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Hi djmcd,

I use lighter fluid and a soft brush to clean the parts, and then 2 quick rinses in 99% alcohol, then air dry on a paper towel (the alcohol evaporates really quickly, leaving no residue behind). If needed, I soak the parts in lighter fluid for some time, but never in the alcohol (it will dissolve the shellac used on some parts).

I need to get an ultrasonic cleaner too...

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

 

New to this but hoping to get some good feedback and tips regarding the cleaning (service) of the  ETA 955 series.

 

I don't have the special cleaning machines and have to rely on an ultrasonic tank. What do watch technicians use in terms of cleaning fluid these days? I've seen a brand by L & R and was wandering if they are any good?

 

Thanks for your replies.

 

Hiren.

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Why do you feel the need to clean it? Very rare for these to need it & if you do remove the circuit & Coil. These movements aren't that expensive to replace which is sometimes a better alternative than cleaning £ for £. whats the problem with the watch?

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Hi,

 

New to this but hoping to get some good feedback and tips regarding the cleaning (service) of the  ETA 955 series.

 

I don't have the special cleaning machines and have to rely on an ultrasonic tank. What do watch technicians use in terms of cleaning fluid these days? I've seen a brand by L & R and was wandering if they are any good?

 

Thanks for your replies.

 

Hiren.

 

I agree with Lee - it's more cost effective to replace the movement. However, if you are doing it for fun/challenge/practice then you should be fine using lighter fluid as a degreaser to clean the top and bottom plate, and the wheels. The stepping motor (magnet) can be cleaned in rodico.

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Out of interest, as a 'clockie' , I have an ultrasonic cleaner like Hiren. How effective are they compared to proper watch cleaners? I've used it (with Elma chrono clean 1:20), and things come out pretty clean, but I've no idea if a proper watch cleaner would be any more effective...

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I agree with the changing of a movement outright. However as a watch tech, I'm forced to repair small parts (circuit, wheels, levers etc..). I'm doing batch servicing for swiss quartz brands so constantly busy. Would be a dream to streamline my cleaning services let alone replace a movement! Sadly the big boys don't like replacing movements as, believe it or not, it's not cost effective for them.

 

As quoted above with the technique of brushing lighter fluid/benzene, this is what I have been doing and it's working pretty well so far. I was using isopropryl alcohol which worked equally as well.

 

I think the long and short of it is that there is no real way to sprint through this with an ultrasonic tank. And dare I say it... It's not **BLEEP** worth it... Especially for the money!  :growl:

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I agree with the changing of a movement outright. However as a watch tech, I'm forced to repair small parts (circuit, wheels, levers etc..). I'm doing batch servicing for swiss quartz brands so constantly busy. Would be a dream to streamline my cleaning services let alone replace a movement! Sadly the big boys don't like replacing movements as, believe it or not, it's not cost effective for them.

 

As quoted above with the technique of brushing lighter fluid/benzene, this is what I have been doing and it's working pretty well so far. I was using isopropryl alcohol which worked equally as well.

 

I think the long and short of it is that there is no real way to sprint through this with an ultrasonic tank. And dare I say it... It's not **BLEEP** worth it... Especially for the money!  :growl:

 

For quartz watches I would stick to what you are doing. Be careful with benzene and Isopropyl Alcohol as they are really quite toxic. Lighter fluid is bad enough ;) make sure your workshop is well ventilated and try not to breath too much of it. Your health is more important than getting a watch movement running!

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Chaps,

I have for many years used a water based cleaner (from M&P) in my ultra sonic cleaner. However I recently changed the cleaner to Elma WF pro + Elma rinse.

I have been really pleased with the cleaning but the fumes I find very overpowering also a bigger concern is the wife has started to complain. Has anyone had that same issue & if so what solutions have you found. I have been trying the purchase a dedicated watch cleaning machine such as the L&R ULTASONIC VARI-MATIC or an Elma but unfortunately I keep getting out bid on flee bay.  I don,t know whether these machine control the fumes better or if other cleaners such as L&R have fewer issues with the fumes.

I might have to move the cleaning side of the operation to my garage but hoping to find another way. :thumbsd: 

Edited by clockboy
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I can say that the l&r does not dissipate the fumes. Obviously The fumes are worse during the heating/drying stage.

