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Well I would definitely start with Moebius 9010 (for train wheels and balance endstones) and 9020 (for train wheels) if you are working on Pocket Watches. Moebius 9415 is a must for Pallet/Escape

I made this for anybody getting started, feel free to share.   Recommended Lubricants for Getting Started.pdf

I have to say the oil side of watch repair makes me smile. Back in November  put in an order for a 55 gallon drum of 1000 weight steam oil for my traction engine. I buy about one drum a year and

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Good points, Bob. I did an awful lot of reading before buying my lubricants and cut corners where I thought I could. I bought Jisma 124 ($44.50) in place of 9501 ($72) for the canon pinion. And, with shelf life and other factors in mind, I bought HP1300 in place of D5. Less money for a much smaller quantity, but twice the shelf life.

 

One of the books I've read, "Amateur Watchmaking" by Per Torphammar suggests the hobbyist only needs 9010, D5 and 8300. "...one "high-speed low-load oil" and one "low-speed high-load" oil, plus one grease for the barrel walls."

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About to purchase the suggested lubricants and wanted to know if these prices seem normal to you? It's nearly $200 for just 4 small lubes! Anyone seen them anywhere cheaper/smaller quantity? This is my cart on esslinger.com

 

Well in this thread http://www.watchrepairtalk.com/topic/822-basic-oils-and-greases-again, I mentioned that I ordered small quantities of SIX lubricants for 100 EUR (120 EUR including postage).

 

The vendor is http://www.kalyanediffusion89.com (although I used their ebay store, which seemed to have a different selection ?). They're in France.

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  • 4 months later...

OK - as a VERY new beginner in this whole watch thing, I find myself bamboozled by all the different oils and grease numbers.

 

So, here are some of the questions that spring to mind:

 

1. What is the difference between one oil and another? How does this relate to the number on the oil?

 

2. What are the different uses of the different oils? Where do I need one, and not the other? How interchangeable are they? Is there a general oil that will do for everything?

 

3. Why do some spots need oil, while others need grease? And different types of grease?

 

4. Do oils "go off" if left in the little divots in those multi-recessed oiler trays? I have one with three dips in it.

 

5. Do the oiler needles cross-contaminate oils? Do I need a separate oiler needle for each oil? Or do I simply wipe the needle? Is there a better way to clean the needles?

 

6. What basic set of oils and grease should a bloke have if only doing watches as a hobby for family and friends, like I am? Or as above - is there a basic general oil that could be used for pretty much everything?

 

7. Why are the oils SO expensive for such tiny amounts?

 

8. Any other advice from the experts about oils and grease would be much appreciated.

 

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Pete, Brisbane
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Hi Pete,

 

I reckon that your first port of call should be here;

 

http://www.watchrepairtalk.com/topic/638-lubricants-basics/?hl=%2Blubrication+%2Bbasics

 

Coming from the lubricants industry as he does Canthus provides an excellent overview of the world of oils.

As far as the numbers are concerned I'm not aware of any standardised nomenclature used in the manufacturers reference numbers although there are some indicators within some product ranges (eg. Meobius HP series synthetic oils get more viscous as he number gets higher).

 

Then I would have a look at this;

 

http://www.bhi.co.uk/Documents/certificate/Tech/PractLub.pdf

 

This is an excellent standard approach to oiling where specific manufacturers instructions or tech sheets for a given movement aren't available. However, you will find that manufacturers specs, personal experience, cost, availability, brand loyalty, and habit all influence what any watchmaker may consider to be the best approach to lubrication, which means that there are as many opinions as to what is best as there are watchmakers.

 

As far as the oil in the oil pots is concerned, if you keep the lid on the pot when not in use it should have the same shelf life as it would in the bottle, which for Meobius is 6 years from manufacture. However hard I try to keep things clean though I inevitably end with small amounts of contamination in the oil pot over time so I tend to decant the smallest amount from the bottle as I can get away with and change it every 1 to 2 weeks depending on how many watches I work on. I will still probably not get to the end of the bottles before the use by date.

 

You really don't need a different oiler for each oil. Just make sure that you always clean the oiler in pith wood every time before dipping the oil, even if you're using the same oil, as it keeps everything scrupulously clean.

 

As for cost I suspect that there are 2 main factors at play; economy of scale for oils that are made only for horological applications, and marketing for those that are much more widely used but under different names. I'm pretty sure that there are manufacturers out there that bottle the same oil under different names and price it according to what the target market is prepared to pay. Find the mass market equivalents of the Meobius range and you will be a happy horologist. Better still, let us in on the secret and we will all be happy :-)

 

I quote Meobius as examples simply as they are the easiest for me to get hold of here. If I could find a supplier of alternatives I would happily experiment with cheaper options which I'm sure are just as good at the job.

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Marc - what a great, well thought out, post. Thank you for that - very much appreciated.

 

Great post from Canthus, and some nice follow-up posts too.  And that PDF looks to be a really good reference. I've saved it, and it is printing out on my double-sided laser printer as I type this.

 

So I guess, it would seem a reasonable conclusion that there is a fair bit of science and technology at work in deciding what oils to use and where - but it is overlaid with that old black magic, the art, the gut feeling... Would that about sum it up?

