Dial Cleaning Solutions?

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Dial Cleaning Solutions?

#1 Post by Gabe » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:11 am

My old watch repair guy has a dried out bottle of a Dial Cleaning Solution from the 40's that we used to lightly clean a tarnished silvered dial.

We used a q-tip rubbed in the dried bottom of this little jar to pick up whatever remnants were in the jar, and managed to clean around the radium numbers without disturbing them.

He thinks it was a benzene and potassium cyanide solution. It certainly smelled like it could put you in an altered state :lol: , but it had evidently dried out long ago.

He swears that it would clean a white dial without staining it, but said we could also try deionized water to get rid of stubborn adhesions.

I see that Zenith Solutions (https://www.zenithsolutions.net) makes a number of different watch cleaning solvents.

Has anyone successfully used anything like this to clean schmutz off a watch dial without further staining or destroying it?

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Re: Dial Cleaning Solutions?

#2 Post by GreenBayStamps » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:08 am

I use Coleman camping fluid, (White Gas). I’m not exactly sure what it technically is.

You can use a small brush or pull the dial and dip it. It evaporates quickly and has worked for me.
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Re: Dial Cleaning Solutions?

#3 Post by Gabe » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:56 pm

FWIW, the solution my watch guy used is D'Arcy Dial Cleaner.

If anyone has seen one available, please let me know.

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Re: Dial Cleaning Solutions?

#4 Post by JerseyMo » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:20 pm

No magic bullet here - given the age of the bottle it may have been intended for porcelain dials only which were much more common in that era.
Given that many dials have a varnish or clear coat type finish, using a solvent is not a good idea.

I most often swab a dial with Rodico to lift off dirt and grime. But in doing so I know that even this may result in some level of unintended erasing of dial printing or finish.
“Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. But, until that day, accept this justice as a gift”

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