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View Poll Results: Does your 32xx movement seem to be 100% ok?
Yes, no issues 813 72.85%
No, amplitude is low (below 200) but timekeeping is still fine 43 3.85%
No, amplitude is low (below 200) and timekeeping is off (>5 s/d) 260 23.30%
Voters: 1116. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 22 November 2022, 09:32 AM   #3181
dannyp
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I would say they are both equal. Both are 0% the cause of the problem. The problem is (per our best hypothesis at this point) migrating lubes. Everything else - too much lube here, too little lube there, parts wearing, amplitude dropping - is a downstream symptom.

I get that. The "too much vs too little" wasn't a reference to the absolute amounts applied, rather to migrations. Too little was a reference to it migrating away from a critically needed area, while too much was a reference to it migrating to an area where it wasn't needed. The question, then, was whether one of those phenomena, more than the other, was responsible.
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Old 22 November 2022, 08:28 PM   #3182
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From this do I unstand correctly that the root cause of the issues in a 32xx movement is basically the migration of lubricants?
Yes, the root cause of migration can explain all my observations summarized before.
https://www.rolexforums.com/showpost...postcount=3161

What concerns the lubricants and epilames, I see the following possibilities for 32xx movements. Rolex uses either:

- †††††††old lubricants with old epilames or
- †††††††old lubricants with new epilames or
- †††††††new lubricants with old epilames or
- †††††††new lubricants with new epilames.

old: used before the 32xx movements
new: developed for the 32xx movements

Any of these tribology combinations could be either the problem or a potential solution for all the reported 32xx issues.

Tribology is a broad and very complex field in science, not only for watches, and a lot of fundamental research is done worldwide.
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Old 22 November 2022, 10:56 PM   #3183
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Originally Posted by saxo3 View Post
Yes, the root cause of migration can explain all my observations summarized before.
https://www.rolexforums.com/showpost...postcount=3161

What concerns the lubricants and epilames, I see the following possibilities for 32xx movements. Rolex uses either:

- †††††††old lubricants with old epilames or
- †††††††old lubricants with new epilames or
- †††††††new lubricants with old epilames or
- †††††††new lubricants with new epilames.

old: used before the 32xx movements
new: developed for the 32xx movements

Any of these tribology combinations could be either the problem or a potential solution for all the reported 32xx issues.

Tribology is a broad and very complex field in science, not only for watches, and a lot of fundamental research is done worldwide.
Sounds like current combination is "old/old" leaving the question of whether the solution should be "new/new," "old/new," or "new/old" to replace it. Might also explain why it tends to happen in a specific timeframe in which it shows up (i.e. takes a year, +/-, to start).

The good news, if true, is that undamaged 32xx watches would only need to be cleaned and re-lubricated when the problem presents, and the design itself is sound.

This also might help explain why a fix has taken so long:

1) Diagnosis. It's more difficult to diagnose a problem when you don't see the visible damage or failing at the problem's source. All of the abnormal wear and tear seems to represent distal symptoms, rather than causes.

2) Blame assignment. You can bet that there has been a lot of back-and-forth between mechanical and chemical engineers about whether this was a movement design flaw or a lubrication formulation flaw. Much like a plane crash, where it's always "pilot error" vs "design flaw" when attempting to find its cause.

3) Number of permutations. If it were truly a design flaw, there are, by definition, only a limited number of possible causes so playing detective a little bit easier. Now, however, you have many more possibilities for developing a fix based on all of the ways to formulate lubricants and you'll need to see how each behaves when introduced to the system as a whole.
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Old 23 November 2022, 03:09 AM   #3184
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[QUOTE=dannyp;12481282
The good news, if true, is that undamaged 32xx watches would only need to be cleaned and re-lubricated when the problem presents, and the design itself is sound. :
[/QUOTE]

But there are reports of watches sent in to service this problem that develop the same problem again.

If the same lubricants and epilames are used when servicing these movements, how would that fix the problem? It seems like some combination of new materials is needed, rather than using the existing combination.

Only if the application of the lubricants and epilames during the manufacturing process is faulty would a clean and lube fix the problem, assuming the actual design is sound.
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Old 23 November 2022, 04:04 AM   #3185
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But there are reports of watches sent in to service this problem that develop the same problem again.

