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Myth: Spray-on lubricants are fine for clock movements

Clock movements are sometimes big, clunky things, but they can also be very delicate machines. They all need specialist, lightweight oils to lubricate them, and only a very tiny amount on the right places.

Spray-on lubricants flood the movement and destroy any existing oil. Also excessive oil or fluid will flow away from critical bearings throughout the movement. This will then leave the clock running dry, and increasing wear significantly.

But (insert favourite oil based lubricant here) is fine for doors/cars/hinges/etc, it should be fine for a clock right?


As the clock runs, the soft, brass bearings are getting an oil based abrasive ground into them which can cause them to fail quickly.

How about drying clocks out with kerosene?

Putting substances such as a rag soaked in kerosene/parrafin/etc inside the case to 'get your clock running' will free up the congealed oil, and the clock will run for a time.

But the fumes leech the oil on the bearings causing it to dry out. This results in your clock running with no lubrication at all, which ends up with a similar effect as using generic oils. However, the clock usually seizes before as much damage is done.

It still causes significant wear on your clock

Clocks do need specialist oils specifically designed for clocks as well as in-depth knowledge of where the oil needs to be placed.

As such we highly recommend that your clock be serviced by a qualified watchmaker

Thomas' Timepieces services and repairs all timepieces on site

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