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1 minute ago, nickelsilver said:

Are you planning to use IPA as your only cleaner? It's not a very good cleaner for grease and oil, at all. It's a very good absorber of water, if using water based cleaners, and must have a generally good effect as a rinse as multiple Swiss manufacturers spec it as the final rinse in machines running petroleum based cleaners. But it, on its own, for cleaning, isn't very good.

Thanks Nicklesilver. That's what I was wanting to know

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On 4/22/2022 at 11:08 PM, Neverenoughwatches said:

I'll check that out, I do have some 1940s. Vintage. But i can check from now on if the balance can take a strong  solvent.My gallon arrived today, I need to have a play now. I was planning on just using ipa from now on. Except the pallet of course.

 

On 4/22/2022 at 11:14 PM, nickelsilver said:

Are you planning to use IPA as your only cleaner? It's not a very good cleaner for grease and oil, at all. It's a very good absorber of water, if using water based cleaners, and must have a generally good effect as a rinse as multiple Swiss manufacturers spec it as the final rinse in machines running petroleum based cleaners. But it, on its own, for cleaning, isn't very good.

Thanks, I thought it was meant to be good on oil and grease.  

 

On 4/22/2022 at 11:16 PM, Neverenoughwatches said:

Thanks Nicklesilver. That's what I was wanting to know

Lighter fluid, followed by isopropyl? 

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1 minute ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

Of which there is not. You will soon gather you are on very thin ice mate, you've brought it on yourself. Don't come to me for help, that's all I'm saying.

I've been reading up again and still have 30 million opinions.  

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38 minutes ago, nickelsilver said:

Are you planning to use IPA as your only cleaner? It's not a very good cleaner for grease and oil, at all. It's a very good absorber of water, if using water based cleaners, and must have a generally good effect as a rinse as multiple Swiss manufacturers spec it as the final rinse in machines running petroleum based cleaners. But it, on its own, for cleaning, isn't very good.

Interesting that IPA is specified by Swiss manufacturers as a final rinse. With all the debate about IPA dissolving shellac, how long is the recommended final rinse ?

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On 4/22/2022 at 11:38 PM, RichardHarris123 said:

Don't blame you. 

When I looked up ipa use last week, there was a lot to say it's good for cleaning oil and grease. Pure ipa 99.9% as strong as you can get of that type of alcohol made using propane among other stuff. But Nicklesilver is a pro so I'm sure he knows what he's talking about. So the likes of you and me are looking for something  cheap and easy to use by hand or at the very best a cheap ultrasonic. I've tried elma wf pro and that's leaving a residue  but ipa may solve that. But elma Pro is not that cheap and bloody stinks.

 

On 4/22/2022 at 11:54 PM, mikepilk said:

Interesting that IPA is specified by Swiss manufacturers as a final rinse. With all the debate about IPA dissolving shellac, how long is the recommended final rinse 

I used to dissolve shellac  in meths years ago to make french polish. But meths isn't just ipa it has approx 10 % methanol in it as well. And also can be made with acetone. So that bit of information is absolutely  useless anyway. But generally alcohol will dissolve shellac to some degree, so I'm not planning on taking any chances unless someone can convince me otherwise. But I will get some flakes to make my own findings

 

On 4/23/2022 at 12:16 AM, Neverenoughwatches said:

I used to dissolve shellac  in meths years ago to make french polish. But meths isn't just ipa it has approx 10 % methanol in it as well. And also can be made with acetone. So that bit of information is absolutely  useless anyway. But generally alcohol will dissolve shellac to some degree, so I'm not planning on taking any chances unless someone can convince me otherwise. But I will get some flakes to make my own findings

I know the alcohol I used from work did dissolve two sets of pallet stones very quickly it has hydrocarbons c7 -c11 n alkanes Isoalkanes. Whatever they are

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13 minutes ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

When I looked up ipa use last week, there was a lot to say it's good for cleaning oil and grease. Pure ipa 99.9% as strong as you can get of that type of alcohol made using propane among other stuff. But Nicklesilver is a pro so I'm sure he knows what he's talking about. So the likes of you and me are looking for something  cheap and easy to use by hand or at the very best a cheap ultrasonic. I've tried elma wf pro and that's leaving a residue  but ipa may solve that. But elma Pro is not that cheap and bloody stinks.

