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Mainspring lubrication, manual and automatic


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I did wonder about the spelling and didn't think break sounder right and should be brake but maybe some people regularly break cars to a stop in some parts of the world. The get broke all over the world.

There is no clear answer in this thread - not unusual on this subject so maybe it has a mythical / historic aspect and people do all sorts as a result.

John

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On 12/7/2019 at 3:31 AM, VWatchie said:

I’ve been doing this for some years now but like @centerwheel I’m still puzzled by how to lubricate when reusing an automatic mainspring. When I have a new spring delivered in a spacer there’s no problem. I simply lubricate the barrel wall (Moebius 8217/Kluber P125, etc.) and push the spring in as it comes pre-lubricated.

However, I don’t know the technique for reusing an automatic mainspring as lubricating the spring, say with Moebius 8200, would "contaminate" the outer coil resting against the barrel wall and likely defeat or interfere with the braking effect of the braking oil (I suppose?).

Furthermore, and in my personal experience, trying to wind a perfectly clean and dry spring into the barrel of my mainspring winder (K&D 128) without first lubricating it will make the spring break (read explode!). So, for this reason I never reuse automatic mainsprings, and it really seems like a waste.

EDIT:

Come to think of it, it could be that the "exploding" mainspring was somehow damaged, but to the best of my recollection is was not. Or, it could be that the inner wall of my particular mainspring winder barrel causes too much friction. Well, I'm still puzzled...

a new mainspring is always needed when doing a service/overhaul. new alloy mainsprings come with a dry lube so you may think they are not lubed but they are, . if you reusing a mainspring which i do not recommend then you have to clean off the old oil first if there is any and then use a piece of watch paper coated with oil then put it between tweezers and run the spring through it. I cant recommend an oil because i have never reused a spring but i can say it wont be 8200 since it is a natural oil and can spread and contaminate your barrel and movement. there really is NO reason to oil a mainspring except for maybe rust protection when dealing with very old NOS blue steel springs, or if the manufacturer specifies. I personally never oil automatic springs since most automatics i work on are modern and use white alloy springs, which again already come pre lubed. Some springs have a teflon coating which looks blue that will have to be removed prior to install to prevent emulsion from forming. Has anyone tested the power reserve in auto with dry spring vs one that has a lubed spring? Do that then decide for yourself

Edited by saswatch88
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1 hour ago, jdm said:

Update, here Mark joined the lubing camp.

 

I have a lot of confidence in @Mark so that video section answers all my questions! Lube the automatic mainspring with Moebius 8200 and apply braking grease to the barrel wall. The 8200 will protect the spring and make it just slippery enough to help winding it into a mainspring winder without breaking. Obviously, the very thin layer of 8200 will not defeat the effect of the braking grease, or that is at least my interpretation of the video passage.

Nevertheless, I agree with many that the best path is to replace the mainspring if one is available when servicing.

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On 12/7/2019 at 5:04 AM, centerwheel said:

I've watched carefully all of Mark's videos of him servicing automatic watches. They all show how he puts breaking grease on the wall of the mainspring barrel, and that he oils the arbor in the places where it would touch the barrel top or bottom. However, it seems that the mainspring itself is mounted "dry", and no oil is applied to it prior to the closing of the barrel. Does anyone know the reason he skips oiling the mainspring? I would like to it the way he does it but I would also like to know why he chose to do it with no oiling of the spring.

In other places, such as TimeZone, they recommend oiling technique to be used just prior to closing the barrel. One must be then careful so the oil does not get on the wall and affect power reserve.

As mentioned, brand new GR mainsprings do not usually require lubrication. You have observed my videos on YT where I apply a little grease to automatic watches to the barrel wall. As has been mentioned above, this is braking grease. The mainspring also has an extremely light (and I mean extremely light) application of 8200 along it's length also. I do not film every aspect of what I do as some tasks are a royal pain in the rear to film. This is one of those tasks. Although I do cover this in the video course. The videos on YT are usually a 30 minute give or take condensing of a job that may last hours I cannot film everything. If you look hard enough you may notice many places seemingly not lubricated - this doesnt mean those friction points were not dealt with. My YT videos are there for entertainment purposes and whilst many find them extremely useful as a learning aid, they are not comprehensive breakdowns of a full service, that would make them hours long each., my course on the other hand is a full breakdown of all steps required to effectively service a watch. I hope this clears things up ;)

 

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I've never serviced a watch but want to try. The materials will cost more than the victim. This particular subject is the most confusing of the lot so have spent a lot of time searching for technical manuals on movements.

