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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
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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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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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 :undecided:
 

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I’ve 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 it’s almost impossible to apply with an oiler.

Anyway, it gets applied as best as possible and then the mov’t 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 isn’t as good as the other, but it does work and is a fair bit cheaper.


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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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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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Here’s an oiling technique I’ve played with a bit with mixed results. I’d read about it in a few places a figured I’d 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 mov’ts once you get the technique down, but I didn’t like the results on the 6497 I’m working on. I think in that instance I needed to oil fewer teeth or with a dryer oiler.


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Here’s an oiling technique I’ve played with a bit with mixed results. I’d read about it in a few places a figured I’d 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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