Polishing a plexiglass

Polishing a plexiglass … Not as scary as it sounds

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Polishing a plexiglass

Last week I had a discussion with a customer about a mark that had appeared on the plexiglass plastic lens of his vintage Rolex.

As the mark wasn’t very deep I advised that he should polish the plexi with some toothpaste on a clean cloth – good advice incidentally if you find yourself in the same situation – he was uncomfortable with that because he was worried about damaging his watch further, so I described the process that I would follow if the watch was mine – a far more scary thing altogether…

By sheer coincidence, the next day I knocked the plexi of my own 1968 Rolex GMT Master on a door handle and marked it and I thought I would share with you the steps that I followed to remove the scratch.

In the first and second photos you can see the watch in its damaged state with a shallow scratch over the ‘E’ and ‘X’ of ‘Rolex’

  • First I carefully removed the bezel to avoid accidentally damaging it during the polishing and to make the process of masking up easier.
  • Once the valuable bezel is carefully tucked away I masked up the watch case with plastic insulating tape to protect the surface of the steel so I didn’t have to worry about scratching it.
  • Now for the scary bit – It’s time for some 1200 grit wet and dry paper and a little water. This is the best way to remove the mark but it also turns the whole plexi a milky colour because of the thousands of tiny scratches you’ve just put all over it – it looks like the whole thing is ruined.
  • Everything begins to look better¬†once I apply a little metal polish on a soft cloth to remove the tiny scratches and restore the shine on the surface of the plastic.
  • The metal polish won’t get the shine really clear though because it’s slightly too abrasive so I use a specialist plexi polishing compound like Polywatch to get the final result.
  • I remove the tape, carefully replace the bezel and we’re good as new.

Incidentally once my customer heard the extent that I go to, the toothpaste didn’t sound quite so harsh after all and he tried it himself with great success:-)

Of course this piece isn’t intended as a guide for you if you scratch your plexi and I wouldn’t recommend that you undertake this process yourself. ¬†However, having seen what it will endure, hopefully you might feel confident enough to use the toothpaste remedy should you need to.

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