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centerwheel

Cleaning balance complete

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My cleaning machine is Elma (Elmasolvex SE), a mechanical cleaning machine. Mark L. recommends to clean in the machine the balance complete (installed on the main plate) with the upper and lower jewels (including caps) mounted in their Incabloc blocks. The reason given is to protect the balance pivots during the clean & rinse cycles. Later the jewels would be disassembled, cleaned in a One Dip, oiled, and reassembled.

But this procedure will almost ensure that the balance wheel pivots will not be cleaned because they are sitting inside their respective jewels, nor will the Incabloc blocks get cleaned because the chatons are sitting tightly inside them. Nowhere could I find how those would get cleaned later. Is this something to worry about?

They would get full cleaning if the jewels were removed prior to going into cleaning basket. But then, how about those pivots? Would they really get damaged? What works best?

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I have always cleaned any watch with shock protection (Kif, Incabloc etc.) with the balance and cock on the mainplate but with jewels out. On watches with no shock protection the balance comes off the cock, cap jewels off, everything cleaned disassembled. I've used both machines that agitate (spin) and ones that don't, and have never damaged or broken a pivot during cleaning. We were taught this in school.

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3 minutes ago, nickelsilver said:

I have always cleaned any watch with shock protection (Kif, Incabloc etc.) with the balance and cock on the mainplate but with jewels out. On watches with no shock protection the balance comes off the cock, cap jewels off, everything cleaned disassembled. I've used both machines that agitate (spin) and ones that don't, and have never damaged or broken a pivot during cleaning. We were taught this in school.

Thank you! This procedure would work  great! I am happy to learn that my fear of "unprotected" pivot damage was not supported by the experience and the courses you took. I will follow it in the future.

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2 hours ago, oldhippy said:

I never cleaned the balance in the cleaning machine. Always cleaned it in Ronsonol lighter fluid. One Dip is not needed. The lighter fluid is way better and it won't harm pallets or impulse pins that are held with shellac. 

I also clean balance assemblies in Naphtha (lighter fluid() and it dissolves all crud and dries with no residue--just work with lidded jars and in a ventilated area.

J

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3 hours ago, oldhippy said:

I never cleaned the balance in the cleaning machine. Always cleaned it in Ronsonol lighter fluid. One Dip is not needed. The lighter fluid is way better and it won't harm pallets or impulse pins that are held with shellac. 

Is this a risk with one dip OH?

Like you, I've only used naphtha with no reason to do otherwise prior to getting my cleaning machine, (I still clean the chaton and endstones in naphtha then IPA before oiling and I use rodico on the pivots).

I was just curious as I've considered trying some at some point when I pop in a cousins order and assumed it was the recommended balance cleaner, or do they assume you would remove the collet and only dip the spring?

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I use a nailclipper to clip off the end of a toothpick, stick the pivot into the toothpick and turn. 

If you have removed the jewel and endstones, raise the shcok spring stick the toothpick onto the inside the housing.

Ready for cleaning machine.

IMG_20190404_131525.thumb.jpg.2c7744c881755c87f6167430debca5db.jpg

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Ronsonol lighter fluid is way better then One Dip. I just got better results. The lighter fluid is so friendly to watch parts. You can leave the parts to be cleaned in it for days, just make sure you have a screw on lid for the jar as it evaporates very quick. After cleaning I would take out the part place it on clean tissue, hold with tweezers and use my blower to remove any residue.    

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Does it matter that Ronsonol, having been acquired by Zippo, seems to not contain Naphta anymore? There is now no mention of "Naphta" anywhere on the bottle. It only says "Contains Light Petroleum Destillate". Does the new product work as well as the old one did?

Edited by centerwheel

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1 hour ago, centerwheel said:

Does it matter that Ronsonol, having been acquired by Zippo, seems to not contain Naphta anymore? There is now no mention of "Naphta" anywhere on the bottle. It only says "Contains Light Petroleum Destillate". Does the new product work as well as the old one did?

Naptha is just another name for (basically) spark-ignition engine fuel, petroleum ether, refined gasoline, benzine (NOT benzene), Shellite, and more. 

The issue with lighter fluid is that to make it more friendly to the smoker and longer lasting it contains various undeclared additives, which lessen effectiveness and introduce residues. No surprise as it's formulated to burn, not to clean. A proper replacement of guaranteed purity is cheap and easily available (petroleum ether on Ebay UK, other names in other countries, but there you have it, still see it recommended as it was 80 years ago. 

Edited by jdm

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There is a Jasco made Naphta sold in hw home improvement stores in the US. It's described as being the thinner for varnish and enamel. It also says that it cleans greasy, waxy, oily surfaces and machine parts. Would this be safe to use on watch parts including balance complete?

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