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Old 03-08-2019, 08:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pallet Fork Lubrication

For those in the know, I wanted to bring up the topic of pallet fork lubrication. I am looking for guidance and opinions on this topic. In my research, I have read and seen watchmakers advise not to lubricate the pallet fork pinions when installing the pallet fork onto the main plate. My most recent build (Seiko 7017-6010 Speedtimer) appears to show lubrication to be applied to the upper pallet fork pinion. Thoughts on this topic.

Regarding lubrication to the pallet fork jewels, I have been applying a tiny amount of Moebius 9010 synthetic to the ends of each pallet jewel using my smallest oiler. I have read that Moebius 9415 synthetic is a better alternative. Thoughts.
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Pallet pivots. I don't and it is standard affair not to....however if you can put the tiniest of tiniest amounts it may be "ok". Personally I don't lubricate the pivots at all.

As for the stones ideally you want to treat with epilame, run the escape teeth and apply oil after 15 minutes or so, allowing the epilame surface to rub clean. After and once you apply the 9415 and run the escape without the balance installed, apply another small drop and this should be best procedure.

Without epilame, do the same, but it's my understanding that epilame will really make sure the oil stays where it's meant to and will be the most efficient. Problem is epilame is expensive, but lasts a long time. It also needs to be applied accurately and not too much..

Also as for cleaning Seiko recommends only benzene and drying with cool air for the pallet if I recall correctly. I personally put them in the ultrasonic but I have started to change this, using pith and rodico and followed by a rinse in alcohol and one dip at times....

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Old 03-08-2019, 08:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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And I'm no pro or expert but this is advice I've had over the years by those I pay attention to...
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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JOops not alcohol sorry I meant benzene. I use essence of renata Edited..

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Old 03-08-2019, 10:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have been giving serious consideration to investing in epilame - the solution (Moebius Fixodrop) and the equipment needed to treat parts with it. All in approx. £270.

Why? Well, as Guy says above this is recommended treatment for pallet fork and escape wheel.

The reasons I've held off, and am continuing to do so are:

1 - cost

its a chunk of money. Is it a good investment? (see below)


2 - cost / benefit

will I be able to see the benefit from treating parts?

will I be able to measure the benefit from treating parts?

am I 'good' enough to get the projected results from this treatment?


3 - will the vintage watches I work on (predominantly SEIKO) benefit

did SEIKO apply this treatment from the factory?

do they use it in their modern watches?


I'd love to hear from anyone with experience using this treatment, and what movements they are using it on.
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Old 03-08-2019, 12:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Awhile ago I read a thread on a watch maker's forum regarding this topic. The Swiss almost never recommend lubricating these pivots. Japanese Tech Sheets show it sometimes and not others. Different versions of the same caliber Tech Sheet conflict.



The originator insisted that if a part moved, it needed to be lubed. The old and wise watchmaker that was responding said don't do it. They went back and forth about the pros and cons. The old watchmaker concluded that if he insisted on lubing this part, put a drop of oil on pith wood and plunge the pivot in the drop to wipe some oil on it. That seemed to make both happy enough to move on.



Me? I saw a 30 degree amplitude drop when I did it so I don't anymore.
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Old 03-08-2019, 12:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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From a hobbyist's experience, simply removing the pallet and cleaning the pivots and jewels on an old vintage Seiko can restore the amplitude.
And clean and re-oil the balance jewels helps too!
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Old 03-08-2019, 12:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I never oil the pivots on the pallet fork.
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Old 03-08-2019, 12:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have been hand dipping the pallet and balance in One Dip and then blowing them dry with a hand held bulb type blower from Bergeon. I have been installing the Pallet with pivots dry and using a smallest amount of Moebius 9010 on the ends of the Pallet stones. This seems to be working thus far for me. I have heard the Moebius 9415 is a bit thicker and stays put on the ends of the pallet stones better than 9010.

As for the balance pivots, I remove the diashock stone and jewel cup before cleaning.

