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  1. #1
    Registered User Colin Drake's Avatar
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    Default Wondering what oil Hermle uses? Problems with newer Hermle movements.

    I have always been a little apprehensive about dealing with Hermle movements in any way whatsoever. It has been very difficult to trust my own work and do a lasting repair, so instead, we tend to opt for replacing them if anything serious is wrong. Unfortunately, even that option now seems to be questionable. A while ago, we took in a small wall clock. It a was fairly cheap clock, wood case with printed burl and a big "HERMLE" printed on the dial. I assumed it was probably from around the early 2000's or so. When it came time to work on it, I saw that it was a Z movement. Three years old.



    A close inspection revealed a red gunk in many of the pivot holes. This was composed entirely of two things. Thick coagulated oil, and rust. I have seen lots of rust in pivot holes in the past, but this was different. Ordinarily, you will find that the pivot in question has taken on a very high shine where ever the wear has occurred, and it will be in grooves traveling all along the circumference of the pivot. This will tend to result in very little wear of the brass pivot hole.


    In the Hermle, the pivots were etched rather than worn, and that made them very rough. I documented it very closely and took many pictures, and I lost everything when my SD card bit the dust. What I remember is this:

    -About one half of the pivot holes contained red.
    -About third had noticeably thicker oil.
    -Four or five had the oil harden completely.
    -Several pivot holes contained a gummy green oil without any red.

    -Nearly all pivot holes that showed red had at least a small amount of wear.
    -Three pivot holes needed bushings.

    -Any pivots in the holes that contained red had lost their polish (if they had any to begin with), taking on a darker cloudy finish.
    -Pivots in the in the holes with hardened oil had taken on the same finish, but had deeper veining that was visible under a loupe.
    -One of the #2 wheel pivots, a newer tool steel insert had a fair bit of grooving that was much more like the usual pivot wear than the etching that the other pivots had.
    -Plating had bubbled up on the chime hammer lifting wheel pivot, causing flaking and wear. I believe this also happened to at least two of the barrel arbors as well.

    Unrelated to the oil problem, the barrels had quite a bit of wear on all barrels, as well as the arbors that run in the back steel plate. Lately, these tend to need replacing after about ten years or so, although I have seen them run for as long as thirty years between replacements running with a seemingly impossible 1/16" worth of play. Also, as has been consistent with these later Hermle movements, all the gear teeth were covered with black gunk.

    Understand that this clock came right from the Hermle factory. The movement was mounted in a much newer method, ruling out the possibility that it might have been a replacement. simply removing and installing the movement required the aid of a three armed yoga instructor with some specialty nut drivers. I highly doubt that this clock was in any way tampered with by any retailer or owner, so it is a pretty safe bet that the oil in question came from the factory.


    I had assumed that all this was probably the result of some factory employee leaving his sweaty fingerprints all over the pivots.
    Today, I went to replace another movement. Upon examining the new movement, I found green, gummy oil in several pivot holes.



    What I really want to know is what oil they are currently using? I am worried because last I was aware, they were using Etsyntha, the same oil that I use.
    I am also wondering if this is a consistent problem. I don't see many newer movements, so I am not really able to draw much of a conclusion from all this.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Wondering what oil Hermle uses? Problems with newer Hermle movements. (By: Colin Drake)

    They used 'nano' oil for a while. I don't know the exact year span. Hermle is sort of an ongoing experiment as I see it. There is very little overall consistency. Some seem to do well, others don't. Red tints are usually bronze dust or rust.
    Willie X

  3. #3

    Default Re: Wondering what oil Hermle uses? Problems with newer Hermle movements. (By: Colin Drake)

    This is this is a result of a bad batch of nano oil. The reddish color is copper oxide been pulled out from the brass. Hermle has since changed back to using the 859 oil.

  4. #4
    Registered User Colin Drake's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wondering what oil Hermle uses? Problems with newer Hermle movements. (By: MARK A. BUTTERWORTH)

    Quote Originally Posted by MARK A. BUTTERWORTH View Post
    This is this is a result of a bad batch of nano oil. The reddish color is copper oxide been pulled out from the brass. Hermle has since changed back to using the 859 oil.
    I understand what you are saying, but under magnification, the pivots were clearly etched, which means that the iron must have been doing the reacting. Pivots in holes without any red had a normal surface, rather that the rougher, darker finish. The bubbling plating was also proof that there was a reaction with the steel underneath. Copper oxide is always going to be be green, dark green, or black when mixed with fine brass particles. I have never seen red in a pivot hole that did not indicate the formation of iron oxide.

    The pivot etching was not consistent throughout the movement, so it was probably caused by a foreign contaminate. Unless this becomes a reoccurring problem, like the plated pivots, I don't find it to be too much of a concern. What worries me is the brand new AD movement that has green, coagulated oil right out of the factory. The oil isn't hard yet, but it is clearly thick and chunky, and I am going to have to clean a brand new movement before I can even install it.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Wondering what oil Hermle uses? Problems with newer Hermle movements. (By: Colin Drake)

    Like I said, we're part of the big experiment! Copper (I) oxide is red. Copper (II) oxide is very dark brown to black. Throw in an acidic reaction (Chlorides or Sulfides) and you get the beautiful greens and blues. Add a second metal like nickel, tin, or silver and the reactions get very complex. Like who knows? Maybe nobody ...
    Maybe the nano diamonds swelled up on ya!
    If it's less than 4 years old you may be able to get some sort of adjustment. Mark will know.
    Willie X

  6. #6

    Default Re: Wondering what oil Hermle uses? Problems with newer Hermle movements. (By: Colin Drake)

    If I am following this correctly, I believe you are talking about two different clock movements . One has a date code is Z which is four years old and one has a date code of AD which is a new movement. The first question is, did you purchase the movements from us? If so and you have an issue with the AD, then there is no question it will be replaced or repaired by the factory. We do not expect anyone to clean a new unit. The four year old unit is being dealt with on a case by case basis as it is out of the 3 year warranty period. If we were not your supplier, then you will need to contact your supplier.

