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  1. #1
    Registered user. rjbeck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    RTP-North Carolina

    Default Can you Lubricate a watch without taking it apart?

    Hi, Being a relatively new collector to pocket watches and vintage wrist watches is it possible to lubricate a pocket or wrist watch without disassembly, Except for the removal of the movement from it's case. Thank You. RB. (VWC)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Can you Lubricate a watch without taking it apart? (By: rjbeck)

    Possible? yes...

    Is it the CORRECT or BEST way... NO

    others will elaborate... and this has been discussed before

    also ask in the Watch Repair Forum.....

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can you Lubricate a watch without taking it apart? (By: rjbeck)

    Best thing to remember in watch repairing.
    There are no shortcuts!
    Brian C.
    Brian C.
    Chapter 149 Member

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can you Lubricate a watch without taking it apart? (By: rjbeck)


    Shortcuts always seem like they work for awhile..Just remember that when you add oil to dirt it becomes a better Abrasive.. wearing down those really small pivots really Fast....Most people that oil without cleaning can get the movement apart alright, but cannot get it back together again..Start with a proper cleaning and the watch will last another 200 years..

  5. #5

    Default Re: Can you Lubricate a watch without taking it apart? (By: rjbeck)

    There are people who use a combination cleaner-oiler as you have suggested. We do not have nice words for such people. It is like dipping your car engine in a mixture of gasoline and oil and calling it an overhaul.

    When we clean a watch we take apart all moving pieces, about 50 of the 150 parts. We clean it in a ultrasonic or mechanical bath with a cleaning solution followed by up to three rinses. Once the parts are dry we inspect them all to make sure they are clean, there are no broken jewel, warn or bent pivots and so on. We use a sharp piece of pegwood to clean the holes in the jewels, because agitating solution is not enough even with the watch in parts. Then we put it together and oil it using a micro-drop of oil in the pivots. If too much oil is used, then the oil will have a path to migrate away from the pivot. Image what it woud be like if the whole plate was oiled? Then we time the watch on a timing machine in several postions and see if it is keeping time appropriate to the grade. We make any necessary adjustments. Finally we run the watch several days in various positions to make sure it will keep running. A good watchmaker will then stand behind the overhaul for several months or even a year.

    I just wrote an obituary for a friend who died recently. He worked at Hamilton Watch Company for many years. One of his former bosses said of him "He never took shortcuts, he never lied, he never stole and he was always there for you." In the watchmaking world, taking shortcuts is up there with lying and stealing.


  6. #6

    Default Re: Can you Lubricate a watch without taking it apart? (By: rjbeck)

    As someone who hasn't been doing this for too long the challenge I always have is getting the right points on the pegwood for cleaning out holes - that and putting the correct amount of oil.


  7. #7
    Registered user. Kevin W.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Nepean, Ontario, Canada
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Can you Lubricate a watch without taking it apart? (By: rjbeck)

    Also after you peg the jewel holes and other holes, you need to make sure there is no peg wood left in.
    My problem is to oil with just the right amount of oil.I do oiling under magnification as well.
    Yes without taking the movement apart is like washing your feet with your socks on.Your feet are not really clean after.
    One clock at a time. Kevin West

  8. #8

    Default Re: Can you Lubricate a watch without taking it apart? (By: rjbeck)

    To put in the right amount of oil, we have a set of Swiss flat tip oilers of different sizes. Touch the appropriate oiler to the oil in an oil cup and then touch the oiler to the well between the jewel and pivot. With pocket watches, most of this is done with the blue oiler (next to smallest). For very small pivots, the black (smallest) oiler is enough. The red and the green oilers are used for clock oil on the barrel arbor and such large pivots. When in doubt, use the smaller oiler and then look for a ring of oil around the pivot. You can always add more, but it is harder to remove an excess. Note, different companies use different colors for their small, medium and large oilers.

    Yes, we all break the tip of peg wood off in the hole from time to time. I usually can remove it by putting a small piece of Rodico on the flat end of the the peg wood and pushing it into the jewel hole. When I remove the Rodico, the small piece of peg wood usually comes with the Rodico. I also have a very fine needle made from a black oiler that I once broke the tip off of. It is stoned to a very sharp point. If the Rodico trick does not work, I push the peg wood out with it.


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