Thanks for all the informative replies here. Great topic.
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Old 03-08-2019, 12:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I like to see the pallet fork swing with gravity as I turn the movement.
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Old 03-08-2019, 01:11 PM   #11 (permalink)
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watchmakers paper, pith, pegwood, all useful... Watchmaklers paper is good to give the caps a little rub with.
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Old 03-08-2019, 02:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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From the Seiko 6106A disassembly/assembly pdf,

Set pallet after lubricating pallet jewels (Moebius Synt A).

I have been using 9010.

This reminds me of a filum where a bomb disposal guy was dealing with a 500 lb'er, Cut the red wire, but first remove the fuse.

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Old 03-08-2019, 02:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Don't oil the pivots (I know.....Seiko do...but that doesn't make it best practice) and put a little on the exit stone.



I've experimented re oiling the pivots - it barely increases the amplitude at
times but if it takes that do do it there is something wrong in the rest of the wheel train that you need to correct.



Oil in pallet pivots is the first oil to harden up (as it doesn't rotate like wheel pivot oil does) and decrease performance over the years
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Old 03-08-2019, 02:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Pallet Fork Lubrication

Iíve been experimenting with the Zenith epilame. It is recommended to keep it off pivots as well, which makes it a bit tricky to apply to the escape wheel and pallets as it seems to spread as soon as it touches metal. It also flashes off really quickly so itís almost impossible to apply with an oiler.

Anyway, it gets applied as best as possible and then the movít is run for X amount of time without oiling to wear the treatment off the pallet faces and escape wheel teeth where they contact each other. After that you apply you oil and the treatment forces the lube to bead up into the now untreated area. Pretty neat actually. It also demonstrates what a tiny amount of oil should be applied to the pallet stone face I guess

I do the cap jewels as well. Keeps the oil droplet beaded up and does not spread.

The Zenith stuff apparently isnít as good as the other, but it does work and is a fair bit cheaper.


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Old 03-08-2019, 03:58 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
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watchmakers paper, pith, pegwood, all useful... Watchmaklers paper is good to give the caps a little rub with.
Learned something today . Didn't know there where such thing as special watchmakers paper. Any special brand that is better then the other?
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Old 03-08-2019, 04:02 PM   #16 (permalink)
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201070129580

No affiliation etc etc...that's what I use tho Roger. May well be alternatives I'm not aware of.
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Old 03-08-2019, 04:33 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I have heard the Moebius 9415 is a bit thicker and stays put on the ends of the pallet stones better than 9010.
Itís a lot thicker.






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Old 03-09-2019, 05:13 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Oiling pallet stones is something I really have down. I do it before I install the balance. The oiling of the stone is actually a 2 stage process. The first is to get a small amount of oil on the exit stone. You then use tweezers to gently rock the pallet back and forth so the oil is transferred to the next 4 escape wheel teeth. You then apply another small amount to the exit stone and repeat this until all the escape wheel teeth are lubricated.

I use 9415
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Old 03-09-2019, 11:39 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Pallet Fork Lubrication

Hereís an oiling technique Iíve played with a bit with mixed results. Iíd read about it in a few places a figured Iíd give it a whirl.

Basically, set the train other than the pallets and balance. Mark the escape wheel at one point with a fine Sharpie marker and apply oil to every second or third tooth face with a nearly dry oiler. You want to keep the amount of oil to a bare minimum. Set the pallets and balance and run the watch from full wind to nothing. If you want you can pull the balance and pallets back off to check how well the oil is distributed and if you applied enough or too much.

It seems to work pretty well on the 6 series movíts once you get the technique down, but I didnít like the results on the 6497 Iím working on. I think in that instance I needed to oil fewer teeth or with a dryer oiler.


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Old 03-10-2019, 01:56 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Hereís an oiling technique Iíve played with a bit with mixed results. Iíd read about it in a few places a figured Iíd give it a whirl.