If the same lubricants and epilames are used when servicing these movements, how would that fix the problem? It seems like some combination of new materials is needed, rather than using the existing combination.

Only if the application of the lubricants and epilames during the manufacturing process is faulty would a clean and lube fix the problem, assuming the actual design is sound.
Sorry, I meant that once a new set of lubricants/epilames are developed they can be applied at service without having to replace whole systems of parts.
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Old 23 November 2022, 04:33 AM   #3186
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Originally Posted by saxo3 View Post
Yes, the root cause of migration can explain all my observations summarized before.
https://www.rolexforums.com/showpost...postcount=3161

What concerns the lubricants and epilames, I see the following possibilities for 32xx movements. Rolex uses either:

- †††††††old lubricants with old epilames or
- †††††††old lubricants with new epilames or
- †††††††new lubricants with old epilames or
- †††††††new lubricants with new epilames.

old: used before the 32xx movements
new: developed for the 32xx movements

Any of these tribology combinations could be either the problem or a potential solution for all the reported 32xx issues.

Tribology is a broad and very complex field in science, not only for watches, and a lot of fundamental research is done worldwide.
All current lubricants and epilame was in use before the 32 series was introduced.
Formulas could certainly have been changed without notice though.
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Old 23 November 2022, 11:40 AM   #3187
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Tribology is a broad and very complex field in science, not only for watches, and a lot of fundamental research is done worldwide.
True.
But the fields of research aren't going to necessarily be specific to this application.
Let's face it. How much Rolex lube in total would be used world wide per annum?
3 litres?
Maybe a little more, maybe be a little less?

It's hard to imagine the same amount of resources being ploughed into it from the best and brightest in the industry as there would be for a necessary an upgrade from Dexos to Dexos 1(for example) to combat the problems associated with LSPI.

All this talk about lubes is interesting, but what's changed in real terms regarding the lubrication needs of a fairly basic but admittedly specific machine design in terms of requirements from the old to the new movements???
The answer is pretty much nothing, apart from the escapement itself

We have to accept that lubricants have changed a lot and are getting better(in some respects) but it's always been an incremental improvement.
Synthetics weren't particularly new(though comparitively exclusive) until the Germans needed them in the early 40's.
In automotive terms in was another 2 decades before they became boutique lubes for a small subset of automotive enthusiasts after the military adopted them out of a technological necessity for jet powered aircraft. Then another couple of decades before they were marketed and sold to the wider populace where they were put on the map to be in the consciousness of the consumer.

Migration of lubes is discussed here, but there is a reason why they are viewed as migrating away from where they are supposed to be
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Old 23 November 2022, 11:48 AM   #3188
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I get that. The "too much vs too little" wasn't a reference to the absolute amounts applied, rather to migrations. Too little was a reference to it migrating away from a critically needed area, while too much was a reference to it migrating to an area where it wasn't needed. The question, then, was whether one of those phenomena, more than the other, was responsible.
I still think that migration is not the terminology which should be applied.
It may look like migration in the broadest terms, but I believe there's a more sinister cause for lube not staying where it's meant to be.
Besides, migration wasn't necessarily an issue unless an assembly was sitting around for an extended time and not being used.
But it was never so problematic within such short periods of time(in some instances) either
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Old 23 November 2022, 11:56 AM   #3189
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I would say they are both equal. Both are 0% the cause of the problem. The problem is (per our best hypothesis at this point) migrating lubes. Everything else - too much lube here, too little lube there, parts wearing, amplitude dropping - is a downstream symptom.
This
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Old 23 November 2022, 08:06 PM   #3190
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32xx movement problem poll and data thread

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Originally Posted by Dirt View Post
But the fields of research aren't going to necessarily be specific to this application.
Why? Wrong. You do not know the research done in this field, especially close to and in collaboration with Rolex SA.

Let's face it. How much Rolex lube in total would be used world wide per annum?
3 litres? Maybe a little more, maybe be a little less?
It is not the quantity of lubricants that counts but the quality and the outcome of the research that is (hopefully) useful to understand and solve the migration of lubricants.

All this talk about lubes is interesting, but what's changed in real terms regarding the lubrication needs of a fairly basic but admittedly specific machine design in terms of requirements from the old to the new movements???
A lot has changed, see the first part "Rolex 32xx movements" in #3161.

