Watch Oil Types

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  • #48219
    montyfox
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 5

    Being extremely new to watch servicing, I am wondering about all the different types of watch oil. In the videos we are told about using a good oil such as moebius, but which one? Other forums say to use a different type based upon what it is that you are oiling. This would be a considerable investment of oil for someone who would service maybe 10 to 20 watches per year. I am also told that this oil only has a shelf life of 2 years. Is this true?

    I’m not trying to be skimpy here, but I’d really like some advice from those of you who have done this for a while. Do I need all the different types or is there an all purpose oil that will suffice.

    One final note, would it make a difference if I hoped to service other people’s watches for profit verses my own personal watches? I only ask this in case the is an answer based upon what I can live with in my own collection verses what is expected when you service watches for profit.

    Thanks everyone

    Monty

    #51270
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    Hi Monty,
    First let me say I am not an expert on watches, I repair clocks, but even in clock work you use a suitable lubricant for whatever you are oiling. If you look down the threads to ladies watches I posted a little while ago you will see Bob listed at least 3 types of oil and dont forget you would need a mainspring lube as well. You are correct in saying its not cheap but if you want a watch to run smoothly and sometimes even run at all it is important to use the correct oil. Think of it like a car, you wouldnt put engine oil in the transmission and you wouldnt put bearing grease in the engine. It might even be worth asking here on the forum to see if anyone would like to go halves with you on purchasing the oil, half the cost and half the oil if you are not using so much?
    All the best,
    Paul.

    #51271
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Good morning Monty and Arutha,
    Welcome to the forum Monty!
    Well…I’ve got some bad news but will follow up with some really good news!

    The Bad…
    1- Arutha is correct and his engine/transmission analogy is a good one.
    2- Mobius is the industry standard and is the recommended oil by the Swiss for most if not all of their new movements.
    3- Mobius is extremely expensive!!!!

    The Really Good…
    1- I hear that Novostar oil is also a very good oil.
    2. Most of the different Mobius oils that are recommended can be substituted with different Novostar “Types”.
    3. Novostar oil is extremely in-expensive when compared to Mobius. Take a look at this Amazon store listing for Novostar Type B http://www.amazon.com/Swiss-Novastar-Watch-Oiling-Repair/dp/B005CKUX0K

    I use Mobius almost exclusively. Why? well the truth is… I don’t really know :D . A creature of habit I suppose, and most likely not doing side by side testing of Mobius with oils such as Novostar is really dumb on my part.

    Now…I’m probably going to get some “flack” in the future from what I’m about to post from some purists but…most course members just want me to help them get started in this fascinating field and not to discourage or overwhelm them right from the onset by telling them that they will need a &*#$#@ load of expensive new tools, oils, etc. etc. etc. If I’ve done this in any way I’m truly sorry and if I do it in the future then please tell me to knock it off!
    If you’re interested in working on your own watches and possibly moving on to servicing pocket and vintage wrist watches and money is limited then my recommendation is to go for and at least try Novostar and forget what I said about Mobius in the videos and don’t worry about what the Swiss are saying at this point. If you want to move on into repairing new Swiss made watches for others then you won’t have much of a choice as the Swiss are tightening the educational, tooling and oil requirements “noose” for parts accounts as I type….but for now learn, practice, learn more and then practice, practice and by all means enjoy and have fun with it!!

    I’ve got to run for a couple of hours but when I get back I’m going to locate a couple of websites that have good oiling info. In fact I think ofrei covers Novostar as a replacement for Mobius. I’ll check and will post in a couple of hours.

    I hope this post helps in someway Monty and any others that may read it.

    Bob

    #51272
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    WOW! That is cheap, I bought a tiny bottle of Moebius 8000/4 oil and the cheapest I could find it was £12 plus postage! Once I have found a mainspring winder I will get some and let you know if it is any good :)

    #51273
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Hi guys,
    It sure is cheap Arutha! I couldn’t believe the price when I saw it. I’m going to buy some to try out. Can’t go wrong at those prices. It’s quite a bit higher from other suppliers that I just checked but still a lot cheaper than Mobius.

    Monty, I forget to address your question about shelf life. I believe the shelf life for natural oils is about 3 years but much longer for synthetics.

