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Discussion Starter #1
I bought this watch new about a year ago now and just love it. But I noticed that it has a film ( similar to Citizen's) on the inside surface of the crystal. Has anyone really checked if this film is due to the oil?( maybe paint, or gasket or silicone, lume?). It's really no big deal other than it's really annoying. Anyone has access to a spectrometer in the LA area?
 

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I had a similar problem on an inexpensive Orient that I own. I've had to clean it twice so it seems to come back. I have no idea what it is.
 

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I am soooooooo glad to have checked this thread. Man, and I thought I was getting paranoid or something.....I have a good number of watches that has this inside surface film phenomen. I have taken the watches to servicing upon realizing this a lot of times. A good clean, replacement of gaskets, pressure check and.....voilá! A few months after here it is, again! The film!

Annoying doesn't even begin to describe the big P.I.T.A. this is. I have this happening to almost all of my 6309s, a few Orients, some ecozillas, you name it.

I have some leads to help the brothers here to investigate this problem, and maybe together we can get to a consensus.
After extensive conversations with some watchmakers and a few friends in the know, I have come to some conclusions....

Depending on where the watch is exposed and the duration of exposure, some lights - specially those hot ones where the watches keep exposed in the store windowns - have an effect on the lume paint of some dials;

Exaggerated amount of grease or silicone rubbed around the crystal gasket of the watches;

In automatic watches, the oil used to lubricate the movement can be volatile to a degree;

And finally, the most horrendous theory of them all, and the only one that MIGHT bring troubles to the watch itself: maybe the gaskets are a bit dry and, although still good to seal the watch against water intrusion, they are vulnerable to some vapors or humidity allowed inside the case. This is the only hypothesis that have kept awake at night, since I own so many watches.
The funny thing is that, in some watches I have that have shown this phenomen, they have never ever came near water. Also, they are brand new, and some of them never made out of the box and onto my wrist. We are talking about 3 years old watches, in some cases.

I would like to hear the experts opinions on this subject, please.
 

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Hi,
If the gaskets are OK (not leaking, so this film would simply be some moisture), most likely this is an oily residue from the manufacturing process that was not entirely washed away.
???
Disassemble the watch and wash the case with warm water and mild soap, dry carefully and re-assemble?
Just my $0.02.
Cheers,
 

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I've occassionally had problems with water condensation which can look like a thin film of oil on the inside of the crystal. This is a function of moist air- usually warm air in humid conditions- being sealed inside the watch case: when the temperature drops, the capacity of the air inside the watch to hold the gaseous water reduces and water condenses out onto all surfaces- but the only place you see it is on the inside of the crystal. This is what I used to call 'the gin and tonic effect'- put gin, tonic and ice in a glass on a warm day and within a minute or so there is water running down the outside of the glass- condensation caused by the lowering of the temperature to the point where the air in contact with the cold glass can't retain the water is has in gaseous form and it comes out in liquid form. Drink the gin and tonic and repeat the experiment as many times as necessary to confirm the results. Before I put a back on a watch, I put it under a lamp or in sunlight for some minutes to try to gently dry it out so there is as little moisture sealed inside the watch as possible. You might try simply taking the back off and warming the watch to see if it clears up the problem- if it does, your problem is moist air inside your watch. Proper watch oils shouldn't be volatile in normal conditions.
 

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yes, it happens, and it is correct. it is mainly due to sudden temperature variation which causes some materials to release gases from within the watch components (oils...etc...) as well as pure moisture.
However, if it keeps happening, there is a leak somewhere allowing the entry of new particles into the watch case.
 

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I have had many watches with this problem. All coming straight from Pokemonyu and/or Premierworld.
So brand new, never been opnend.

My guess is that the film appears when the watch goes through temperature-changes, maybe cobined with air pressure changes (storage in the airplane is a very cold place).
 