Yes, I'm a rank amateur.  I need a cheap, affective cleaner that doesn't stink. 

Might try kitchen degreaser on a scrap movement. 

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2 minutes ago, RichardHarris123 said:

Yes, I'm a rank amateur.  I need a cheap, affective cleaner that doesn't stink. 

Might try kitchen degreaser on a scrap movement. 

I did try wash liquid that was recommended  by retro watches and I'm sure I dried it thoroughly and left it on a heater overnight. But it ruined a valuable  watch. I just can't go there again. 

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31 minutes ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

When I looked up ipa use last week, there was a lot to say it's good for cleaning oil and grease. Pure ipa 99.9% as strong as you can get of that type of alcohol made using propane among other stuff. But Nicklesilver is a pro so I'm sure he knows what he's talking about. So the likes of you and me are looking for something  cheap and easy to use by hand or at the very best a cheap ultrasonic. I've tried elma wf pro and that's leaving a residue  but ipa may solve that. But elma Pro is not that cheap and bloody stinks.

For years, in the ultrasonic, I used Naphtha (Hydrotreated light SBP3) bought from ebay, for cleaning, and 99.9% pure IPA for rinsing. As Nickelsilver says, it is not good for removing oil and grease.

I switched to Elma WF Pro. Ok it stinks a bit, but cleans better than naphtha, and leaves a nice shine. I have continued to use IPA for final rinse - it does remove any residue from the WF Pro.

I'm about to order some Elma Suprol Rinse. It's not cheap, but 2.5L will last me ages (I only service my own watches). It's designed for the job, and there's no worry about shellac.

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By the by, I got tired of the disagreements about what will or won't dissolve shellac. 

So i bought 2oz of "garnet" color de-waxed shellac flakes. The kind woodworkers use, which probably comes from the same bin as what watchmakers use. 

Oddly herbaceous smell, but no matter. 

The plan is to wash some US dimes (10 cent pieces) in L&R 111, rinse them properly, melt some shellac onto the faces with my temperature-controlled hot air wand (possibly a measured quantity, I have a milligram scale), immerse them in solvents, and photograph at intervals. Dimes because they will provide good contrast vs. the dark shellac. And i don't have to cut them out of a sheet of something. 

My guess is that my hardware store "denatured alcohol" that is a mix of ethanol and up to 50% methanol will dissolve it somewhat rapidly, 99% isopropyl maybe not as rapidly but still surely, and that most other solvents won't do anything. 

If there is demand to know, I can hit up the liquor store for a small bottle of Everclear. But i expect that ethanol and methanol are close enough in properties that it wouldn't differ much from the ethanol-methanol blend. I do have a 5 gallon pail of i think Texaco brand straight methanol in the shed for automotive shenanigans if someone is super curious about that. 

aside from the industrial alcohols and l&r 111 i have vm&p naphtha, odorless mineral spirit, acetone, d-limonene, chemically dewatered expressed citrus rind oil (which is mostly limonene, but a mix of L and D, and other impurities, and miles from pure d-limonene in properties), and i guess some stuff like windex? 

 

Edited by TimpanogosSlim
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2 hours ago, TimpanogosSlim said:

By the by, I got tired of the disagreements about what will or won't dissolve shellac. 

So i bought 2oz of "garnet" color de-waxed shellac flakes. The kind woodworkers use, which probably comes from the same bin as what watchmakers use. 

Oddly herbaceous smell, but no matter. 

The plan is to wash some US dimes (10 cent pieces) in L&R 111, rinse them properly, melt some shellac onto the faces with my temperature-controlled hot air wand (possibly a measured quantity, I have a milligram scale), immerse them in solvents, and photograph at intervals. Dimes because they will provide good contrast vs. the dark shellac. And i don't have to cut them out of a sheet of something. 

