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Author Topic: old movement, cant get screws out...options?  (Read 1170 times)
Deck Hand
United States United States

« on: February 07, 2011, 02:12:33 am »

So whats the best way to loosen some screws on a old movement?
Major Willoughby Chase
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 11:08:58 am »

As you haven't mentioned what you have tried yet, I'll assume it's just a stright attempt at unscrewing.  In which case, I find a cotton bud dipped in WD40 and applied to the screw head, then left for a long while to soak down works well.
Deck Hand
United States United States

« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2011, 11:55:54 pm »

Rarely will a good quality, correctly sharpened screwdriver blade fail to budge a screw in a watch movement. Sharpening the blade-so that it's perfectly flat on the bottom and fits the slot correctly(i.e. not bottoming out in the screw hole slot) will usually get it.

It's worth noting also that some screws in watches are reverse threaded. The most commonly seen reverse thread screw is the one which holds down the crown wheel, although I've also seen them in other parts of the winding/setting mechanism(such as the pivot of the rocker bar in 18 size watches). So, if a screw seems especially stubborn, this is worth checking on as you may be only tightening it more.

Failing all of this, it's especially helpful if you can access the back of the screw to apply oil directly to the threads. For plate screws, you can generally pull the dial and get at them this way. It's best to avoid WD-40 for this, as it will kill commercial watch cleaning solutions. I use standard watch oil, which I realize not everyone has on hand. As an alternative, I'd suggest a light petroleum oil. 3-in-1 oil would be alright, as would Marvel Mystery Oil or even a commercial penetrating oil.

As a last resort, you can soak the watch overnight in a water solution of alum. This will dissolve any and all steel parts, including screws but also any pinions, pivots, or setting parts.

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