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7 hours ago, jdm said:

You're confusing petroleoum-based solutions (as in benzine, engine fuel, lighter fuel , naphta, etc) with alcohol, the first does not dissolve shellac at all, while the second may soften it however it takes a relatively long time. 

Are lighter fuel and lighter fluid the same? 

Avgas( aviation gas )and lighter fluid in ultrasonic leaves pallets shellacless in matter of seconds, which goes to show both fluids at least soften shellac. that I have tried and know as a fact. 

Some say naphta is lighter fluid. 

Regs

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Nucejoe said:

Are lighter fuel and lighter fluid the same? 

Avgas( aviation gas )and lighter fluid in ultrasonic leaves pallets shellacless in matter of seconds, which goes to show both fluids at least soften shellac. that I have tried and know as a fact. 

Some say naphta is lighter fluid. 

Regs

 

 

 

In the US, the container I buy is labeled "VM&P Naphtha" - stands for Varnish Makers and Painters. 

I'm under the impression that the VM&P type is more refined or more pure than other mixtures of light aliphatic petroleum distillates that might also be called "naphtha". 

I expect that varnish makers and painters have more concerns about the composition of this solvent than people who use it to refill lighters. It's always a mixture, and every facility that makes it produces a little different mixture. 

I've been frustrated in my attempts to find an obviously trustworthy reference for the solvent resistance of shellac. Closest I have found is an old paper published in India in the 80's, which states: 

"Shellac is insoluble in water, glycerol, hydrocarbon solvents and esters but dissolves readily in alcohol, aqueous solution of alkalies, organic acids and ketones."

https://publications.drdo.gov.in/ojs/index.php/dsj/article/viewFile/6181/3286

At any rate, I've never seen the pallet stone shellac soften after even hours in warm VM&P naphtha here. 

Edited by TimpanogosSlim
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32 minutes ago, TimpanogosSlim said:

In the US, the container I buy is labeled "VM&P Naphtha" - stands for Varnish Makers and Painters.

Just to add confusion, in Argentina naptha is spark engine fuel, in Italy indicates diesel engine or heating fuel. When mentioning benzine (spark engine fuel) many English speakers will assume that is benzene, and will warn you about, but these are not the same. We could use insted chemicals identifier numbers or names, but I don't think that would help much, we have 40 pages in this topic but most most discussion is always about two or three same matters.

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8 hours ago, jdm said:

Just to add confusion, in Argentina naptha is spark engine fuel, in Italy indicates diesel engine or heating fuel. When mentioning benzine (spark engine fuel) many English speakers will assume that is benzene, and will warn you about, but these are not the same. We could use insted chemicals identifier numbers or names, but I don't think that would help much, we have 40 pages in this topic but most most discussion is always about two or three same matters.

 

Yes, that's the reason why CAS numbers are used in safety sheets. fwiw, I spent 6 years working on an enterprise-grade cradle-to-grave hazmat tracking application. 

So what I'm using is 8032-32-4. That should come back as "vm&p naphtha" or "naphtha" in any hazmat database, but searching "naphtha" in the same database is likely to pull up a bunch of other numbers. 

When i hear "Benzene" i think of the ring-shaped hydrocarbon with CAS number 71-43-2. But that word means a lot of different things around the world. 

An Italian watchmaker said that where he comes from, people who don't want to buy the commercial solutions mix a little ammonium hydroxide (1336-21-6) and oleic acid (112-80-1) with water, then rinse twice in hexane (110-54-3). Sounds reasonable to me, assuming hexane is really compatible with water, or maybe i understood wrong and they mix it with some hydrocarbon? But hexane isn't something i can buy at a local store, and online it costs twice as much as your average jug of an L&R product. Not that you can buy straight ammonia here in the US without a special license either. 

I've grown increasingly frustrated with VM&P naphtha. My jug of L&R 111 gets here tomorrow. I'm not sure exactly how it will integrate with my jelly-jars-in-an-ultrasonic method - specifically with the jars, or at least the lids. I might order a sheet of PTFE and cut some discs the same diameter as the standard heat-seal jar lid inserts or whatever they are properly called. 

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2 hours ago, TimpanogosSlim said:

 

Yes, that's the reason why CAS numbers are used in safety sheets. fwiw, I spent 6 years working on an enterprise-grade cradle-to-grave hazmat tracking application. 

So what I'm using is 8032-32-4. That should come back as "vm&p naphtha" or "naphtha" in any hazmat database, but searching "naphtha" in the same database is likely to pull up a bunch of other numbers. 

