanks for the heads up

  23. #23
    Master dickbrowne's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make


  24. #24
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Good idea Richard, I don't know the current member count but I'm sure if we all put a quid in we could afford a lapping machine. Mind you even with the current trend towards bigger and bigger watch I doubt we'll need one capable of polishing 1 metre wide :lol:

    Cheers,
    Gary

  25. #25
    Master dickbrowne's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Quote Originally Posted by Omegary
    Good idea Richard, I don't know the current member count but I'm sure if we all put a quid in we could afford a lapping machine. Mind you even with the current trend towards bigger and bigger watch I doubt we'll need one capable of polishing 1 metre wide :lol:

    Cheers,
    Gary
    And the postal charges may be a bit steep when we need to ship it between the new joint owners :)

  26. #26

    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Quote Originally Posted by dickbrowne
    I think we could wreck a good few watches if we took it in turns too :lol:
    It's just a matter of time...

  27. #27
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Quote Originally Posted by Omegamanic
    Quote Originally Posted by dickbrowne
    I think we could wreck a good few watches if we took it in turns too :lol:
    That's true, I hate to think of the utter carnage some of the chaps who post on the mods and wreckers sub forum could cause with one of these :lol:

    Cheers,
    Gary

  28. #28
    Master dickbrowne's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Tell you what, we can keep it in my garage, and I'll offer lapping to other members as an education exercise, er, sorry, service :)

  29. #29

    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    looks good in your pictures.

  30. #30

    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    :D Nice to know an ordinary watchmaker in the UK can now do lapped finishes.

  31. #31

    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Exciting, this will be a wonderful alternative to Bienne for smaller, piecemeal work

  32. #32

    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Quote Originally Posted by Omegary
    I've given him a couple of cases with multiple finishes, including starburst graining, to practice on. Once they're finished I'll post up some before and after pictures.

    Cheers,
    Gary
    Interesting post.

    Am I correct in thinking that what I considered a brushed finish is sometimes actually a lapped finish - i.e. when the brushing almost has a textured pattern to it like on AP watches or the brushed bit of a Rolex Sub?

  33. #33
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Quote Originally Posted by robcat
    Am I correct in thinking that what I considered a brushed finish is sometimes actually a lapped finish - i.e. when the brushing almost has a textured pattern to it like on AP watches or the brushed bit of a Rolex Sub?
    That's right Rob, AFAIK a lapping machine is what gives all watch cases there final finish, whether that be highly polished, horizontal graining, starburst graining etc, etc. I guess the only exception would be PVD, sand or bead blasted cases.

    For example on my Omega Memomatic the three different finishes you see would all have been applied by a lapping machine. Essentially having a case re-lapped is as close as you'll ever get to the original factory finish of the watch.




    Cheers,
    Gary

  34. #34

    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Quote Originally Posted by Omegary
    Quote Originally Posted by robcat



    Ta. I see what you mean on that example. The texture of the finish is so consistant. I think your guy is going to have a queue of tz-uk'ers waiting for his services if he can reproduce that kind of finish!

  35. #35

    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Cool post mate.

    Trying to think what i need lapped now! :lol:

  36. #36
    Master
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    I'm sure I could find the odd watch to have refinished :D

  37. #37
    Journeyman
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Quote Originally Posted by Tahiti
    I'm sure I could find the odd watch to have refinished :D
    As mentioned, you won't be able to send a watch in just for the case refinishing, you will need to have it serviced too.

  38. #38
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Managed to get hold of one of the first cases that Rocco refinished. This one has a re-lapped starburst finish and polished shoulders and sides. As you'll see it's not quite 100% perfect but then it's not half bad either, pretty impressive for a first attempt imho.







    Hopefully I'll be able to update this thread with some before and after pics fairly soon.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  39. #39

    Re: What a difference a lapping machine can make

    Great to see this posted, nice work and eagerly await more pics of various cases.

    Thanks for sharing Gary,

    James.

  40. #40
    Master minkle's Avatar
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    Re: Lapping machine - case example pics on page 3

    Bloody hell! He's almost nailed it already!

  41. #41

    Re: Lapping machine - case example pics on page 3

    Wow , I have a chronostop which could really do with a visit to a lapping machine.

    Thank you for sharing.

  42. #42

    Re: Lapping machine - case example pics on page 3

    That looks fantastic!

  43. #43
    Master JasonM's Avatar
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    Re: Lapping machine - case example pics on page 3

    Impressive! Do you think he would consent to a you taking a video ? I for one would love to see the lapper in action....

  44. #44

    Re: Lapping machine - case example pics on page 3

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonM
    Impressive! Do you think he would consent to a you taking a video ? I for one would love to see the lapper in action....
    +1 If possible would be great to understand the process.

    James.

  45. #45

    Re: Lapping machine - case example pics on page 3

    Thanks for posting. With your posts I either learn something new, or learn that I "need" something new .... First the speedsonic, then a memomatic, and now a watch maker with a lapping machine! :D :D

  46. #46

    Re: Lapping machine - case example pics on page 3

    STS are said not to own a lapping machine, so have to do the finish by hand, I was thinking the reason was because of the expensive but the machines don't seem that expensive after all, seems strange for them not to own one then?

  47. #47
    Journeyman
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    Re: Lapping machine - case example pics on page 3

    wow thats a great job !!!! watch looks great now :bounce: :bounce:

  48. #48
    Master sweets's Avatar
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    Re: Lapping machine - case example pics on page 3

    I was under the impression that STS had one but were afraid to get going on it.

    A watchmakers lapping machine is a fairly specific piece of kit, and one that does have a reasonable expense to it.

    It is not just the machine itself, it is the workpiece (case) holding and presentation to the lapping wheels that demand a relatively high level of precision, and these are specific to the requirements of watchmaking that make these rare and expensive items

    Although I have not seen Rocco's machine I have discussed it at length with him, and examined some of the workpiece jigs, as well as the instruction folder.

    It is certainly a high quality machine.

    It's just a shame that Gary has let the cat out of the bag, Rocco will now be so busy doing everyone elses watches, he won't have time for mine. :wink:

    Dave

  49. #49
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Re: Lapping machine - case example pics on page 3

    Quote Originally Posted by minkle
    Bloody hell! He's almost nailed it already!
    It's not bad is it mate. Actually he was a little reluctant for me to show this as he's not completely happy with it. However I think it's a good demonstration of starburst graining and it's all work in progress, he can only improve.

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonM
    Impressive! Do you think he would consent to a you taking a video ? I for one would love to see the lapper in action....
    I can ask Jase but I have he feeling he'll say no tbh, plus I don't have a video camera which might be a slight disadvantage :lol:

    Quote Originally Posted by I AM LATE!
    Thanks for posting. With your posts I either learn something new, or learn that I "need" something new .... First the speedsonic, then a memomatic, and now a watch maker with a lapping machine! :D :D
    Funny you're not the only one to say that mate :lol: . It's usually best practice to ignore my posts in all honesty as I'm either talking nonsense or you'll want to buy another watch :wink:

    Quote Originally Posted by sweets
    It's just a shame that Gary has let the cat out of the bag, Rocco will now be so busy doing everyone elses watches, he won't have time for mine. :wink:

    Dave
    Oops sorry Dave, I'm sure he'll be able to squeeze in your projects too though.

    Thanks for all the comments guys and if anyone has any questions I'm probably going to see Rocco tomorrow, so just fire away and I'll see if I can get some answers.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  50. #50

    Re: Lapping machine - case example pics on page 3

    Those results look superb. What other types of finish can be achieved with lapping machines? Are they primarily for starburst effects only?

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