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gamboge said:
I've occassionally had problems with water condensation which can look like a thin film of oil on the inside of the crystal. This is a function of moist air- usually warm air in humid conditions- being sealed inside the watch case: when the temperature drops, the capacity of the air inside the watch to hold the gaseous water reduces and water condenses out onto all surfaces- but the only place you see it is on the inside of the crystal. This is what I used to call 'the gin and tonic effect'- put gin, tonic and ice in a glass on a warm day and within a minute or so there is water running down the outside of the glass- condensation caused by the lowering of the temperature to the point where the air in contact with the cold glass can't retain the water is has in gaseous form and it comes out in liquid form. Drink the gin and tonic and repeat the experiment as many times as necessary to confirm the results. Before I put a back on a watch, I put it under a lamp or in sunlight for some minutes to try to gently dry it out so there is as little moisture sealed inside the watch as possible. You might try simply taking the back off and warming the watch to see if it clears up the problem- if it does, your problem is moist air inside your watch. Proper watch oils shouldn't be volatile in normal conditions.
I think I can get the same "gin and tonic" effect using Jack Daniels and water and would prefer it. ;D
 

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TheTigerUK said:
Whats the thoughts on "greasing" the crystal gaskets ? i never do but is it recommended ?
Yes, I have seen a number of people telling that lubing the xtal gasket is a big no-no in 101 horology. But it is rubber anyway, isn't it? And rubber has to get lubbed once in awhile to retain its properties, right?

I'm just proposing a brainstorming session, here. One thing I know for sure: this thing has happened to me for a number of times, enough to annoy me big time. So I'm looking under every stone to try and find some reasoning for the whys on this phenomen.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
FWIW- the watch has never been opened. It came from Singapore(?) 2009. I had originally asked if someone has access toa spectrometer, then it can be properly identified. I would guess its not moisture as leaving the watch opened does not make the film disappear. Moisture inside of a watch that Ive seen normally fogs the center of the crystal, because the crystal center is coolest. What kind of rapid temp change can occur in a watch sitting in a room I wonder?
I have seen the same film on a Citizen that does not have an oring on the crystal, so Im concluding that it's not the lube they use on the crystal oring migrating onto the crystal.
 

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5seikos said:
What kind of rapid temp change can occur in a watch sitting in a room I wonder?
Sitting inside an air conditioned dry cool place and going out to extreme heat and high humidity levels.
Or the other way around, being inside a hot place and going out to a snow storm.
Of course, under normal conditions (a correctly sealed watch) this should not happen. The thing is, if it happens once, and it is not completely fixed, it will happen again, as even if the moisture clears, whatever caused it in the first place will cause it again.
 

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I'd be pretty surprised if it was proper watch or gasket lubricant unless the watch has been exposed to some very high heat for a time great enough to break it down- which I think would take a lot of doing. My guess is still moisture condensing on the inside of the watch. If the back was last put on and sealed in a humid environment, then the watch taken into a cool enough environment, condensation will occur- it has nothing to do with leaking gaskets- the moisture is already in the small amount of air inside the watch. I remember my first visit to Singapore, walking out of the airport doors and the humidity in the air hit me like a brick. They must have some method of drying the watches assembled there to avoid this problem. Condensation is a common problem in Time Capsules where documents, photographs and other memorabilia are sealed in often quite sophisticated containers, then buried or put in stone foundations to be opened years later. A common sight on opening capsules is badly damaged items inside the container covered in mould, reeking, and obviously damp. This is usually blamed on a leak but in fact condensation occured because as the moist air inside the container cooled, airborne moisture condensed, and mould spore took off in the moist conditions. Have you tried taking the back off the watch and placing it in sunlight or beneath a warm lamp to see if the haze disappears? Give it a go and let us know if it goes away or not. It is also just possible what you are seeing is a thin layer of mould- I hope not, but it could be.
 

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throw in some silica gel in the time capsules.

For the watch, even if you wear it 1 day in a hot humid environment, and then bring it to your room, it can take days for the humidity to escape to the crystal as it finds its way towards the place with the least resistance.
If you open the caseback, the humidity should disappear, but you need to properly seal it for it not to makes its ugly reappearance.
 

