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Is this a good way to clean a Quartz movement?

Cleaning the a watch movement

Watches accumulate over time dust and small metal debris inside the movement. All watches have a friction fit to allow you to change the time while the movement is running. If there is oil on that friction fit then the movement will not be able to drive the watch hands any more properly. The friction fit will slip and the time will be off. A quartz watch that is off by several minutes per week has usually mechanical problems, not eclectic problems. 

Quartz movements are more simple in their mechanical design. They have very few cog wheels and it's easy to get to them. This open design does often allow you to wash the movement in lighter fluid without taking it apart. 
 

lighter-fluid-to-clean-watch-movement_th.jpg 
Lighter fluid to clean watch movments.



To clean a quartz watch you just take the movement out of the case, dip it in a small bowl with lighter fluid and move it a bit left and right to allow for the flow of lighter fluid through the movement. This will wash old oil, debris and dust out of the movement and you will find small particles at the bottom of the bowl.

I have installed a new battery just a few month ago and now the watch needs again a new one

If you are sure that the battery is was of good quality then this is probably a sign of oil in the movement getting old and sticky. The friction in the movement has increased. 

An easy way to fix this is to first apply a bit of very thin Moebius quartz oil. After that you wait a few days (watch running) until the oil got into all the pivot holes where it dissolved the old and sticky oil. Finally you wash the excess oil away with lighter fluid. Just wash the entire movement in lighter fluid. Traces of oil will remain in the movement and that is enough. You don't need to take the movement apart for this procedure.

    

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I would say no.

Dipping the movement complete is a bad idea.

Quartz watches have many plastic parts in them that may react badly to lighter fluid, also it will not clean the pivots correctly.

I personally think that pretty much everthying above is bad advise.

Quartz watches still need to be dismantled to clean and oil correctly.

Maybe if its a $2 watch and its not worth the time to service it correctly and you just hope to get a few more months out of it the above might be worth trying, but other than that I advise against using teh above cleaning instructions.

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Tmuir, I heard the fluid may actually hurt the circuitry, in some cases the movement will run  but drains the battery within a few months. What is your thought on that.

The very few quartz movements I have overhauled, it is been complete tear down, brushed parts in friendly fluids and oiled as if mechanical. The result have offcourse been to my satisfaction. But wouldn,t that defeat the idea of quartz accuracy and no repair pain? Or is no repair my overexpectation.

Joe

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3 hours ago, Nucejoe said:

Tmuir, I heard the fluid may actually hurt the circuitry, in some cases the movement will run  but drains the battery within a few months. What is your thought on that.

The very few quartz movements I have overhauled, it is been complete tear down, brushed parts in friendly fluids and oiled as if mechanical. The result have offcourse been to my satisfaction. But wouldn,t that defeat the idea of quartz accuracy and no repair pain? Or is no repair my overexpectation.

Joe

I suspect a tongue-in-cheek thought when you posted about the no repair expectations for a quartz watch. Many quartz movements were designed to be serviced. One of my quartz watches sports a 13 jewel movement. Unfortunately, economics gets in the way. A complete, new, 13 jewel Ronda 5030.d movement, Swiss made, can be had for less than $50 USD. A Swiss Parts version, 6 jewel, can be purchased for less than half that amount. I don't personally know any professional watchmakers who will disassemble, clean, oil and reassemble a movement for $50, much less $25. 

You're going to see more serviceable quartz movements if the Seiko produced meca-quartz type catches the public's attention. It is a hybrid chronograph at this time. The 'engine' that provides the motive power is quartz but the mechanics that power the chrono functions are all mechanical. You gain the satisfying feel and operation of a mechanical chronograph while powering it with a stable, long lasting quartz power source. Win/win.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not predicting the demise of the mechanical watch movement at all. Merely another way to produce similar results. 

Edited by TexasDon

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I agree it could damage the circuitry, it could also shift oil and dirt onto the tracks causing shorts, also if there is any metal dust within the movement cleaning it together could shift it towards the rotor where it will stick causing other issues.

Quartz watches still eventually need servicing, its just a lot of modern quartz movements are made not to be serviced.

My daily wear watch is a Seiko 7546-8360 quartz watch from 1978. It was bought non functioning but it just needed a strip down clean and oil and obviously a new battery. I'm pretty confident that's the first service the watch had and it probably wont get another one for 10 or 20 years.

As TexasDon states if you want the movement to continue to work it still needs to be correctly serviced, but the cost to service compared to replace means it usually doesn't happen unless its a high end movement.

Edited by Tmuir

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7 hours ago, Tmuir said:

I would say no.

Dipping the movement complete is a bad idea.

Quartz watches have many plastic parts in them that may react badly to lighter fluid, also it will not clean the pivots correctly.

I personally think that pretty much everthying above is bad advise.

Quartz watches still need to be dismantled to clean and oil correctly.

Maybe if its a $2 watch and its not worth the time to service it correctly and you just hope to get a few more months out of it the above might be worth trying, but other than that I advise against using teh above cleaning instructions.

    a good cleaner is alcohol!  find it at rhe chemists shop.  vin

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I am inclined to think alchohol would pose the least or no risk, especially if a quick dip,  evaporates real quick. 

TexasDon, no tongue in cheek, seriously, I got a watch that started draining battery following such a dip, I was being told the fluid damaged the circuit, some say a short circuit somewhere, fifteen years on I still don,t know the real cause. So I asked.

I still got the watch, kappa brand, swiss EB, metal gears and big jewels looks pretty too. Can I interest you in a trade off, goat for horse .:lol: 

Regards 

 

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I'm not sure if lighter fluid will affect the circuit board, but I suspect not, however it may dissolve some plastics, and soften others, so I would be a little cautious when using it on quartz movements.

Isopropyl alcohol (aka isopropanol)  might be safer, but then again, it might not be as effective at dissolving the build up of oily grime.  

Back in the day, we used to use 1,1,1-trichloroehane to clean circuit boards, and as a degreaser, but that is an ozone destroying solvent banned in 1996, so unless you have some lying about, then you will need to use something which is most likely less effective. 

I have used isopropanol extensively over the years to clean plastic parts, and remove soldering flux residue and other grime, and it is reasonable effective in most cases. I am not aware of it damaging plastics, but I guess the proof might be to sit a working quartz movement in some for a week, then remove it and see if it still works. I suspect it will be fine.

 

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