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I bought the Elma WF Pro because I could buy it in a smaller quantity than the L&R.

Used it for the first time today in my small ultrasonic. I have to say that I'm very impressed. It seems to clean much better than pure naphtha. I had areas of dried oil and grease that I was expecting to have to rub with pegwood, but it cleaned off in seconds in the ultrasonic. All the metal has come up nice and shiny. I don't know how it compares to the L&R, but I believe they are similar solutions.

The only downside is that it stinks a bit - I open the window and put a fan on. 

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1 minute ago, mikepilk said:

do you bother waiting for the parts to dry before using the rinsing solution, or just shake/blow and dunk them straight in?

normally do not. Remember you trying to put all the bad stuff in dissolution and wash it off the parts. Usually on fancy professional machines will spin off as much the cleaning fluid as it can. Then it will move into the rinse which is basically the same base chemical as what the cleaner has. So usually there be to rinses each time to reducing the concentration of the solution on the plates. Or on the parts themselves I think drawing would be a bad idea because basically than each time it have to be re-trying to dissolve the bad stuff back into fluid. Then as you noted because it doesn't drive very fast then the very last thing usually is the alcohol.

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6 minutes ago, mikepilk said:

Usually a glass of red wine 

unfortunately red wine doesn't cut it at least in the cleaning machine. You can need something that's purified craps of vodka or gin might do it something with a really high alcohol content preferably very little water then don't spend a lot of time in their ill probably dissolve the shellac that usually a few seconds should be fine. Which is why I usually use wood alcohol which unfortunately you can't drink. I suppose is not unfortunate but it's not good for you to drink. But for a few seconds it will rinse off the final rinse and it doesn't evaporate really nice and everything will be nice and clean. Then you can have the red wine

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i use

elma for the first jar

second jar i have heavy and light 

the heavy is clear gasoline the light is benzine 

personaly i hate isopropyl 

and 5 min in the heat 3 down 2 up

especialy in seikos with graphite grass i have very good resorts 

second usage is 4 min with greiner in ultrasonic 

water 

water 

isopropyl 

heating 

my oppinion first is very good high clearance on rubbies and very good amplitude with new mainspring 

250+ par example on cupilard 233/(older version of fe 233/60)

on eta 2824 2892 7750 290/300 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/15/2021 at 5:46 PM, Igal said:

Hi,

what cleaning solution can you advice for omega 563 mechanism for ultrasonic, and where it can be purchased online ?

 

Thanks a lot

Here are some helpful hints from many years in a high volume shop.... (read through before crucifying me)

The main thing to be careful of with these Omega movements and any other that has similar plating is the soak time.  I only soak these for a max of 30 seconds at a time in the cleaning solution.  If the movement is not clean enough I will run it through again.  I use a modified varimatic 3 cleaning machine, combination mechanical/Ultrasonic is a must in my opinion. Then manually clean bushings/jewels etc.  If the movement is soaked too long in the cleaning solution the plating will come off.  Many other older movements also can be damaged by soaking them too long regardless of what they are plated with.  After 30 years and many thousands of watches I can tell quickly how long each movement should be left in cleaning solutions.  99.875 percent of the time the movements are perfectly clean after one cycle through the variamatic.  Perfectly safely......  If the movement has been improperly cleaned in the past making the plating weak you may not want to soak it any a strong solution at all, just disassemble it completely and clean it with one-dip or something similar.

Contrary to many opinions, for cleaning you don't have to completely disassemble the movement when cleaning it using mechanical/ultrasonic machine 99.9 percent of the time.  It is far more risky to put the parts through the machine individually for various reasons. Obviously you remove the dial, hands, date ring, cannon pinion, loose parts, barrel bridge, barrel, etc.  Then clean the whole thing keeping the parts separated in your main basket (use a few small sub baskets).  After cleaning you must completely disassemble everything to check/clean everything manually.  The balance, pallets, hairspring, etc will not be harmed in any way as long as the movement is not free to whirl around inside the basket.  Never put any ball bearing assembly in any ultrasonic cleaner for any amount of time.  I say that again.... NEVER..

If you find damaged hairsprings, broken pivots, loose pallets, etc after cleaning you are doing something wrong. 

Keep parts separated and secure. 

Keep soak times short. 

Keep spin speeds fairly slow.

Limit dry time to just what is required to evaporate the rinse. 

If solution gets hot from multiple cycles, swap out the jars to keep the temp low.

 

For a while now I have been using solutions from Colonial clock shop...  (http://stores.colonialclockshop.com/cleaning-solutions/)

The cleaning solution below works very well for any watch movement.   The rinse is slower drying than L&R but also works well.

Cleaner

http://stores.colonialclockshop.com/475-24-525/

Rinse

http://stores.colonialclockshop.com/475-25-555/

 

Various solutions give various results...

I like ammoniated solutions, they have the best cleaning and brightening affect. The cleaner in the link above from colonial works better than any other I have tried when used mechanical/ultrasonic cleaning machine like the varimatic.  It is very quick and cleans completely leaving a bright finish.

I like L&R rinse the best but the stuff from colonial works well also.  I add xylene (1 part  xylene to 4 parts rinse) to the colonial rise so it dries faster.

L&R extra fine ammoniated watch cleaning solution works very well but builds up a caramel like substance that has to be removed from the baskets using Denatured Alcohol, I believe has something to do with oelic acid.