My guess is that my hardware store "denatured alcohol" that is a mix of ethanol and up to 50% methanol will dissolve it somewhat rapidly, 99% isopropyl maybe not as rapidly but still surely, and that most other solvents won't do anything. 

If there is demand to know, I can hit up the liquor store for a small bottle of Everclear. But i expect that ethanol and methanol are close enough in properties that it wouldn't differ much from the ethanol-methanol blend. I do have a 5 gallon pail of i think Texaco brand straight methanol in the shed for automotive shenanigans if someone is super curious about that. 

aside from the industrial alcohols and l&r 111 i have vm&p naphtha, odorless mineral spirit, acetone, d-limonene, chemically dewatered expressed citrus rind oil (which is mostly limonene, but a mix of L and D, and other impurities, and miles from pure d-limonene in properties), and i guess some stuff like windex? 

 

What an experiment Tim, I love get up and do attitude. I think  you've  basically answered the question of do I rinse the pallet and balance wheel in ipa. I'm definitely  following you. I did know the meths would dissolve it but was a little unsure as to the ipa, although  I have a similar upvc solvent that did dislodge some pallet jewels. I'm thinking your Texaco is going to vapourise the shellac, and I'm hoping your shed is either in permanent  shade or insured.  You've saved me the pure ipa experiment. I'm curious  as to the acetone now where does this fit into the cleaning hierarchy ?

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16 hours ago, mikepilk said:

Interesting that IPA is specified by Swiss manufacturers as a final rinse. With all the debate about IPA dissolving shellac, how long is the recommended final rinse ?

I just asked a friend who does work for AP, he's not in the shop and can't remember exactly but around 3 minutes he said. He checks the forks anyway and puts new shellac if/as needed. With my old Greiner machine that distilled, the manual recommends 30 seconds for the balance and fork in freshly distilled (and very warm) alcohol, then the rest of the parts go in and get rinsed for 10-15 seconds in the same alco bath, the bath gets dumped, and once it refills after about 6 minutes, that's it.

 

The only time I ever had an issue with shellac dissolving in the Greiner was if I left the fork in for quite some time. Depends on the age of the shellac too; a fork I had freshly re-shellacced would lose its shellac much more quickly than a lot of older ones, but really old forks might lose it as fast as freshly applied.

 

One thing that simply hasn't been an issue over 25 years of doing this is pallet stones just falling out after the shellac is removed (intentionally or accidentally). In fact, if I really have to dig in to an escapement adjustment the first thing I do is remove all shellac, make my adjustments, including running the watch, then re-apply when I'm happy with it. I understand there are some forks out there that are loose on the stones, but I haven't seen one.

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Cleaned up the thread a bit as it was going seriously off-topic - out of respect for the OP and other people who follow this thread - remember, emails are sent to all subscribed to this thread after you post and they might not be interested in personal conversations - those can be executed via PM 🙂

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The experiment begins. Both dimes were heated to about 300c and then had a flake of garnet shellac laid on top. And then heated some more. 

99% isopropyl on the left, denatured ethanol (containing up to 50% methanol) on the right. 

The ethanol may have some percent of water because i have had the gallon can of it for i think a couple years now. I use it to fuel alcohol lamps because it burns clean, unlike iso. 

The quantities of alcohol may be a little different but they are both immersed. These are 10g polystyrene lip balm containers i bought on ebay to hold small parts. They are reasonably air-tight when tightly closed but can then become hard to open. For acetone or limonene i would need to use some other container but i could do naphtha and odorless mineral spirits in these. I think we're all agreed that odorless mineral spirit aka stoddard solvent doesn't do anything to shellac, though. 

20220503_180433.thumb.jpg.ad1065e5028b3357ea29ac9dd2c63793.jpg

These photos seem to show up in reverse order, but as expected inside a half hour the ethanol side is completely dissolved. 

