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Old 19 May 2020, 12:46 AM   #1
MikenAZ
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Watch Cleaning

I was having a chat with a friend yesterday. He told me he submerses his entire watch in his ultrasonic cleaner to give it an exterior cleanse. I asked why he stated its a Sub and its waterproof. Common sense tells me this is not a good practice and Id NEVER do such a thing. The movement being subjected to the ultrasonic vibration may affect its operation is a thought I had. It had me thinking, I've never seen such a practice mentioned in the forums before, or I've missed it. Any watchmakers care to chime in, I'm curious in your opinions pro or con for such a practice.

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Old 19 May 2020, 01:14 AM   #2
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I was having a chat with a friend yesterday. He told me he submerses his entire watch in his ultrasonic cleaner to give it an exterior cleanse. I asked why he stated its a Sub and its waterproof. Common sense tells me this is not a good practice and Id NEVER do such a thing. The movement being subjected to the ultrasonic vibration may affect its operation is a thought I had. It had me thinking, I've never seen such a practice mentioned in the forums before, or I've missed it. Any watchmakers care to chime in, I'm curious in your opinions pro or con for such a practice.

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Its completely stupid and any person that does must be sixpence short of a shilling.Now if the movement is fully dissembled then you could put the movement parts into a ultrasonic.
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Old 19 May 2020, 01:20 AM   #3
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As always, Padi is right. NEVER use an ultrasonic for the head. The bracelet, sure, yet not the head (case/movement). i take a shower, sometimes taking off the timepiece, for a better by-hand cleaning using Neutrogena Rainbath and that works fine.
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Old 19 May 2020, 01:38 AM   #4
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Iíve only ever used tap water some soap and a toothbrush ... granted Iím not a mechanic or such, but my watches donít get babied either. Your friends mileage may vary.
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Old 19 May 2020, 02:07 AM   #5
MikenAZ
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Its completely stupid and any person that does must be sixpence short of a shilling.Now if the movement is fully dissembled then you could put the movement parts into a ultrasonic.
Thanks Padi, we agree.
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Old 19 May 2020, 03:59 AM   #6
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Stupid idea, eventually thanks to the vibrations of the ultrasonic he will if nothing else loosen all the screws in the movement. The torque on most MVT screws is only about 3 N-cm
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Old 19 May 2020, 04:25 AM   #7
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So for all your armchair experts (I’m including you, Padi56, do you care to explain yourselves? Tell me about all the tests you’ve done, give me the hard evidence? I love it when people chime in and tell everyone how stupid something is with absolutely nothing to back it up.
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Old 19 May 2020, 05:36 PM   #8
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So for all your armchair experts (Iím including you, Padi56, do you care to explain yourselves? Tell me about all the tests youíve done, give me the hard evidence? I love it when people chime in and tell everyone how stupid something is with absolutely nothing to back it up.
Please go on, do it and report back. We're all looking forward to hearing back from you.
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Old 20 May 2020, 11:45 AM   #9
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I know the answer, Iím just waiting for the reasons why all these people are so stupid? The actual data driven reasons. There seems to be radio silence on my call out...
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Old 20 May 2020, 06:29 PM   #10
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I wanna know. Subscribed to the thread...
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Old 20 May 2020, 08:37 PM   #11
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Well, my call to action seems to be unanswered still so I will put forth my findings.

I’ll preface this by saying I’m a watchmaker with over a decade of professional experience and am trained on all Rolex calibers, except the sky dweller.

When a watch is ready for service at an RSC it is un-cased, with dial and hands removed and sent for pre-cleaning. This process involves the complete watch being run through a watch cleaning machine, usually one with ultrasonic and vibration cleaning.

The watch is then delivered to the watchmaker who dismantles, inspects, makes adjustments, changes worn components and then cleans and assembles.

I have never, in my time, received a watch with looses screws falling out of movement, in fact, I don’t even remember them being some what loose.

