My first engraved watch (in progress)

teroon

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Apr 3, 2020
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Hi,
SO a while ago I have decided to engrave my first watch. I couldn't decide what to buy and engrave and I didn't want to buy an expensive watch and risk ruining it. So I bought a "blank" on Ali like below.

H6acd21b255674cd2b85ef3555a929169M.jpg

Right now I'm in a process of designing it.
So far I have desgigned a bezel - I'm a bit worried if it is not do complex for the size of bezel (4mm).

a2copy.jpg Now I'm doing the dial, and hopefull next week I will post it here. :)
 

AllenClapp

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That looks to me to be an extremely complicated and intricated design to engrave and inlay in such a small space. You may want to transfer a section of that design to a practice plate and see if you can cut and inlay that intricate, small design before trying to cut the watch. If you can cut and inlay such detail in that small a scale, my hat is off to you. I do not think I will ever get to the point that I could do so. It is a lovely design.
To avoid wasting design time, I would try cutting and inlaying part of this design on a practice plate before you work on the dial. If you need to change this design, that may affect what you do with the dial design.
 

teroon

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Well, to bo honest once I have design it I had a thought that it is too much for such a small space. And I'm worried that even if I will be able to make it it might be to much for a naked eye to see and it will sort of "blend". So yes, I'm definityly going for a practice plate first. :)
 

AllenClapp

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Well, to bo honest once I have design it I had a thought that it is too much for such a small space. And I'm worried that even if I will be able to make it it might be to much for a naked eye to see and it will sort of "blend". So yes, I'm definityly going for a practice plate first. :)
Almost everyone that I know that has engraved a watch has started with a design that was beautiful, but too intricate to cut--and certainly too intricate to cut if they were going to try to make money from engraving a watch. Several have said that they would never engrave a band again, because the effort required priced the work out of the range of available buyers. Also, some choose to engrave the back, but many of those that do will only put a nice border around it and leave room inside for some fancy initials, if the buyer desires. Again, it takes time for which buyers may not be willing to pay.
The side of the watch is another issue. If the side is engraved and if the edges are left sharp, they tend to shred shirt cuffs. If you have a side design that lends itself to some buffing to round sharp edges--AND still looks good--it can be a selling point that the design limits damage to shirt cuffs.
 

teroon

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Almost everyone that I know that has engraved a watch has started with a design that was beautiful, but too intricate to cut--and certainly too intricate to cut if they were going to try to make money from engraving a watch. Several have said that they would never engrave a band again, because the effort required priced the work out of the range of available buyers.
That is good to know. This is a practice engraving watch so I don't know if I even will be thinking about selling it after it is done since it will be a no-name-watch and the buyer would pay only for the engraving. But still, that is good to know.

What do you mean "edges are left sharp"? Like the side of the watch dial near the crown and on the oposite site? How can that be sharp (if that is what you are talking about)
 

AllenClapp

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When you engrave metal with a vee graver, the top edge of each side of the cut is relatively sharp, unless it is rounded a little. This is a two-edged sword. The more the cut lines are buffed to round those edges (1) the longer will be the life of the shirts sleeve cuffs that rub against those edges but (2) the less defined is the look of the engraving. Many years ago, I changed to a new job where I needed to wear dress shirts all the time and had to buy a new bunch of them. Only a couple of months later I discovered that the left cuff was frayed on all of them, which led me to the discovery that the acid in my skin had attacked the plating on the watch that I wore at the time. The plating started to flake off, which caused the side of the watch to be rough enough to abrade the shirts within a few weeks. I lost more $$ in shirts than the cost of a new watch. Needless to say, I have only worn stainless steel watches since that time and I still look at my shirt sleeve cuffs when I put one on. Perhaps I am overly sensitive to the issue. However, I suspect that anyone who had the dough to buy an engraved watch would also wear expensive shirts and might get upset if the watch prematurely retired them. On the other hand, they might only wear that watch on special occasions and might not see the problem occur.
 

papart1

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I love it Allen.......................it'll come out pretty dang nice I'm sure Rob
 

monk

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beware: the watch "blank" my be deceiving when you cut it. it may cut rather easy for you. if you do a quality watch, you'll likely find it very hard to cut.
 

papart1

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I love it tfs. Exceptional layout and design
 
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EngraverHand

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I think you are going a little too detailed on a relatively small watch. I’m afraid that the naked eye can see it a bit untidy.. also some shading of some of the leafs is a little strange.. I’m not with my iPad right now, but some shading looks a bit static and unfinished..

But I know your feeling.. my first watch I went way too small and detailed for the size. Almost impossible to see the flow of the design for the naked eye, but it was a fun challenge and a good learning experience.

I think I would keep design and details a lot less. Some of that inlay will be extremely small and hard to pull off. If it’s a cheap watch, the bezel might not be stainless.. even if they say so :)
 

teroon

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I'm almost sure the bezel engraving will have to be change to something simpler - like a running leaf patter or something simillar. The more I think about it the more I lean to opinion it is too complex, but still I'm gone at least try to engrave it as a flat practice engraving on a practice plate to see how would it turn out.

As for the shading I have some problems with the folding parts and shading near of it and I hope I will be able to correct it in weeks to come.
Thanks for input. :)
 

Andrew Biggs

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Just engrave it. Go hard and make sure you finish it. Don’t be afraid to make a good job……..or a bad one!!!

From that experience you will soon start realising that what you think will work……..may, or may not work in practice.

Don’t bother trying to cut it on a practice plate as the metal and surface contours will be totally different

Watch metal can vary from being great to cut to utterly miserable. And you don’t know till you start cutting. And not all parts cut the same depending on how they were manufactured. And not all watch metals are the same. For instance stainless 316L used on most watches can vary considerably for engraving purposes.

Just accept the fact that as this is your first watch it will be a very steep learning curve.

You will learn more from making mistakes and butchering your first watch than you will from any advise we can give you.

When you have finished it then put it away in a drawer and start another. From there you will know what works and what doesn’t work.

It’s all part of the learning curve

And on it goes :)

Cheers
Andrew
 

jswanswan

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Actually, Andrew's advice also speaks to a completely unrelated project on my bench. Thank you
 

teroon

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Design done. I'm not very happy about few things but then again I never am. So just finished it and time to cut. :)
 

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