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Yup, but if you seal it perfectly and there is sufficient moisture in the air inside the watch, condensation will still occur. Relative humidity is cheap and easy to measure using a digital hygrometer- does anyone know if there is an industry standard for what r.h. is recommended for ambient conditions when assembling a watch? As for time capsules, we just tell people to make sure the air is as dry as possible before sealing the container. For silica gel to be effective, it has to be dried out- usually by heating in an electric oven- and then quickly sealed before it cools. The packet would then opened and placed inside the capsule which is then sealed as quickly as possible before the silica gel can absorb too much moisture from the ambient air. There are several different types of silica gel and I'm not sure about the long term effect of any of them in a sealed environment.
 

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I'm wondering ...
Watches are sealed against excessive pressure getting IN.
Are they sealed against excessive pressure getting OUT?

"Excessive" being relational to ambient.

In mechanical engineering, there are different methods of pressure management depending on where the high pressure is supposed to exist as opposed to where the low pressure is supposed to exist.

So, if a watch is exposed to 0.1 atm, would the excessive pressure IN the watch escape OUT past the seals that are designed to protect the movement from multiple 10's of atm's trying to get INTO the watch case? If the answer is "yes", then the next question to naturally follow is, "Are there substances inside the watch case that are stable under normal atmospheric pressure, that become volitile and 'outgas' when exposed to closer-to-vacuum conditions?" If the answer is "yes", then we have the answer to what this "film" is, and how it got there.

The condition of low ambient atmospheric pressure is normal on aircraft, especially in some cargo/baggage compartments. The passanger compartments in aircraft are regularly kept about 20 - 30% below sea level "normal" to save on fuel.

Then again, when returned to a "normal" atmospheric pressure condition, would the low pressure inside the watch case "suck in" humidity laden air? If the answer is "yes", then we again have the answer to what this "film" is, and how it got there.

I'm wondering if dry nitrogen would benefit the longevity of watch movements if the case was purged and filled with it.


Max
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well I figured I'd crack the case open and fix the symptom. I left the case back off overnight and it did not made the film disappear. So I wiped it off and it made the crystal clear again. I still dont know what it was for sure but it didnt behave like moisture. Although we dont have a lot of moisture in the air here in California(USA), I close the caseback under a purge of argon. I enclosed my caseback closer in a bag and ran argon gas thru the bag, then after a few minutes of flow I closed the caseback and tightened it, so probably my watch now has very high consentration of dry argon inside.
 

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5seikos said:
Well I figured I'd crack the case open and fix the symptom. I left the case back off overnight and it did not made the film disappear. So I wiped it off and it made the crystal clear again. I still dont know what it was for sure but it didnt behave like moisture. Although we dont have a lot of moisture in the air here in California(USA), I close the caseback under a purge of argon. I enclosed my caseback closer in a bag and ran argon gas thru the bag, then after a few minutes of flow I closed the caseback and tightened it, so probably my watch now has very high consentration of dry argon inside.
Please, report to this topic in a week to give some updates about your watch. This issue really interests me. I'm starting to guess (after talking about it with a lot of folks in the know) that this "film" of whatever substance is linked to the crystal quality of the watch. Another possibility is the lume material getting the fogness up to the crystal under temperature variations. We'l see what happens....

P.S.: A few of my watches that incurred in this problem (if that ever could be deemed as a problem, by the way) were taken to the authorized services facility to get sorted out, where they went through a pressure test and condensation test BEFORE ever getting opened and they passed with flying colors under both. Then, since I like things perfect, the watches are cracked open too, for wiping the film out. A few months later, there were the misterious film, again! :mad: I gave up, since the watches are sealed and water tight. Guess I'll have to change my mind and start getting used to the fact that things will never be perfect.....LOL!
 

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5seikos said:
Well I figured I'd crack the case open and fix the symptom. I left the case back off overnight and it did not made the film disappear. So I wiped it off and it made the crystal clear again. I still dont know what it was for sure but it didnt behave like moisture.
this has been my experience as well. a film like streaks on a window.
 
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