The isopropyl side is partially dissolved but largely intact. 

i'd say isopropyl is probably not going to harm an impulse jewel setting or pallet stone in a brief rinse. 

An extended, agitated rinse, is probably not a great idea. 

Maybe next I'll see what happens in isopropyl in ultrasonic? 

 

20220503_183216.thumb.jpg.0d6e4602dd0087bb93f84199467af735.jpg20220503_182657.thumb.jpg.ae20ffb7073b39a055863a035ff010ff.jpg20220503_181536.thumb.jpg.8b6594f7ab65b13c1c412989a137747f.jpg

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1 hour ago, TimpanogosSlim said:

After 3 hours and 20-some minutes, the shellac in isopropyl is almost completely dissolved. 

So yeah, absolutely it does dissolve shellac, just not near as fast. 

 

20220503_212518.jpg

I am just thinking though does the ipa have to be rinsed off the pallet stones and impulse afterwards ? will it evaporate quickly enough ?  And will it dislodge the jewels before it has fully evaporated? No wonder this is such a diverse and controversial topic 🙄 

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10 hours ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

I am just thinking though does the ipa have to be rinsed off the pallet stones and impulse afterwards ? will it evaporate quickly enough ?  And will it dislodge the jewels before it has fully evaporated? No wonder this is such a diverse and controversial topic 🙄 

Heated drying is probably recommended, but isn't it always? 

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11 hours ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

I am just thinking though does the ipa have to be rinsed off the pallet stones and impulse afterwards ? will it evaporate quickly enough ?  And will it dislodge the jewels before it has fully evaporated? No wonder this is such a diverse and controversial topic 🙄 

IPA is very volatile, ie. it evaporates in seconds. It is the final rinse !

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I would like to clear some things up please.

wash parts 

Elma WF Pro.

Elma Suprol Pro

wash in distilled water

final wash in IPA 

is this correct and the hairspring in Horological Essence rinse in water and IPA ?

 

I would like to know times also recommended temp I have a small hot plate to dry parts on well it a wax burner thing https://www.wilko.com/en-uk/air-wick-life-scents-electric-wax-melter-turquoiseoasis/p/0450624

 

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Tiny said:

I would like to clear some things up please.

wash parts 

Elma WF Pro.

Elma Suprol Pro

wash in distilled water

final wash in IPA 

is this correct and the hairspring in Horological Essence rinse in water and IPA ?

 

I would like to know times also recommended temp I have a small hot plate to dry parts on well it a wax burner thing https://www.wilko.com/en-uk/air-wick-life-scents-electric-wax-melter-turquoiseoasis/p/0450624

 

 

WF Pro and Suprol Pro are both waterless (hydrocarbon based) cleaning solutions, so no, you would not follow either of those with water. You would only use a distilled water 1st rinse if you had used a water-based cleaner. 

WF Pro is a wash solution and Suprol Pro is a rinse solution. 

So, wash in WF Pro, 1st rinse in Suprol Pro, 2nd rinse in Suprol Pro or maybe IPA if that has been specified by the manufacturer or that just works better for you. The theoretical downside of using the same jug for 1st and 2nd rinse is that you use it faster, but conversely i think it is probably reasonable to replace the contents of the 1st rinse jar with the contents of the 2nd rinse jar when it is time for new rinse solution. 

It appears that shellac dissolves very slowly in IPA so a quick rinse for the balance and pallet in IPA is probably just fine particularly if you have heated drying, but if you have essence of renata or some other substance specifically recommended for rinsing hairsprings (one-dip, perhaps hexane, allegedly acetone but i should do the science), then why risk it? 

I'm unsure about temperatures for heated drying. I have a lot of hobbies and one of them is electronic repair, so i have frequently used my temperature-controlled hot air wand set to 100c which is its lowest setting, and it doesn't seem to cause problems. I could imagine arguments for keeping it below 80c, and i could imagine arguments that 120c wouldn't hurt either. *shrug*

The pros seem to use an appliance that looks like someone shoved a hotplate burner in a box with a fan under it? Surely some form of temperature control though.

