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Lifespan of Moebius 9010/9020

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Evening all, 

I have been given several bottles of unused Moebius synthetic lubricants- 9010 and 9020- along with some truly ancient watch oils, from a late watchmaker’s estate. 

The protective Moebius tins are dated 1972(!) Now, I have bottles of current 9010/20 for my watch work but wonder what, if anything, the old stuff might be good for? Perhaps for scrap movements, or failing that, for keeping watch tools lubricated? 




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I have a neighbor that is always texting and asking me questions about this or that.  I always reply with a google search that she could have done herself.  Nowadays, I just send her this.

So, here, read this. And also this.


And, BTW, you are the perfect one to answer your question.  You have before you a scientific experiment--old (really old), and new!  Put a couple of drops of each on a clean glass plate and set it vertically and see if gravity affects them both the same.  Look at the color of each and compare.  Grab a watch out of your box-o-watches and lubricate it with the old stuff and let us know if it is running a year from now.  Maybe there is a simple DIY way to measure viscosity (I would have to google that)--better than my simple glass method.

My bet is on the old stuff being as good as the new stuff.  I use 50 year old Elgin oil myself.

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Many thanks, I think I’ll experiment as you suggest, perhaps on pocket watch movements. The old Moebius bottles don’t have an expiry date like the new ones (just a date etched into the lid). 

I also have a couple of bottles of very old American watch oil: Ezra Kelley’s Superfine. I suspect from a quick search that it is whale oil!  I think I’ll keep it for curiosity value… 


Edited by Bill241
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Lubrication is always interesting subject. Just think of all the money you saves you didn't have to buy brand-new. If you were doing professional watch work and someone was paying you money and the lubrication failed And the watch failed you would probably be unhappy when you had angry customer come back. On the other hand if you're doing this as a hobby who cares?

If you look at the original advertisements for both 9010 and 9020 they basically indicated way back when it came out it synthetic it should last forever. If you go to website now you'll see that it doesn't last forever it expires. But even the expiring is interesting because that fresh bottle last X number years and you lubricate a watch it will go X number years beyond that so basically there's suggesting the shelf life but the usable life is twice whatever that it's on the blog. Unless of course are hobbyist and you just don't care I wouldn't worry about it. But of course there is always the warning of there is always a possibility of something bad happening. Less likely with synthetic oils

14 hours ago, Bill241 said:

along with some truly ancient watch oils, from a late watchmaker’s estate. 

Vintage models of oil are always nice because they look nice where they can look nice. There are also worthy of trying an experiment seeing if they still work. If you look carefully at some of the literature you'll find that the natural oils the whale oils for instance are actually better lubricants in the synthetic oils but you have an unfortunate problem of going back very bad but at least with a typically go bad they get sticky and stop the watch before it disintegrates itself. When synthetic oils go bad they typically just spread themselves superthin and no longer  are lubricating aphids of metal on metal bearing something might just disintegrated.

So like a lot of things you accumulate from ancient watchmakers visually they look interesting and that makes them a conversation piece.

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It’ll be interesting to try them out but probably on the various movements from long-scrapped pocket watches, to see how the lubricants behave. Otherwise I’m sure they’ll be fine on watch tool threads etc. 

Here’s a photo of the older, natural oils. The Chronax is from, I think, the 1950s and is very congealed. The Ezra Kelley, which I think is rather older,  may well be sperm whale oil but looks ok. 


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1 hour ago, LittleWatchShop said:

Here is my oil collection

Just as I thought everybody keeps a collection of old oil just because.  but the Elgin oil on the right-hand side Is still considered a usable oil as prized by quite a few people. So highly prized that a German company has synthesized it and sells it just not in the US because they put the name Elgin on it and that upsets the people hold the Elgin watch company name. So some oils never die at least the synthetics some of the rest make interesting conversation pieces. Oh and if you want to have some fun open up and sniff those ancient organic oils


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