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Dissolve Steel Screw and NOT Gold in a Watch

Q. I have a broken screw stuck in the screw hole of a rose-gold pusher of a watch. I believe my best option to be dissolving the screw with alum. Anyone know if this will affect the gold? If yes, is there a specific way to dilute/boil the alum to make it only affect the screw and not the gold?

Joe Stone
- Chicago Illinois
April 10, 2023

Miniature Screw Extractors

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A. Hi Joe. I think the chances of not ruining the watch with a liquid which is capable of dissolving steel is very small. And rose gold is not pure 24K gold, so it is more susceptible to corrosion. Do you have good reason to think it's made of gold rather than just plated with gold, and that the screw is steel rather than corrosion-resistant stainless steel?

If this were a large bolt you probably wouldn't consider trying to dissolve it in acid, you'd probably plan on removing it with an easy-out. I know watch components are very small, but I'm not sure that means that an easy-out becomes a less workable solution. Good luck.

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. Vissain is your answer. I believe made in France. Exactly what it was made for.
Hope everything goes well.

Monney Patrick
- Montreal
May 25, 2023

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