 

Oh, just to be clear. Having a microscope allowed me to see that sometimes the balance really does need a lot more than a quick dip in a hairspring cleaner. So i have taken to re-installing the balance complete in the main plate for washing, and the pallet fork goes into a small parts basket along with the train wheels. This does mean that you will have to put extra effort into cleaning the top and bottom balance jewels and potentially the balance pivots as well. Even a cheap usb microscope can help you determine if these parts are clean enough. 

 

Edited by TimpanogosSlim
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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Tiny said:

I would like to clear some things up please.

wash parts 

Elma WF Pro.

Elma Suprol Pro

wash in distilled water

final wash in IPA 

is this correct and the hairspring in Horological Essence rinse in water and IPA ?

 

I would like to know times also recommended temp I have a small hot plate to dry parts on well it a wax burner thing https://www.wilko.com/en-uk/air-wick-life-scents-electric-wax-melter-turquoiseoasis/p/0450624

 

Yey T . How you doing matey ? It's great to see you are really getting into doing things the right way. I do have a slightly different approach to yours but I love you're thinking outside of the box with small plug in scent burner👍. I was thinking of one of those miniature plug in the wall fan heaters myself and I'm using a 100watt bulb and a USB fan at the moment. I get the elma wf Pro, I do have that and the ipa to rinse. I get the essence of renatta as well for the shellac parts. But I think you know my thoughts on cleaning rinsing anything in water, I just find it too risky

 

7 minutes ago, TimpanogosSlim said:

 

WF Pro and Suprol Pro are both waterless (hydrocarbon based) cleaning solutions, so no, you would not follow either of those with water. You would only use a distilled water 1st rinse if you had used a water-based cleaner. 

WF Pro is a wash solution and Suprol Pro is a rinse solution. 

So, wash in WF Pro, 1st rinse in Suprol Pro, 2nd rinse in Suprol Pro or maybe IPA if that has been specified by the manufacturer or that just works better for you. The theoretical downside of using the same jug for 1st and 2nd rinse is that you use it faster, but conversely i think it is probably reasonable to replace the contents of the 1st rinse jar with the contents of the 2nd rinse jar when it is time for new rinse solution. 

It appears that shellac dissolves very slowly in IPA so a quick rinse for the balance and pallet in IPA is probably just fine particularly if you have heated drying, but if you have essence of renata or some other substance specifically recommended for rinsing hairsprings (one-dip, perhaps hexane, allegedly acetone but i should do the science), then why risk it? 

I'm unsure about temperatures for heated drying. I have a lot of hobbies and one of them is electronic repair, so i have frequently used my temperature-controlled hot air wand set to 100c which is its lowest setting, and it doesn't seem to cause problems. I could imagine arguments for keeping it below 80c, and i could imagine arguments that 120c wouldn't hurt either. *shrug*

The pros seem to use an appliance that looks like someone shoved a hotplate burner in a box with a fan under it? Surely some form of temperature control though.

 

Nice one Tim .some really useful information.  Thank you 👍

Edited by Neverenoughwatches
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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

Yey T . How you doing matey ? It's great to see you are really getting into doing things the right way. I do have a slightly different approach to yours but I love you're thinking outside of the box with small plug in scent burner👍. I was thinking of one of those miniature plug in the wall fan heaters myself and I'm using a 100watt bulb and a USB fan at the moment. I get the elma wf Pro, I do have that and the ipa to rinse. I get the essence of renatta as well for the shellac parts. But I think you know my thoughts on cleaning rinsing anything in water, I just find it too risky

 

Yeah potentially, you could glue some standoff feet of some sort to the back side of something like this and put your parts basket on top of the grill: 

https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-500-Watt-Ceramic-Personal-Heater/dp/B074MX8VN5/

Some of these have a switch on the bottom to assure that they don't operate when they aren't standing upright, which you could permanently close with a bit of tape. Some of them may have an internal switch that opens when they aren't upright, but many of them depend on a mechanical switch with a bimetallic contact that opens when it heats over a certain point to assure that they don't start a fire. 

