Step 0. We order your watch from Apple to be sent directly to us for plating. If available from one of our local Apple Outlets, we pick up locally to save time.
Once received, we unbox and record the serial number of your watch into our data base for tracking. It is placed in a fully-lined suede tray throughout our process to prevent scratches or nicks.
We run a full diagnostic on your Apple Watch to make sure it is fully functional—including the speakers and microphone.
The straps and the buckle of the watch are disassembled from the watch case.
We inspect your watch for any surface cosmetic issues. Since the plating process does not conceal scratches or scuffs, this is an important step. About 40% of the new Apple watches that we receive have some surface scratches that need to be removed. Most of the time they are not noticed by the customer, but we see them.
We have developed a special polishing process using a compound that remove all scratches and leaves the surface of your watch looking like a mirror. Once polished, they are “dry cleaned” to remove any other contaminants or oils. We avoid any type of traditional cleaning methods commonly used in the jewelry industry such as hot steam cleaning or ultrasonic cleaners to prevent any damage to the watch microphone and speaker systems.
Your Apple watch now enters our plating area for processing. This area is used for processing of our luxury plating of fine watches and jewelry. The staff who work in this area have a combined experience of 45 years and are formally trained in applied electrochemistry, electroplating principles and 3-D printing. Internally, we call this part of our studio “The Orchard”.
Depending on the type of decorative finish you’ve selected, your Apple Watch undergoes a series of plating steps that take about 50-70 minutes each to complete and includes a longer curing period for one of the steps.
No nickel or harsh chemistry is used to plate your Apple Watch. We probably are one of the few shops in the U.S who avoid the use of nickel to “activate” the stainless steel watch case prior to gold plating. See our article on Nickel Rash.
Once your watch case and the strap hardware are plated, they are returned to their suede trays and are forwarded to the inspection area for final quality review and then final assembly. A final diagnostic check of the watch is conducted to ensure that it is fully functional. We also check to ensure that the serial number of the watch matches the decorative finish on your account.
The Apple Watch is moved to the shipping area and shipped back to you. We offer a 3-business day turn-around for all Apple Watches once they arrive at our location.
The Alchemy of our exclusive 3-D pulse-plating process has many steps and involves limited DOD patent licsencing agreements, but is summarized in this declassified outline:
- Metallic Space Gel-x™ application (type specific to each precious metal family and color)
- Electro-chemical Activation
- Computerized impulse Laser metallic bonding
- Final polishing
Some early history:
On April 24th, the Apple watches we ordered arrived via UPS at 9:33 am. By noon the very first gold plated Apple watch in the correct 18kt gold color was completed and photographed by our joint team from The Time Preserve and Metal Arts Specialties.
The Apple watches also arrived at customers doors on April 24th. The following Monday April 27th,
Nine (9) Apple watches arrived at our premises for gold plating. Since that time we have plated about several dozen stainless steel Apple watches, 90% of the Apple watches were 18kt gold plated to match the Apple Edition. The remaining 10% is evenly split between 18kt Rose gold and our Rhodium white gold finish.
The customer feedback has been amazing with regard to the overall quality and color match of the 18kt yellow gold plating our team provided for their Apple watches.