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Cleaning and oiling balance and jewels


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Iv'e always separated the balance wheel assembly away from the mainplate when using in my old elma machine 

 

IMG_7358_768x1024.jpg

 

I always been worried that it will get damaged/balance spring will get distorted due to the speed of the fluid.

 

Whats best practice, also do the jewels get removed first to stop it breaking the pivots??

 

Thanks in advance.

Edited by jnash
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I have always cleaned the balance mounted to the plate, with the jewels in place. That's how I was taught when I was an apprentice and I have been doing it ever since. Never once damaged a hair spring, never once broke a pivot this way.

I have broken pivots in other ways but that's another story :)

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Hi jnash,

 

I don't have an Elma or similar machine. I have an ultrasonic (generic type). Although I've put the balance wheel assembly in the ultrasonic, all by itself, I'm adopting another system: Balance wheel assembly without jewels in the plate and jewels washed separate by hand. The reason behind it is that with the gentle movement of the fluid in the ultrasonic and the extra space between the pivots and the frame, I might get a better cleaning and even a little rubbing (I'm still in the testing phase and might be completely wrong on this one). It simply takes some time to do it all by hand (which is my preferred method for this part) i.e. cleaning the balance assembly by hand, jewels by itself. I'm just still trying a way that works for me. Notice that I always clean the jewels manually regardless of the method I use.

 

Given the speed of the Elma I would assume that the balance wheel will be better protected mounted in the frame probably with the jewels on to avoid knocking on the pivots, IMHO. Nevertheless, given it is a very sensitive part I would either use an ultrasonic or better: clean it by hand. One Dip does pretty good and there is an equivalent from L&R that doesn't cause harm to the user...the original is very inexpensive.

 

In any case, maybe other more experienced users here may have a different and better way,

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

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Balance always on plate,jewels out and separated for better cleaning.

I believe its safer for the balance to be on plate than to swung freely inside the basket propelled by the fluid

br

emso

p.s sent from my sh**y phone, so sorry for typing mistakes

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I have always cleaned the balance mounted to the plate, with the jewels in place. That's how I was taught when I was an apprentice and I have been doing it ever since. Never once damaged a hair spring, never once broke a pivot this way.

I have broken pivots in other ways but that's another story :)

 

Thanks all for the quick responses!

 

well some have just said mounted with the jewels and some have said mounted without the jewels.

 

for the last few years i remove the balance from the bridge and clean it separately in one dip (or a cheaper alternative)

 
Mark, do you then remove the jewels after, give them a clean just before you oil them if they stay in for the wash cycles.
Edited by jnash
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Mark, do you then remove the jewels after, give them a clean just before you oil them if they stay in for the wash cycles.

 

 

Absolutely. The jewels must then be washed to remove old oil residue and lubricated.

I leave the jewels in place as this provides the maximum stability for the balance whilst it's in the cleaner.

 

I hope this helps.

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+1 Emso

 

For balances with shock protection I remove all the jewels from the settings and reinstall the balance and cock to the main plate. The jewels go into a separate basket.

Non shock protected balances the cap jewels come off and the balance replaced on the main plate, again cap jewels in a separate basket.

I use an Elma machine and have never had any problems.

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Well, the vote is 50 - 50...I go with the jewels on and then separate jewel cleaning just as (our) Mark said. In any case, our other Mark and Emso have good results too... Maybe the solution depends on the machine and how powerful it is (variations due to model, age, etc?).

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i guess i have to be careful what else goes in with it, its usually the mainplage and the mainspring that i put in so that shouldnt do too much damage if it hits, still can see the balance spring being warped , but ill try it out...

 

This has been bugging me for ages but never bothered to get some validation!

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I always put the main plate with balance and balance cock in a compartment on its own, nothing else goes in there so the risk of anything coming into contact with the hair spring is eliminated.

 

In fact when I think about it I have a bit of a set routine.

Three baskets go into the cage.

The bottom basket is not compartmentalised so that is where the main spring goes if I intend to reuse it.

The middle and top baskets are both subdivided into 7 compartments of different sizes and the main plate, balance, and cock go into on of these in the middle basket.

The other bridges go into the middle basket as do the barrel and lid and the train wheels, all distributed so as to keep the whole thing in balance when it is spinning.

Everything else goes into the top basket with the smallest parts, including the balance jewels and the pallet fork in a couple of 15mm baskets.

 

I don't actually know why I arrived at this distribution other than a need to keep the balance assy separate, and to prevent the heavier parts knocking against each other but I do it every time without fail, and without thinking about it.

 

My Elma I think is an early Super Elite. It looks to be identical to a Super Elite in every respect except that it is cream coloured, not crackle blue. I've no idea how old it is as I got it second hand (total bargain at 99p plus £15 postage) but it spins up to a very healthy speed.

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I have read these posts with great interest as I have tried all the various methods + stripping down & cleaning by hand. But I now use Mark,s method cleaning with the balance mounted to the plate in my L&R. No problems and really good results so I will stick to this method.

Edited by clockboy
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Looking forward to my next clean (always the boring bit in my opinion)  and ill try it out.  ive been doing this for a while and i sometimes just forget to ask about other ways. An old watchmaker told me that there are 100 different ways and tools to do everything, not to mention the fact that incredible timepieces were created and maintained way before all the more modern tools we have now, your only restricted by your imagination.

 

Really appreciate the quick response and wealth of information around here, I'm a long term member on other forums where the watch repair is a sub forum, this place really appeals to me so much more as i honestly feel that i've found my place full of like minded people.  thanks guys... 

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Well, the vote is 50 - 50...I go with the jewels on and then separate jewel cleaning just as (our) Mark said. In any case, our other Mark and Emso have good results too... Maybe the solution depends on the machine and how powerful it is (variations due to model, age, etc?).

Elma rm-90 as machine

Elma WF in first jar

Elma Suprol 2&3 jar

Speed is set up so when rotation begins fluids go over the basket (more than 50% on the scale)

Very dirty movement get an extra time in first jar of 5-10 minutes

As i have sen positive posts regarding the L&R fluids i have ordered them and i await their arrival,will write again after i test them.

br

emso

p.s sent from my sh**y phone, so sorry for typing mistakes

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I was taught to remove the balance and jewels from the cock before cleaning.

 

I clean the balance in one-dip and dry it in some boxwood sawdust. I clean the jewels in one-dip as well (I replace the one-dip after every few watches and use two different containers for jewels and springs).

 

I screw in the stud screw (if there is one) before cleaning as well. Having to screw that back in after it fell out more than once is annoying :P

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  • 2 weeks later...

Personally I throw the Balance into a glass, put it in the dishwasher, and run a full "Pots and Pans" cycle ... but only use dishwasher tablets with the powerball in them or you can risk damage to the hairspring :cool:

 

Seriously though, we're pretty much Mark's little apprentices here, so I'd be surprised if many do it differently on this forum ... Balance on the Main Plate with the Jewels in place for me!!

Edited by Lawson
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  • 3 weeks later...

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