Unfortunately due to the multitude of variables involved it comes down to trial and error.

 

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10 hours ago, CWRNH said:

Thanks a lot. Very informative and interesting. Do you know by any chance how can I buy the solutions in my country, since the cousinsuk.com doesn't send it to Israel, it's too dangerous ?

 

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12 minutes ago, Igal said:

cousinsuk.com doesn't send it to Israel

You could ask the manufacturers of the cleaning fluids if they have a distributor anywhere near you. Also seek out professional or any other watchmakers and ask them in your area where they get their cleaning fluid from. There obviously are professional watchmakers in your country and they have to use something to clean the watches.

 

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Hi Greg, take it from the Hippy. The only non-destructive way to clean parts is in the jar with lighter fluid. Especially if you are working with old, vintage or irreplaceable parts. Alternatively you can use something which is called Nafta. That is the industrial designatiation for the the main substance in lighter fluid. Here in Germany you can get it in the DIY stores by the gallon. Most of all other ultrasonic cleaners like Elma 1+9 or the ammonia based ones will dissolve the copper in your brass parts. For example when your ammonia based cleaner turns into a greenish blueish colour it's a sign that copper was dissolved. Your brass wheels may discolour (happened to me and if I recall rightly in one of Marcs videos) or and that's even worse your brass main plate will develop a pumice like surface (happened to me as well). Oil or grease on such a surface will be soaked in like with a sponge. A lot of talk but it goes to show: the simple way is the best.

Cheers and all the best from Hamburg Alex

Edited by AlexanderToerzs
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16 minutes ago, AlexanderToerzs said:

Most of all other ultrasonic cleaners like Elma 1+9 or the ammonia based ones will dissolve the copper in your brass parts. For example when your ammonia based cleaner turns into a greenish blueish colour it's a sign that copper was dissolved. Your brass wheels may discolour (happened to me and if I recall rightly in one of Marcs videos) or and that's even worse your brass main plate will develop a pumice like surface (happened to me as well).

The reason they use ammonia is it makes the parts bright shiny. We like bright and shiny and clean watches. It's really really important for people to read the instructions though. The typical instructions are do not heat the fluid as it makes them much more aggressive which is very bad. Then limit your exposure a couple of minutes of cleaning should be fine. They really do work quite well but if you want to leave parts in there all day the solution will turn a really pretty color depending upon how much copper is gone and the parts no longer look shiny.

 

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10 minutes ago, LittleWatchShop said:

I thought Marc spun for 11 minutes.  Should I spin less?  My L&R machine was prolly made around 1965...it did not come with instructions. 

JohnR is right when he says the parts should be exposed to the fluid only a couple of minutes. For example I am just now cleaning a Doxa wristwatch made in 1947 and I wonder how many times in it's lifetime it's been exposed to traditional ammonia based solutions. So I rather play it safe. Anyhow cleaning is a never ending story. Ask 10 watch enthusiasts and get 20 different opinions. Cheers Alex.

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37 minutes ago, AlexanderToerzs said:

JohnR is right when he says the parts should be exposed to the fluid only a couple of minutes. For example I am just now cleaning a Doxa wristwatch made in 1947 and I wonder how many times in it's lifetime it's been exposed to traditional ammonia based solutions. So I rather play it safe. Anyhow cleaning is a never ending story. Ask 10 watch enthusiasts and get 20 different opinions. Cheers Alex.

Just when I thought I had arrived at a consensus...lol

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7 hours ago, AlexanderToerzs said:

Hi Greg, take it from the Hippy. The only non-destructive way to clean parts is in the jar with lighter fluid. Especially if you are working with old, vintage or irreplaceable parts. Alternatively you can use something which is called Nafta. That is the industrial designatiation for the the main substance in lighter fluid. Here in Germany you can get it in the DIY stores by the gallon. Most of all other ultrasonic cleaners like Elma 1+9 or the ammonia based ones will dissolve the copper in your brass parts. For example when your ammonia based cleaner turns into a greenish blueish colour it's a sign that copper was dissolved. Your brass wheels may discolour (happened to me and if I recall rightly in one of Marcs videos) or and that's even worse your brass main plate will develop a pumice like surface (happened to me as well). Oil or grease on such a surface will be soaked in like with a sponge. A lot of talk but it goes to show: the simple way is the best.

Cheers and all the best from Hamburg Alex

Hi Alex, thanks for the reply.  The cleaning method must be not just work setup friendly, but also girlfriend-friendly. XD  Somehow I don't think she'll be too keen on having me store jars of lighter fluid around the apartment.  And the cleaner I use is not ammonia based so I don't worry about the safety of the procedure on the watch parts.  I've done about a dozen watches with this stuff (https://zep2.zep.com/product/zepcommercial/heavy-duty-citrus-degreaser), and haven't had any issues yet.  Using that stuff in a heated ultrasonic bath makes the parts come out looking brand-spanking new.  And as far as I can tell, it's safe for shellac, or at least it's safe for shellac on the timescales that I use it.

Edited by GregG
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4 hours ago, LittleWatchShop said:

I thought Marc spun for 11 minutes.  Should I spin less? 

It depends on which cleaning fluid he's using. You can get non-ammonia watch cleaning products that it probably wouldn't matter. No matter what if it has ammonia do get a beautiful cleaning effect but no more than about 4 to 5 minutes is the most most the time you really don't need that anyway.

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