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Pallet fork lubrication: pallets and pivots.


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1 hour ago, DavidADav said:

! I have not epilamed the escape wheel or pallet fork, and am kicking myself.

Epilame is not much a necessity when using synthetic oils, which are better in staying where you place them. It was introduce to improve location stability of natural oils, but was mainly used at production or top end service centers. It has never become universal practice, and even less after the said synthetic lubricants became available, around 1970.

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2 hours ago, DavidADav said:

Oh, absolutely still learning.  It would be a shame to stop!

The interesting thing I found though, related to this thread (and not as much to my original question) was a problem I ran in to after oiling the pallet jewels.  With the watch oiled (and pallet fork arbor left alone), I had ~286 in dial up and dial down, and consistent amplitude in all other positions.  I had applied a small amount of 9415 to the pallet jewels before winding and letting it run.  I let it run for a while, all seemed good.  I then decided to mess with things, drained the power, and applied a little more 9415 to the escape wheel (around every third tooth).  Since then it has stuck at a steady 230 in dial up / dial down. 

I let the watch run for a few hours and it stayed the same.  Yes, I could have let it run overnight, but I felt I could have cleaned it better and decided to drain the power, strip the movement, peg the pivots, clean everything and reassemble.  Post assembly, put a little bit of 9415 on the pallet jewels…~285 amplitude.  Drained, put a little more on the escape wheel teeth (a little less than before), and it’s stuck at 230 after running all night.

Yes, I’m new to the trade (about a year and a half in), but was surprised, as whenever I oiled using this method I would see a general increase in amplitude, not a 50 point drop! I have not epilamed the escape wheel or pallet fork, and am kicking myself - I’ll tear down and do that next, but thought it would not be necessary given this is a 1925 Waltham pocket watch…

That said, thank you for the link.  Given I’m experimenting at this point, I may give oiling the pivots a try just to see what happens.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, there is no “one way” to oil a watch that everyone agrees on (well, I think we all agree not to squirt 3-in-1 in the poor thing).

 

Dave

Isn't 9415 for high frequency movements (21,600+)? Maybe 941 would be more suitable. 9415 is a grease and 941 an oil. 

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1 hour ago, Plato said:

Isn't 9415 for high frequency movements (21,600+)? Maybe 941 would be more suitable. 9415 is a grease and 941 an oil. 

It is not for high-beats, it is especially recommended on these, where is shines due to thixotropic characteristics. It can be used on all watches when you have it, if not even 9010 is just fine. What David has found is simple the old truth about oiling -less is best. Especially on pallet jewels.

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12 minutes ago, jdm said:

It is not for high-beats, it is especially recommended on these, where is shines due to thixotropic characteristics. It can be used on all watches when you have it, if not even 9010 is just fine. What David has found is simple the old truth about oiling -less is best. Especially on pallet jewels.

And there…I think we’ve found something we can all agree with…less is best. 😉

My plan at this point is:

  1. As I am now consistently running at 230 in DU/DD, I’m going to add a wee bit of 9010 to the pallet pivots, just to see what happens, and to satisfy my curiosity.
  2. I’ll then remove the pallet fork and escape wheel, clean both, and run with no lubrication, recording the results.
  3. I’ll then add some 9010 (instead of 9415), just to the pallet jewels, and record the results.
  4. Finally, I’ll strip and clean the movement, and oil based on the from my prior tests.  I’ve seen how the watch performs with 9415 just on the jewels (and not on the escape teeth), and will have tried the other scenarios, and will go with whatever delivers the best results.
  5. I’ll post my findings…

 

Thanks again.

Edited by DavidADav
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6 hours ago, DavidADav said:

Yes, I’m new to the trade (about a year and a half in), but was surprised, as whenever I oiled using this method I would see a general increase in amplitude, not a 50 point drop! I have not epilamed the escape wheel or pallet fork, and am kicking myself - I’ll tear down and do that next, but thought it would not be necessary given this is a 1925 Waltham pocket watch…

 

2 hours ago, jdm said:

It is not for high-beats, it is especially recommended on these, where is shines due to thixotropic characteristics. It can be used on all watches when you have it, if not even 9010 is just fine. What David has found is simple the old truth about oiling -less is best. Especially on pallet jewels.

Originally when It came out 941 was still recommended for low frequency watches. Then 9415 for high-frequency. But with time the manufacturers probably realizing how cheap watchmakers are changed to an either or and now typically it's just 9415 for everything.  Otherwise as stated above before 941 9010 was recommended

The only problem with 9415 is it is a grease with thixotropic properties. To understand the meaning of that I have a link. Which from the description brings up a problem for us? So in superthin quantities it slides really really nice. But if you get too much it's basically grabbing the edges of the escape wheel causing the problem you had noted loss of amplitude.