It seems a service should involve replacing the entire barrel assembly these days. Only exception and it may be old details is the 7750-7765 where they just suggest a smear of a rather expensive braking grease on the outside end of the spring. I assume that lubricates the barrel as the spring slips. 8217 is said to provide normal braking on any barrel. A lot cheaper than Kluber P125.  Interestingly they don't use many lubricants. Just 9010, 941or9415 and D5 which can be replaced by HP1300 according to some.

ETA use HP-1300, 9504, 9010, 9415. Also coloured HP-1300 on the 2824. Entire barrel replaced. It would be interesting to find much older details.

Info on older Seiko do give details. 2 oils S2 and S3. Not on the spring itself but on the roof and edge of the barrel. S3 if there is a black ring. It seems this one was a grease with an additive. Sounds like an 8200 equivalent, S3 maybe with graphite. The moly one can have problems with that settling into the bottom of it's  container so personally I would avoid it. They use S6 which is a silicone elsewhere in newer movements where details are given. Cousins stock it. I've only looked at the NH3x. Also S4 and 9010, 9010 even on the pallets and in the usual places. I can't see any use of S4 on this movement so probably used on another.

Lubricating the spring itself? Mark uses 8200. The www jungle varies a bit. Too thin, use one with an additive. Few drops of some oil on the spring. None and braking on part of the spring makes most sense to me or maybe 8200 etc on the rest as well.

While looking around I came across thisMoebiusLubes.pdf and found it useful. It mentions a number of makes. One intended for springs is based on paraffin wax. ;) Pass but it takes a long time for candles to degrade. It's pretty stable stuff.

John

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I can understand why Mark would skip lubing the mainspring. It's for the sake of making the video shorter and entertaining. Fine, he is the boss :). However, it wouldn't cost to much if for our sake he could just mention the steps he's skipped because for so many of us his videos are not just entertainment but also/primarily a reference, instruction. Knowing what's skipped is almost as valuable as seeing it.

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37 minutes ago, centerwheel said:

I can understand why Mark would skip lubing the mainspring. It's for the sake of making the video shorter and entertaining. Fine, he is the boss :). However, it wouldn't cost to much if for our sake he could just mention the steps he's skipped because for so many of us his videos are not just entertainment but also/primarily a reference, instruction. Knowing what's skipped is almost as valuable as seeing it.

I'm pretty sure he does show how to "oil"  a main spring in one of the general servicing videos. In quotes as what is used is similar in some ways to a grease.

John

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9 hours ago, centerwheel said:

However, it wouldn't cost to much if for our sake he could just mention the steps he's skipped because for so many of us his videos are not just entertainment but also/primarily a reference, instruction. Knowing what's skipped is almost as valuable as seeing it.

Consider that the full, commented videos are stored on watchrepairlessons.com for those that enroll his "formal" training.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/15/2019 at 12:55 AM, centerwheel said:

The one he's been working on, one that deals with complications, such as automatic winding, calendar, chronograph. It's been listed as Level 4, and it remains still in development. I will sign up as soon as it's released. I hope, it will not be the last one...

OK, you got me confused there talking about the "last one" which I expect to be the "next course" (and very hopefully not the last). In the "Maintenance course" @Mark devotes several videos on how to service a mainspring for a manual wind watch but doesn't mention that the same basic principles apply to automatic mainsprings. So I really appreciate that he sorted it out in this thread. Thanks!

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  • 1 month later...

Based on the overwhelming responses that braking grease is necessary on automatic watches, and that 8217 is the correct grease to use, hobbyists such as myself find it a little difficult to justify $33 to purchase 20 ml, enough grease to service 1000 barrels (certain to expire long before it will be used).  This is particularly aggravating when the watches being used to learn on (a Seiko 7009A movement) is worth less than the oil itself.

So, is there any way of purchasing much smaller quantities of the oils/greases for much lower prices, saving us some change and reducing the waste due to expiration dates being exceeded?

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I have used 8217 on several seiko models and they all seem to work ok.  I use it most for  inexpensive automatics and they seem ok. 

I think it is a good basic grease to have.   I wouldn't worry about the shelf life too much as long as the container is sealed well, kept cool and out of the light.  I just give it a good stir before I use it, this ensures the oil is remixed into the carrier medium.

I am currently trying it on a couple of cannon pinions (that are working ok but starting to feel a bit loose) to see if the extra friction gives any improvement in feel  !   Giving another use for it can only help re costs.

 

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The expiry dates are a new thing, and like food are a guideline. Barrel grease lasts ages, really it's not an issue. 30something bucks for an essential isn't so bad, if you stay in the hobby 3 years it's a buck a month to have what you need.

