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GenTLe

Yet another insert "platinumization" technique

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GenTLe

During my lockdown time I ordered from @Mary Watch a trio of watches. Among them there was the VRF Rolex BLNR (aka batman), factory that I chose because of the apparently reliable movement and regardless its infamously bad insert.
Mary apparently tried to find one with a decent insert but with no luck so I decided to take it regardless of that and planning to replace that insert later on with a better one.

On AliExpress I managed to find some decent seller that had some of them well made in terms of numbers shape and separation between blue and black part, even tho they were surely not good when it came to number color filling.

This is what I mean when I say "good separation between blue and black" (this is from a pic of a gen passed through a pic manipulation software):

49780850252_1177dda2c7_z.jpg

 

And this is the crappy insert that was installed on the watch as it came from the TD (I knew it and accepted it since the QC pics):

50176209222_7b65dd5560.jpg

 

So I bought 3 inserts from 3 different AliExpress sellers, but 2 of them used a crazy shipping method which in Italy used the worst possible local mail provider. They just never delivered them (they claimed "attempted delivery, none found", yes... A part the fact that it was lockdown and I was at home ALL THE TIME. Contacted them and they replied that by contract they don't warn about the delivery, don't ring the door bell and don't need signature -> they simply don't even try to deliver).

Luckily the only one I got was good and fitting the bezel of the watch...

In the past, I've used a tiny brush to fill the numbers with primer and color, but I wasn't 100% satisfied because, due to liquid superficial tension, the paint tends to accumulate more in the angles between the bottom and the vertical walls of the engraved numbers, and also having a perfectly homogeneously colored triangle at 12 is a really difficult task with the brush: it's ok on a sub, due to the presence of the pearl that breaks the surface, but on a GMT where the triangle surface is continuous, it's pretty hard to obtain a good result.

This time I decided to give a go with this airpen:

50175936996_08bf1a1a7a_c.jpg

So here is what I did to make it better.

1) I removed all the white bad paint filling the numbers by putting it in a jar and pouring over some nitro paint thinner. A quick brush removed all that crappy white filler paint.

2) I tried using Vallejo white primer with the aeropen (did 3 or 4 tries) but I wasn't happy with the result... Too thick and "plasticky", the surface was too rough and when I was trying to scrap it away from the surface of the insert it was also partially removing the one inside of the numbers... Plus I hate using water-based paints... They all do that kind of effect, and they are also harder to remove using acetone or strong thinner :( Anyway a base white coat is necessary to have a proper "platinum effect" and not a too dark color when putting the grey, so...

3) ...after putting aside the idea of that primer, I took out from my paint cabinet a spray can of inside/outside solvent based white primer. A couple of tries and finally I got the result I was searching: strong bond with the ceramic (it has been quite hard to remove it from the surface with a razor blade), thin layer, numbers not filled with paint, sharp angles inside the numbers and no plasticky effect when the excess was stripped away. I've no pic of this phase...

4) once the majority of the primer excess on the main insert surface had been removed, I cleaned the insert with a bit of isopropyl alcohol, a micro fibre cloth and compressed air, then I was ready for the color. I used the good old Steel - Flat 1180TT Testor enamel (dilute it with white spirit, acquaragia in Italian) and again my airpen at 1.5kg/cm2 pressure obtaining this intermediate result:

50175935581_f54e8e33d5_c.jpg

50175935891_9bf8bceb6d_c.jpg

5) I let it dry for 2 or 3 hours than again I removed the excess of it with a razor blade and again prepared it with a quick bath of isopropyl alcohol, a micro fibre cloth and compressed air, to have a good dust-free surface for the final step.

6) time to put a bit of clear dull laquer on top, to protect the grey enamel. This time my choice fallen on Testor Dullcote laquer 1160X, diluted with its Testor thinner (it's important for the laquer to use its thinner to avoid "foggy" results). After obtaining a "milk dense" diluted laquer, again I sprayed the insert and this is the temporary result with still the excess to be removed from the insert surface which now looks dull as covered by the laquer:

50175398828_f2ce7bb8a3_c.jpg

Pic on daylight:

50176190287_f3b59fcf2b_c.jpg

Pic on led inside lab led light:

50176191152_fbc6acba11_c.jpg

7) Now I'm going to remove the laquer excess with the razor blade, pass a thin rag-covered finger with some thinner to take away the parts left behind from the razor and, finally, install it on the watch head with 3m insert double glued ring...