When i hear "Benzene" i think of the ring-shaped hydrocarbon with CAS number 71-43-2. But that word means a lot of different things around the world. 

An Italian watchmaker said that where he comes from, people who don't want to buy the commercial solutions mix a little ammonium hydroxide (1336-21-6) and oleic acid (112-80-1) with water, then rinse twice in hexane (110-54-3). Sounds reasonable to me, assuming hexane is really compatible with water, or maybe i understood wrong and they mix it with some hydrocarbon? But hexane isn't something i can buy at a local store, and online it costs twice as much as your average jug of an L&R product. Not that you can buy straight ammonia here in the US without a special license either. 

I've grown increasingly frustrated with VM&P naphtha. My jug of L&R 111 gets here tomorrow. I'm not sure exactly how it will integrate with my jelly-jars-in-an-ultrasonic method - specifically with the jars, or at least the lids. I might order a sheet of PTFE and cut some discs the same diameter as the standard heat-seal jar lid inserts or whatever they are properly called. 

Good choice on the L&R #111. I use it in an ultrasonic cleaner, in conjunction with #3 Rinse.

Instead of jam jars, I upgraded to using jewel cleaning jars from AliExpress. 

SG$ 4.33  46%OFF | Glass Diamond Washing Cup Jewelry Cleaning Jar 76x73mm Watch Parts Cleaner
https://a.aliexpress.com/_mKcjjvO

The solvents in these solution do affect the rubber seals and wrinkle the covers of the jar. So I like your idea of using PTFE circles.

The watch parts come out squeaky clean and shiny. Even the shock jewels come out streak free.

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10 hours ago, TimpanogosSlim said:

When i hear "Benzene" i think of the ring-shaped hydrocarbon with CAS number 71-43-2. But that word means a lot of different things around the world.

 71-43-2 is benzene, but benzine is a different word in English, as I mentioned it happens that th3 single wovel difference is not perceived by many speakers.

 

10 hours ago, TimpanogosSlim said:

An Italian watchmaker said that where he comes from, people who don't want to buy the commercial solutions mix a little ammonium hydroxide (1336-21-6) and oleic acid (112-80-1) with water, then rinse twice in hexane (110-54-3).

Rinsing ammonia based fluids with petrol based diluent is normal practice. Using petroleum ether, which in practice is very similar to hexane, would make no difference. But if one uses water instead, the best last rinse in my opinion would be either nothing at all, or isopropyl alcohol, due to its higroscopiciy.

 

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10 hours ago, TimpanogosSlim said:

When i hear "Benzene" i think of the ring-shaped hydrocarbon with CAS number 71-43-2. But that word means a lot of different things around the world.

71-43-2 is benzene, but benzine is a different word in English, as I mentioned it happens that the single wovel difference is not perceived by many speakers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_ether

 

10 hours ago, TimpanogosSlim said:

An Italian watchmaker said that where he comes from, people who don't want to buy the commercial solutions mix a little ammonium hydroxide (1336-21-6) and oleic acid (112-80-1) with water, then rinse twice in hexane (110-54-3).

Rinsing ammonia based fluids with petrol based diluent is normal practice. Using petroleum ether, which in practice is very similar to hexane, would make no difference. But if one uses water instead, the best last rinse in my opinion would be either nothing at all, or isopropyl alcohol, due to its higroscopiciy.

 

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2 hours ago, jdm said:

 71-43-2 is benzene, but benzine is a different word in English, as I mentioned it happens that th3 single wovel difference is not perceived by many speakers.

 

Rinsing ammonia based fluids with petrol based diluent is normal practice. Using petroleum ether, which in practice is very similar to hexane, would make no difference. But if one uses water instead, the best last rinse in my opinion would be either nothing at all, or isopropyl alcohol, due to its higroscopiciy.

 

 

Yeah, while even considering that sometimes what in the USA is called "gasoline" is referred to as "Benzina" in other regions, I forgot that it's sometimes spelled different while sounding the same. 

I agree, if using a water-based wash it would probably be best to do a first rinse in distilled water and a final, quick rinse in isopropyl - as a drying agent.

 

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On 2/5/2022 at 3:07 PM, rossjackson01 said:

 if I strip and put the parts in an ultrasonic,

Excluding the fork and balance. Shellac is sure to disapear in ultrasonic.

I have lost three pivots in ultrasonic.

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2 hours ago, Nucejoe said:

Excluding the fork and balance. Shellac is sure to disapear in ultrasonic.

I have lost three pivots in ultrasonic.

I used to think that ultrasonics were very destructive too. But recently my opinion has changed.

