Polishing sratches out of a plastic watch crystal,
using Displex or Brasso

Before I start, I have to say, the inspiration for this experiment & article came from a very similar ( Some would even say the same ) article on polishing a Rolex crystal using Polywatch written by Hannes.

I live in Europe. Polywatch is not readily available here. Sure, you can buy it mail order or via the internet, but it's a, cheaper & b, quicker to get Displex or Brasso, for me. Polywatch is about 10 Euro's a tube ( about the same size as Displex ) plus postage & some places have a minimum charge....
So, since I have neither a Rolex or Polywatch , but do have a Fake Seiko ( Feiko), Displex, Brasso & a boring Friday night ahead of me...... This is what I did !!

Here's the victim, sorry brave volunteer. It's actually a pretty horrible Fake Seiko, which I stupidly bought, years ago. I put it in a drawer & it has stayed there for at least 4 years. When looking for a watch I could potentially ruin, this (for some reason) was the first I thought of !

Some of you, might be wondering, why anybody would want to do this to a watch. The reason is that not all watches have glass / saphire/ mineral "crystals". Some watches (& some quite expensive watches) still have "plastic" crystals. Noteabley older Rolex's & Omega Speedmaster Professionals ( the moon watch ). These crystals tend to scratch easily & some people want to know a, if it is possible to remove these scratches & b, with what.

Here's an arty photo I took of the watch BEFORE...

I wanted the "experiment" to be realistic & who knows, I may end up trying to sell this watch on "eBay" (why not, I bought it there !), So I masked off the parts of the watch I didn't want to "polish". As in the Rolex version above, you may choose to completely remove the bezel (if the watch has one).

I then completely "ruined" the watch crystal, by rubbing it evenly for a few seconds, with the finest sand paper I could find in my shed. In my case it was 1000 grade.
Who's that at the back saying " He just said he wanted a realistic experiment... that's not realistic, only certain Sinn owners do things like this to their watches" ? Well, this is actually quite an important step. Firstly, as you can see, this watch had no scratches on the crystal, & I need some, BUT, much more importantly, if it DID have some deep scratches you need to take some of the plastic off either side of the deep scratch to reduce the polishing effort needed later. You obviously don't want to take a lot off in this step, just reduce the face to an even grey "mess".

and here's a blow up of the 9 & 10 hour markers

At this stage I expect the Seiko fans out there are cheering loudly & owners of other brands that use plastic crystals are considering surfing to another page.
However, it was still before 21:00 & the late night film hadn't started so I carried on.

I wanted a "fair fight" between Displex & Brasso, so I masked off half the crystal. The top half will be polished by Displex & the bottom half with Brasso. Both substances would be given exactly 60 seconds to do their best. ( OK, you at the back again.... Yes, this bit isn't very realistic)

So, Ladies & Gentlemen, in the Red Tube, from Germany, weighing in at about 5 Euro's.... DISPLEX.

Some of you may be wondering what Displex is. I live in Germany & Displex is easily available in Mobile phone shops & my local car accessory shop. The description on the tube says it is for removing scratches from mobile phone displays, plastic car instruments, mahogany wood & plastic watch crystals.

This next picture, shows you how much Displex I used.

I am inherently lazy, so I didn't sweat whilst polishing. I simply rubbed the polish in, using a soft polishing cloth, as I said above, for exactly 60 seconds. The tube says 2 - 3 minutes... I'm lazy ! After 60 seconds I stopped, wiped the crystal clean & removed the masking tape. Here is the result. I must also point out at this stage that , during polishing, the Displex attempted to lift the masking tape. Not really a problem in this case, but be careful on your expensive/rare bezels.

Round 2 :- Ladies & Gentlemen, in the Blue Tin, from England, weighing in at ... ( Sorry, I've no idea what it costs, I just found it under the kitchen sink !!).... BRASSO.

Again, some of you out there are probably wondering what Brasso is, I think it's called "neverdull" in the US. It comes in 2 forms, either a liquid polish or (in this case) tin full of presoaked wadding. It smells somewhat unpleasant and its manufacturers market it as a polish for Brass, Copper & Chrome. My mum polishes her Silver & I polish the shiney bits on my cars (especially Aluminium) with it. Those of you with sharp eyes will notice the symbol above the name. This means the UK's Queen, you know, Betty, Lady Dianna Spencers ex-Mother-in-Law, uses the stuff - So it must be bloody pretty good then !. ( I am a Brit, so I fully reserve the right to poke fun at my homeland). It is, despite this accolade , very easily avaliable in most supermarkets & hardware shops in the UK.

I reapplied the masking tape to cover the recently polished top half of the crystal. ( I was born in Yorkshire, so no surprise, I used the same piece of masking tape.... Money doesn't grow on trees you know !)

As before, 60 seconds of gentle rubbing was applied. I put the tiny amount of wadding I used on the strap, to give you an idea of the quantity needed - I also put it back in the tin again afterwards. (Waste not, want not - as my granny said). I should also say, the Brasso made no attempt whatsoever to lift the masking tape ( what do you exect from a product endorsed by the worlds favourite Queen ). Here's the result - I masked the crystal, so that there would be an unpolished strip through the middle of the dial.

I know the above pictures don't show the details, so here are a couple of close ups (click on them for larger views).

Click here for a blow-up
Click here for a blow-up

If you click on the second of the 2 pics above, you can clearly see that, whilst both products have made an amazing difference in only 60 seconds, the Displex has achieved a better result with its time.

Not particularly wanting to leave the watch in this state ( Still cheering Seiko fans ?), I polished the crystal again with Displex. And this is the final result.

and a blow up the 8, 9 & 10 hour markers

As you can see from the movement of the hands, I took about 40 minutes to do all this. This included checking the digital pictures I had taken ,on my PC, & playing with positioning of the watch , lights etc etc. I am not a good photographer.

Actual TOTAL polishing time was about 3 minutes.

So what have I actually proved ? I believe both Displex & Brasso do a great job. The Brasso will take a little bit longer, but so what.
I have never bought or tried Polywatch, but as I've just shown, I don't think I need to !

Are there other alternatives out here ? - Certainly ! I just tried/used 2 products I can easily find/buy. I don't know what's available in Australia, Kentucky, Cape Town or Glasgow. If you want to try something else & don't want to try on your watch, why not use the back of a CD case ? It's clear plastic.

I have even heard people recommending toothpaste as a scratch remover. Now, I have lots of different toothpastes, stripey stuff, stuff to stop your teeth hurting when you eat Icecream, Strawberry flavoured, gel, etc etc... A comparison of this lot would need a few fakes ! I have never tried toothpaste on my watches. It may be just as good, but I'm not going to try it either.

Enjoy your watches. Wear them & don't be afraid of a scratch or two. They are so easy to remove.

Finally I would like to end as I started, this webpage has been HEAVILY influenced by the Excellent Rolex/Polywatch article written by Hannes..... You should read it.

This page was written by Steve Waddington & last updated on 21 September 2003

I actually make no recommendations on this webpage. I am in no way connected to any of the products mentioned in this article. You are free to do as you please with your watches.

I have written this page to share the limited knowledge & information I have. Please don't abuse me, my work or other peoples pictures. It's not a nice thing to do !

Finally, It pisses me off that I have to write a disclaimer like this !

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