Article: My First Cleaning: Part 2: The Breakdown

Thread: Article: My First Cleaning: Part 2: The Breakdown

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Article: My First Cleaning: Part 2: The Breakdown

    As we know this is a cheap simple time piece, but even simple pieces can be broken to a point it can not be fixed. Please make sure you have de-energized the watch before proceeding.

    1. Remove hour hand gear. This gear is not held in by anything and is easily lost if left to it's own devices.

    2. Turn over. Remove case retainer clips.

    3. Remove main spring plate. If you have not de energized the watch, you will have a surprise now as the spring can leap out at you.

    4. Remove main spring assembly. This will drop/release a large gear on the face side of the movement.

    5. Remove last screw and movement cover plate. Take care, the balance wheel and spring are attached. This movement uses a more stout balance spring, but it still can be damaged if not handled properly.

    6. Tray the rest of the loose parts. (gear train, escapement, fob lever, and fob cog.)

    7. Do not try to remove other face side parts. They are rivetted in.

    That completes the breakdown. Check your parts. If you misplace a part now you will not have it later when you try to rebuild.

    Now it is time to clean. I will not be going through this step by step. I probably do things that would make most cringe, but then this watch is badly corroded and I will be using some strong chemicals to try and restore the metals.

    By Jon Nailor

    End of Part 2
    Next, Part 3: The Regathering
    Last edited by Jon Nailor; September 9th, 2008 at 23:23. Reason: spelling errors

  2. #2
    Member Shangas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Re: Article: My First Cleaning: Part 2: The Breakdown

    I admire watch and clockmakers...these fiddly things look so intimidating!
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

  3. #3
    Member vardjuin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Re: Article: My First Cleaning: Part 2: The Breakdown

    please reconsider on posting the cleaning process also. i'm really interested in this step and have never seen a post with pictures that shows this process. i would also like to know what solution you use for cleaning.

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  5. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Re: Article: My First Cleaning: Part 2: The Breakdown

    Ok you asked for it, but I have already completed 90% of the process without taking any pics. Sorry. Anyways, I would not do this to just any watch. I used a mix of Hagerty Coppersmith's Polish and Brasso Metal Polish. I used #0000 steel wool to work the worst spots. Washed in already sprayed WD-40. Then rinsed in Lighter fluid.

    Now I know I probably committed about 10 different high crimes against watches, but I do not have all the proper equipment or chemicals at this time (nor do I have the money for them). Plus as my part one of the article says... "Clueless Newbie". I am relying on my knowledge for cleaning other items that are made with the same metals. But I do have a 10X lamp and a 30X examining penlight. So I do know I have not cuased too much damage. Plus the 30X lets me make sure I get all of the #0000 steel wool out of the way. Please do not use this method on a watch you want to take running. This was just me trying to see if it can be done.

    Jon Nailor

  6. #5
    Member JohnF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Oberstedten, Germany

    Re: Article: My First Cleaning: Part 2: The Breakdown

    Hi -

    Your basic tools are fine, but here are some additional tips: use a past-like mixture of naptha and chalk (like from blackboard chalk) to get rid of things like varnished oils from severely neglected (and overoiled) watches. That should get almost everything off, but will, of couse, polish the surface as well. The finest steel wool is an alternative, but you really, really need to make sure that all remnants are removed.

    You've got one thing right: caustic chemicals removed by lighter fluid. But you should, especially to ensure that you've got everything removed, especially in nooks and crannies, run it through a ultrasound using either a commercial mixture or a simple mixture of ammonia and soap, followed by water, then the lighter fluid/naptha, which will replace water remnants in nooks and crannies (and scratches and corrosion pits) and then evaporate leaving virtually nothing behind.

    I use a bog-standard consumer ultrasound (designed to clean jewelry and glasses) by simply put the watch parts into a test tube filled with the ammonia and soap, sealing it and dropping it into the ultrasound bay, which is filled with water (otherwise I'd need too much ammonia and it's destroy the ultrasound in relatively short order, since it's plastic). You do need really thing-walled test tubes, though. I got mine from a buddy who is a biologist, they have chemically-resistant friction-fit plastic stoppers.

    You're doing the right thing.

    Watches were designed by engineers to be able to be put together with a minimum of labor. As such, they are usually very logically designed - there are exceptions, of course) and if you just look at how it was put together it's usually not hard to get them back together and working.

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