If you have ever wondered about the intricate world of horology and how oils and greases play a role in watchmaking, you’ve come to the right place. As any mechanical watch enthusiast or aspiring watchmaker knows, lubrication is a critical aspect of ensuring a timepiece’s longevity and optimal performance. Understanding the world of watchmakers oils and greases can be both fascinating and rewarding. Not only will it enable you to maintain your own timepieces, but it will also deepen your appreciation for the precision and craftsmanship involved in horology.
This guide aims to introduce you to the essential oils and greases used in watchmaking, shedding light on their significance and application. Throughout this guide, we will explore the fundamental principles behind watch lubrication, the types of oils and greases commonly employed, and their specific uses in different components of a watch movement. We will delve into the importance of viscosity, evaporation rates and compatibility with various materials. Additionally, we will discuss the techniques and tools necessary for applying lubricants accurately and efficiently.
Whether you are a hobbyist, a budding watchmaker or simply curious about the inner workings of timepieces, this guide will provide you with a solid foundation in the realm of watch oils and lubricants. So, let’s embark on this journey together and unlock the secrets behind the essential watchmakers oils and greases that keep watches ticking smoothly.
Why do Watches Need Oils and Greases?
Watchmakers need to use oils and greases for several crucial reasons. First and foremost, lubrication is essential for reducing friction and wear within a watch movement. The intricate gears, pinions and pivots in a timepiece require smooth and precise movements to function accurately. Without proper lubrication, these components can grind against each other, leading to increased friction and wear, which can negatively impact the watch’s accuracy and lifespan.
Secondly, watchmakers oils and greases help to prevent corrosion and rust. Many watch components are made of metal, which is susceptible to environmental factors such as moisture and humidity. By applying the appropriate lubricants, watchmakers create a protective barrier that shields the metal surfaces from moisture and prevents oxidation.
Furthermore, oils and greases also aid in sealing and preventing dust particles from entering the watch movement. This is particularly important for the delicate and sensitive parts within a timepiece, as even tiny particles can cause significant damage or hinder the smooth operation of the watch.
Lastly, watchmakers utilize specific oils and greases with different viscosities to match the requirements of different components within the watch movement. Higher viscosity oils are used for heavy load-bearing parts, such as mainsprings and barrel arbors, while lower viscosity oils are employed for delicate parts that require minimal resistance, such as the escapement.
The use of watchmakers oils and greases in watchmaking is indispensable. They ensure smooth operation, reduce friction and wear, prevent corrosion, and safeguard the delicate components of a watch movement. Without proper lubrication, the performance, accuracy and longevity of a timepiece would be compromised.
Tips for How to Use Watch Oils and Greases
Using watchmakers oils and greases correctly is crucial to ensure the optimal performance and longevity of a timepiece. Here are some important steps and considerations for applying these lubricants:
Before applying any oil or grease, it is essential to have a clean work area and clean tools. Dust, dirt, or debris can contaminate the lubricants and potentially cause damage to the watch movement. Use lint-free cloths and ensure your hands are clean before handling the lubricants. This is where a movement dust cover and watchmakers dust blower become essentials.
Different watch components require specific types of watchmakers oils and greases. It is important to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or a reputable watchmaking resource to determine the appropriate lubricant for each part. Consider factors such as viscosity, evaporation rate, and compatibility with materials.
Apply small amounts of oil or grease using specialized watchmaking tools like oilers or brushes. It is crucial to use precise and controlled movements to prevent over-lubrication. Apply the lubricant to the designated points in the movement where it is required, such as gears, pivots and jewels.
Use the recommended quantity of lubricant for each component. Too much or too little can affect the watch’s performance. A small drop or a thin film is generally sufficient for most applications.
After applying the lubricant, remove any excess oil or grease from the watch movement using a clean, lint-free cloth or specialized cleaning tools. Excess lubricant can attract dust and debris, leading to potential issues in the future.
Watch lubrication is not a one-time process. Over time, watchmakers oils and greases may degrade or evaporate. Therefore, regular maintenance and reapplication of lubricants are necessary to ensure continued smooth operation of the timepiece.
Remember, proper application of watchmakers oils and greases requires patience, precision, and attention to detail. By following these guidelines and employing good watchmaking practices, you can effectively lubricate your timepiece and contribute to its optimal performance and longevity.
Recommended Watch Oils and Greases – Moebius
Each watchmaker has their own individual preferences for oils and greases. It takes a lot of trial and error to find your preferred products, however, through recommendations, you can get a head start at narrowing it down.
Moebius watch oil is by far the most widely used watchmakers oils and greases manufacturer worldwide, and with good reason. Founded in 1855 they specialize in the production of high quality oils and greases guaranteeing an ideal lubrication of your watches. They produce a range of watchmakers oils and greases to cover all watchmakers needs as well as all climates.
Moebius Natural Grease 8200 / Moebius Natural Grease 8300
Moebius Natural Grease 8200 is a highly versatile lubricant that finds great utility in the field of watchmaking. This semi-fluid thixotropic grease exhibits excellent adhesion properties, making it an ideal choice for various applications. While at rest, it maintains a relatively thick consistency, ensuring stability and long-lasting lubrication. However, when subjected to stress or movement, it undergoes a remarkable transformation, transitioning into a more liquid state that allows for smooth and effortless flow.
