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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In an effort to improve, I’m moving on from naphtha and am waiting for my ultrasonic to arrive. With it I expect some techniques to change and improve so I’ve anticipated a few questions specific to the balance assembly.

I understand the best way is to install the balance on the main plate for the cleaning.

1. Is this cleaning enough or is it necessary to remove the balance wheel/spring from the cock before or after to clean the pivots with pithwood?

2. When using one dip for the hairspring is it necessary to remove it? If not is it just the spring or the whole assembly that goes in the solution? I’m assuming this isn’t used in the machine

3. While not specific to ultrasonic cleaning, does one peg the pierced jewels of the incabloc? If so, how is it held so as to keep it from rocketing never find 'em land?

Thanks,

Mike
 

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In an effort to improve, I’m moving on from naphtha and am waiting for my ultrasonic to arrive. With it I expect some techniques to change and improve so I’ve anticipated a few questions specific to the balance assembly.

I understand the best way is to install the balance on the main plate for the cleaning.

>> I have done it this way and also just manually cleaned the balance.

1. Is this cleaning enough or is it necessary to remove the balance wheel/spring from the cock before or after to clean the pivots with pithwood?

>> I typically remove the balance complete from the cock so I can clean the end stones and peg the jewels. I also pith the pivots on the balance.

2. When using one dip for the hairspring is it necessary to remove it? If not is it just the spring or the whole assembly that goes in the solution? I’m assuming this isn’t used in the machine

>>No. Soak the spring for a bit and then puff it dry.

3. While not specific to ultrasonic cleaning, does one peg the pierced jewels of the incabloc? If so, how is it held so as to keep it from rocketing never find 'em land?

>>The hole jewels should be fixed in the main plate and the balance cock. Peg them in place gently. The end stones and balance chatons can be removed with Rodico and held carefully between tweezers. It can be difficult to acquire the "feel" for how much pressure you put on the tweezers. End stones, I take while wet and rub the bearing surface on a piece of watchmaker's paper to clean. Works fine for me as I typically am working on old vintage movements.

Handling small parts is difficult until you develop the skill and feel for them. Good Tweezers area a must and Dumont makes the very best.

Good Luck,

RMD
 

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My advice is ditch the One Dip. If you clean well, there's no need for it. It contains some nasty chemicals. It makes no sense to ruin your health just to clean watch, which should be clean already.

James Sadilek -- ccwatchmaker
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
3. While not specific to ultrasonic cleaning, does one peg the pierced jewels of the incabloc? If so, how is it held so as to keep it from rocketing never find 'em land?

>>The hole jewels should be fixed in the main plate and the balance cock. Peg them in place gently. The end stones and balance chatons can be removed with Rodico and held carefully between tweezers. It can be difficult to acquire the "feel" for how much pressure you put on the tweezers. End stones, I take while wet and rub the bearing surface on a piece of watchmaker's paper to clean. Works fine for me as I typically am working on old vintage movements.

Handling small parts is difficult until you develop the skill and feel for them. Good Tweezers area a must and Dumont makes the very best.

Good Luck,

RMD
Thanks for the reply Bob. For the last question I guess I should have been more specific regarding the Incabloc parts. After releasing the spring the cap jewel and it’s hole jewel/bushing are removed. I peg all the hole jewels in the main plate and train bridge prior to cleaning, I was simply asking if there’s a easy way of pegging the upper and lower hole jewels once they’re out as they're not fixed to anything.



Thanks,

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My advice is ditch the One Dip. If you clean well, there's no need for it. It contains some nasty chemicals. It makes no sense to ruin your health just to clean watch, which should be clean already.

James Sadilek -- ccwatchmaker
Timely, as I was days from purchasing it so thanks!

Mike
 

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My advice is the same as CCWatchmaker; I picked up a container of one-dip, thinking it was the go-all and go-to for all hairspring problems. After researching it, the answer is more like "If you're stuck on a desert island and you don't have anything to clean a hairspring but One-Dip, then it's the obvious choice. Otherwise move on.

I bought a bottle of One-Dip, thinking at the time that it was the obvious solution to all watch problems. Years later, it sits unopened.

YMMV
 
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One dip is nothing more than tetrachloroethylene in a very expensive bottle. Pointless stuff if you ask me. Also, 1 litre of tetrachloroethylene costs around 80€ from lab chemical suppliers. Bergeon One dip costs around 20€ per 50ml. You do the math.
 