Maybe similar minded folks would do a group buy?

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When you got your new spring, you can use the method that De Carle revealed in his book where you count the number of turns you get on the spring before slippage. From memory, you should get around five. If it’s way off then you may have a lubrication issue, or possibly barrel wall wear. However, you can compensate by adjusting the bridle. 

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On 2/14/2020 at 2:15 PM, nickelsilver said:

The expiry dates are a new thing, and like food are a guideline. Barrel grease lasts ages, really it's not an issue. 30something bucks for an essential isn't so bad, if you stay in the hobby 3 years it's a buck a month to have what you need.

Maybe similar minded folks would do a group buy?

Interesting concept. Anyone interested?  Is there a group already discussing this?

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  • 3 months later...

A few weeks ago, I serviced my first Japanese movement, an ORIENT calibre 46E40 (Service walkthrough here). The service went well. However, the new replacement Generale Ressorts mainspring slips way too early in the barrel only giving it about 24 hours of power reserve, despite having lubricated the barrel wall with Moebius 8217 braking grease.

Now I’m servicing a SEIKO calibre 7S36B, and I’m hesitant to repeat my strategy as it appears that the barrel of this calibre is very, if not identical(?), to the ORIENT. This time around though the original SEIKO mainspring looks to be in good shape so I’m planning to reuse it. So, I started to ponder what braking grease to use. I have Moebius 8212 (Glissalube B for aluminium barrels), Moebius 8213 (Glissalube A for brass barrels), and Moebius 8217 braking grease.

Not knowing what grease would be the best I searched the Internet on this topic and found a SEIKO 7S26 mainspring tutorial recommending Moebius 8200 grease for the spring and the barrel, and this has me puzzled as it would be a very natural choice for a manual wind watch but hardly for an automatic watch, right? Now, as I’m planning to reuse the original mainspring which somehow seems softer than the Generale Ressorts springs, I’m thinking that perhaps Moebius 8200 would work very well with the original (softer) spring? Anyway, that just a wild guess. Perhaps the tutorial is plain wrong?

So, what’s your opinion? Should I go with 8200 grease or one of the other mentioned greases? If I fail and mangle the original mainspring (which I too often do) and replace it with a Generale Ressorts spring would I still use 8200 grease or choose one of the mentioned braking greases (which one)?

I would really want a decent power reserve this time!
 

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Seikos notoriously run with a lower amplitude as it is so if I were you I would get a new main spring it is very good practice to always get a new spring if you are servicing a movement. Even if the old one looks OK. So suficies to say if you want a decent amplitude you need to get a new main spring. When you get a new MS do not oil it. And use 8217 breaking grease. You never know who is doing these tutorials I believe Mark has a video on one of these I can’t remember which one he used. It was either the 8217 or the Kluber p125


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I’d kind of like JDM’s thoughts on this as he has a bit of knowledge on these.

In my experience with the 7 series mov’ts is that the barrels obviously aren’t meant to be split opened and serviced, but replaced outright with a new b/a/ms unit. They are available on eBay from a couple sellers.

If opening, cleaning and greasing is your ultimate preferred way to go I’ve found the tiniest amount of 8217 on the barrel wall seemed to work best. I found if I used as much as I do in say, a 6309 the spring would slip too easily.


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I’d kind of like JDM’s thoughts on this as he has a bit of knowledge on these.

In my experience with the 7 series mov’ts is that the barrels obviously aren’t meant to be split opened and serviced, but replaced outright with a new b/a/ms unit. They are available on eBay from a couple sellers.

If opening, cleaning and greasing is your ultimate preferred way to go I’ve found the tiniest amount of 8217 on the barrel wall seemed to work best. I found if I used as much as I do in say, a 6309 the spring would slip too easily.


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Yes seiko sells only complete barrels but that does not mean you cant service a 7 series barrel and change MS. Personally i would just get the barrel assembly but it’s up to you. Do not use 8200 whatever you do. Jdm has the tech sheets but I find they don’t normally help you in this particular situation.


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it's more expensive but why don't you try the other breaking grease? I've used it before and it is definitely sticky works fine if he used tiny quantity too much is super sticky. Unlike conventional braking grease where least and past experience too much seemed to be just the opposite. then typically they use 8200 to lubricate the mainspring itself. Whereas supposedly all the new springs are either the metal does not require lubrication or it has a dry lubrication. So if it's a brand-new spring I would stay away from lubrication except on the wall itself.

https://www.watchrepairtalk.com/topic/9953-kluber-p-125-vs-homemade/

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/kluber-chronogrease-p125

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