Titanium Scratch Removal
Having seen and participated in so many posts here and elsewhere on this subject (saw another one in TZ today), the curiosity had to get the better of me and it did. I kept thinking about it in bed last night and being a trained Engineering professional went through a deduction process, starting with the properties of Titanium and etc. etc. Having convinced myself it had to be possible, I got up at midnight, picked up my PAM0061 and looked for an ink eraser and some ultra-fine modelling grit paper. I experimented on the crown bridge figuring that at worst, this could be replaced entirely, rather than the case itself. I used the ink eraser first as it was the least aggressive, and it worked so remarkably well that I just kept with it (did not use grit paper). Surface scratches, minor dings and nicks were removeable. I proceeded with the rest of the watch and 5 hours later, I was holding in my hand a fully restored PAM0061! I developed a technique to finish off the surfaces so that there were no color differences between the oxidized and fresh surfaces. It did not alter the finish of the watch at all. True: Showed it to my wife who was aware of the scratches and nicks, and she thought I bought a new watch. Well, I did later in the day but that's a different story - see other post.
So, at least I have answered this question for myself and am well pleased with the results. There must be more elegant and professional ways than mine, which have been somewhat elusive (trade secret?). Time and patience is the real key here for good results, and I think this is why no service center will do it. Not sure why they don't just say that.
That's the story then, but for details read on.
I am providing the process of what I did, but the usual caveats and disclaimers must apply. I am sharing my personal experience (and NOT providing advice or instructions) on the Titanium finish that is found on the Panerai Luminor Marina Titanium PAM0061 and therefore cannot be responsible for any misdemeanors. I was also afraid I might be breaking Forum rules here, but I read it again and it didn't seem to be so (and Guy may correct me or censor this as appropriate)
Tools: B&L 5X Eye Loupe, Ink Eraser (blue), soft toothbrush, Cadie jewelry cloth, hair blower.
1. Cleaned watch (straps removed) using toothbrush with water and mild LIQUID hand soap.
2. Dried watch with hair blower.
3. Rubbed damaged surface using eraser with light pressure, in the direction of the brush finish.
4. Routinely inspected the defect with eye loupe on progress. Important as this helped me learn what it takes and does! Patience, patience, patience.....I found that more pressure doesn't mean faster but slowly got the feel of the optimum pressure with routine inspection with eye loupe.
5. Regularly cleaned debris from surface with fingers and tissue paper.
6. I set the standard of "good enough" when not visible to naked eye at 6 inches, and barely or not visible with 5X.
7. When finished, washed the watch again with toothbrush in water and mild LIQUID hand soap. Dried using hair blower.
8. Cleaned watch with "light cloth", which evens out the color of the surfaces, polish with "dark cloth" per instructions of the Cadie Jewelry Cloth (many other similar "two piece" jewelry cloths).
1. Surface color becomes lighter in areas which are being worked, but this is removing the Ti-oxide layer. It does re-oxidize fairly quickly, and the color pretty much evens out after clean and polish with jewelry cloth. In fact, the color on my watch now is more even than its ever been.
2. After completing the 44mm PAM0061, I had used up about 2mm of the eraser edge. Did not use much then, and I found a light pressure sufficient, and there is an optimum which I eventually got the feel of. Regular eye loupe inspection and PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE.
3. I removed about 8 minor nicks/dings and 3 surface scratches in about 4 hours.
Now did I say something about patience?