The answer is pretty much nothing, apart from the escapement itself
Why so judgmental without background knowledge?

We have to accept that lubricants have changed a lot and are getting better(in some respects) but it's always been an incremental improvement.
What is your source that 32xx lubricants have changed a lot?
They are getting better (in some respects): what do you know about it related to the 32xx?
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Originally Posted by Dirt View Post

I still think that migration is not the terminology which should be applied.
Why not? How would you call it?

It may look like migration in the broadest terms, but I believe there's a more sinister cause for lube not staying where it's meant to be.
What concretely is a more sinister cause? Please explain.

Besides, migration wasn't necessarily an issue unless an assembly was sitting around for an extended time and not being used.
Nonsense? The observed and reported issues are a fact for: daily worn, frequently worn, rarely worn, and unworn (= full winding 3-4 times per year) 32xx watches, see post #3161.
What are your points? Please explain, I really don't get it Dirt
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Old 23 November 2022, 10:34 PM   #3191
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What are your points? Please explain, I really don't get it Dirt
Hypothetically speaking.
What if the lube is being displaced because there is some degree of freting at the point of lubrication???
I'm specifically thinking of the wear on the Second pinion here.
If we are willing to consider the possibility of freting where the lube is potentially ejected(in a manner of speaking), then critically we must also wonder what type of condition would cause that to occur???
We also need to keep in mind how fine/light these lubes actually are.
If the lube is being displaced through kinectic forces then it's not inconceivable that the application of epilame will only have a limited effect

I have seen plenty of examples of lube migrating away from where it needs to be, but it's often a result of a lack of use and sitting idle.

Just puting it out there at this stage.
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Old 23 November 2022, 10:40 PM   #3192
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All current lubricants and epilame was in use before the 32 series was introduced.
Formulas could certainly have been changed without notice though.

Thatís certainly an unknown, Bas. The formulas could vary by using new raw materials sources.

In this tribology discussion, aside from lubricants, is it possible Rolex has changed the engineering of the parts?

Or the design in materials (like the toroidal shape of jewels or tolerances)?

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Old 23 November 2022, 11:07 PM   #3193
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Hypothetically speaking.
What if the lube is being displaced because there is some degree of freting at the point of lubrication???
I'm specifically thinking of the wear on the Second pinion here.
If we are willing to consider the possibility of freting where the lube is potentially ejected(in a manner of speaking), then critically we must also wonder what type of condition would cause that to occur???
We also need to keep in mind how fine/light these lubes actually are.
If the lube is being displaced through kinectic forces then it's not inconceivable that the application of epilame will only have a limited effect

I have seen plenty of examples of lube migrating away from where it needs to be, but it's often a result of a lack of use and sitting idle.

Just puting it out there at this stage.
I think this matches one of my amateur theories: that people are picking these watches up and strapping them on too far along in their unwinding cycle/at too low an amplitude without first manually winding.

In this case, the long PR and ability to keep time at low amplitude is actually hurting things, by allowing people to think they can set the watch down idle for, say, 50hrs, see it's still keeping time, and just picking it right back up.

On the one hand, the lube theory makes some sense, but to your point, it can't wholly explain the seconds wheel pivot, as that is normally an un-lubricated part. Therefore the friction on it must somehow be created by a chain reaction, so to speak, or another source entirely. But the "use after extensive idle without recharge" theory could potentially explain both.