The watch companies are recognizing the problem which is why in the attached PDF you'll notice the extreme lengths they go to to get a superthin quantity. No you really don't have to go to these extreme lengths you just have to have less grease.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thixotropy

 

 

Omega 8645_WI_40_rules for lubrication cousinsuk.pdf

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3 hours ago, jdm said:

What David has found is simple the old truth about oiling -less is best.

Just a minor clarification here about less? If you look at the above Omega documentation they also cover how much oil to put an pivots. But to make the point more clear I'm attaching an image from Rolex something they used to give to their students.

If you look at older documentation or even when I was in school that conflicts with the image attached. The definition of too little would've been an acceptable amount. The ideal is almost unacceptable for too much. Then the unacceptable is still unacceptable. If you look at the Omega PDF attached above basically you have to Be able to see the top of the pivot otherwise you have too much.

lubrication quantities modern.JPG

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On 11/4/2021 at 9:49 AM, DavidADav said:

My plan at this point is:

  1. As I am now consistently running at 230 in DU/DD, I’m going to add a wee bit of 9010 to the pallet pivots, just to see what happens, and to satisfy my curiosity.
  2. I’ll then remove the pallet fork and escape wheel, clean both, and run with no lubrication, recording the results.
  3. I’ll then add some 9010 (instead of 9415), just to the pallet jewels, and record the results.
  4. Finally, I’ll strip and clean the movement, and oil based on the from my prior tests.  I’ve seen how the watch performs with 9415 just on the jewels (and not on the escape teeth), and will have tried the other scenarios, and will go with whatever delivers the best results.
  5. I’ll post my findings…

Hi all,

Thank you very much for the tips and feedback.  As promised, I’m reporting back on my findings.

For (1), I added a very small amount of 9010 to the pallet pivots and saw amplitude increase from 230 to 250 almost immediately.  When running with no lubrication (2) and then adding 9010 to the pivots (3), I saw minimal change.  I moved on to 4, stripped and cleaned the movement (including cleaning the mainspring - it is a new, alloy mainspring that I had previously oiled, and am now running with no oil), then oiled as I noted before, this time oiling the pallet pivots and the pallet jewels with 9010.  After the movement sat overnight, I saw amplitude around 285 in dial-up in the morning.

I’m happy with the results, and at simply trying out a few different oiling methods. The watch is now timed, cased, and sitting in a makeshift stand on my work desk where I can enjoy it.

The last remaining item is to replace the crystal.  I polished it, to remove the major scuffs, but as you can see, it is yellowed with age and needs replacing.

DB2C8FB7-C6F3-4EFA-9A4D-8458D513E6ED.thumb.jpeg.fc14d74ab09306adaa62995971d93fa3.jpeg

 

Dave

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  • 1 month later...

ETA 2834 is the movement.  Beat rate is 28800.  I noticed some odd behavior on the timer after I oiled the ends of the pallet jewels.  I used light oil designed for the escapement.

Then I wondered...should I NOT oil the pallets for such a screamer?  Or maybe I need a super lightweight oil in this case (5W-30 vs. 20W-30, no?)

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9415 is what you want and it was specifically designed for higher beat watches. This is also where epilame helps too. The quick motion tends to sling and spread thin oil like 9010; epilame along with the thixotropic* quality of 9415 helps it stay in place. You shouldn't see any odd behaviour from it. Very high beat watches that run at 36,000 bph are often treated with a very special lubrication at the factory, but when servicing they run fine on 9415. 9415 is also great for all escapement beats, even "slow" beat. I use it on cylinder movements. Fantastic lubricant.

 

*9415 is technically a grease; but under the shearing action at the junction of the escape tooth and pallet stone it drops dramatically in viscosity right at that point, that's a thixotropic lubricant. The greasiness helps keep in in place the thixotrop-iness keeps it from dragging down the motion.

Edited by nickelsilver
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1 hour ago, nickelsilver said:

9415 is what you want

Next year I guess I will have to get religion on these oils.  I have been using just two: one for escapement and one for everything else (plus grease for keyless works).

1 hour ago, nickelsilver said:

epilame

Been pondering that expense as well.

1 hour ago, nickelsilver said:

thixotropic

New vocab.  I am familiar with non-Newtonian fluids which I guess a thixotropic fluid is.

I did a revisit of the movement after posting.  Removed the balance from the cock and inspected the hairspring closely.  All looked well except I may have seen a tiny piece of gunk at the tip of the regulator foot.  Could have been a reflection, but it is gone now.  This after several dunkings in one-dip.  Re assembled and it seems to be running very well.

Back to thixotropic...mainspring breaking grease would also be thixotropic, no?

 

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  • 1 year later...
On 3/28/2016 at 8:44 AM, clockboy said:

I learn,t this recently. The angle you use to load lubricant on to your oiler alters the amount & shape of oil on the oiler tip.

An upright 90 deg. entry gives it a tiny about of oil on the tip which is what you want for the pallet jewel. Also what helps is really good magnification.

Also the speed at which you remove the oiler from the oil gives a different loading. Fast = more and Slow = less.

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