Basically, set the train other than the pallets and balance. Mark the escape wheel at one point with a fine Sharpie marker and apply oil to every second or third tooth face with a nearly dry oiler. You want to keep the amount of oil to a bare minimum. Set the pallets and balance and run the watch from full wind to nothing. If you want you can pull the balance and pallets back off to check how well the oil is distributed and if you applied enough or too much.
Hi Michael,
You may want to re-think a few aspects of that approach. Escapement lubrication is one of the most critical aspects in servicing, and also one of the ones most apt to be done poorly. To minimize inconsistencies in your process, I'd make the following recommendations:
Avoid using marker on a cleaned steel wheel. You can't be sure what the long-term effects will be on a carbon steel polished surface, and more importantly it may be something that draws lubrication away from where you want it, depending on how close your marker mark is to the teeth.
I'd also recommend not removing the pallet fork once the escapement is lubricated, as you are disturbing the lubrication path on the pallet stones, and possibly helping it migrate via contact contamination with other surfaces as the fork is lifted out and re-installed.
By this logic, you may want to rethink the whole process of lubricating the teeth before installing the fork. Pallet forks don't just slot into place as you perch them in the lower jewel and then install the pallet bridge. All of that potential/likely unwanted movement of the fork is likely to allow any given surface close enough to the now-wet escape wheel teeth the chance to wick lubrication away from where it is needed on the impulse surfaces only, or give a path for the lubrication to travel away over time.
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:52 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Pallet Fork Lubrication

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Hi Michael,

You may want to re-think a few aspects of that approach. Escapement lubrication is one of the most critical aspects in servicing, and also one of the ones most apt to be done poorly. To minimize inconsistencies in your process, I'd make the following recommendations:

Avoid using marker on a cleaned steel wheel. You can't be sure what the long-term effects will be on a carbon steel polished surface, and more importantly it may be something that draws lubrication away from where you want it, depending on how close your marker mark is to the teeth.

I'd also recommend not removing the pallet fork once the escapement is lubricated, as you are disturbing the lubrication path on the pallet stones, and possibly helping it migrate via contact contamination with other surfaces as the fork is lifted out and re-installed.

By this logic, you may want to rethink the whole process of lubricating the teeth before installing the fork. Pallet forks don't just slot into place as you perch them in the lower jewel and then install the pallet bridge. All of that potential/likely unwanted movement of the fork is likely to allow any given surface close enough to the now-wet escape wheel teeth the chance to wick lubrication away from where it is needed on the impulse surfaces only, or give a path for the lubrication to travel away over time.

I agree itís not an ideal approach and was only something I wanted to experiment with as Iíd read about oiling the face of the teeth rather than the face of the exit pallet, I guess maybe because they can be easier to see and access? I do find I have better control than trying to oil the face of the stone. The teeth can be oiled with pallets in place or not, and since your only oiling every second or third tooth there is minimal risk of displacement if you choose to oil before setting the pallets.

As to the marker, Iím not marking the tooth near the face, but back at the ring (rim?). It would have to be mighty attractive to draw oil, but point taken. However, I will say I was curious to see if the ink from a Sharpie would do anything to the steel. I doubt it, but who knows.

All of that said, and agreeing it isnít ideal, as long as you can hit the target with minimal oil, when Iíve removed the pallets on the few Iíve experimented with to determine how well the oil is distributed it does appear to distribute very evenly after being run.


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Old 03-10-2019, 03:54 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Default Pallet Fork Lubrication

Thereís a lot going on in this photo. This is from the ETA 6497 I was using as a test mule in the oiling experiment. It had seen moisture for an extended amount of time apparently as there was staining on the plates and hairspring and red iron oxide on the fine adjusters.

(See Noahís posts further down in the thread for explanations of what I was misunderstanding re what I was seeing)

First, before you look at the jewel face notice the pivot is quite corroded and cone shaped. There is a lot of side and end shake on all the wheels and the pallets in this movít.