What I'm hypothesizing happens is that the movement is not properly warmed up, like someone who rolls out of bed and attempts to sprint a 4min mile without any warmup of any kind. Or to think of another analogy, a modern commercial aircraft: they are designed to withstand the most extreme of forces when flying at 500 knots and 35,000ft, but reduce airspeed too much, or attempt to fly them after sustaining a seemingly minor bump from a truck on the ground, and the results could be disastrous.
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Old 23 November 2022, 11:18 PM   #3194
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Formulas could certainly have been changed without notice though.
That could be one of the "Silent" Fixes that we have mentioned earlier.
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Old 24 November 2022, 12:41 AM   #3195
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That could be one of the "Silent" Fixes that we have mentioned earlier.
But isn't the risk then that the new formulas aren't suitable for the 31xx, 22xx, and earlier watches using the current formulations? If they're being altered to address the 32xx issue isn't it possible that this will cause new problems with older calibres?
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Old 24 November 2022, 01:18 AM   #3196
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But isn't the risk then that the new formulas aren't suitable for the 31xx, 22xx, and earlier watches using the current formulations? If they're being altered to address the 32xx issue isn't it possible that this will cause new problems with older calibres?
Peerhaps they have
One bottle for 32xx
One for 31xx
One for 22xx and so on.
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Old 24 November 2022, 01:26 AM   #3197
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Peerhaps they have
One bottle for 32xx
One for 31xx
One for 22xx and so on.
and so on.
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Old 24 November 2022, 01:34 AM   #3198
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Peerhaps they have
One bottle for 32xx
One for 31xx
One for 22xx and so on.
I asked about this earlier and Bas indicated the same lubes were used for multiple families of movements. It would be "nice and clean" in terms of our theories if the 32xx had one set of lubes, distinct from all other movement families, and the 32xx alone was suffering these issues. But if the same lube is used on a 3235 and 3135, and yet only migrates on the 3235, then that would point to something more involved. Perhaps an interplay between the lubes and the surface finish. I won't pretend to understand the nuances of surface finish, surface tension, viscosity, etc. but it seems possible that newer generation internal parts could be produced on newer machines, or with newer programming, producing slight variations beyond the obvious specs of diameter, thickness, etc.

As long as we are throwing out random thoughts, how about this? I would argue the main driver of changes in the 32xx family is longer power reserve. We know about the mainspring difference. We know about the escapement difference. But perhaps all contact surfaces were finished to a higher degree to reduce drag and add to efficiency. However, perhaps these smoother finishes (again, this is all guessing) are now allowing oil to move around from area to area without the "containment" which a rougher surface would provide.
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Old 24 November 2022, 02:15 AM   #3199
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It would be "nice and clean" in terms of our theories if the 32xx had one set of lubes, distinct from all other movement families, and the 32xx alone was suffering these issues. But if the same lube is used on a 3235 and 3135, and yet only migrates on the 3235, then that would point to something more involved. Perhaps an interplay between the lubes and the surface finish.
I've said this before, but it's an equally clean theory, just harder to test/prove. Rather than 32xx used new lube, 32xx has problems, new lube = problems, it becomes: 32xx didn't use new lube, 32xx has problems, 32xx should have used new lube = source of problems.

Reminds me a bit of the logic/lack thereof that allowed for the Challenger disaster:

Theory: O-ring performance linked to temperature

Data, as analyzed: O-ring failures happened over range of temperatures, temperature not relevant

Data, as should have been analyzed: O-ring failures occurred in ~15% of warm weather launches but in 100% of cold weather launches, DO NOT launch in cold weather
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Old 24 November 2022, 02:49 AM   #3200
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I think this matches one of my amateur theories: that people are picking these watches up and strapping them on too far along in their unwinding cycle/at too low an amplitude without first manually winding.

In this case, the long PR and ability to keep time at low amplitude is actually hurting things, by allowing people to think they can set the watch down idle for, say, 50hrs, see it's still keeping time, and just picking it right back up.

On the one hand, the lube theory makes some sense, but to your point, it can't wholly explain the seconds wheel pivot, as that is normally an un-lubricated part. Therefore the friction on it must somehow be created by a chain reaction, so to speak, or another source entirely. But the "use after extensive idle without recharge" theory could potentially explain both.

What I'm hypothesizing happens is that the movement is not properly warmed up, like someone who rolls out of bed and attempts to sprint a 4min mile without any warmup of any kind. Or to think of another analogy, a modern commercial aircraft: they are designed to withstand the most extreme of forces when flying at 500 knots and 35,000ft, but reduce airspeed too much, or attempt to fly them after sustaining a seemingly minor bump from a truck on the ground, and the results could be disastrous.
For a moment, let's set aside comparisons between "warmed up" assemblies that operate across extremely wide temp ranges and across widely different ambient temps with extreme loads.
It doesn't compare with a watch movement that's mostly exposed to a relatively narrow temp range in the grand scheme of things and very low loads across the train after the energy in the mainspring is released through the escapement.