Ultrasonics with water based cleaners can be very destructive but when used with water free cleaners, they seem to be quite gentle.

Recently I switched to using L&R #111, #3 rinse and benzine in my ultrasonic bath and I can't believe the effectiveness. And I have been putting the balance wheel and pallets in too.

I think the transmission of ultrasound in oil is less than water. I don't see the cavitation damage that I used to see with water based cleaner.

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2 hours ago, HectorLooi said:

I used to think that ultrasonics were very destructive too. But recently my opinion has changed.

Ultrasonics with water based cleaners can be very destructive but when used with water free cleaners, they seem to be quite gentle.

Recently I switched to using L&R #111, #3 rinse and benzine in my ultrasonic bath and I can't believe the effectiveness. And I have been putting the balance wheel and pallets in too.

I think the transmission of ultrasound in oil is less than water. I don't see the cavitation damage that I used to see with water based cleaner.

Thanks for sharring Doc. 

 This is understandable, large oil molecues and non polar since not water based, pick up less speed and penetrate the pores less,  therefore less destructive. 

 Will try L&R cleaning solution. few sellers here claim to sell    "original L&R solutions"  so I gather there must exist all sorts of fakes too, though fake should be friendly just may not clean as good.   

Regards

 

 

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7 hours ago, Nucejoe said:

Excluding the fork and balance. Shellac is sure to disapear in ultrasonic.

I have lost three pivots in ultrasonic.

I too was worried about the effects of isopropanol on shellac in an ultrasonic. I've mentioned before that I tested an old fork for 3 mins without any signs of shellac loss. For cleaning I use Elma WF Pro for about 5 mins, then limit the isopropanol to about 1 min - which should be enough to dissolve any residues.

BTW @rossjackson01 if you want a small, cheap ultrasonic with a heater, this is the one I bought. Works very well.

image.png.9b15bccf4634c5ddcbbe0380988ad4a8.png

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On 2/6/2022 at 6:55 PM, Nucejoe said:

Excluding the fork and balance. Shellac is sure to disapear in ultrasonic.

I have lost three pivots in ultrasonic.

Hasn't been a problem here. Granted, the number of movements i have cleaned, almost all of them in VM&P naphtha or a mixture of VM&P naphtha and mineral spirits / stoddard solvent, is in the dozens rather than hundreds or thousands. 

Until about 5 weeks ago that was in a 20w unheated ultrasonic for basically an hour in 3 successive solutions. I go a little shorter in my new 70w heated ultrasonic. 

Wouldn't dream of exposing shellac to ultrasonic alcohol though. 

. . . . . 

But while we're talking about it, is it normal for L&R 111 to turn blue? 

Edited by TimpanogosSlim
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1 hour ago, HectorLooi said:

Yes. When the ammonia reacts with copper, it turns blue.

That makes sense. I put about 200ml in a jar and have cleaned some 6498 parts in it. First a main plate, train bridge, and train of wheels - the wheels in one of the brass and steel cleaning capsules and the lot of it in one of the baskets i formed out of zinc chromate coated ultra-fine aluminum mesh -- and then later the train wheels from a pair of 6497 movements in just the brass/steel mesh capsule. 

first time it was as blue as moebius 9010, second time as blue as windex. 

I would also like to suggest that people who think it is especially smelly perhaps did not live through the 70's/80's era of ammoniated household cleaning products, pine-sol, and pine tar shampoo. It's not Chanel #5 but it isn't exactly an all-out assault on my senses either. As a guy who wrenches on cars i would say it isn't 10% as bad as hypoid gear oil or 5% as bad as wet-clutch transmission fluid. 

Edited by TimpanogosSlim
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For those of us who use #111 in a sealed jam jar, there is absolutely no problem with smell. The only time we get a whiff of ammonia is when we open the cover and that is if you put your nose close to the bottle.

But for those who use a vintage watch cleaning machine with a cork bottle seal or no seals at all, the smell can be pretty bad. 🤪

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21 hours ago, mikepilk said:

I too was worried about the effects of isopropanol on shellac in an ultrasonic. I've mentioned before that I tested an old fork for 3 mins without any signs of shellac loss. For cleaning I use Elma WF Pro for about 5 mins, then limit the isopropanol to about 1 min - which should be enough to dissolve any residues.

