Customer Testimonial: Using Cerium Oxide to Restore Vintage Watches

We recently got a call from Aimee, Aimee repairs vintage watches professionally. She was looking for a product that could remove scratches from the face or what she refers to as the crystal of the watch. She purchased our 25005 Cerium Oxide and was so pleased with the results that she wanted to share them. The following are before and after photos she took and included in an email about her progress:

Email from Aimee Rathburn to our customer service representative Michelle:

“Hi Michelle! As you can see from the pictures, the before crystal was very bad. I had to stop because I was getting too close to the edges and rubbing off the case plating, but I think with more time I could get this one nearly perfect. But I am not feeling like a perfectionist today!

First I cut circles of 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper and put one on my Dremel with a cloth pad backer. Wet the watch crystal with a spray bottle of water. I sanded with the 400 grit to smooth out the deep gouges. Once that was done I mixed up the glass polishing compound with warm water as directed in a rinsed out Yoplait container. I soaked the felt pad in warm water, and then rolled it around in the compound mixture, and spun off the excess inside the yogurt container to reduce the mess, then dipped on a bit more since it looked too sparse. I then polished the crystal using a circular motion, adding more compound as necessary, standing out in my yard, again, to reduce the mess.

This is a very messy job and I got sprayed in the face so I’m glad I wore yard work clothes!

Things I learned:

  1. Don’t waste time doing this to a cheapo watch
  2. Mask off the case, or remove the crystal, so as not to grind off the plating on the case edges
  3. Cheap watch crystals are too soft to polish up easily and nicely (If you wish to attempt, Delta Kits suggests using a finer grit sandpaper)
  4. Be sure to smooth out deep scratches with sandpaper first
  5. Change to a new piece of sandpaper as necessary because it wears out quickly on glass (Delta Kits suggests silicon carbide sandpaper for glass sanding)
  6. A wet and wrung out microfiber cloth works great to clean up remaining compound from the watch
  7. The edges of the crystal are the hardest to smooth out unless the crystal is out of the case.

~Aimee Rathburn”

Vintage Watch Before restoring etched glass with cerium oxide
Vintage watch before restoring etched glass with cerium oxide


Vintage watch after restoring etched glass with cerium oxide
Vintage watch after restoring etched glass with cerium oxide

For more information about glass repair visit our glass repair page or give us a call at 800-548-8332.

Your Cart