As you note, the Seconds pivot has been identified previously as a point where there is not normally lube applied(if i understand correctly in this instance).
If so, then I assume it's generally regarded to be of minor concern in terms of wear under normal conditions.
To expand upon further elements of the theory, ponder this aspect if you will.
What if there was something happening in the movement which was setting up some funky wear pattern on the pivot which initially wasn't evident and within reasonable expectations upon fairly close inspection in the early stages if disassembled. But then the wear was compounded over the longer time as one would naturally expect to become catastrophic.
Lubrication or lack thereof is not the core issue and I think that is understood.
Again, I stress that it's probable the wear on the pivot is not the root cause of the problem but purely symptomatic which naturally increases it's significance as the wear increases.

With regard to power reserve.
Are you saying the torque release from the Main spring is not as linear as it ought to be?
Let's keep in mind that there are high quality movements made by another manufacturer with very long power reserves that run very well for years without any issues when operating across a wide range of the state of wind on a daily basis and they also have a single Main spring contained within a single Barrel. Quite unlike an auto winder that will generally be at or near peak power throughout the day.
But we can't necessarily account for the auto wind scenario because data is not available from most sources and without a power reserve indicator, it will remain a wild card of mammoth proportions as far as I can see
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Old 24 November 2022, 02:54 AM   #3201
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I asked about this earlier and Bas indicated the same lubes were used for multiple families of movements. It would be "nice and clean" in terms of our theories if the 32xx had one set of lubes, distinct from all other movement families, and the 32xx alone was suffering these issues. But if the same lube is used on a 3235 and 3135, and yet only migrates on the 3235, then that would point to something more involved. Perhaps an interplay between the lubes and the surface finish. I won't pretend to understand the nuances of surface finish, surface tension, viscosity, etc. but it seems possible that newer generation internal parts could be produced on newer machines, or with newer programming, producing slight variations beyond the obvious specs of diameter, thickness, etc.

As long as we are throwing out random thoughts, how about this? I would argue the main driver of changes in the 32xx family is longer power reserve. We know about the mainspring difference. We know about the escapement difference. But perhaps all contact surfaces were finished to a higher degree to reduce drag and add to efficiency. However, perhaps these smoother finishes (again, this is all guessing) are now allowing oil to move around from area to area without the "containment" which a rougher surface would provide.
Surface finishing may well be a factor, but I have always assumed that it would be an easy one for Rolex to investigate in the early stages, so I have set that to the side trusting in the competence of the mothership.
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Old 24 November 2022, 03:13 AM   #3202
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Surface finishing may well be a factor, but I have always assumed that it would be an easy one for Rolex to investigate in the early stages, so I have set that to the side trusting in the competence of the mothership.
That would have been my thought as well. But then again that same level of trust would have never predicted that 7+ years into this movement we'd still be seeing these issues. So at some point we have to allow for things falling through the cracks.


Re: this other discussion about springs and torque. Just keep in mind that a bad/affected movement will suffer from very low amplitude even at full wind. If this were a problem stemming from one barrel instead of two, for example, that wouldn't really come into play at full wind. If there's any part in the power reserve where we can expect maximum torque it would be at full wind.
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Old 24 November 2022, 03:52 AM   #3203
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For a moment, let's set aside comparisons between "warmed up" assemblies that operate across extremely wide temp ranges and across widely different ambient temps with extreme loads.
It doesn't compare with a watch movement that's mostly exposed to a relatively narrow temp range in the grand scheme of things and very low loads across the train after the energy in the mainspring is released through the escapement.

As you note, the Seconds pivot has been identified previously as a point where there is not normally lube applied(if i understand correctly in this instance).
If so, then I assume it's generally regarded to be of minor concern in terms of wear under normal conditions.
To expand upon further elements of the theory, ponder this aspect if you will.
What if there was something happening in the movement which was setting up some funky wear pattern on the pivot which initially wasn't evident and within reasonable expectations upon fairly close inspection in the early stages if disassembled. But then the wear was compounded over the longer time as one would naturally expect to become catastrophic.
Lubrication or lack thereof is not the core issue and I think that is understood.
Again, I stress that it's probable the wear on the pivot is not the root cause of the problem but purely symptomatic which naturally increases it's significance as the wear increases.