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One Dip is TCE with a proprietary stabilizer. TCE decomposes in UV light...hence shipment and storage in amber bottle. TCE is an excellent organic solvent and upon evaporating, leaves no residue. This makes it an excellent solvent for cleaning heavily contaminated materials (including hairsprings). In use, if it leaves a residue, you need to clean the container and replenish with fresh OneDip...the residue in this case will be coming from the solute load.

Note that waterless final rinse solutions (eg L&R 121 and Zenith Drizebrite) are Stoddards and/or Naptha...which are mixtures of organic solvents including longer chain hydrocarbons which often leave a residue upon evaporation...OneDip will remove this residue...(and shellac from the roller jewels and pallet stones if you leave it in too long).

TCE is soluble in water...so disposal should be such that it cannot contaminate ground water (ie. do not pour it out onto soil). For the volumes watchmakers use, it is probably reasonable to pour it on a solid surface in open air and sunlight where it will completely evaporate and decompose in UV light. This arguably results in a bit of HCl loading in the atmosphere for those that are concerned about acid rain and the ozone layer.

TCE should be used with adequate ventilation.
See here: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/trichloroethylene.pdf
and here: https://blog.esslinger.com/wp-conte...-42.0501-42.0509-Troop-Balas-One-Dip-MSDS.pdf

Water and oxygen can be toxic...paper can cut...safety is a function of intelligent use.

As for balances: in most cases, a movement which undergoing periodic service (ie every 3-5 years) and still has oil on the pivots and is protected by shock settings does not require cleaning the balance separately. Remove the balance jewel settings and leave the balance mounted on the cock. (However, you should remove the balance and cock complete to remove the pallet fork and bridge, then remount the balance and cock for cleaning).

No shock settings...remove the balance and clean in a separate basket.
Gummy due to lack of regular service...clean separately.

This works for us...however, a more thorough practice is to disassemble balance section completely, clean separately, peg and pith...for every service. Some folks do not have the skill level to reliably execute these actions without risk...especially with respect to the hairspring.

Regards, BG
 

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One dip is nothing more than tetrachloroethylene in a very expensive bottle. Pointless stuff if you ask me. Also, 1 litre of tetrachloroethylene costs around 80€ from lab chemical suppliers. Bergeon One dip costs around 20€ per 50ml. You do the math.
I agree. I've been doing this a while now and after servicing lots of watches with very dirty movements, I have never yet had the need to use one dip. I have a can of it that I opened and poured some in a ground glass jar on my bench. It evaporated within a fairly short time as I remember (this was probably over a decade ago now) and I don't think I ever dipped anything in it. I decided then it was pretty much a waste of money - I still have the can, and have placed it inside another sealed container.

Yes sometimes I may have to run a movement though the cleaning machine more than once if it came in really dirty (or sprayed with WD40 or dipped in one of those solo lube solutions), but the cleaning machine has never failed to do the job in the end.

Cheers, Al
 

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1. I'm not sure what you mean, but I can't think of a way to safely run the upper pivot into pithwood while the hairspring is attached to the cock. So I don't. First thing I do is to unscrew the stud screw and remove the balance cock without balance. And you really need to pith AND INSPECT the pivots under at least high power loupe.

2. Don't remove the hairspring. You'll end up having to readjust the beat error.

3. Big tweezers on a slightly soft surface, like the mats Bergeon and other sell. Don't press too hard, and don't squeeze the tweezers too hard. You may think you want the fine, #5 tweezers for this, but you don't. You want at least 3 or 3C.

For me, though, the problem is never the hole jewels. It's the unset cap jewels. I polish them on watch paper by putting them flat side down and dragging them across under the chisel end of the pegwood, but you have to watch VERY CAREFULLY that they never slip so that they tiddlywink into oblivion.

The good thing I've found is that mostly watches that have that kind of balance jewels were last oiled with modern lubricants that leave only a small amount of residue so you don't have to laboriously scrape off century-old porpoise cheek oil residue, like when I work on old keywind pocket watches. Yeesh!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Very thorough and informative as always BG, can’t thank you enough.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
3. Big tweezers on a slightly soft surface, like the mats Bergeon and other sell. Don't press too hard, and don't squeeze the tweezers too hard. You may think you want the fine, #5 tweezers for this, but you don't. You want at least 3 or 3C.
A bit counterintuitive but it ended up being much easier than I thought, thanks!

Mike
 
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