The watch is then sent to another ultrasonic cleaner, but dismantled this time. Usually, however, the balance bridge will stay on the mainplate. It is affixed via two screws. There is also a screw in the balance spring stud. Once again, when it came back from cleaning, all the screws have remained in tact with no noticeable change in torque.

To top it all off, I have performed my own tests of placing oil drops in small glass jars and submerging them in an ultrasonic tank for extended periods of time to see if lubrication was affected. The results? No change. The oil remained exactly as it was placed.

I would love other watchmakers to chime in with their observations, please.

Now, I’m not saying that I am right, I am happy to be proved wrong, and I’m not saying this should be done.

What I am saying is this - Just because you call someone an idiot on the internet for doing something you consider dumb, with absolutely no explanation why, doesn’t make you right.

The internet is full of mis information (let’s think about not showering with a watch, or the absurd static pressure myth), but let’s give the good folks of Rolex forums a little better. Let’s give them the reasons behind why they should or shouldn’t do things. Let’s back things up with facts before we start name calling.

Once again, if other watchmakers, collectors, hobbyists or generally interesting folk have other findings, please share and let’s answer this one once and for all.
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Old 20 May 2020, 11:31 PM   #12
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Bravo!
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Old 20 May 2020, 11:34 PM   #13
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Bravo!
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Old 21 May 2020, 02:29 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ashton_Horologist View Post
Well, my call to action seems to be unanswered still so I will put forth my findings.

Iíll preface this by saying Iím a watchmaker with over a decade of professional experience and am trained on all Rolex calibers, except the sky dweller.

When a watch is ready for service at an RSC it is un-cased, with dial and hands removed and sent for pre-cleaning. This process involves the complete watch being run through a watch cleaning machine, usually one with ultrasonic and vibration cleaning.

The watch is then delivered to the watchmaker who dismantles, inspects, makes adjustments, changes worn components and then cleans and assembles.

I have never, in my time, received a watch with looses screws falling out of movement, in fact, I donít even remember them being some what loose.

The watch is then sent to another ultrasonic cleaner, but dismantled this time. Usually, however, the balance bridge will stay on the mainplate. It is affixed via two screws. There is also a screw in the balance spring stud. Once again, when it came back from cleaning, all the screws have remained in tact with no noticeable change in torque.

To top it all off, I have performed my own tests of placing oil drops in small glass jars and submerging them in an ultrasonic tank for extended periods of time to see if lubrication was affected. The results? No change. The oil remained exactly as it was placed.

I would love other watchmakers to chime in with their observations, please.

Now, Iím not saying that I am right, I am happy to be proved wrong, and Iím not saying this should be done.

What I am saying is this - Just because you call someone an idiot on the internet for doing something you consider dumb, with absolutely no explanation why, doesnít make you right.

The internet is full of mis information (letís think about not showering with a watch, or the absurd static pressure myth), but letís give the good folks of Rolex forums a little better. Letís give them the reasons behind why they should or shouldnít do things. Letís back things up with facts before we start name calling.

Once again, if other watchmakers, collectors, hobbyists or generally interesting folk have other findings, please share and letís answer this one once and for all.
Totally, misinformation that widely accepted n become new norm
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Old 21 May 2020, 03:40 AM   #15
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I can only add anecdotal evidence: I used to buy from a German dealer for 25 years while living in Europe. In all, I purchased at least 20 watches, all Rolex, from him. He used to put any Rolex "as is" in the ultrasonic cleaner before selling it or as a courtesy cleaning. I never had any issues with the watches, even the ones that went into the cleaner several times. And about half of them made it to the 10-year mark and an RSC service before being sold and never left COSC norm before going. At the RSC, nobody ever said anything about loose screws either.

Again, just my experience, not recommending that anybody do it.
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Old 21 May 2020, 03:53 AM   #16
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soft bristle tooth brush while showering works for me
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Old 21 May 2020, 06:50 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Ashton_Horologist View Post
Well, my call to action seems to be unanswered still so I will put forth my findings.