I have a few "personal space heaters" that i bought for heating enclosures for 3d printers (for plastics that print better in a warm environment)

Edited by TimpanogosSlim
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1 hour ago, TimpanogosSlim said:

Oh, just to be clear. Having a microscope allowed me to see that sometimes the balance really does need a lot more than a quick dip in a hairspring cleaner. So i have taken to re-installing the balance complete in the main plate for washing, and the pallet fork goes into a small parts basket along with the train wheels. This does mean that you will have to put extra effort into cleaning the top and bottom balance jewels and potentially the balance pivots as well. Even a cheap usb microscope can help you determine if these parts are clean enough. 

 

Yes, sometimes the balance and all its components don't come perfectly clean even in a current standard cleaning machine with fresh high end solutions. Watches can get really manky. The smallest bit of contamination on a roller jewel or fork slot can rob 30, 50 degrees of amplitude. I regularly rub down these parts with freshly cut pegwood (clean razor) and see benefits. 1/2 century old oil, dried up, can be very tenacious. Peg jewels, pith pinions, it all helps.

 

Best is to do this pre-cleaning machine, with benzine and a brush. Twirl a flat ended pegwood down on pivots. It all helps. And a microscope is the only way you really see it.

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1 hour ago, TimpanogosSlim said:

 

Yeah potentially, you could glue some standoff feet of some sort to the back side of something like this and put your parts basket on top of the grill: 

https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-500-Watt-Ceramic-Personal-Heater/dp/B074MX8VN5/

Some of these have a switch on the bottom to assure that they don't operate when they aren't standing upright, which you could permanently close with a bit of tape. Some of them may have an internal switch that opens when they aren't upright, but many of them depend on a mechanical switch with a bimetallic contact that opens when it heats over a certain point to assure that they don't start a fire. 

I have a few "personal space heaters" that i bought for heating enclosures for 3d printers (for plastics that print better in a warm environment)

Like it Tim. I dont know if I can get those here in the UK though, I'll have to have a looksee 👍

5 minutes ago, nickelsilver said:

Yes, sometimes the balance and all its components don't come perfectly clean even in a current standard cleaning machine with fresh high end solutions. Watches can get really manky. The smallest bit of contamination on a roller jewel or fork slot can rob 30, 50 degrees of amplitude. I regularly rub down these parts with freshly cut pegwood (clean razor) and see benefits. 1/2 century old oil, dried up, can be very tenacious. Peg jewels, pith pinions, it all helps.

 

Best is to do this pre-cleaning machine, with benzine and a brush. Twirl a flat ended pegwood down on pivots. It all helps. And a microscope is the only way you really see it.

Thanks Nicklesilver, that's quite a lot of amp to lose due to a lack of a really thorough clean. And you've just used two of my favourite words there, which I think need to be combined to create a new watch cleaning term.  "Tenacious mank". I think if we can agree on a joint ownership of it would seem gentlemanly fair 🤷‍♂️ . I thought manky was a British word and for some reason I assumed you were American.

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35 minutes ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

Like it Tim. I dont know if I can get those here in the UK though, I'll have to have a looksee 👍

Thanks Nicklesilver, that's quite a lot of amp to lose due to a lack of a really thorough clean. And you've just used two of my favourite words there, which I think need to be combined to create a new watch cleaning term.  "Tenacious mank". I think if we can agree on a joint ownership of it would seem gentlemanly fair 🤷‍♂️ . I thought ma    nky was a British word and for some reason I assumed you were American.

I am American, expated in Schweiz for over 20 years! Yes, tenacious mank is a real problem, actually almost killed us as watchmaking students with a fresh batch of new old stock movements. Through the top of the line machine, garbage. We pegged and pithed for like 2 days to get that mank off and hit 270 amplitude. Would love to know what original oil was used.

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