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by Jordan Ficklin

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This week for Tuesday Tools — Oilers. No, not the Houston Oilers or the Edmonton Oilers.

OilersWhen I clean and service a watch one of the most important things is to place the correct amount of oil precisely on the points that need lubrication. I use oilers to place the oil. There are three main kinds of oilers: Dip Oilers, Glass Fountain Oilers, and Automatic Oilers.

Fountain oilers are mostly used by older watchmakers. They use the principles of capillary action to draw a small amount of oil out of the tube (like a fountain pen). I’ve never used one. The one in the picture was in my shop when I started working there.

Dip oilers are the most common oilers. From the picture you can see that the they come to a pretty narrow point. This gives you an idea of how little lubrication is applied inside the watch. The tip of the oiler is dipped into a reservoir of oil or grease and a single drop forms on the end. This drop is than placed precisely on the pivot or friction point. The red oiler has been modified with a 90 degree bend at the end. Some watchmakers prefer this method for lubricating the escapement, but I prefer the straight oiler myself.

Automatic OilerAutomatic oilers have a reservoir like the fountain oiler but they also feature a retractable point which is pulled back into the reservoir and then released with a single drop of oil on the tip. The automatic oiler can be adjusted to produce a specific sized drop of oil with pretty good consistency. The Bergeon 1A oiler pictured is used for oiling assembled cap jewels. This makes the process of oiling cap jewels much easier than using a simple dip oiler. There is also another version for oiling train jewels.

The oilers and oils need to be kept clean at all times.

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