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Modern watch cleaning method

Cleaning machines, available to the watch trade, make it possible to clean watch and instrument parts thoroughly in wire mesh baskets, subdivided so as to accommodate large and small parts separately. To clean a mainspring, without distorting its shape, wipe it with tissue paper, saturated with benzol or carbon tetrachloride. Dipping it into any degreasing solution is harmful, resulting frequently in rupture. The balance and hairspring unit deserves special attention. It should be suspended on a wire loop and dipped in the cleaning solutions.

Watch parts should first be strung on a wire or placed into basket of cleaning machine and then immersed in solutions in the following sequence:

  1. Degreasing
    Preferably non-inflammable carbon tetrachloride. Solvent for grease, fat and oil, mixes with denatured alcohol.
  2. Rinse
    Denatured alcohol.
  3. Cleaning
    Soap solution, commercially known as “Jewelry Cleaners,” composed of soap, spirits of ammonia, alcohol and distilled water.
  4. First Rinse
    Tap water, to remove soap cleaner.
  5. Second Rinse
    Distilled water.
  6. First Drying Rinse
    Denatured alcohol.
  7. Second Drying Rinse
    Commercial grain alcohol.
  8. Drying
    Dry air or electric fan.

Cleaning solutions containing volatile solvents should not be allowed to stand exposed to air when not in use; evaporation of these volatile solvents will decrease their cleaning efficiency.
Denatured alcohol is used as an in-between rinse, because it mixes well with both carbon tetrachloride and water.

While the basket of the cleaning machine is immersed in each of the solutions, it should be rotated and stopped a few times to allow air trapped in the basket to escape. After the basket is removed from a solution, it should be kept in motion for a few seconds to expel any excess solution before resuming the cleaning procedure.

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Following the last rinse in grain alcohol, the basket should be rotated in dry air or an electric fan may be used to expedite the drying operation.

Once the watch parts are removed from the basket, they must be handled with the utmost care by means of tweezers. Touching any parts with bare fingers or using pegwood in jewel holes will destroy the value of this cleaning procedure.

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