With regard to power reserve.
Are you saying the torque release from the Main spring is not as linear as it ought to be?
Let's keep in mind that there are high quality movements made by another manufacturer with very long power reserves that run very well for years without any issues when operating across a wide range of the state of wind on a daily basis and they also have a single Main spring contained within a single Barrel. Quite unlike an auto winder that will generally be at or near peak power throughout the day.
But we can't necessarily account for the auto wind scenario because data is not available from most sources and without a power reserve indicator, it will remain a wild card of mammoth proportions as far as I can see
So a couple of things...

1. When I say "warmed up" I'm not referring to temperature literally, more the way an athlete "warms up" before competition. Attempt seriously strenuous activities when tired, stiff, and undernourished and you'll "break" (or at least underperform/injur yourself).

2. I don't think remaining PR in and of itself matters, more the drops in amplitude as the mainspring unwinds. This is where the aircraft analogy came in. A plane flying at stall speed is far more fragile than one flying at 500 knots.

3. Taken together, I was suggesting an issue of fragility when the movement is in certain states that might not exist in others (such as fully wound vs largely unwound). That, if true, could explain why friction is occurring where it shouldn't, and that this may not have been experienced during R&D. To use another athletic analogy: a powerlifter who doesn't maintain a rigid torso through a squat or deadlift. They weren't properly "primed" and are not only likely to fail, but far more likely to seriously injure themselves under a load they'd otherwise move successfully.
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Old 24 November 2022, 06:40 AM   #3204
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Question to all the Rolex 'TechXpert' watchmakers:

Which different lubricants (brand, name, reference number) are used for a complete service of a 32xx movement?

What are their chemical compositions?
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Old 24 November 2022, 06:51 AM   #3205
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Question to all the Rolex 'TechXpert' watchmakers:

Which different lubricants (brand, name, reference number) are used for a complete service of a 32xx movement?

What are their chemical compositions?
Ah yes, the chemical compositions that all aftersales watchmakers have insight in...

Big sigh, here goes: MR4 grease, RL2 grease, 9010 thin oil, RL5 thick oil, RL0 Epilame. All are from Rolex except for 9010 which is Moebius.

For the "chemical composition" you'll have to send R&D a message.
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Old 24 November 2022, 07:56 AM   #3206
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Ah yes, the chemical compositions that all aftersales watchmakers have insight in...


Big sigh, here goes: MR4 grease, RL2 grease, 9010 thin oil, RL5 thick oil, RL0 Epilame. All are from Rolex except for 9010 which is Moebius.
Many thanks. The Rolex produced lubricants could have been slightly changed for the 32xx movements, without any traceability for any Rolex Service Center, including the HQ sav. Do you use the same Rolex lube bottles for 32xx, 31xx, and other calibers?

For the "chemical composition" you'll have to send R&D a message.
Done.
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Old 24 November 2022, 09:31 AM   #3207
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Ah yes, the chemical compositions that all aftersales watchmakers have insight in...

Big sigh, here goes: MR4 grease, RL2 grease, 9010 thin oil, RL5 thick oil, RL0 Epilame. All are from Rolex except for 9010 which is Moebius.

For the "chemical composition" you'll have to send R&D a message.
I have some 9010 and at my pace it will last me two lifetimes. If my Sub slows down too much I plan to take the caseback off and just pour some in. You think about 2-3ml ought to do it?
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Old 24 November 2022, 03:31 PM   #3208
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Yep, same bottles.

And yes, Rolex could definitely have changed the chemical composition without most watchmakers knowing.
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Old 24 November 2022, 03:32 PM   #3209
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I have some 9010 and at my pace it will last me two lifetimes. If my Sub slows down too much I plan to take the caseback off and just pour some in. You think about 2-3ml ought to do it?
Yes, but pour it directly on the balance wheel
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Old 24 November 2022, 11:20 PM   #3210
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I have some 9010 and at my pace it will last me two lifetimes. If my Sub slows down too much I plan to take the caseback off and just pour some in. You think about 2-3ml ought to do it?
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Yes, but pour it directly on the balance wheel
I'm no watchmaker... but wouldn't it just be easier to unscrew and pull out the crown, then just pour it right in there?
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