  7. #7
    Registered User Colin Drake's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wondering what oil Hermle uses? Problems with newer Hermle movements. (By: Willie X)

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie X View Post
    Like I said, we're part of the big experiment! Copper (I) oxide is red. Copper (II) oxide is very dark brown to black. Throw in an acidic reaction (Chlorides or Sulfides) and you get the beautiful greens and blues. Add a second metal like nickel, tin, or silver and the reactions get very complex. Like who knows? Maybe nobody ...
    Maybe the nano diamonds swelled up on ya!
    If it's less than 4 years old you may be able to get some sort of adjustment. Mark will know.
    Willie X
    Thank you for then clarification. I had never herd that about copper.
    Quote Originally Posted by MARK A. BUTTERWORTH View Post
    If I am following this correctly, I believe you are talking about two different clock movements . One has a date code is Z which is four years old and one has a date code of AD which is a new movement. The first question is, did you purchase the movements from us? If so and you have an issue with the AD, then there is no question it will be replaced or repaired by the factory. We do not expect anyone to clean a new unit. The four year old unit is being dealt with on a case by case basis as it is out of the 3 year warranty period. If we were not your supplier, then you will need to contact your supplier.
    Thanks. Jim buys his movements from several suppliers based on what he needs, so at this time, I don't really know where the new movement came from.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Wondering what oil Hermle uses? Problems with newer Hermle movements. (By: Colin Drake)

    Another one Joined the club...

    Hermle ain't what they used to be...
    Matthias in B.C.

    inhoffclocks.com
    -------------------

  9. #9

    Default Re: Wondering what oil Hermle uses? Problems with newer Hermle movements. (By: matthiasi)

    What is?
    1. Check out the Repair Hints & How-To's forum. You may find your answer there.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Wondering what oil Hermle uses? Problems with newer Hermle movements. (By: bangster)

    There has been quite a bit of discussion about Etsyntha oil reacting poorly with other oils. Some of us are in the habit of oiling all new movements for security, and it's possible that the person who ordered the movements did that. I have not seen a reaction with the oil I use, but if the purchaser used an oil that reacts chemically with the Etsyntha oil, it could explain what you are seeing.
    A man with a clock always knows the time. A man with two clocks is never sure.

  11. #11
    Registered user. kinsler33's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wondering what oil Hermle uses? Problems with newer Hermle movements. (By: shutterbug)

    Quote Originally Posted by shutterbug View Post
    There has been quite a bit of discussion about Etsyntha oil reacting poorly with other oils. Some of us are in the habit of oiling all new movements for security, and it's possible that the person who ordered the movements did that. I have not seen a reaction with the oil I use, but if the purchaser used an oil that reacts chemically with the Etsyntha oil, it could explain what you are seeing.
    I see only two kinds of newer mechanical clock movements, to wit: Hermle/Keinenger/Howard Miller/Whoever chiming grandfather and carriage clock movements and Regula cuckoo movements. Both come with literature, either printed or stamped into the brass, recommending Etsyntha 859 oil which, along with its price, makes me suspicious of the stuff to begin with. Some of the Howard Miller pamphlets, which can be interesting to read if you're bored on a grandfather clock house call, caution at considerable length that this special oil is only available to factory-authorized Howard Miller authorized technicians, etc.

    I fixed consumer electronics full-time from 1968 to 1989, from 8-track tape players through the great stereo craze through CD players. (CB radio and quadraphonic was in there somewhere, too.) Suffice it to say that I understand how factory-authorization works which, albeit irrationally, makes me additionally suspicious of Etsyntha 859 oil. I've seen both cuckoo clocks and grandfather clocks gummed up with the magical oil. It really solidifies nicely, not unlike an old New Haven that came in a number of years after it was lubricated with Mazola corn oil.

    My Nye synthetic clock oil, which was originally formulated as an instrument oil (i.e. for analog aircraft altimeters and such) seems pretty safe.

    Full disclosure: I once succumbed to advertising and purchased a rather large bottle of Nano-oil, which proved no more oily than anything else. Maybe it'll restore my lost youth if I drink it.

    M Kinsler
    512 East Mulberry Street; Lancaster, Ohio USA 740-503-1973; kinsler33@gmail.com
    http://www.lancastereaglegazette.com/search/kinsler/

  12. #12
    Registered User Colin Drake's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wondering what oil Hermle uses? Problems with newer Hermle movements. (By: kinsler33)

    Yes. I also purchased nano oil, only to find out that not even Hermle would use it.

    I opened the movement myself, so any oiling would have had to have been done by the distributor

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