September 01, 2018 2 Comments

PATINA – A BRONZE ODYSSEY Part 5 By Adam Clegg

  • Swimming Pool / Chlorinated water – One of my favourites! I swim several times a week, so a few of my watches have been patinated this way. This method (if you can get in the pool a lot) gives very even patina and you can keep doing it until the watch gets to the shade you desire.  Brass gains a nice dirty look, though I have had shades of greens and even reds on some watches; bronze goes a nice rich brown colour. I believe the reacting chemical in pool water is Sodium Bisulphate, in case you are interested!

Patina Removal

  • Brasso / T-Cut – the best in my opinion. When using this liquid, I dip a toothbrush into it and then gently brush the case all over until the patina is removed. If you are happy to have a shiny finish, just buff the residue off with a clean cloth; if you prefer to keep your brushed finish as much as possible, then get a clean toothbrush, add some detergent and brush the watch, while running under warm water.
  • Cape Cod Cloth – works very well indeed, but they do require an element of polishing, which can diminish the case finish (blasted and brushed). Perfect for a watch with a polished case. I have also used the toothbrush method with Cape Cod cloths, initially wiping the watch with the cloth to transfer some of the cleaning agent, then brushing with a clean toothbrush to remove the patina. 
  • Lemon Juice / Orange Juice / Kiwi Juice (essentially all acidic fruit juices). When cleaning with lemon juice, I normally squeeze the juice of a large lemon into a small plastic business card case and top up with warm water, so the liquid is sufficiently deep to completely submerge the watch. Then I let it soak for a while, intermittently brushing with a toothbrush; before very long the patina will just melt away. This can leave bronze watches looking very pink, so I use another toothbrush with a cape cod cloth and just give the watch a gentle brush, followed by a quick buff with a clean cloth to bring back the shiny new look.

  • Tomato Ketchup / Passata Sauce – Take a small bowl and pour some of the ketchup into it, adding a little warm water to increase the fluidity (ensuring it gets into all areas), mix it up and submerge the watch in it. As with most above, I give periodic brushes with a toothbrush to ensure all areas are well cleaned.

  • Brown Sauce – Same method as above.
  • Coca Cola – Simply submerge your watch into the liquid and let it do its magic. I would ensure the drink has lost all its carbonation prior to using it, or you may find bubbles form on the watch and cause a pattern on the case. 
  • Subway Marinara Sauce – this works incredibly well, as I found out to my consternation! Sat enjoying my Chicken Pizziola when I looked down to see I had dripped a small spot onto my watch, I immediately wiped it off to see a very pink and clean spot on the bezel of my well patinated watch. I suppose you may also get a funny look from the “sandwich artist” if you asked for some Marinara Sauce to clean your watch in!

Refinishing

At some point you are likely to sit back and think “I went too far!” You won’t be the first and you certainly won’t be the last. You may have gone through the process several times, polishing each time to remove the patina, only to find that you have polished off the brushed finish. There is a product I use to restore the brushed finish; it takes a little practice, but can bring your watch very close to how it was when you first bought it. The product is a resin impregnated with carborundum particles, which can be cut with a craft knife. This allows you to cut wedge shapes pieces with which you can get into all but the most tiny areas. In the UK, it is called GarryFlex, whereas in the USA, it is called SandFlex. It comes in different grades, so you can alter the finish to your liking. My preference is the Grey / Medium grit, as this gives a finish closest to the original.

 Conclusion

 If you are doing this on a budget, or you don’t wish to purchase all the products we have used, we found the best cleaning agent to be T-Cut (used with a toothbrush) and the best all round patinating agent (for ease of application vs. results achieved) is the Brass Black. Obviously this depends on the type of result you are going for; the photos above should at least demonstrate several finishes from which you may choose.


2 Responses

Mark
Mark

February 26, 2020

You are totally right there! If it’s a polished surface a rough tooth brush may scratch it up. You can also use a good cloth, but the benefit of a tooth brush is that the little hairs can get in there a little more.
Being gentle is always good, I’d say :-)

David Bellamy
David Bellamy

February 26, 2020

I’m wondering if your use of a toothbrush to clean your watch and remove patina there’s a big part of why it’s ruining the original finish. I removed The patina on my Christopher Ward bronze just by rubbing with the Brasso. I think if I did use toothbrush, I would make sure to get the softest one I can find and use it very very gently and as little as necessary. What do you think?

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