BTW @rossjackson01 if you want a small, cheap ultrasonic with a heater, this is the one I bought. Works very well.

image.png.9b15bccf4634c5ddcbbe0380988ad4a8.png

I lost the shellac on a pallet fork stone when rinsing a movement in IPA just last week. When I inspected the pallet under a microscope, I noticed the shellac peeling away from the fork and stone. Bare in mind, I only rinsed it in IPA, the washing part was an ammonia solution in an ultrasonic. Lesson learned; no IPA anywhere near shellac, no matter how brief

Edited by gbyleveldt
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8 hours ago, gbyleveldt said:

I lost the shellac on a pallet fork stone when rinsing a movement in IPA just last week. When I inspected the pallet under a microscope, I noticed the shellac peeling away from the fork and stone. Bare in mind, I only rinsed it in IPA, the washing part was an ammonia solution in an ultrasonic. Lesson learned; no IPA anywhere near shellac, no matter how brief

I suggest that the stone was probably already loose and the shellac was already peeling away, and the ultrasonic just loosened the stone. I've used IPA in the ultrasonic for years with no problems (BUT less than 1 min, I usually do 30s). As do many others. 

Edited by mikepilk
typo
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As a follow up, I thought I'd repeat my original experiment (because we all like an experiment 😀), as my new ultrasonic is twice the power (60W) and is heated (the test below was done at 40C).

The only scrap part I could find was an old wristwatch pallet. The shellac was already badly cracked (you can't really see all the cracks in the first image)

As you can see, after 2 mins, the loose shellac has been stripped - I wasn't surprised given the cracking. 
At 4 mins more of the loose shellac has come lose, but the remaining shellac is not noticeably smaller. At 6 mins it looks no different than at 4 min. The jewels are still firmly mounted.

image.png.0651f6ae7763f51da518cb7e499ca042.png

image.png.d70ae3ec753d1cbbf05642920b995816.png

BUT .....

As I couldn't find a part with uncracked shellac, I took an old pocket watch pallet and added some big blobs of shellac.

image.thumb.png.1e9444a917bfc42decf75bbc85508248.png

After 2 mins there was serious loss of shellac. 

image.thumb.png.d0a559f0b89f08c49a975936ea619c6c.png

 

So, Conclusions.

Don't put parts with 'fresh' shellac in IPA in the ultrasonic.

For more 'seasoned' parts, expect the ultrasonic to remove cracked bits of shellac - though I suspect it would be the same in any cleaning fluid - more vibrations than IPA doing the damage.

From my test, it seems that, once the cracked bits are gone, the remaining shellac does not readily dissolve in IPA.

As I mentioned, I rinse most parts for about 1 min in IPA, but parts with shellac - only about 30 secs.

 

 

Edited by mikepilk
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Hello,

 

I am sorry if that should not be posted here, but I could not find better suited place or existing thread.

 

As I prepare for my first mechanical watch service (disassembling, cleaning, oiling) I worry on how to properly clean the parts at home without using proper cleaning machine or ultrasonic cleaner yet. After reading some articles, threads etc. I am kinda lost... Would that be okay to just soak all parts without pallet fork and balance wheel with bridge in "extraction gasoline" which is basically used to clean and dry surfaces before painting/glueing etc. I though also of delicately brushing the parts while being soaked. All for couple of minutes or maybe longer? Then I thought about drying them on clean paper sheet and soaking again, but this time in isopropyl alcohol (99%) for some short time, taking out on dry paper sheet again and voilla! Does that work for home cleaning? Would that be safe and okay?

 

As for pallet fork and balance I am truly lost. I read that after gasoline it is difficult to apply oils as they do not stay in place, another matter is that isopropyl alcohol dissolves shellac, so cannot be used with those... Maybe it is stupid, but would it be safe and okay to just soak them a little in just warm water with dishwasher liquid (like Fairy?) for some time, then to just clean with a brush in clean warm water to remove remaining dishwasher fluid? Or is there any simplier way?

 

I heard about Bergeon One Dip solution, however it is extremely expensive for just 50ml and the only one I can buy where I live is already expired one... 😞

 

I would be extremely grateful for your help as I am little tired of reading and getting more and more information that does not help really.

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I do not know what "extraction gasoline" is. Do you have a link to a product or something? 

I don't know where you live - Hexane is frequently suggested as a substitute for one-dip (which i believe is stabilized trichloroethylene) and sometimes acetone is as well. These are fast-evaporating solvents. 

Isopropyl is a good rinse for parts that do not have shellac. Typically after washing you want to have a first rinse and second rinse in separate containers. 

 

Edited by TimpanogosSlim
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23 hours ago, TimpanogosSlim said:

I do not know what "extraction gasoline" is. Do you have a link to a product or something? 

