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Thread: More tales from the bench - Lorenz Sub Professional

  1. #1
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Tales from the bench - Lorenz Sub Professional

    Friend and forum member Dave gave me a Lorenz Sub Professional to work on this Friday. There was quite a bit of crud under the crystal and he wanted it removed. A simple job I hear you say and so it should have been, but I got a bit carried away, oops!

    Anyhow I thought it might make an interesting read.

    Here's my victim, a 1980's (at a guess) Lorenz Sub Professional. It's a charming, all original little watch and I love the aged creamy tritium of the indices and hands.




    The back off reveals a signed ETA 955.114 movement and my first challenge, how to release the stem. Can you tell I've never worked with a quartz movement before, lol!



    Closer inspection revealed a rather large pointer, literally. D'oh!



    So stem removed and a quick flip later and here's the dial. It's in excellent condition and the vast majority of the dust and muck was on the underside of the crystal.



    Time to don some rather fetching pink finger condoms. It's best practice never to handle a dial with bare fingers, you'll get grease from your paws on the edges which, in turn, will become a dust/lint magnet.



    Put away and covered up for safe keeping. I'll clean those few specks off later. Another handy hint is to cover stuff up ASAP. Going to the loo, answering the phone, checking the how to remove quartz movement stems on the interweb, get that movement and dial covered.



    Right now to that case, you'll see I've put the bracelet back on as it makes for easier handing later.

    Removing the gasket revealed an lot of DNA, time for CSI Bristol and Captain Pegwood.




    As the case had years worth of gunge in every nook and cranny I decided it was best to remove the bezel (revealing yet more crime scene evidence) and give the case a good 15 minutes in an ultrasonic cleaner. There's absolutely no point cleaning a dial only to re-case it in a grubby environment.

    Ultrasonic cleaners are very good but they won't removed baked on gunge. So it's best to remove as much as possible beforehand with pegwood and an old bit of rodico.

    The underside of the bezel, nicely machined (take note some manufacturers) and the case with more detritus to remove, oh the joy of watchmaking!



    You'll also see the crystal has had a hard life with lots of pretty deep scratches. This led to another little dilemma. Namely the dial and handset are in such good condition they deserve to be shown off in all their glory, not cased behind some battered plastic. Unfortunately the crystal is a unique fit and the chances of finding a replacement are pretty unlikely.

    So despite a little apprehension, bugger it up and I've wrecked Dave's watch, I decided to polish it up. Fortune favours the brave and all that, well at least I hope it does.

    More brown trouser moments to follow. To be continued....
    Last edited by Omegary; 16th December 2012 at 14:26.

  2. #2
    You wasted all those years when you were being "creative" for a living, Gary!
    Although no trees were harmed during the creation of this post, a large number of electrons were greatly inconvenienced.

  3. #3
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Once the case is cleaned and dried it's time to have a bash at that crystal.

    For the deeper scratches you need to use a courser bit of emory paper. Unlike using polywatch where you work at a 90° angle to the scratch it's best to use small circular motions. Gently rub until the deeper scratches have gone but avoid getting any scratches on the cyclops, always work around that as the polisher will just flatten it.



    Deeper marks gone it's time to use a finer grade paper to even it out a little and remove the smaller scratches.



    Now for the moment of truth and a bit of a buttock clencher. To the polishing wheel, gulp!

    Polishing wheels are good but they're a high torque motor, it's very easy to burn a crystal by keeping it on one place too long, it's also easy to flat spot a crystal. So it's a case of quick, constant turning motions and an inspection after each pass.

    A bit of polish on the wheel to start with.



    Then it's time to be brave.



    A quick look to make sure it's going to plan (like I have one, lol!)



    And carry on until you're happy



    So, crystal polished, as much as I dare, it's time for another clean and dry, final cleaning of the crystal and removing any dust from the inside.

    For this I use a small piece of rodico fashioned to a fine point. Some watchmakers use a tiny bit attached to the end of a piece of pegwood but I prefer this method. Reason? It's best not to actually touch the glass with the rodico as it can leave a greasy residue behind. So you're relying on static to attract the dust and lint onto the rodico. If you fashion a fresh point to the rodico after you pick up a piece of dust or lint it recharges it for the next piece and there's no danger of getting the previous bit of dust back on the dial. Hope that makes sense.



    Then it's time to re-assemble and admire the results : )




    I knew it would be worth the extra effort.

    You'll notice that I haven't put the bracelet back on yet, more of that later.

    Cheers,
    Gary
    Last edited by Omegary; 2nd December 2012 at 23:24.