I’ll preface this by saying I’m a watchmaker with over a decade of professional experience and am trained on all Rolex calibers, except the sky dweller.

When a watch is ready for service at an RSC it is un-cased, with dial and hands removed and sent for pre-cleaning. This process involves the complete watch being run through a watch cleaning machine, usually one with ultrasonic and vibration cleaning.

The watch is then delivered to the watchmaker who dismantles, inspects, makes adjustments, changes worn components and then cleans and assembles.

I have never, in my time, received a watch with looses screws falling out of movement, in fact, I don’t even remember them being some what loose.

The watch is then sent to another ultrasonic cleaner, but dismantled this time. Usually, however, the balance bridge will stay on the mainplate. It is affixed via two screws. There is also a screw in the balance spring stud. Once again, when it came back from cleaning, all the screws have remained in tact with no noticeable change in torque.

To top it all off, I have performed my own tests of placing oil drops in small glass jars and submerging them in an ultrasonic tank for extended periods of time to see if lubrication was affected. The results? No change. The oil remained exactly as it was placed.

I would love other watchmakers to chime in with their observations, please.

Now, I’m not saying that I am right, I am happy to be proved wrong, and I’m not saying this should be done.

What I am saying is this - Just because you call someone an idiot on the internet for doing something you consider dumb, with absolutely no explanation why, doesn’t make you right.

The internet is full of mis information (let’s think about not showering with a watch, or the absurd static pressure myth), but let’s give the good folks of Rolex forums a little better. Let’s give them the reasons behind why they should or shouldn’t do things. Let’s back things up with facts before we start name calling.

Once again, if other watchmakers, collectors, hobbyists or generally interesting folk have other findings, please share and let’s answer this one once and for all.
Well I’m also a watchmaker and I completely disagree with you and I would advise that you don’t submerge a you watch in an ultrasonic machine as a matter of common practice.
It’s good practice to observe (in my opinion) as Not all movements and cases are the same and once you start doing it with one watch you are tempted to do it with other watches. The bracelet I wouldn’t worry to much about (Unless you have one of those Dior ones with glued stones, In fact I wouldn’t with any set watch head or bracelet). The screws on Bracelets and case backs are much higher torques. And I have found through practice that it does loosen screws. So I’m more than happy to stand by what I said.

I know it’s not Rolex but your standard 7750 had dial side screws that have a torque of 1.5 N-cm THATS A TINY AMOUNT enough for normal use not for prologued ultrasonic treatment. There’s a reason an ultrasonic is used to remove material. It loosens things.


So before you continue to call us all armchair experts it’s worth remembering that there are others on this forum.
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Old 21 May 2020, 06:55 AM   #18
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I would also like to add I never referred to anyone as an idiot. I said it was a stupid idea and I’ll stand by it.
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Old 21 May 2020, 07:58 AM   #19
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Thatís great, and exactly the kind of comment I put a call out for. My point is this is a forum where people come to learn. Your original comment did have good information about the torque and I welcome that. You werenít the one who called them stupid, but others did. Iím happy to have dialogue about differing opinions as it creates interesting content and the matter can hopefully be resolved.

I would love to know, have you ever observed a loose stud screw after ultrasonic cleaning? I feel that would be the best measure as the screw is tiny and I imagine (I donít know the exact torque) the least amount of torque.
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Old 21 May 2020, 08:32 PM   #20
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Thatís great, and exactly the kind of comment I put a call out for. My point is this is a forum where people come to learn. Your original comment did have good information about the torque and I welcome that. You werenít the one who called them stupid, but others did. Iím happy to have dialogue about differing opinions as it creates interesting content and the matter can hopefully be resolved.

I would love to know, have you ever observed a loose stud screw after ultrasonic cleaning? I feel that would be the best measure as the screw is tiny and I imagine (I donít know the exact torque) the least amount of torque.
Great info. Way to take a stand!

