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Flat surfaces of watch covered in oil.


signcarver
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In another post i mentioned that i had a beautiful Waltham 1883 pocket watch. I don't know its history other than someone in the family owned it.

I disassembled the watch and found an interesting phenomenon. The flat surface of the barrel and barrel lid were covered in wet oil. Also, some other places where two plates were fit together, such as the balance and the main plate, had the same wet oil coating. What would you be oiling there other than the top and bottom jewels? I didn't see oil on any components, such as the jewels or pinions, though. 

I have taken Mark's courses, but i am brand new to watchmaking. Is this is a common occurrence. I was surprised that after so many years there would be so much wet oil in, what seemed to me, odd places.

Thanks for reading.

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I've got one I'm working on right now that was the same way.  The cover plate on the back side of the automatic winding works, between the plates in the day wheel jumper, and all over the keyless works.  There was a film of oil between all of the parts.

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Oil will tend to spread out. Which is why epilame is used in certain situations. 

It is common to put a little oil on the installed spring and flat barrel surfaces.

Beginners usually over-oil (I did) - just a little extra to make sure!

I have come across movements which seem to have been dipped in oil. This is usually caused by over-oiled jewels, springs, keyless etc, and it just spreads out everywhere.

 

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4 hours ago, signcarver said:

I was surprised that after so many years there would be so much wet oil

Oil doesn't dry. The person that handle thus watch did "fir service" did a very poor job, even many decades ago that was pretty normal. You never known what you can find in a watch, there is much, much worse than that. 

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1 hour ago, jdm said:

Oil doesn't dry.

I did not know that. Thanks jdm.

1 hour ago, Nucejoe said:

You will find a wealth of information in many previous discussions on this and other subjects through the search function.

Regds

I'll keep that in mind for my next post. Thanks Nucejoe.

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4 hours ago, jdm said:
9 hours ago, signcarver said:

I was surprised that after so many years there would be so much wet oil

Oil doesn't dry.

Oils, or at least most organically derived oil do dry, persay.  It's more like they turn into an organic plastic or polymerizes.  It has to do with that oil's ability to uptake halogens from the atmosphere surrounding it.  This is know as that oil's iodine value or how unsaturated the oil is.  The iodine value also allows you to estimate an oil's density and it's viscosity at a given temperature.  It also suggests how suitable an oil will be for any given purpose while at different temperatures and for how long.  The higher an oil's iodine value, the more susceptibility to oxidation that oil will be.  This is how oil paint works and why butter goes bad without refrigeration.  It's also how you season cast iron cookware and why we use certain oils for high temperature deepfrying/cooking.  Different oils are good or bad at performing different functions.

Now I'm hungry thinking about my wife's cast iron cookware and what she can cook/bake with them.  I'm thinking buttered corn muffins.... 🤤

Conversely, I'm under the impression, petrochemical and synthetics oils are more likely to have their move volitale constituents evaporate, causing them to thicken over time, then to oxidize.  Whichever way, within a sealed watch the oil may have a problem doing either... quickly.

Food for thought, pun intended.

Shane 

Edited by Shane
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12 hours ago, Shane said:

Oils, or at least most organically derived oil do dry, persay. 

I speak from experience. I have opened watches and other objects which had not been ouched for easily 50, ot 60 years and found "wet" oil, it could have been little or more, but was there. I guess it wasn't aware of its own chemicals characteristics.

Edited by jdm
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14 hours ago, mikepilk said:

Oil will tend to spread out. Which is why epilame is used in certain situations

Unfortunately when they made American pocket watches epilam didn't exist yet.

6 hours ago, Shane said:

Oils, or at least most organically derived oil do dry, persay.

One other thing is you don't know about him pocket watches is when was the last serviced hundred years ago or five years ago you don't know typically. If it's really old organic oil it does take on a interesting smell or at least it can. Although those watches are getting farther and farther apart. In other words organic substances ago bad with time don't always smell pleasant

sometimes the lubrication in the mainspring barrel will leak out all over the place of something was careful. There are other methods of lubrication we end up with that all over every place. I was very popular over a period of time will skip over how that works says it's a thing of the past but basically ended up with oil every place.

But yes it's usually comment on older watches and oil leaks out all over every place or at least it is every place.

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