  4. #4
    Master Thewatchbloke's Avatar
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    Nice job Gary, looks a lot better - well done

    I do the rodico thing almost exactly the same way as you, but I have the crystal the other way up and attack any specs by coming up from underneath. It's a bit tricky when you first start doing it that way but you soon get used to it with the benefit that no particles can fall on the inside of the crystal whilst you're removing others!

  5. #5
    Master Wooster's Avatar
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    What a difference a steady hand makes! :) Congrats Gary, you are officially my WIS hero!

  6. #6
    Enjoyed reading that :-)

    Nice work, looks good on the nylon too.

  7. #7
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannop View Post
    Nice job Gary, looks a lot better - well done

    I do the rodico thing almost exactly the same way as you, but I have the crystal the other way up and attack any specs by coming up from underneath. It's a bit tricky when you first start doing it that way but you soon get used to it with the benefit that no particles can fall on the inside of the crystal whilst you're removing others!
    That's a very good idea, I should have thought of that really.

    I find it helps to place the crystal over a dark background (I use my case pad) as it helps to highlight the dust more.

    Thanks for the tip and encouragement Duncan

    Cheers,
    Gary
    Last edited by Omegary; 3rd December 2012 at 00:02.

  8. #8
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backward point View Post
    You wasted all those years when you were being "creative" for a living, Gary!
    Lol, I know what you mean Ian.

    Some of my creative skills have proved very useful when working with watches. A good eye for detail, hand eye co-ordination, bags of patience (only with things I enjoy though) and a steady hand all come in useful.

    I do kinda wish I'd discovered watches and watchmaking in my youth though. Never too late to learn I guess and it keeps the old grey matter going.

    Cheers,
    Gary
    Last edited by Omegary; 3rd December 2012 at 00:25.

  9. #9
    I'd call that a combination of nice photographs of nice work on a nice watch.

    If it helps, I have used masking tape to lift specs off glass to good effect when rebuilding binoculars. Absolutely no residue.

    BUT not on the dial...or it might by off with the print.

  10. #10
    Master ed335d's Avatar
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    Looks great! I do enjoy reading these type of posts

  11. #11
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davidh View Post
    I'd call that a combination of nice photographs of nice work on a nice watch.

    If it helps, I have used masking tape to lift specs off glass to good effect when rebuilding binoculars. Absolutely no residue.

    BUT not on the dial...or it might by off with the print.
    I'm surprised that masking tape doesn't leave a residue David. I might give that a try on one of my own watches some time.

    With dials I use the same technique with the rodico and using static to lift off dust without touching the dial.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  12. #12
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wooster View Post
    What a difference a steady hand makes! :) Congrats Gary, you are officially my WIS hero!
    I'm very much on the starting slopes when it comes to watches Christian. There's far more people worthy of your praise than me but thanks all the same

    Cheers,
    Gary

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Omegary View Post
    I'm surprised that masking tape doesn't leave a residue David. I might give that a try on one of my own watches some time.

    With dials I use the same technique with the rodico and using static to lift off dust without touching the dial.

    Cheers,
    Gary
    Just try on some glass or a mirror. You will see immediately if it is working for you.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Omegary View Post
    What a fantastic result. Bravo Gary!

  15. #15
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Thank you Dean

    It was a steep learning curve (as usual) with a few nervous moments along the way, but I have to say I'm pleased with the results. I hope Dave is when he picks up the watch.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  16. #16
    Master adzman808's Avatar
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    that looked scary from the pix, let alone actually doing the work.

    any watch nearly named after the current motogp champ is well worth the effort

  17. #17
    Master sweets's Avatar
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    As the owner of this (now once again) lovely timepiece, I have to say that I am very impressed with (and grateful for) Gary's fast-burgeoning abilities, as well as skill and dedication.

    It could have been a little embarassing that I originally bought this watch as a donor.

    You see, I have another Lorenz. This one



    Another Sub professional, but the chronograph version with the Lemania 5100 inside. I bought it a while back, and although I like it a lot, it doesn't have an original bracelet. So I bought the watch Gary has been working on as a bracelet donor. The watch was a bonus.

    It really didn't set me back that much, in fact I will be reimbursing Gary more than I paid for the whole watch, delivered to me from a seller in Italy on the basis of good feedback but only one photo (in which you could just identify that he was selling a watch).

    As luck would have it, the bracelet on this one doesn't acutally fit my other Lorenz.

    Which is just as well, as Gary's work has revealed what a lovely gem it is. So the two will remain united. The right result, I think.

    Especially as I have had a sneak peak at how the bracelet looks after a little "Omegarying" has been applied to it.

    More power to your elbow Gary, I owe you a few drinks.

    All the best
    Dave

  18. #18
    Great thread once again.