It's best to operate in a well ventilated area.

I used to work in a department store and we used to keep the machine in a cupboard in order to keep the floor manager happy. It helped.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Thanks, does the L&R have less fumes than the Elma.

Even as I poured from the bottle to the cleaner is was very strong & smelly and as my workshop is a converted bedroom in my house er indoors is not happy. So I need to find a way around this, perhaps rig up an extractor fan.

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I used to use solvent-based paints for spraying small items with an airbrush, many years ago, also in a fairly confined area. I rigged up a small fume cupboard - essentially a plywood box with a cloth front to it and an extractor fan behind it. The fan extracted the fumes into a cloth and rubber hose contraption and out of the window. A little clumsy, but it did get rid of fumes and was less hazardous to health.

 

As a young man I worked for a spell on a mobile library. In quiet periods we used to clean off the stickiness on the plastic covers of books with - guess what - carbon tetrachloride! Unbelievably lethal. My colleague, one cold day, was doing it with the bus door closed, and nearly collapsed from the fumes. Luckily I came back from lunch and got her out. Modern H&S would never have allowed that to be used - but it was early 1960s.

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Willfly,

Similar story I was an apprenticed served letterpress printer followed a by a 2 year litho training scheme. During the early days as an letterpress printer we used to use a chemical called "ink stripper" without gloves this stuff would strip paint. In my litho days another chemical was used the revive printing blankets called MEK again lethal stuff and some of the guys used to use it without gloves. If you used it a lot it could make you very light headed. No H&S them days either.

 

I think I will try some sort of extraction fan rigged up to a tumble dryer extraction pipe but will waited to see if I can purchase a proper watch cleaning machine. In the mean time it will be the garage for me.

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We used to use carbon tetraclouride as a degreaser when cleaning watches years ago until the chemist stopped supplying us. I currently use MEK as an accelerant for my micro flame soldering machine. It's pretty stinky stuff.

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My colleague, one cold day, was doing it with the bus door closed, and nearly collapsed from the fumes. Luckily I came back from lunch and got her out.

Excellent time for mouth to mouth resuscitation! :crazysmile:

 

On a more serious note, I've heard somewhere of a filtering machine that is supposed to eliminate and decompose the harmful gasses of the watch cleaning machine....maybe at cousins? I'll try to find the link. It didn't seem very expensive...worth a try considering it is our health.

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Willfly,

Similar story I was an apprenticed served letterpress printer followed a by a 2 year litho training scheme. During the early days as an letterpress printer we used to use a chemical called "ink stripper" without gloves this stuff would strip paint. In my litho days another chemical was used the revive printing blankets called MEK again lethal stuff and some of the guys used to use it without gloves. If you used it a lot it could make you very light headed. No H&S them days either.

 

I think I will try some sort of extraction fan rigged up to a tumble dryer extraction pipe but will waited to see if I can purchase a proper watch cleaning machine. In the mean time it will be the garage for me.

30 years in the same trade (you get less for murder) until 6 years ago, still got a can of MEK - very useful heavy duty cleaner. Never used gloves as they would either dissolve or leak. Stung a bit on the paper cuts though!

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  • 5 weeks later...

I have stripped down a cheap watch that belongs to my brother in law.  Normally I use Lighter Fluid (Naptha) with a final clean in Isopropyl Alcohol but looking at the lever I am a bit concerned that I do not know what "glue" is holding the jewels on the lever.  Looks a bit like shellac.

 

post-197-0-56366800-1408809229_thumb.jpg

 

I use a simple small ultrasonic cleaner. Parts are put inside a mesh ball and the whole lot is put in a tiny jam jar before getting covered in lighter fluid (naptha) I then fill my ultrasonic cleaner with water and stand the jar in it vibrating away.  I have another jar with Isopropyl Alcohol in it to rinse off in a similar manner and the whole lot dries in seconds.  Everything is on a small scale as I am a Hobbyist not an artisan repairer so I do not buy litres of various cleaners and rinses but I get by and have some fun. 

 

However, the lever manufacture looks a bit crap and I am getting bad feelings.  Does anyone think I should perhaps just not clean the lever and just concentrate on getting rid of the filings and general rubbish on the rest of the movement.  I am starting to lean that way.

 

Cheers, Vic 

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