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Deggsie

Mechanical Wrist Watch Lubrication

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Hello all,

I'm new to this forum and very new to the hobby of watch repair.   I am starting to build up a small collection of 'essential' tools needed to properly take apart and reassemble mechanical watches.  In my tool collection thus far I have: set of various size screw drivers, (some custom made by me), hand puller, hand levers (I prefer these), hand press (home made), movement holder / vice (home made), stainless steel tweezers, brass tweezers and plastic tweezers (all lovingly honed to shape so that I can pick up a hair).  So you can immediately see I have a very important tool missing - the oiler.  Donald de Carle briefly explains how to make one, but is it worth it, or should I just buy a set on ebay for a fiver?  Also, I am slightly confused as I have read in some books that the oiler is 'spade' shaped, and other reference it as being 'wish-bone' shaped.  I think the latter is home made from an sewing needle, and the tip of the eye is ground off, hence the wish-bone shape?  Could anyone please advise the best type for a novice like me to start off with?   Also, for the purpose of practicing stripping, cleaning, reassembling and lubricating - is there a single grade oil I could use?   I realize that if I were servicing a watch properly, then I would need to use several expensive types oil for different locations in the movement, but for now is there a single oil I could get away with for simplicity, and staged learning. 

Thank you all in advance.  Regards, Deggsy.

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I'd buy some oilers and study their size and profile. They are cheap enough for that. 

You could lubricate a watch with one oil, but it's far from ideal. Three oils would be better, and four better still, etc. There are threads on here already discussing beginner's oil choices. Looks for Mark's post as he's a reputable source. In short, you'll want mainspring grease (eg. 8200), heavy oil (like D5), light oil (like 9010) and possibly pallet grease (like 9415). Best to keep lubricant questions in an existing lubricant thread.

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For purely practice purposes you might consider this https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/pocket-oiler-multi-purpose get some into an oil cup, maybe you can thin it out somehow? it's probably a little too on the thick side.get some basic bergeon oilers (might sound expensive but you can get a set for about 10 pounds or less if i remember right and their shape is just so much better than the slightly cheaper alternatives)  I've made an oiler myself using some tapered pins and short cuts of pegwood and a staking set, but that's... i dont really think its worth the effort, i only really did it as a proof of concept. 

Just some ideas, i know what you're saying about the expense of a set of the proper oils, it can set you back £100 easily, however as long as you store them properly and dont contaminate them, they last an age because you use so little of it. (just be aware of their shelf life, but even then as a non professional you could probably take that as a 'suggestion')

Edited by Ishima

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For purely practice purposes you might consider this https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/pocket-oiler-multi-purpose get some into an oil cup, maybe you can thin it out somehow? it's probably a little too on the thick side.get some basic bergeon oilers (might sound expensive but you can get a set for about 10 pounds or less if i remember right and their shape is just so much better than the slightly cheaper alternatives)  I've made an oiler myself using some tapered pins and short cuts of pegwood and a staking set, but that's... i dont really think its worth the effort, i only really did it as a proof of concept. 

Just some ideas, i know what you're saying about the expense of a set of the proper oils, it can set you back £100 easily, however as long as you store them properly and dont contaminate them, they last an age because you use so little of it. (just be aware of their shelf life, but even then as a non professional you could probably take that as a 'suggestion')

Thank you all for the useful advice. I've decided to go for the smallest size oiler based on your advice. I'm still not sure what to do about the oils. Splashing out £100 just now is out of the question, so definitely need to make a cut there



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Maybe some one on the forum has some expired gear train oil they'll part with. it will just give you the practice to impart the right amount of oil, which is a knack you have to develop, there should be advice all over the forum on the technique as well, if not i can go into it. 

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I was just wondering if anyone has used this watch oil? Since I intend to strip, clean, rebuild, lubricate and repeat - all in the name of practice, perhaps this will do the job? What do you think?


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I was just wondering if anyone has used this watch oil? Since I intend to strip, clean, rebuild, lubricate and repeat - all in the name of practice, perhaps this will do the job? What do you think?


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Sorry. Here is the link. Trigger happy there. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/182326751858


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I wouldn't bother with that stuff, personally. If you are dead-set on getting just one oil then I'd maybe just get a bottle of D5. I wouldn't use D5 on pallet jewels though as it may cause sluggish performance there. 

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There is a lot of stuff said about oils and greases here, did you do a search?
Here is one:
Also Mark's watch course lesson 1.3.7 sheds a light about this.

Unfortunately that link didn't work.


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Moebius 8000 is as close to an inexpensive universal oil as you will find. There is a chart on Cousins web site that shows where it can be used.

Hello and thanks for your advice regarding the moebius 8000. I think this will be best oil to start with, and then add to my collection as and when specifically required. As I say, the watch will be stripped and cleaned again and again for practice - hopefully not losing too many parts in the process. Kind Trematoda. Deggsy


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I wouldn't bother with that stuff, personally. If you are dead-set on getting just one oil then I'd maybe just get a bottle of D5. I wouldn't use D5 on pallet jewels though as it may cause sluggish performance there. 

Hi. I have decided to go down the route of giving moebius8000 a try to start with. I know there is no such thing as universal oil but one has to start somewhere, and m8000 is a common oil. I can always add to the collection as I progress.

Out of interest, was there a reason why you would give the synthetic oil a wide berth? At £1 a bottle I can understand you scepticism but wondered if you or any others here have experience with it.

Many thanks and regards. Deggsy


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Regarding the synthetic oil, I just wouldn't trust it as it's from China (OK, that's prejudice) and it doesn't give you a good indication of how heavy it is. Also, being synthetic by no means necessarily makes it better than specific natural/mineral oil mixes. 

Hopefully that möbius 8000 is ok for mainsprings and barrel arbors. Most torque is at the start of the train of wheels, so make sure these are lubricated as best you can. 

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Regarding the synthetic oil, I just wouldn't trust it as it's from China (OK, that's prejudice) and it doesn't give you a good indication of how heavy it is. Also, being synthetic by no means necessarily makes it better than specific natural/mineral oil mixes. 
Hopefully that möbius 8000 is ok for mainsprings and barrel arbors. Most torque is at the start of the train of wheels, so make sure these are lubricated as best you can. 

Thanks for that Rodabod. Can I just say how everyone is so very helpful here, and tolerant of my newbie questions. I'm very grateful for the time you all take to assist me. It is greatly appreciated. Kind regards. Deggsy


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