  19. #19
    Great work as always, Gary.

    Re: the masking tape, I'd suggest sourcing the ones that car-body repairers use. I'd imagine the cheap stuff could leave a residue, but good body shops use a high-quality version and I'd imagine that would be the best for your job in hand.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  20. #20
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    Good work Gary, please keep up these threads for luddites like me who have no idea what goes on inside our watches (imps and, erm, magic, no?)
    "A man of little significance"

  21. #21
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Thanks guys

    Simon - One of the reasons for going into a little more detail with these threads is to hopefully illustrate just how much time and effort goes into repairing/refurbishing/servicing a watch. I had little idea how much skill, knowledge and patience is needed to do a job properly until Rocco took me under his wing. Now my eyes are slowly opening but every week I discover just how unaware I truly was.

    Hopefully through these little threads I can take you on the same journey.

    And if you've got access to a good watchmaker, please support them. The length and breadth of their skills is astounding and it's definitely not a career for anyone wanting to get rich quick, or at all for that matter.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  22. #22
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Right back to that bracelet. I've had a bash at refinishing a couple of my own with pretty good results but this was the first for someone else.

    Sorry no before pics and I was running out of time to take work-in-progress shots. Some of the pics above give an idea of its condition. Essentially one side wasn't too bad but the other had some fairly deep scratches and the clasp had a few scuffs too.

    So a bit of TLC on the refinishing wheel (actually two) and here's how it looks now.



    And a couple of macro shots.




    If you look closely you'll still see a few very light marks but I didn't want to remove too much metal. I know you've only got my word for it but it's quiet a transformation.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  23. #23
    Craftsman
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    Excellent work Gary!

    Always enjoy your posts.

    Hector

  24. #24
    Master adzman808's Avatar
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    hi Gary,

    is bracelet refurb something we could attempt at home... it seems to be a bit of black art, in that some people use scotchbrite, some don't... some say emery paper... etc, etc

    i can get by with shiny finishes (......) - personally i haven't really got on with capecod, but autosol & the cloth polishing head on my dremel works well enough....

    but i really struggle with anything resembling a brushed finish, i've managed tiny touch ups (which i'm sure look crap close up) using a nail buffer (the ones with 6 sides, staying away from the corsest 2 grains)

    ideally it would good if there was something to put on the end of the dremel that could do a brushed finish, i'm loathe to say soft wirewheel but it's the only thing i can think of that doesn't remove chunks of metal nor make a mirror finish...

    any suggestions?

    Thanks very much

  25. #25
    Administrator swanbourne's Avatar
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    Good result but having half melted a crystal with machine buffing, I now do it entirely by hand using fine emery when required and Polywatch.

    Eddie
    Whole chunks of my life come under the heading "it seemed like a good idea at the time".

  26. #26
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    In short it is a bit of a black art Adam, especially doing it by hand. I used Rocco's equipment to refinish the bracelet above which has interchangeable wheels (silicon carbide graining wheels) with different softnesses and grades of abrasion for each stage of the process and working on delicate areas like around the logo on the clasp.

    When it comes to hand re-brushing there's lots of methods and I'd imagine no two repairers do it the same way. Having never done it this way before I'm not really the one to ask in all honesty. The two Paul's (gingerboy and walkerwek1958) have achieved excellent results hand refinishing bracelets and cases. Hopefully they'll chip in with advice, otherwise send them a PM.

    Cheers,
    Gary
    Last edited by Omegary; 3rd December 2012 at 14:52.

  27. #27
    Master JackW's Avatar
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    What an excellent thread about a job well done. thanks for posting. I love the coloration of the lume pip and bezel minute markers, but they appear to be way off. Do you have any idea whether these are applied later? Oh, and I'd love to see a pic of the finished watch on the very nice bracelet!

  28. #28
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Thank you Jack and you're right the printing on the bezel is all over the shop, lol! I guess it might be a replacement insert but the lume pip looks in keeping with the age of the watch.

    I fitted the bracelet back on this afternoon and took a quick snap.



    Cheers,
    Gary

  29. #29
    Master JackW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omegary View Post
    Thank you Jack and you're right the printing on the bezel is all over the shop, lol! I guess it might be a replacement insert but the lume pip looks in keeping with the age of the watch.

    I fitted the bracelet back on this afternoon and took a quick snap.



    Cheers,
    Gary
    Thank you, that's beautiful.

  30. #30
    Great results there mate!

    You could come and work with me with those polishing skills, its quite similar!

    Very interested in the brushing/polishing side of things.

  31. #31
    Master Sharky's Avatar
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    Another great job there Gary, well done
    Mark

  32. #32
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    Great post and though I am not normally a fan of NATO straps IMO this watch looks better on that strap then it does on the bracelet.