Second, you see two nice lines of oil on the exit jewel face. This was a result of position change from dial down to dial up. As a result of all the end and side shake this allowed two lines of oil to form.

Third, I know I over oiled slightly in this example. Still, oiling every other escape wheel tooth actually achieved a nice result.

Forth, I supposed if I had more advanced skills and equipment I could polish the pivots and change the jewels, but since all the wheels and pallet fork are still available new Iíll take that route instead.




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Old 03-10-2019, 05:57 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Michael,
I think youíll find that the thickness of the escape wheel teeth is about the width of that lubricated area- endshake will only change its travel by .01 to .04mm.
From here I wouldnít call that too much lubrication, perhaps you could even add a little more. Remember the goal is to have the watch stay out for several years, and a dry escapement will make that less likely to happen.
Now that youíve seen the results of a semi-dynamic oiling of the escape wheel teeth, what do you think about a completely dynamic one, where you oil from the dial side through the observation hole, while the watch is assembled and running?
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Old 03-10-2019, 06:18 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Default Pallet Fork Lubrication

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Michael,

I think youíll find that the thickness of the escape wheel teeth is about the width of that lubricated area- endshake will only change its travel by .01 to .04mm.

From here I wouldnít call that too much lubrication, perhaps you could even add a little more. Remember the goal is to have the watch stay out for several years, and a dry escapement will make that less likely to happen.

Now that youíve seen the results of a semi-dynamic oiling of the escape wheel teeth, what do you think about a completely dynamic one, where you oil from the dial side through the observation hole, while the watch is assembled and running?


What else would account for the two tracks than some sort of deviation? If you have excess sideshake from wear combined with endshake you could see the contact point change more than expected, no? Youíre saying thatís actually one track? Interesting. There is loads of pitting and wear on the pivots, and side and endshake so assumed it was shifting enough to cause the wide spread tracks

[Edit] youíre probably right about the amount of oil it the photo, but I think there is a wear issue. I say that only because I currently have a new pallet fork installed with the old worn escape wheel and with sufficient oil it left a nice straight strip a little thicker than the tooth face. By eye I think not as wide as combined stripes in the photo.

Not sure about dynamic oiling. Part of my reason for wanting to experiment with the technique is my depth perception is a bit impaired with age and this method works around it. And oiling the face of the jewel when assembled in addition to the issue above feels imprecise to me.


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Old 03-10-2019, 08:18 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Please see thoughts in bold:
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What else would account for the two tracks than some sort of deviation? Capillary attraction on an epilamed stone would result in the behavior you see- the lubrication spreads to the edges of the tooth's travel because it is like a corner to collect in- there is epilame above and below the path of travel, and that edge draws the lubrication away from the cleared center of the path, especially when there isn't enough lubricant to fill the path.
If you have excess sideshake from wear combined with endshake you could see the contact point change more than expected, no? Youíre saying thatís actually one track? Interesting. Yes. If that were two separate tracks, that would mean your endshake would be .20mm to .30mm (if I had to guess the distance between the two), which just isn't possible. There is loads of pitting and wear on the pivots, and side and endshake so assumed it was shifting enough to cause the wide spread tracks While I agree that those pivots have got to go, they aren't allowing the play you think they are.

[Edit] youíre probably right about the amount of oil it the photo, but I think there is a wear issue. I say that only because I currently have a new pallet fork installed with the old worn escape wheel and with sufficient oil it left a nice straight strip a little thicker than the tooth face. By eye I think not as wide as combined stripes in the photo.

Not sure about dynamic oiling. Part of my reason for wanting to experiment with the technique is my depth perception is a bit impaired with age and this method works around it. And oiling the face of the jewel when assembled in addition to the issue above feels imprecise to me. I think you would be best served in learning this technique to start with a binocular microscope of at least 30-45x and good back-lighting. That can help make up for what is already a tricky procedure even with perfect depth perception.
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