Restoration: Getra Art Deco

 In Watchmaking

I had this Getra art deco watch on the bench. It’s a German brand from Pforzheim. It runs ok (especially for a movement this old) but it was in a sorry state. The sub second hand was missing, the hour hand and minute hand had lost some lume and the crystal was frosted with scratches. I decided to restore it.

Getra

Getra art deco in a rough shape

Movement

The movement is a PUW 500 with 15 jewels. Nice to mention is that it’s actually PUW’s first movement. It runs with a high amplitude (230 degrees) with a rate of +6 sec per day. I’d date this movement and therefore the watch to be from the 1940s.

Getra

PUW 500

Normally, I don’t like to work on the dial and hands. Patina and signs of use are part of the charm of vintage watches, at least that’s how I feel. However, when there are large chunks of lume missing I think it’s better to refill the hands. These older watches contain radium on the dial and in the hands. It’s radioactive so be very careful if you decide to work on these older watches.

To remove the remaining original lume I put on some dispensable gloves and a face mask. I soaked the hands in alcohol and afterward I scraped the lume out of the hands with a cocktail stick. Be sure to throw away the face mask and the mask and wash your hands.

To match the dial, I mix a standard “natural” lume with another lume, in this case, a yellow/brown one.

Getra

I like this lume because it’s already mixed

I place the hands upside down on two rolls of painter’s tape. The tape is sticky enough to hold the hands but you can still easily take the hands off when you’re finished. I apply the lume with an old oiler. I do one layer and then let it dry before applying the next, normally I apply 3 layers.

Getra

After the 1st layer

Reassembly

After the lume had dried I fitted them back and found a sub-second in gold color to match. The crystal was in a bad shap but luckily it could be polished. I started with sandpaper grit 800, then 1200, 1500 and 2000. Finally, I polished it with a cloth and some Brasso.

Getra

Ready to be enjoyed again for years to come

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