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At the risk of making a generalization, most people in the various forums who have switched from home brew cleaners that were loosely based on the MSDS of the commercial cleaners to actual commercial cleaners have noted an appreciable difference in results, myself included. My guess is the ingredients used in the commercial cleaners are further refined, and the tiny percentage of extra unlisted ingredients make a big difference. I can say for example as a formally trained artist that a can of linseed oil from the hardware store is not the same as a can of refined linseed oil from the art supply house. Seems likely the same concept could apply here.


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Dare I mention that I sometimes let extremely grubby stainless (uncoated) bracelets soak overnight in neat Flash liquid ? :p
Recently I've bought a few SQ bracelets in absolutely minging state. I've taken to soaking them in a solution of soda crystals and Fairy. Today I scrubbed the back of one with an old toothbrush and some bicarbonate of soda whitening toothpaste, and that sure got the black stuff off.
 

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Cleaning a grubby old bracelet is a totally different kettle of fish to cleaning a movement in my humble opinion.

I use fairy washing up liquid in my heated ultrasonic and imo does a great job on bracelets (NOT movements).
 

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Maybe you're not aware that Noah is a Professional Watchmaker who is always happy to share Good Advise with us all.
With the emphasis on Professional... Plenty of experts on here such as yourself Tom, GuyJ, Sir Alan and maybe even myself among others, but there's only one true Professional Watchmaker regularly posting on here with the training and qualifications to back it up and he ain't from NZ.
 

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With the emphasis on Professional... Plenty of experts on here such as yourself Tom, GuyJ, Sir Alan and maybe even myself among others, but there's only one true Professional Watchmaker regularly posting on here with the training and qualifications to back it up and he ain't from NZ.

Ah huh.
I'm not into stating what I've done and the papers to prove it but ;
I have done a full apprenticeship with three years of correspondence, block courses set up at a tech. institute with two trained tutors (one Swiss guy who worked for Omega).
I have completed my trade certificate (higher level than trade training).
That was with Borrow Watchmakers in Dunedin NZ. My two bosses (one retired about two years after I started my apprenticeship (so I ended up running a lot of the business too) were highly skilled - turning pocket watch balance staffs etc. We worked on everything from the smallest women's watch to the university and town hall clocks.

I think that was half decent training.

Putting a capital "P" on professional doesn't make it better.

I'm also the only qualified watchmaker who regularly or semi regularly posts work I do here - justice being seen to be done etc.

I have a watch coming back to me that isn't quite right. I'll sort it and get it back to my customer.
That is the second one this year.

I remember these two as they stand out as the only two I can remember in months.

All watchmaker's have returns.

My work and the reviews I get speak for themselves. See the pages of reviews below. Other watch repairs listed on Trademe have none.

WATCH Repairs / Watchmaker | Trade Me
 

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With the emphasis on Professional... Plenty of experts on here such as yourself Tom, GuyJ, Sir Alan and maybe even myself among others, but there's only one true Professional Watchmaker regularly posting on here with the training and qualifications to back it up and he ain't from NZ.
Who is the "only one true Professional Watchmaker"?
When has / does he ever show evidence of his work?
 

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Dear Paul,
I feel you have earned my hairy eyeball because you have clearly (from your C.V. above) had the opportunity to be taught the best way to do things, but continue to insist spreading your gospel of expediency and pragmatism, often shouting over others to do so. This bothers me because you should know better, and be a better example to non-professionals. If you call yourself a professional, you are held to a higher standard. I think you forget that we are all here because we love watches, not the cheapest and easiest way to service them. Know your audience.
Whether or not there are governmental regulations for watchmaker ethics, we should endeavor to do the best possible job, and continue learning ways to achieve that. What we are dealing with here is a simple case of logic, so simple in fact that it ties me up in knots trying to explain it in a patient manner.
I think one aspect that beginning or self-taught watch repairers don't consider is "how can I best ensure that this watch will stay out as long as possible while also minimizing the chance of shortening its overall lifespan". Watch companies want this. Cleaning fluid suppliers want this. They have dedicated their work and toil to realize this goal. But sure, mix your own solutions; you are smarter than them, it seems. Those who have worked with proper cleaning solutions according to their proscribed methods clearly and easily understand the benefit they offer in obtaining a surgically clean surface that is free of contaminants and that does not harm the finish or underlying structure of the metals and materials used in watch movements, and will result in giving a surface that is ready to accept and keep lubrication in place, free of contaminants that will shorten that lubricant's lifespan.
I want to approach you with love and understanding, but you make it awfully hard when you are so publicly hard-headed, and proud of your obstinance and contrarianism. Again, live your life as you see fit, but realize that if it seems to be to the detriment of the members here or the watches they propose to work on, I will call it out.