Stay tuned for the final result :)

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BlackjackWQ

very nice.

 

So my hobby of building model planes is finally going to come in handy when I whip out the airbrush and paints?

 

This is definitely worth a try with some of the random bezels I have lying around.

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Dr Fun Socks

Thats some great work mate! Results look really good. Unbelievable how bad the stock insert looked haha! We really need clean factory to pull their finger out and get to work on the batman insert. 

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GenTLe
2 hours ago, Dr Fun Socks said:

Results look really good

That wasn't done, yet :)

This below is after:

8) after removal of the 1st dull transparent laquer, I passed another layer, waited a hour or so and removed the excess from that too.

This is the nearly final result: I'm waiting the laquer to cure for at least 10/15 hours before the final touches (i.e. on the nr 10, 12 and 14 there is still a bit of laquer to be peeled away, as like as on the border of the insert), but still, overall, I'm pretty happy with the result!

These are with artificial (LED) illumination and the magnified ones are 10x magnification:

50176565861_a1f016570a_b.jpg

50176801512_b627ab4cb8_b.jpg

50176801522_6d7f193dab_b.jpg

And these in 4PM sun light:

50176009633_0d6c882986_b.jpg

50176009688_09a6461cd7_b.jpg

 

I think it's good enough for me :) And it should also be quite resistant as treatment :)

 

 

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Dr Fun Socks

I made a much less thorough and definitely less good looking job on my batman insert and its lasted well for me. This is the rolls royce of bezel paint jobs :p enjoy the watch mate!

 

My take was just different colour spray paints to see which looked best. All vs standard noob speed bump and usd platinum coat. 
SchI8.jpg
ScAxv.jpg
Sc2dK.jpg
 

https://forum.replica-watch.info/forum/rolex-tudor-replicas/8371672-bezel-insert-‘mod’-experimentation

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Nikosaldente

Looks awesome Alex!

Congrats!

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GenTLe
4 hours ago, BlackjackWQ said:

So my hobby of building model planes is finally going to come in handy when I whip out the airbrush and paints?

Yeah, why not? :)

I'd instead like to give a go to the radiocontrolled aircraft. My father was a flier and a builder of them (and with no model kits: he was using kits from friends and creating stamp with fibreglass and then working with them and fibreglass to build them from scratch, and it was back in 1983...). I tried when I was a teenager but back then there were no sims and the only way to learn is by crashing them... Add this to the fact that everything was damn expensive and it was done...

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GenTLe
18 minutes ago, Dr Fun Socks said:

I made a much less thorough and definitely less good looking job on my batman insert and its lasted well for me. This is the rolls royce of bezel paint jobs :p enjoy the watch mate!

https://forum.replica-watch.info/forum/rolex-tudor-replicas/8371672-bezel-insert-‘mod’-experimentation

Lot of work there in the thread! Congrats!!! Silk one is probably the one I prefer out of those (2nd the marker). And probably also stronger than the marker!

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Dr Fun Socks
29 minutes ago, GenTLe said:

Lot of work there in the thread! Congrats!!! Silk one is probably the one I prefer out of those (2nd the marker). And probably also stronger than the marker!

Yeah the silk one has the best combination of coverage/matte finish of the bunch. Still not even close to what you have achieved here, fair play sir!

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GenTLe

And finally on wrist :)

50180339676_e96bf43dc4_o.jpg

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Ede70

Nice work......Time to Start a Business 

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2hot2trot

Truly fantastic work.  I would be so proud of that achievement. Enjoy! :)

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GenTLe
13 hours ago, Ede70 said:

Nice work......Time to Start a Business 

You know... I thought about that... If I manage to get a set of those good inserts...

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brang1

what an amazing painstaking job, I really admire your skill. If I can't fix it with a chainsaw or a hammer-its in the too hard basket 

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