My girlfriend bought a cheap-but-chic watch (a Peugeot 705) that she likes a lot. Unfortunately, the crystal wasn't glued in place very well, and she suddenly noticed that the hands and face were exposed. We found the crystal, and I used my old standby: SuperGlue. Bad, bad idea!

Take a fool's advice, by the way: you don't want to use CA glue in a visible/transparent setting where the vapor can't escape as it cures. I didn't make the connection, but this is how they "raise" latent prints on all those police-procedural TV shows. Basically, the inside of the crystal is now coated in an acrylic fog, with a partial thumbprint in the top right. There's a fairly clear area in the center, through which I can see that the watch is still running and actually keeping good time.

So now I want to take the crystal back off so I can clean it... but since SuperGlue is fairly tough stuff, I'm having difficulties. I used an X-Acto knife to scrape out the excess from the outside groove, and I've (sparingly) used acetone-based nail polish remover in that groove... but the crystal remains firmly in place.

The watch body is stainless steel, so it's fairly tough; the crystal is... uh, crystal? I don't know, really. Not acrylic, anyway. My main concern is damaging the works and/or the face.

The watch itself probably cost $50 or less, so it's mostly pride on the line, not money... that and domestic tranquility, which is priceless.

  • Off topic. This site is about home improvement, not jewelry. – Niall C. May 14 '11 at 21:27
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    a) there isn't a StackExchange site for jewelry. b) Pretty sure that the problem of removing SuperGlue from crevices without damaging the underlying mechanism comes up in home improvement, too. I could reformat the question to appease your sensibilities, or you could 1) use your imagination, and try to actually answer the question or 2) leave it alone for someone else to answer. I await your suggestion. – MT_Head May 14 '11 at 22:18
  • I concur with Niall. Letting off topic questions through will degrade the DIY name. Even if just a contextual change, I'd make one for the sake of conforming to the FAQ, which you should read. BTW if you want a Jewelry stack site head over to area 51 and make one! – allindal May 15 '11 at 4:59

The only times I've ever pulled off superglue were when it was used on the surface, not blind like in your situation. For that purpose, we would add a little acetone and scrape it off with a dental pick. The problem you have is that you've got a bunch of superglue that the acetone can't get to (because it's under the edge of the crystal).

Unfortunately, for this situation, unless you can get the acetone to wick under and attack the superglue under the edge, I think you're probably done. The best you can try is to put some acetone at the superglued points on the crystal and then pry at it with a dental pick. Other than that, I think you don't have any options.

In this instance, I think domestic harmony can probably be preserved by you replacing the watch. And don't forget to apologize for botching the repair. That will help too.

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  • I'll try that - I bought some dental picks at Harbor Freight (the happiest place on earth, if you ask me!) a while ago. I'll try to find some purer acetone, too... the stuff my beloved uses is purple and not very stinky; I find I have my doubts as to its strength. As for the apology thing... oh yes. – MT_Head May 15 '11 at 2:16

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