Truly with love and understanding,
 

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I saw that, but there are several differed fluids. Is everyone useing the same ones? I'm looking for "model numbers". IE., #111, ammoniated, non-ammoniated, etc. And what rinsing fluids. Again, I found several.
 

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I’ve tried the Zenith (no big complaints), but currently use the L&R #111 and #121, with both ultrasonic and agitation cleaning machines. I’d hate to make a blanket statement that those will work best for all users with all machines, so research on the different solutions offered is advised.
Proper hygiene with solutions is critical- change the solutions often and consider doing two separate sets of jars- one for pre-cleaning the mostly assembled movement and then one set of jars for final cleaning. This also aids in the diagnostics process during disassembly- you can see wear much more clearly, check endshakes more easily, and see and escapement functions and tests better.
Good drying afterwards is critical as well, to make sure you don’t have any trapped solutions in crevices that don’t evaporate before re-assembly.
I view proper solutions as a price of admission. Yes they are more expensive than household chemicals, but that should be built into your business/hobby model.
 

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Dear Paul,
I feel you have earned my hairy eyeball because you have clearly (from your C.V. above) had the opportunity to be taught the best way to do things, but continue to insist spreading your gospel of expediency and pragmatism, often shouting over others to do so. This bothers me because you should know better, and be a better example to non-professionals. If you call yourself a professional, you are held to a higher standard. I think you forget that we are all here because we love watches, not the cheapest and easiest way to service them. Know your audience.
Whether or not there are governmental regulations for watchmaker ethics, we should endeavor to do the best possible job, and continue learning ways to achieve that. What we are dealing with here is a simple case of logic, so simple in fact that it ties me up in knots trying to explain it in a patient manner.
I think one aspect that beginning or self-taught watch repairers don't consider is "how can I best ensure that this watch will stay out as long as possible while also minimizing the chance of shortening its overall lifespan". Watch companies want this. Cleaning fluid suppliers want this. They have dedicated their work and toil to realize this goal. But sure, mix your own solutions; you are smarter than them, it seems. Those who have worked with proper cleaning solutions according to their proscribed methods clearly and easily understand the benefit they offer in obtaining a surgically clean surface that is free of contaminants and that does not harm the finish or underlying structure of the metals and materials used in watch movements, and will result in giving a surface that is ready to accept and keep lubrication in place, free of contaminants that will shorten that lubricant's lifespan.
I want to approach you with love and understanding, but you make it awfully hard when you are so publicly hard-headed, and proud of your obstinance and contrarianism. Again, live your life as you see fit, but realize that if it seems to be to the detriment of the members here or the watches they propose to work on, I will call it out.

Truly with love and understanding,
My reply;

I have been taught to do things well (no one here has ever asked me what my watch work qualifications are) and continue that with my current work.

I do practice “expediency and pragmatism” - I want to process work without large delays and in an economical way for myself and my customers.

“often shouting over others to do so.” - that is untrue. There is no “often” but if someone such as the thread starter here wants to get into watch repair I will sometimes let them know the cheap, easy and workable way to do that.
I don’t tell them the expensive, time consuming and pedantic way to do it.

They may only (as with a friend of mine, and many of my customers who mod) do one watch and all the gear, fluids etc are effectively wasted. That is being “a better example to non-professionals." The NekkidWatchmaker Youtube video (which I have watched) is a good case in point.
“Know your audience.” - I do.

I don’t call myself a “professional” (with or without the capital P), I’m a tradesman.

