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Artificially ageing replica watch cases...


automatico
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Mini rant.   

 

I have owned a lot of watches over the years...new, used, genuine, and replica.

One thing I have never owned (afaik) is a replica watch with an 'artificially aged' case.  I have purchased some beat up watches but not one that got that way on purpose (afaik again).

 

Why?

1...Because it never looks like natural ageing.  Never.

2...I have seen some very nice watches killed by 'artificial aging'.

3...If and when you decide to sell it, the watch will usually be worth quite a bit less than a 'naturally aged' or pristine example.

Why is this?

Because everyone wants a cherry or wants to bruise their own cherry.   :prop:

 

Chime in.   :blush:   

 

Btw...artificially aged dials are a different matter to me because they are usually cheaper and easily replaced.  Besides that, on vintage watches a scratched crystal can hide a lot of mistakes.

 

 

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I think the trick is to fool the subconscious.  Your brain takes in 1,000 visual details and puts them together and they add up, or your lizard brain throws up red flags because something isn't right.  Something doesn't make sense.  An obvious example would be the cut in a Submariner's bezel where the insert snaps in.  You can smooth the outer edge so the teeth aren't so sharp, but the inner edge sitting right above the insert should be smoothed over from years of wear too, right?  Check these pictures, my Red Sub when I got it, and then after some extensive but very mild ageing.  Check the before and after on the bezel teeth and the cutout, it's rounded over on the top and you would never have noticed that... but your subconscious would.

 

mbw_red.jpg

 

matte.JPG

 

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Wow Naunq! amazing.

 

I think the other trick is to actually beat it up, then have it polished (lightly).  If you did the "Jar of coins" aging, then polished it, then wore it hard, you would achieve a believable aged case.

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"If you did the "Jar of coins" aging, then polished it, then wore it hard, you would achieve a believable aged case."

 

I have heard of putting a watch in blue jeans side pockets along with some coins during active wear for a few days.  It would probably ruin an acrylic crystal but the marks would be random.  Also heard of putting them in stone polishers/tumblers along with small parts...nuts, washers etc.

 

I never wore a watch long enough to beat it up and I guess the longest I have ever worn the same watch is the 'shortcut 1655' I stuck together a while back out of parts from here and there...wore it 3 or 4 months just to see if it would make it without any trouble although I admit putting it on a winder a few times when I did not want to fool with it.

It made it.  I was surprised.  :animal_rooster:

 

Today...wore a steel 30+ year old quartz TAG Heuer Formula, paid $75 for it years ago.  It looks pretty good for its age, the case is matte finished, not polished with an 'all glow' trit dial, yellow plastic bezel, rubber strap, (rep) deployant clasp with TAG triangle. 

A kid watch.  :wiggle:

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On 7/9/2021 at 11:02 AM, automatico said:

Mini rant.   

 

I have owned a lot of watches over the years...new, used, genuine, and replica.

 

1...Because it never looks like natural ageing.  Never.

2...I have seen some very nice watches killed by 'artificial aging'.

 


totally agree!  There is no close substitute for any natural process! Analogous to the  Law of entropy!

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I think I have achieved passable results on my 5500 build.

perhaps a bit much but I wanted to give it a well worn look with a gloss dial and gilt hands..  the contrast between the two is what does it for me. 

 

I use plyers ,  green scrub pad , fine sand paper and then a light buff with dremmel and paste 

 

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On 7/9/2021 at 11:02 AM, automatico said:

 

One thing I have never owned (afaik) is a replica watch with an 'artificially aged' case.  

Why?

1...Because it never looks like natural ageing.  Never.

 

 

True!!!  

natural ageing is more than just scratches and dents!! It is not just mechanical but chemical as well.  In particular stainless steel, has an interesting property; that upon the moment it gets scratched, it begins to develop a passive layer where it heals itself like a wound on your skin.  This is due to the oxidation of the chromium layer evening out the appearance.  This happens with the appropriate time needed and fast-forwarding this may not allow this passive layer to form in the natural way it would have if exposed to other types of wear such as rubbing against your clothing for example.  It would be lovely if we could artificially age wine indistinguishable from 30 or 40 year old vintages!!!  Beaten up and put through a box of nuts and bolts etc. is a different mechanism of surface deformation.  Although some look rather convincing as different processes are used to give this lustre (or lack of), you will always find sections that will highlight that it might indicate abuse instead of normal wear, especially on the back section as it gets a uniform sort of wear with natural ageing.  As said earlier, it is what fools the fool!!!

 

I had a 1978 Seiko which was given to me as gift from an aunt and it went through normal wear and tear especially when I wore it in high school (with lots of sports activity)  and at University.  The visible section of the watch including the crystal showed fairly even wear but the back part of it especially under the lugs was intact.  I foolishly polished it when I put it away but natural anything is unique!!!

 

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"...natural ageing is more than just scratches and dents!!  It is not just mechanical but chemical as well."

 

You have a good point there.

 

No one would believe how many genuine vintage and modern rolex watches I have owned over the past 40+ years so I won't say but I have seen a lot of high mileage rolex watches up close and almost all of them seemed to be 'comfortable with their condition' for want of a better term. 

Not many of them have suffered damage indicating a catastrophic event.  The ageing nearly always appears to be unremarkable and totally random with years of accumulated nicks and scratches providing a natural patina.

 

Most of the serious damage has been from case corrosion, not rough usage.  In some instances the watch was not good for wear around water and I had a 16xx DJ with a hole all the way through the case under the bezel from corrosion.  Other than the hole, the case looked pretty good with only mild corrosion between the lugs and in the case back gasket area.

Moderate cosmetic damage has not been a deep concern to me but I usually pass on buying severely damaged watches unless they are cheap enough to use for parts. 

 

I have seen quite a few DJ type cases with lugs that were slightly spread or tweaked together though.  How they got that way I'll never know.  Also saw a few that would rock quite a bit when placed on a flat surface because one or more of the lugs was bent up or down.  No idea how this happened either.

 

I only had one rolex case laser welded because of damage and it was a 14k gold case that had been chewed up between the lugs by a Speidel Twist-O-Flex bracelet with spring loaded end links.  I have seen a lot of vintage gold case dress watches with 'Speidelitis' but the ongoing 'Gold Rush' has really thinned them out.  

 

Image result for speidel twist-o-flex images

 

'Thinned out'.  Literally.  Like a guy I know who buys scrap gold flattens watch cases etc with a body shop hammer to save space when he ships 'scrap gold' out to be melted. 

Not many watch cases are showing up now. 

Image result for body shop metal working hammers

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Here's an example of "Just because it lived a hard life it doesn't have to be beat to death".

 

This one spent 20+ years as the primary timer for my friend on thousands of dives to the bottom of the Seven Seas, and it's been to max rated pressure in chambers "more than a few times".  When I got it I had to lick the crystal to see the time, so I spent a week rubbing it with a tshirt to get it as clear as this.  The lugs still show the factory "bark" finish and there are admittedly some gouges on the HEV side and the 4:00 lug.  Other than that, just lots and lots and lots of tiny dings from getting bashed around a dive boat for decades.

 

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