I don't know where you live - Hexane is frequently suggested as a substitute for one-dip (which i believe is stabilized trichloroethylene) and sometimes acetone is as well. These are fast-evaporating solvents. 

Isopropyl is a good rinse for parts that do not have shellac. Typically after washing you want to have a first rinse and second rinse in separate containers. 

It also translates as: benzine, petroleum ether, petroleum naphtha

I am not exactly sure if those are same things and the only picture of that I could find to be sure it is what I mean were in Polish language since I live in Poland.

 

After reading also your next post can I safely assume that cleaning all parts in warm water with dishwasher fluid (degreaser) is completely okay for ALL parts, even shellac? If so, I could then put all parts except the ones with shellac in isopropyl alcohol to finish, but what about parts with shellac like hairspring or pallet fork? How can I finish them after bath in warm water and degreaser? This I cannot find easy answer.

 

Also, do you know any difference between using isopropyl alcohol which is 99% pure and spirit which is 95% pure? Can I use spirit the same way?

 

Thank you!

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53 minutes ago, Dzwiedz said:

Also, do you know any difference between using isopropyl alcohol which is 99% pure and spirit which is 95% pure? Can I use spirit the same way?

95% spirit is methanol. It dissolves shellac very quickly and I would definitely not use it for cleaning shellac. I only use it in my spirit lamp. 

Someone would eventually ask about denatured alcohol and surgical spirit. Denatured alcohol is mainly ethanol with a small percentage of methanol added to make it undrinkable. Also not shellac friendly.

Surgical spirit is ethanol with oil of Wintergreen added. I can't understand why anyone would use this.

I used to clean my watch and clock parts in waterbased cleaners but I discovered that some metals are so reactive that between the time it is taken out of the cleaner, rinsed in water and dried in an oven, the surface can for rust stains.

So now I use water free cleaners for my watch and clock parts and use the waterbased cleaner for watch cases, casebacks, crystals and bracelets. 

Parts with shellac can be safely cleaned in benzine or lighter fluid. I'm not sure if Polish extraction gasoline is safe for shellac but you could test it by soaking some scrap parts in it for say 30 minutes.

Sometimes dried oils can be very stubborn and it can take several rinses in benzine to completely remove it.

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40 minutes ago, HectorLooi said:

95% spirit is methanol. It dissolves shellac very quickly and I would definitely not use it for cleaning shellac. I only use it in my spirit lamp. 

Someone would eventually ask about denatured alcohol and surgical spirit. Denatured alcohol is mainly ethanol with a small percentage of methanol added to make it undrinkable. Also not shellac friendly.

Surgical spirit is ethanol with oil of Wintergreen added. I can't understand why anyone would use this.

 

Alcohol can be denatured a number of different ways but yes i find that the most common product is half or mostly methanol, and methanol is pretty toxic for humans. Wear gloves and have ventilation if you are going to be using a lot of it toxic. 

You can get denatured ethanol that just has some bitrex in it. Bitterest substance in the known universe, and not a pleasant bitter either. They only have to add a tiny bit because it's so objectionable. They add it to professional grade pesticides. If you ever got a faint trace of some chemical in your mouth and couldn't rinse and spit enough to get all of it out, that may have been spiked with bitrex for exactly that reason. 

In the USA it's a question of taxes and paperwork, and most people don't want to do the paperwork to certify that they are using their industrial grade "absolute ethanol" in a purely industrial manner. My chemist friend spent some years as a partner in an ABS injection molding business. He was up for the paperwork - they just didn't tell anybody on the line that the solvent in the wash tables was basically Everclear, or really that the release agents they were rinsing off of the products with it was basically just margarine. They had fume hoods over the wash tables that re-condensed the ethanol vapor back to liquid, and regularly re-distilled their 'solvent' to save money. 

He said one time, someone forgot to close the drain valve on one of the wash tables and several gallons were lost into the floor drain. 

So naturally he called the EPA to self-report a spill. "How much?" "about 14 gallons" "And what was in it?" "Ethanol and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils" <<long pause>> "OK, well, don't let it happen again."

Always self-report. The fines are a lot smaller that way. 

The toxicity of isopropanol, for humans, for incidental exposure, is similar to ethanol. You shouldn't drink it because its intoxication effect can hit hard enough to stop your heart, but other than that it is relatively benign. Metabolizes to acetone, which is in your body already anyway. 

fwiw, methanol is less "wood alcohol" and slightly more "alcohol fermented from sugars with an odd number of carbons" but more regularly, in the modern era, something you get from an oil refinery that has never seen yeast. 

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