That is what watchmakers are - tradespeople. It may be just semantics but I was a professional when I was a teacher and made use of my degrees and post graduate teaching diploma.
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“Whether or not there are governmental regulations for watchmaker ethics, we should endeavor to do the best possible job, and continue learning ways to achieve that.”

I do. I often phone up a close friend who’s arguably one of NZ’s best watchmakers (ex Seiko in the 80s/90) for advice. I once rang him on a Monday. He told me he’d turned up five (5!) pocket watch balance staffs that weekend. There are other watchmakers here I ask advice from as well as looking on the net.
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They could think this but a person with some humility about what they’re undertaking will
realise that they are unlikely to do the best job possible from the get go. “Cleaning fluid suppliers want this.” - the fluids I used (see the Zapp fluid link) for instance are used for a multitude of purposes - the makers and users don’t want the machinery it’s used on wearing due to a cleaning fluid issue. “They have dedicated their work and toil to realize this goal.” - this goes for (hopefully) all fluid makers.

“you are smarter than them, it seems.” - I don’t appreciate the condescension.

Surely whatever fluids work well is fine - whether watch specific or not.
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“publicly hard-headed, and proud of your obstinance and contrarianism.” - any specific examples or is this just your perception. I’ve certainly not shown that in the posts prior to you posting this one to me. I do have my own mind and views on some things to do with watchmaking.

Am I allowed to voice them?

Do I have to tow the underlying ‘party’ line? Can the people who have made covert and overt criticisms of me and my work over the years not cope with a contra opinion?

Back to where I started - the proof of one's workmanship and the materials used is in the results.
I have results and I have the courage to post them.
 

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Paul,
Thank you for posting your repair projects. I think people forget your location. Way far away from anything. Watch parts and tools don't grow on trees. I can't say I blindly follow your advice but I do note that there is always another way. A Swiss watchmaker may be able to stroll to the parts factory on his lunch break. You don't have that luxury, you do the best you can with what you have.

There was a youtube video of a Citizen restore. The watchmaker had dirty, calloused and scared hands. A man that worked hard for a living and watchmaking was not his main job. This is all most people saw. I saw scredrivers that didn't slip and gouge. No flying parts. Proper tweezering. Complete cleaning and pegging of jewel and arbor holes using lighter fluid of all things. It was organized and orderly. He had skills. He didn't have the best supplies and probably could not get the best supplies due to location. The watch worked when he was done.

Keep posting please.
 

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I’ve tried the Zenith (no big complaints), but currently use the L&R #111 and #121, with both ultrasonic and agitation cleaning machines. I’d hate to make a blanket statement that those will work best for all users with all machines, so research on the different solutions offered is advised.
Proper hygiene with solutions is critical- change the solutions often and consider doing two separate sets of jars- one for pre-cleaning the mostly assembled movement and then one set of jars for final cleaning. This also aids in the diagnostics process during disassembly- you can see wear much more clearly, check endshakes more easily, and see and escapement functions and tests better.
Good drying afterwards is critical as well, to make sure you don’t have any trapped solutions in crevices that don’t evaporate before re-assembly.
I view proper solutions as a price of admission. Yes they are more expensive than household chemicals, but that should be built into your business/hobby model.
OK, so I've begun using L&R #111 for cleaning and #121 for rinse. I use these in an ultrasonic. My question now is what is the conventional wisdom for how many times you can use each before discarding. I hand clean the parts using soft brushes, tissue, peg and pithwood and naphtha. Then I use one bath with #111 to clean then 2 separate baths to rinse, followed by the parts dryer. I do not want to overuse, but also don't want to waste! Also, I filter all 3 after each use. So, how often would you recommend I change out fluids to be safe?

Thanks

Mike
 

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That’s a hard question to answer, as it depends on how big your jars are, environment the solution is stored in, length of time between use, and how dirty your watches are (whether or not you pre-clean in a different set of jars). I’d not be comfortable throwing out a number as it could be based on entirely different parameters, but in a professional setting (higher volume than hobby), with pre-cleaning and relatively clean movements, 15-20 watches is possible. But when it doubt, change it out, especially if your parts aren’t coming out clean or the solution is taking on a radically difference appearance.
 
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