Slightly off topic, but is there a way ignore messages by specific users? Another forum I belong to has an option: ďignore all messages by this user.Ē This would be a great option to use in certain circumstances if you catch my drift
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Old 21 May 2020, 10:32 PM   #21
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Gents.... Please correct me if needed My friend, by the way, was not going to have his Rollie serviced. He places the entire watch into an ultrasound and gives it an external cleaning from time to time. Since he is a friend of mine I am allowed to call him anything I want, we do this to each other without malice of course.

My intention was to have different opinions regarding such a practice. I believe its a no-no and would never do this. I do however remove the bracelet from time to time and ultrasound it. Its amazing what gunk is removed that way. Thanks for all your comments.

Best
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Old 23 May 2020, 11:16 AM   #22
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So for all your armchair experts (Iím including you, Padi56, do you care to explain yourselves? Tell me about all the tests youíve done, give me the hard evidence? I love it when people chime in and tell everyone how stupid something is with absolutely nothing to back it up.
I doubt a detailed explanation is needed, common sense should tell anyone that putting the head of any timepiece is a ultrasonic tub that vibrates 1000ís of times a minute canít be good for the internals, I personally have removed my steel brackets and soaked just them in a sonic tub but normally I just use a mild detergent and soft jewelry brush to scrub and rinse order warm water then dry
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Old 23 May 2020, 11:24 AM   #23
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. . .

My intention was to have different opinions regarding such a practice. I believe its a no-no and would never do this. I do however remove the bracelet from time to time and ultrasound it. Its amazing what gunk is removed that way. Thanks for all your comments.

Best
Mike
Not sure if the vibration, by itself, would have much affect on tightened screws for the short time it's in a sonic.

However, the process is intended to vibrate the solution into and around everything, lifting off dirt and debris as you notice on your bracelet. Think hammer drill vs., standard drill. Likewise, it has the capability of vibrating the solution under and around the seals, particularly the crystal to case area. Might not do anything to a sound and solid watch, but it could easily take advantage of anything that isn't absolutely tight. It's probably not a risk that many of us should take with a fully assembled watch head.
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Old 23 May 2020, 12:39 PM   #24
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I would love to know, have you ever observed a loose stud screw after ultrasonic cleaning? I feel that would be the best measure as the screw is tiny and I imagine (I donít know the exact torque) the least amount of torque.

I think your exposition was splendid. But letís peel the onion a few more layers.

We shouldnít equate a single ultrasonic cleaning of an uncased movement with a different matter. I agree that you didnít find something wrong prior to disassembly - itíd be a once in a million situation. And even if something did go awry in the machine, youíd be setting things straight during the service.

Recall that the OPís question was about someone sinking a cased movement in an ultrasonic cleaner. Not once, but as part of a regular cleaning process.

How many times per year? Whoís to say. But letís say every couple of months? Thatís 6 times per year...and given that people tend to wait 5-10 years for a full service...30 to 60 times between services.

In that time, with such frequency, much can happen.

Here is what I do think...
If, under warranty, one sends a 3 year old Rolex to RSC because it stops running intermittently. And includes a note that states, ďI submerge the watch regularly in my ultrasonic cleanerĒ.

My money is on the RSC defining that as abuse rather than performing a free full service to set things right.

IMHO, using an ultrasonic on a watch head isnt sensible when there are many other ways to clean the outside of a watch head.



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Old 26 May 2020, 03:31 PM   #25
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an great essay topic
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Old 27 May 2020, 09:56 AM   #26
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Old 10 June 2020, 04:39 AM   #27
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Also note that "ultrasonic cleaning" doesn't specify frequency, power density, or duration, all of which are important process parameters. I'm sure we all agree that, theoretically, there might be a power level that can shake a watch movement to death. But we have no idea how close anybody's ultrasonic bath is to that level, nor at which levels the baths at the RSC operate. And with so many unknowns, maybe it's not such a good idea to subject one's watch to this treatment.
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