 

Thank you again for the reply. Now to go and read up that PDF :)

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Pete, Brisbane
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Hi Pete,

 

In my experience which is almost none, I can tell that lubricating a movement is like an art form.

 

Normally, in the beginning of our watchmaker life, we over lubricate and therefore add another "malfunctioning" variable to what already exist in the movement. Then we start putting our act together until it becomes perfect.

 

The choice of oils and greases (note the difference) is based on the function of the parts they lubricate. I believe you may find an explanation to the aforementioned "function" in the forum.

 

In a pinch, sometimes 1 or 2 oils/grease is all you need for most of your work...it may not be 100% what is recommended but done right it may be "equivalent"....somehow. Also, some cheaper oils made somewhere else than Switzerland may work the same and/or better. You will be getting all this with experience and experimenting...also other watchmaker's input is a wealth of knowledge in this matter.

 

Bottom line, don't worry about this subject too much at the beginning. When in doubt, try to get the service data of the movement you are servicing and go by their recommendations...this is not always the best for that movement since movements are modified and service data take a long time, if ever, to be updated. In any case, you will be safe by following them.

 

Just MHO. Hope this helps,

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

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Thanks Bob - appreciate your post.

 

The posts by Canthus on that thread linked to by Marc above are excellent, and the PDF that Marc posted later in that same post is another great resource.

 

But as you say, I won't try to get my head around it all in one go, and I certainly won't be buying a selection of oils at this stage. Just what I may need when I need it.

 

Thank you all :)

--
Pete, Brisbane
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I'm just beginning to learn proper lubrication. Although I bought a pretty good selection of lubricants for my practice, one book I read stated that a beginner can get by with just three types - mainspring grease (i.e. Moebius 8300), Moebius 9010, and Moebius D5. The general principle is high load, low speed parts require lubricants with more viscosity. While high speed, low load parts require less viscous lubricants. Too high viscosity (and also too much) lubricant on the high speed parts can cause drag. So maybe these three lubricants will suffice for the time being. FWIW, I opted for HP 1300 over D5. It's more expensive per ml, but I was able to buy a smaller quantity and thus spend less.

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Well I took a small plunge and purchased screwdrivers, tweezers, hand removers, and hand installers from Cousinsuk.  I purchased a 5X loupe from Amazon and I think I can get by with my cheap ebay kit case opener and holder.  I'm planning on using lighter fluid as cleaner unless someone on the board here can talk me out of it.  Now I need to purchase a small amount of oil for my clean and lube project.  I've identified 4 watch and clock repair establishments in a 40 mile radius but I need to know what to ask for.  I assume all I'll need is a few drops. 

 

Question: the manual calls for Moebius A and Seiko watch oil S-6.  It does not call for any grease.  In most of the posts I see recommendations for Moebius 9010, Moebius D5, etc...  Can someone give me recommended equivalents that I'm likely to find in these local shops for both the Moebius A and the S-6?

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Lighter fluid is good (I use that too :) )

I rinse the lighter fluid with 99% alcohol. It evaporates very quickly with no residue (NOT for anything with shellac !!!!!!!!!!!!).

For oils, the moebius should be available.

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As frenchie says lighter fluid is great, alcohol (IPA) rinse is fine just don't get it anywhere near the balance or pallet. As for the oils unfortunately you are really stuck with Moebius rip off Swiss, you will just have to bite the bullet & take out a second mortgage.

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Dear Sirs, I really enjoyed it links the information and experience sharing. Now I want to share with you a small test I made about lubricants in watchmaking. I hope to enjoy. The link leads to the site where they can download material consisting essentially of work performed in an Excel document with several references.

Please see this link.

 


 

Any corrections or comments are welcomed.

 

Guido

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Dear Sirs, I really enjoyed it links the information and experience sharing. Now I want to share with you a small test I made about lubricants in watchmaking. I hope to enjoy. The link leads to the site where they can download material consisting essentially of work performed in an Excel document with several references.
Please see this link.
 
 
Any corrections or comments are welcomed.
 
Guido

 

Hi, Guido,

Welcome to the forum. Must say the link & download supplied is the most informative I have read on lubrication excellent paper. Thanks very much.

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Dear Sirs, I really enjoyed it links the information and experience sharing. Now I want to share with you a small test I made about lubricants in watchmaking. I hope to enjoy. The link leads to the site where they can download material consisting essentially of work performed in an Excel document with several references.
Please see this link.
 
 
Any corrections or comments are welcomed.
 
Guido

 

 

Do people actually use these motor oil and other alternatives?

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Not really. In professional watchmakers no place for experiments. There are standards which lead to accurate results.

 

However in the present essay are shown, REFERENCE ONLY, the properties of automotive lubricants.

 

Lubricants have certain properties that make them suitable for conditions such as temperature, work requirements, etc.

 

Knowing the properties of lubricants, particularly its viscosity is measured in cSt. (Centistokes) allows us to better understand the art of lubricating watches.

 

On a personal level I have experimented with synthetic lubricant automotive in Swiss watches. But watches are my property that I use for testing.

 

When it comes to work, I use recognized as Moebius 8000, in the most critical parts of the Swiss watch lubricants. For example the mechanism of escape: Escape wheel, anchor pallets, pivots balance staff.

 

Here a link performance of a clock lubricated with synthetic oil vehicle.


 


 

GuidoV.

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