One of the key advantages of Moebius Natural Grease 8200 lies in its suitability for use with springs. Springs play a critical role in the functioning of a watch and this grease’s ability to adapt to different states makes it perfect for ensuring optimal performance. Its ability to flow easily under stress facilitates the smooth operation of springs, preventing excessive friction and wear that could otherwise compromise their functionality.
For watchmakers residing in hotter climates, Moebius Natural Grease 8300 serves as a viable alternative. Although slightly less thixotropic than its counterpart, this grease maintains its effectiveness even under higher temperatures. However, myself residing in the UK, where hot climates are not as prevalent, the choice of Moebius Natural Grease 8200 remains a suitable and reliable option for watch lubrication, providing consistent performance and protection.
By selecting Moebius Natural Grease 8200, watchmakers in the UK and other mild to cool climates can confidently ensure the proper functioning and longevity of their timepieces, even in the face of varying stress and temperature conditions.
Moebius Natural Grease 8200 / 8300 Key Details
Where to Use
Mainspring, Inside Wall of Mainspring Barrel
Moebius Natural Grease 8200: 3 Years
Moebius Natural Grease 8300: 3 Years
New mainsprings are lubricated and need no additional oil or grease. Just pop them into the barrel and you’re all set.
Both Moebius Natural Grease 8200 and 8300 are available in a fluorescent variety.
$37.00 ($55.22 / Fl Oz)
Moebius Synt-A-Lube 9010 / Moebius Synta-Visco-Lube 9020
Moebius Synt-A-Lube 9010 and Moebius Synta-Visco-Lube 9020 are two exceptional 100% synthetic oils designed to meet the diverse lubrication needs of the watchmaking industry. Their exceptional resistance to aging and pressure make them indispensable for ensuring the smooth operation and longevity of watch components.
Moebius Synt-A-Lube 9010, with its balanced viscosity, is specifically formulated for fast moving components. Its ability to withstand high levels of pressure and stress makes it an ideal choice for critical parts that experience rapid motion. Whether it’s the rotating gears, pivots, or other high-speed components, Synt-A-Lube 9010 ensures minimal friction and wear, contributing to optimal performance.
On the other hand, Moebius Synta-Visco-Lube 9020 offers a higher viscosity, making it better suited for slower moving components within a watch movement. This synthetic oil retains its exceptional resistance to aging and pressure, ensuring reliable lubrication for parts that demand a slower and smoother motion.
By utilizing the superior properties of Moebius Synt-A-Lube 9010 watch oil, you can maintain the efficiency and durability of the fast-moving components in your watches. Whether it’s for chronographs, rapid date change mechanisms, or any other high-speed components, this synthetic oil will continue to deliver exceptional results, ensuring the precise and reliable operation of your timepieces for years to come.
Moebius Synt-A-Lube 9010 / Moebius Synta-Visco-Lube 9020 Key Details
Where to Use
Gear Train Pivots/Jewels on Escape Wheel and Fourth Wheel, Balance Staff, Barrel Arbor
Moebius Synt-A-Lube 9010: 6 Years
Moebius Synta-Visco-Lube 9020: 6 Years
Moebius Synt-A-Lube 9010 is available in blue, fluorescent and film forming varieties. Moebius Synta-Visco-Lube 9020 is available in red, fluorescent and film forming varieties.
$33.89 ($484.14 / Fl Oz)
$55.98 ($799.71 / Fl Oz)
Moebius 9010 Alternatives
Moebius 9010 is a popular synthetic lubricant for gear train pivots/jewels on escape wheel and fourth wheel, barrel arbor and balance staff. Its synthetic nature ensures stability in various temperature conditions and resistance to aging. However, not everyone can afford Moebius 9010, and some watchmakers may need to explore alternatives.
One of the cheaper alternatives to Moebius 9010 is Moebius 8000. Though not fully synthetic, it provides decent lubrication for escapements. Keep in mind that selecting an alternative to Moebius 9010 often means sacrificing some of its benefits, such as increased resistance to aging and a longer shelf life. Nonetheless, Moebius 8000 can still serve as a viable option for those on a budget.
Moebius 8000 Key Details
Where to Use
General purpose including lubrication of fast mobiles with low torque (pendulum pivots, escapements, certain wheels)
Moebius 8000 = 2 Years
Natural oil based on mineral oils and highly refined natural oils with remarkable stability. With excellent lubricity and adhesion, this oil is ideal for many applications.
Moebius Microgliss D-5 / Moebius Synt-HP-1300 9104
Moebius Microgliss D-5 and Moebius Synt-HP-1300 9104 are two notable lubricants with distinct compositions and properties, catering to different requirements within the field of watchmaking. Understanding their characteristics can help make an informed choice when selecting the most suitable lubricant.
