Two mainspring questions. One about inserting a mainspring in the barrel, and one about lubrication

Thread: Two mainspring questions. One about inserting a mainspring in the barrel, and one about lubrication

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  1. #1
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    Two mainspring questions. One about inserting a mainspring in the barrel, and one about lubrication

    Hi. I'm trying to reassemble an old seiko 6119c which has a mainspring like http://www.clockmaker.com.au/diy_seiko_7s26/400_10.jpg

    I was trying to insert it into the barrel by squeezing the split ends together and feeding the spring into the barrel CW, but the tail attached to the end deformed, This was my first time so I had to try multiple times, and tail lost it's shape and bent back with the rest of the spring even when not under tension. Is this just because it's an old spring? If it had been a new spring would it have kept it's shape?

    Also, I've read a lot of contradictory stuff about how to lubricate the mainspring. The clockmaker.au site that I was going by recommends oiling the inside wall of the barrel, and there seems to be three different camps regarding how to lubricate the spring itself. Some say don't lubricate the spring, some say oil it, and some say grease it. I don't have mainspring specific grease, but judging by the gunk, I'd say the manufactured used something like graphite impregnated grease. I'd tend to the lead of the manufacturer.

  2. #2
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    Re: Two mainspring questions. One about inserting a mainspring in the barrel, and one about lubrica

    For springs like this, a mainspring winder is your friend. This type uses a "slipping" bridle, and I was taught that you use a special grease on the inside of the barrel wall for "Braking" (to prevent the bridle from slipping too much, and thus allowing the watch to wind up more before slipping). Some alloy mainsprings shouldn't be oiled if they're new; the design of the alloy is intrinsically low-friction. Probably depends on the mainspring. Many modern watches have completely sealed mainspring barrels. Most people I've talked to use a mainspring grease like Moebius 8141 on the mainsprings of older watches.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Two mainspring questions. One about inserting a mainspring in the barrel, and one about lubrica

    Although new at this racket, I've learned a few things:

    From TimeZone Watch School Home I learned to use 8217 on the barrel wall, and like Rob said above, some 8141 on the spring after its been wound in the barrel.

    The other thing I've learned, from observation; the best way to start a watchmaker fight is by asking what the right way to lubricate is. You'll never get two answers the same, and the knives will come out soon thereafter.

    Oh! And I haven't got a clue about winding the spring. I tried three different winders yesterday, broke one spring, and ended up doing it by hand. But I can attest to the helpfulness of taking a picture after you open the barrel so you won't go crazy trying to remember or figure out which way the spring is supposed to be wound.
    Last edited by Robb Ludwig; June 10th, 2012 at 17:06. Reason: forgot the winding part

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    Re: Two mainspring questions. One about inserting a mainspring in the barrel, and one about lubrica

    Quote Originally Posted by cp5184 View Post
    Hi. I'm trying to reassemble an old seiko 6119c which has a mainspring like http://www.clockmaker.com.au/diy_seiko_7s26/400_10.jpg

    I was trying to insert it into the barrel by squeezing the split ends together and feeding the spring into the barrel CW, but the tail attached to the end deformed, This was my first time so I had to try multiple times, and tail lost it's shape and bent back with the rest of the spring even when not under tension. Is this just because it's an old spring? If it had been a new spring would it have kept it's shape?

    Also, I've read a lot of contradictory stuff about how to lubricate the mainspring. The clockmaker.au site that I was going by recommends oiling the inside wall of the barrel, and there seems to be three different camps regarding how to lubricate the spring itself. Some say don't lubricate the spring, some say oil it, and some say grease it. I don't have mainspring specific grease, but judging by the gunk, I'd say the manufactured used something like graphite impregnated grease. I'd tend to the lead of the manufacturer.
    These watches tend to have these "reverse" bridles, and they are difficult to wind back in even with a mainspring winder. I usually just replace the spring. Press it directly into the barrel from it's shipping ring after greasing the barrel wall, and you are done.

    For a new white alloy spring, they have a dry lubrication on them already, so they do not need to be lubricated. If you use an old spring then oiling it is important after cleaning. You don't need much - put some heavy oil on a piece of watchmakers tissue paper, pick the spring up, and slide it through the tissue with the oil. Do it again with a dry piece of tissue, and that's plenty of oil.

    For braking grease, this needs to applied to the barrel wall with an automatic watch. I use Kluber P125 on pretty much all watches, and the results are usually good. Don't look for stellar balance amplitude for these Seikos as they are typically not as high as what the average Swiss watch is for whatever reason. I'm usually pretty happy if I see 250 degrees on these.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers, Al

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    Re: Two mainspring questions. One about inserting a mainspring in the barrel, and one about lubrica

    If you forget to take the picutre, all you need to do is look at the arbor and it's very easy to figure out which way the spring goes in as the inner coil will have to catch on tooth on the arbor....

    Cheers, Al

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    Re: Two mainspring questions. One about inserting a mainspring in the barrel, and one about lubrica

    Thanks for the info, Archer. I wish I would have spent a second and thought about the barrel arbor. Of course that implies I know which way was up for that part. It seems like the more I learn about watchmaking, the less I know.

    And I know what you mean about the amplitude. My Bell Matic's been troubling me for a while. Then I found out through Under the Loupe/Calibres by Lift Angle - Alliance Horlogère that the Seiko's aren't all 52°. My Bell Matic is 54.5°, and the 7009a is 53°. Although still not stellar, the amplitude is improved when the machine is set to the correct lift angle. The 6119 is 54.5°, too.

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    Re: Two mainspring questions. One about inserting a mainspring in the barrel, and one about lubrica

    Quote Originally Posted by Robb Ludwig View Post
    Thanks for the info, Archer. I wish I would have spent a second and thought about the barrel arbor. Of course that implies I know which way was up for that part.
    One of my first cleanings, I carefully wound up the mainspring, popped it into the barrel, put the arbor in and got it nicely hooked on the terminus, replaced the barrel cap, and then tried to put it in the movement. I could tell it wasn't right after a moment, when I realized that the first wheel part of the barrel has to be UP, and if it's UP, the square on the arbor for the ratchet wheel also has to be up. I realized I'd put the spring AND the arbor in upside down.

    Sheesh. And it had all gone together so easily, too.
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