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Explanation of Goldfill & Gold Plating on Pulsar Watches

 
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Kennedy Tower
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:48 pm    Post subject: Explanation of Goldfill & Gold Plating on Pulsar Watches Reply with quote

Hi All,

There seems to be a misconception between goldplated and gold fill,I had a discussion with some supposed experts at an Antique watch fare.
The dealers were adament that Pulsar used 40 microns of G.F. I vaguely remembered reading somewere that Pulsar used 80 microns of G.F. as standard.

In order to clear up this myth with can you please clarify exactly how much G.F. microns were used as standard on all Pulsar watches, a full explanation would be helpfull and informatice including the difference between gold plated and gold fill.

Appreciate expert advice on this important issue as it European collectors are not fully aware of the gold content or how G.F. is applied.

Thank you,
KENNEDY TOWER
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oldpulsars
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was some earlier discussion some time ago on this subject. Here's the link: http://oldpulsars.brinkster.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=95

I strongly suggest anyone that hasn't read that post (and those that have) to please revisit it.
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Last edited by oldpulsars on Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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oldpulsars
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The gold-fill process to make a watch case is a very unique and specialized process. Back in the 70's, Star Watch Case Co. was the largest case manufacture in the world that specialized in gold-filled cases.

Because the gold had to be 1/20th by weight to use the GF Mark, Time Computer used the heaviest case (the P3 design) and gauged the GF content by that. Turns out, 80 microns was the MOST they would need for any case. Star Watch Case laminated sheets with 80 microns of gold to be used on all GF Pulsar cases. There are many models, like the P4 Classic that weigh much less than the P3 Date Command. Because it is a very complicated and expensive process, it would have been costly to make different sheets with different thicknesses of gold for all the different Pulsar models. The result of this is that some models have more gold (by weight) than would be needed to qualify for the use of the GF mark.

I cut a case in half a while back to see what it would reveal. In the picture below, you can see the yellow base metal alloy (fools gold), then a layer of nickel under the 80 microns of 14k solid gold. To put this in perspective, if this were plated, you would not see any gold layer at all. Sorry, you won't be able to "Click to Enlarge" the picture until I post it on the main website.

The picture on the top-right has not been altered but for presentation purposes, I use a solid colored line to enhance the area of the gold in the lower-left photo. Notice that the gold filled layer ends at the threads on one end and under the time screen on the other end.


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Last edited by oldpulsars on Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:36 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Kennedy Tower
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:37 am    Post subject: EXPLANATION OF GOLDFILL AND GOLD PLATING PULSAR WATCHES Reply with quote

Hi,

Well I guess your detailed explanation could not be any clearer than that, thank you for expertise, very interesting the diagram of cutting the case to determine the amount of gold fill, that certainly is a first. I am not ashamed to admit that I honestly did not know the complexity of this process let alone understand it. I am sure there a lot of other people in the same position. I guess the motto if you don't ask you wont know.

Your reply will clear up the mystery for once and for all and thank you for sharing it with us.

Many thanks.

KARNAK
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sasqwatch
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:14 pm    Post subject: Re: EXPLANATION OF GOLDFILL AND GOLD PLATING PULSAR WATCHES Reply with quote

Kennedy Tower wrote:
I guess the motto is if you don't ask you wont know.



yea, i think you are right. i saw the same question elsewhere and no answer. anyway, i have a few of the hamilton led watches with the same movement but the back indicates "rolled gold". so i guess this is the same method. i have seen "gold clad" somewhere too. so i guess i am asking for more info.
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oldpulsars
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The manufacturing process for both are the same so that would be a common assumption. Typically, "Rolled Gold", "Rolled Gold Plate" and "Gold Overlay" are of a lesser quality. To use the "R.G.", "R.G.P." or "Gold Overlay" mark, gold by weight is typically less as it has a lesser standard if disclosed. The typical lesser fraction is 1/40th but could be much thinner. In the case of the Hamilton cases, where marked 1/40th, there is only 50% the gold of a Pulsar or Omega, plus the gold is only 10k. If you see the R.G.P., R.G or Gold Overlay mark without the fraction of gold, it would have to be, by law, 1/20th. Gold Filled has a minimum of 1/20th. As for "clad", I don't think I have seen that term used for watches but I have seen it used for jewelry. Funny, "Clad" would be a more accurate description than "Filled", IMO.

Most of the early single-button Hamilton cases were Gold Plated and can not be repolished -- replating is the only real option. There are some early 10k Gold Filled P2 cases but according to FTC guidelines, to use the G.F. mark (regardless of the karat) the gold must be 1/20th by weight.

I should mention that the Federal Trade Commission sets these standards and they are for the "Total Weight" of the case -- this would include the gold itself. I have no information as to how thick the gold is on the Hamilton cases.

Like a lot of things we find on the internet, there is misinformation. This is the case if you research "Gold Fill". To settle any argument, here's a link to the FTC guidelines: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/jewel-gd.shtm . . . . You'll find the G.F. guidelines in Chapter 23.4, section C, paragraph 3.
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