    I found a pretty good oil chart pdf at BHI which you may have already downloaded. It gives a general coverage of oils to use for the different components of a movement and for different sized calibers. It’s very similar to other charts I’ve seen but this one is downloadable. After downloading it you can then go to the Ofrei link to see what they say about substituting Novostar types for the different Mobius grades. I was just checking out what they have written at Ofrei and it’s kind of difficult to decipher what’s being said. I had to read everything a few times before it began to make sense. Then again that usually goes for everything I read! :D If you need some help figuring out what to get then post what you think you’ll be working on, ie: pocket watches, men wrist watches, whatever and we can try to pin point the correct substitutes. This would be helpful information for all of us.

    Here are the links: To the BHI pdf.. http://www.bhi.co.uk/Documents/Tech/PractLub.pdf
    To Ofrei… http://www.ofrei.com/page245.html

    Bob

    #51274
    montyfox
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 5

    Thanks for the reply everyone. As I’m just starting out I think I’ll try the Novostar route and see what happens. In answer to your question as to what I’m currently interested in servicing, that would be an elgin and an illinois pocket watch, both around the 1923 date. I’ll practice on these a few times and then take a shot at a wrist watch. My hope is to get good enough at this to be able to run a small side business that makes just enough money to support my watch buying habbit, lol.

    I would be nice to see you add a video that detailed the type of oil used when you oil the various parts of the watch. I’m sure I’ll discover this in my reading, but just to see it done by someone really reinforces what I’ve read.

    Thanks again for all your help.

    Monty

    #51275
    montyfox
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 5

    I would like someone to check my comparison on this.

    Based upon the moebius chart found here: http://www.ofrei.com/images/moebiuslubricatingchart.pdf I am trying to cross reference with Novostar oil in lubricating my pocket watch (1923 illinois 17 jewel size 16).

    Pallet Jewels – Novostar B
    Escapement Wheel – Novostar M
    Balance Staff – Novostar M
    Centre Wheel – Novostar B
    Grear Train – Novostar B
    Barrel Arbor – Novostar B
    Wall of Barrel – Novostar Barrel Grease
    Winding Mech. – Novostar Winding & Mainspring Grease

    Does this look right? Am I missing something?

    Thanks
    Monty

    #51276
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Hi Monty,
    I was reading the info on Ofrei when you put up your last post!
    I think that’s what they are recommending. I’ve also notice that Type “R” is recommend rather than “B” in one section of the page http://www.ofrei.com/page245.html . I’m still trying to figure it out but so far you seem to be on track. I’ll keep reading for a bit to see if I can figure out what the difference between those two may be.
    Bob

    #51277
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    I checked it out a bit more and Type “R” is a little higher viscosity (110) compared to Type “B” (89). I personally would go for Type “R” for the center wheel and mainspring arbor pivot holes (I would probably go even higher viscosity for the mainspring arbor pivots).
    Bob

    #51278
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey Bob that site you posted is a good read even for us lowly clock guys, thanks, William

    #51279
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    So Bob, which of these oils would I need for the ladies watches?

    #51280
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Hi Arutha,
    I’m not sure. Everytime I look at the discriptions on Ofreis site I seem to end up more confused!
    From what I can decipher though, I think that Type “B” will work for those small watches you have. According to that page it should work for all gear and balance pivots as well as the escapement. So I guess what I’m saying here is …. I don’t know! :) I think that’s the one I would try though.
    Sorry Paul…not much help.
    Bob

    #51281
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    I will get some type B and have a go, will let you know what happens :)

    #51282
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    Are there any other lubricants I need, like stem grease I think I have seen somewhere and what barrel and mainspring lubricant would you suggest. I know this sounds a bit mad but I figure if I keep at the very small movements until I can get one to work after I have cleaned it then bigger stuff should be much easier :) I know, I know its the wrong way to do things but I do love a challenge 😯

    #51283
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Hi Arutha,
    Maybe Novostar Winding and Mainsprin grease. Not sure though. I’ll check to see if that’s what’s recommended.
    Somehow that reverse engineering makes sense! :D You’ll be the test for us all so let us know how it goes. Since you know the possible risks involved and want to do this for the challenge then definitely go for it! It’s true what you say. Master those small movements and everything else will be a breeze!
    Good luck and keep us posted Paul.
    Bob

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