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Old 03-12-2015, 11:31 AM
afire afire is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 3
Default No skills to speak of.

New member from Madison, WI. I'm a collector of 1920s vintage Gruen watches, and my favorite models are those with ornately engraved cases. I joined for a couple of reasons.

One is that I would like to learn some basic hand engraving skills. Not really to engrave anything from scratch (at least not at this point), but to learn how to "freshen up" old engravings that have become blurred and indistinct over the last 80-90 years. I've passed up a lot of otherwise nice watches because the engravings were too worn for my taste. But before I go asking for tips, I'll try to read around on my own to see if there are already suggestions for newbies looking to get their feet wet like myself.

And the other reason is to perhaps get a referral or two. I've got one particular watch that I would like the engravings detailed on, and it's far to nice, rare, and expensive for me to use as a learning project. I'd like to find somebody who could do this for me. I can already see by looking around the gallery that the engravings on my watches are fairly rudimentary compared to what a lot of you do. I assume that the general hand engraving forum would be a good place to post this inquiry along with pictures of the particular watch case I'd like to get worked on?
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:03 AM
Kevin Kevin is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Philadelphia, PA USA
Posts: 187
Default Re: No skills to speak of.

I am a watchmaker, and a hobbyist engraver.

One of the reasons I took up engraving was to be able to do some work like you describe. Have practiced on worn out junk cases, and found out that it is not as easy as making an engraving from scratch. It is sort of like trying to copy someone's handwriting. Have seen decent engravers try to do what you want, and if you are not familiar with old watches, it does not look too bad. But a watch collector would feel the watch has been ruined.

Ornamental engravings on bezels etc of wristwatches, if the area to be touched up is small, might be the easiest to get good results. But on pocket watches with alot of overall wear, doubtful good results can be achieved.

Even going over lettering can be tricky, especially script. Need to use the same geometry of the graver as the original engraver to have a chance of it looking right.


When it comes to watch cases, nothing turns off a collector more than a repair or change that is obvious.

You should post pictures of your watch you want re engraved, and see what people think. Some people here have good results re engraving guns.

Also, welcome to the forum and the engraving world. Learning about engraving and trying to do it will make you a better watch collector. Helpful in evaluating design, workmanship, quality etc. And the engraving people are extremely helpful to people of all levels.

Last edited by Kevin; 03-21-2015 at 11:13 AM. Reason: added
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