Tokunaga on: Lubrication of a wrist watch - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tokunaga on: Lubrication of a wrist watch

Authored by Tokunaga

Question: From Duane Ruckle-san

I am wondering how long the lubricants in a Seiko automatic winding mechanical watch, which was manufactured many years ago, but never worn, might still be in good condition? I have recently acquired a "New-Old-Stock" watch with a 4S15 movement that is 5 years old and I'm wondering if I should have the watch cleaned and serviced before wearing it.

I would appreciate your enlightenment about the characteristics and stability of these lubricants if it is possible to comment on them.


Concerning the overhaul of a mechanical watch, since it is greatly influenced by the operating condition of each watch, and environmental conditions, it is case-by-case and although a decision is impossible, it is ideal to carry out in three to four years. Although 4S15 of you have 25 jewels and accuracy is from +25 to -15 s/d, I consider that it is better to overhaul if it seems that time accuracy went wrong and was worrisome for you.

If you would click on the link below, you would be able to get the technical guide of 4S15A.

A general infomation of lubrication:

1) As the characteristic suitable for the lubricants of a wrist watch, there are a certain amount of viscous characteristic, moderate mobility, no volatility, and it is an ideal lubricant that there is little chemical deterioration against temperature change etc.

2) There are a high viscous grease and a low viscous oil, and in case of a mechanical watch, a high viscous grease is used on the winding-up equipment portion, and a low viscous oil is used on the friction portion of gears' metal and those jewels and the escapement devices.

3) Since the lubricants are organic substances, they will change with the lapse of time being exposed by temperature change and oxidization circumstance etc.

4) In case of a quartz watch, since the very small driving energy is transmitted from momentary rotation of stepping motor to gears unlike the mechanism which have been transferred of the strong power from a mainspring like a mechanical watch, the problem of wear decreases extremely, and the only few jewels is sufficient as the jewels of the quartz watch and there are also some zero jewel movement which have less portions of the necessity for lubrication.

Since the kind of lubricants, lubrication portions and the quantity of lubricants differ by the each caliber, it is based on the technical guide of each caliber for details.

The general uses of designated lubricants of Seiko are as follows.

Sincerely yours,

Ikuo Tokunaga

Ikuo Tokunaga

Picture credit: Seiko
"That a wristwatch is a small celestial theater. It is a small sky. A device for the measure of shadows." -Gabriel Gudding

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