Moebius Microgliss D-5 is a blend of mineral and natural oils enhanced with specific additives to ensure stability and pressure resistance. This combination results in a lubricant that delivers reliable performance in various watch components. Its viscosity provides effective lubrication, and the additives contribute to its stability under pressure.
On the other hand, Moebius Synt-HP-1300 9104 is a 100% synthetic high-pressure oil, exclusively formulated for demanding applications. With its synthetic composition, it offers distinct advantages such as extended shelf life and a broader temperature range compared to Moebius Microgliss D-5. The Synt-HP-1300 9104 exhibits remarkable stability and can withstand temperatures ranging from -25 °C to +100 °C, making it suitable for a wider range of environments.
While both lubricants have a similar viscosity, Moebius Synt-HP-1300 9104 presents several benefits over Moebius Microgliss D-5. It boasts twice the shelf life, ensuring its longevity and reliability over extended periods. Additionally, its broader temperature range indicates its versatility in varying climatic conditions, providing optimal lubrication even in extreme temperatures.
Moebius Microgliss D-5 / Moebius Synt-HP-1300 9104 Key Details
Where to Use
Centre Wheel / Third Wheel Pivots, Keyless Work, Winding Stem, Canon Pinion
Moebius Microgliss D-5 = 3 Years
Moebius Synt-HP-1300 9104 = 6 Years
ETA recommend using Moebius Synt-HP-1300 9104 in their movements. Moebius Synt-HP-1300 9104 also comes in a fluorescent and colorless variety.
$41.30 ($590.00 / Fl Oz)
Moebius Synthetic Grease 9415
Moebius Synthetic Grease 9415 stands out as an exceptional lubricant within the realm of watchmaking, renowned for its impressive properties and specialized application. Crafted as a 100% synthetic thixotropic grease, it offers a multitude of benefits for watch components, particularly in the critical area of the escapement.
With its superior stability and excellent lubricity, Moebius Synthetic Grease 9415 plays a pivotal role in reducing wear and friction within the escapement. This vital mechanism, comprising the pallets, escape wheel, and balance wheel, is responsible for regulating the watch’s timekeeping accuracy. By applying this grease to the escapement, a highly effective lubricating film is formed, ensuring optimal performance and extending the lifespan of these intricate components.
The synthetic composition of Moebius Synthetic Grease 9415 grants it exceptional stability under varying conditions, making it a reliable choice for long-term lubrication needs. Its thixotropic nature allows it to maintain its viscosity and consistency when at rest, ensuring the grease adheres to the desired areas, even in vertical orientations. However, when subjected to stress or movement, the grease transitions to a more liquid state, facilitating smooth flow and efficient lubrication.
Moebius Synthetic Grease 9415 Key Details
Where to Use
Pallet Fork Exit Jewel
Moebius Synthetic Grease 9415 = 6 Years
Moebius 9415 also comes in a fluorescent variety.
How to Choose the Perfect Watch Oils and Greases for your Movement
Ultimately, the choice of lubricant depends on specific requirements, budget considerations, and the watch components being serviced. By staying informed about the characteristics of different lubricants and their suitability for various conditions, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and ensures the longevity and optimal performance of your timepieces.
Once you’ve purchased your watchmakers oils and grease make sure you checkout our guide to Seiko Oiling Points.
Watch Oils FAQ
Absolutely! Watches, like any finely crafted mechanical marvel, require regular lubrication to keep them running smoothly and ticking away with precision. The intricate gears, springs, and other components within a watch movement rely on the magic of oil to minimize friction and wear, ensuring optimal performance.
Generally speaking, watches should be oiled every three to five years to maintain their optimal performance. However, the exact interval can vary depending on factors such as the watch’s complexity, usage, and environment.
If you’re the adventurous type who wears their timepiece during extreme sports or underwater escapades, it might be wise to oil it more frequently to combat the effects of rigorous activities and exposure to water. On the other hand, if you have a more sedentary lifestyle and keep your watch sheltered from the elements, you can stretch the intervals between oiling a bit further.
The best type of oil to allow for the smooth and precise operation of your beloved timepiece is synthetic watch oil.
Synthetic watch oil is the cream of the crop when it comes to lubricating those tiny gears and jewels that make your watch tick with precision. Unlike its mineral-based counterparts, synthetic oil boasts exceptional stability and a lower viscosity, which means it flows effortlessly into the tightest of spaces, ensuring optimal performance. This high-tech wonder also offers superb resistance to temperature changes and oxidation, safeguarding your watch against the ravages of time.
For Centre Wheel / Third Wheel Pivots, Keyless Work, Winding Stem and Canon Pinion oiling the best alternative is Moebius Synt-HP-1300 9104. It has double the shelf life of Moebius D-5, ensuring its longevity and reliability over extended periods. In Addition it has a broader temperature range to benefit varying climatic conditions, providing optimal lubrication even in extreme temperatures. Seiko Watch Oil S-4 is also another suitable alternative.
For gear train pivots/jewels on escape wheel and fourth wheel, barrel arbor and balance staff best budget alternative is Moebius 8000. Although one thing to bear in mind is that the Moebius 9010 has a longer shelf life.
If you think I’ve missed anything or have anything to add, please comment below.