    Thanks for the insight and congratulations on an awesome restoration.

    BTW the watch is beautiful and should the owner want to sell it, then pm me.

    Regards.

    Keith.
    Last edited by carlyrox; 3rd December 2012 at 22:56.

  33. #33
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words guys, much appreciated as always

    Looks like I may have another project incoming, fingers crossed.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  34. #34
    Master PreacherCain's Avatar
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    Gary, another blinding thread - I am impressed by the honesty of the write-up as much as by the content, in a funny way: it would be very easy (and entirely in keeping with many internet users' egos) to gloss over simple hiccups like working out how to remove the stem, but by including these and other ring-twitch episodes you really make the experience come alive.

    This also reminds me: I need to find someone to re-finsih the bracelet on my Carrera...

  35. #35
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Thanks Preacher.

    I'm very much learning as I go along so I'm happy to share my stupidity (lord knows I've enough to go 'round) and pass on a few tips when I can. Hopefully it'll be useful to some. As for ego, well it's just not my style.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  36. #36
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PreacherCain View Post
    Gary, another blinding thread - I am impressed by the honesty of the write-up as much as by the content, in a funny way: it would be very easy (and entirely in keeping with many internet users' egos) to gloss over simple hiccups like working out how to remove the stem, but by including these and other ring-twitch episodes you really make the experience come alive.

    This also reminds me: I need to find someone to re-finsih the bracelet on my Carrera...
    +1 (apart from the Carrera part - I don't own one )

    Menno

  37. #37
    Craftsman
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    What an outstanding transformation ! really enjoy reading these threads please keep them comming

    Regards

  38. #38
    Craftsman
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    What a fine looking watch and great piece of work Gary - thanks for sharing your insights and experience. Like many others here I particularly enjoy hearing about the 'realities' of working on a watch, including the 'clench and hold your breath' moments. Looking forward to further installments.
    Mark

  39. #39
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Thanks again guys

    The 'realities' of working on watches is it's pretty scary at times. It's not too bad working with your own stuff, if you bugger it up frankly it's your own stupid fault. Working on other peoples is quite a different matter as they trust you because you're the perceived 'expert' and the watch is their pride and joy. Frankly though a lot of things can potentially go wrong, especially with vintage watches, through no fault of your own.

    I asked Rocco if he ever gets nervous as he works on a lot of expensive vintage watches with irreplaceable dials etc, etc. He said he still does after 30 years but he tries to put it to the back of his mind. Even relatively simple things like removing hands develops a certain frisson when you're working with a double red or Comex sub for example.

    One of the joys of working on modern watches is parts are readily available if the worse happens, albeit it nullifies any profit in the job.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  40. #40
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    I asked Rocco if he ever gets nervous as he works on a lot of expensive vintage watches with irreplaceable dials etc, etc. He said he still does after 30 years but he tries to put it to the back of his mind.
    Imho, this is a true token of craftsmanship - equally important as the skills to perform this job.

    Menno

  41. #41
    Master Red Steve's Avatar
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    I gave Gary one of mine that I picked up from Sales Corner a while back. Nothing expensive, in fact I only paid a tenner for it, but I like the look and size of it.

    It runs well enough and just needed a little "tidying" up, so I dropped it to Gary last Friday and will pick it up tomorrow.

    This is what it looked like before I dropped it off:





    Looking forward to seeing the finished result.

  42. #42
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    A couple of snaps of Steve's watch.




    It's a chromed case so I couldn't refinish it but I did remove a lot of DNA and gave it a good session in the ultrasonic cleaner. A cleaned up dial and a replacement and correct size period domed acrylic (the one in there was too small) made a big difference imho.

    Cheers,
    Gary

    P.S. I love the packaging on these old British acrylics

  43. #43
    Craftsman
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    i really enjoy reading your tales from the bench threads not sure how i missed this one, but must say that you've done a mighty fine job on that lorenz watch.

    sounds like you obviously have deft hands polishing the crystal with a machine.... well done sir ;)

  44. #44
    Journeyman
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    Awesome work. "Tales from the bench" posts are some of the best reads on the forum.

    Paul.

  45. #45
    Master carlyrox's Avatar
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    Hi Gary,

    Could you please tell me where you got the NATO the Lorenz was shown on.

    BTW the watch looks far better in the flesh than in the pictures, great restoration.

    Regards.

    Keith.

  46. #46
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    Sent you a PM Keith. Glad you're enjoying the watch and thanks for the kind words.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  47. #47
    Grand Master
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    thats amazing stuff gary.. i love your tales from the bench write ups.

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