39 thoughts on “Repairing An Antique Pocket Watch With Lighter Fluid”

  1. Wow some watchmaker really come down on you hard. Even if the are correct. I like pocket watches but I know some of my limits an know I can't handle the small parts. So when I buy a non running watch I leave it that way. I'm not sure of the scrap value of a goldfilled open faced watch but wouldn't think it would be more than $15. Watch makers typically don't work cheap.

  2. I am a Pocket Watch collector and have been for 20 years, seeing this video and what you did to that nice Elgin, it almost made me cry. I hope you included that cleaning process into your description info. When you auctioned it off on eBay.

  3. 9:21 "I have no idea what I'm doing here, I never worked on pocket watches before" In his words…enough said…don't try this trick at home kids…. he isn't a trained professional. Enough said.

  4. I will be nice, as a experienced amature watch repair man, may I suggest if this is something you want to learn more about look for "watch repair channel" by mark lovick here on you tube this man is a pro and has been properly trained by other profesionals and been doing it since the 1980's, His video's are very instructional and if you are really into it you can purchase online courses from him, YOU WILL BE TOUGHT CORRECTLY, from the ground up, if nothing else just keep watching his video's, them in there selves are vary educational as you will learn proper terms, names of components, what they do, correct cleaning and lube and oil procedures, correct tools and how to use them, and so on, this man knows Horology.

  5. Oh man, eleven thousand views. All of them from ‘Bay sellers searching for a quick fix for a pocket watch. DON’T EVER do this. You run the risk of damaging the watch in countless ways. But let’s count a few of them:

    1. Pallet and impulse jewels de-shellacking and then colliding/bouncing around in an in-motion movement (you have the thing soaking in a solvent while power is applied due to not letting the mainspring down).

    2. Stripping all remaining lubrication out of the watch; including critical pivots for the escapement and balance, running the movement completely dry and subsequently damaging pivots, jewels, etc.

    3. Weakening the enamel on the dial face.

    4. Residue contamination as the watch parts haven’t been properly cleaned, but simply soaked in a solvent. Some residue, coating things like the balance hairspring, may harden and prove even more difficult to remove from delicate parts in the future.

    This isn’t even remotely correct. You fix a watch like this by fully disassembling it, cleaning it (lighter fluid is actually a fine solvent – just don’t use solvents on parts such as balance wheel and pallet, due to their jewels being shellacked in place) and then carefully oiling it (with only very minute amounts needed at pivot points, etc.).

    The most likely reason this watch was seized up in the first place, is because a previous owner, attempting to cheat his way to a fixed watch, blindly dumped improper (non-watch) oil into it, the oil congealed and then hardened into a resinous like glue. You can’t properly fix a watch from the outside and you can’t oil a watch from the outside, they must be disassembled. That means investing either time or money to get it done right. I sure hope this watch doesn’t land on eBay.

  6. Try using spray starter fluid, it is high in ether which doesn't harm paint and dries in a second. And it will have a lubricant.

  7. If you use naphtha (lighter fluid) to clean the watch then at least U/S clean it. Then sparingly oil it as required. (not WD40 or 3 in 1)

  8. Wow, that 's amazing!
    I've never seen any youtuber watch repair video where the person actually admits they have no watch repair or horological experience whatsoever, then still proceeds to make a video for people and title it "Repairing An Antique Pocket Watch With Lighter Fluid" as if they actually knew something about the process of watch repair! lolol
    (this rest of this is long, move on to the next comment unless you want a few "one liner" chuckles.)

    As more polite & experienced previous commenters have pointed out for a while now, you are doing more to damage your watch in the long run, and certainly any other viewer's watches that are dumb enough to do what you do in your video to their watch. Even if the watch starts to run after loosening up the dirt and old gummed oils … and even after you say you later put some Mobius oil on it (which I doubt since it costs about $40 to $70 for a tiny bottle) it begs me to ask myself the question of, "What tools were used, where exactly did he put said oil and in what amount?". I just wonder, since you already said you knew nothing about watches. Did you grease the mainspring and winding stem mechanism(what kind of grease) and did you use the really expensive "oily stuff" on the tips of the escapement wheel?

    Just had to ask because when a previous commenter pointed out you would have to re-lubricate the watch you replied with that you applied some Mobius oil as if you went to a horological repair school between posting the video and answered a follow up comment like now you're Seth Thomas with an oiler pen and a penchant for rummage sales?

    Anyways, I hope everyone got that serial number .. if not here it is again,Elgin 22206388, it was a perfectly good 1920 grade 303, model 3, class 114, 7 jewel and double roller pocket watch in a nice case (which was apparently bought for scrap metal gold stripping).
    The watch was worth at most around $80 ($100 if minty) before you got hold of it unless someone before did the same you dd before and that is why it was full of so much crud… Notice I said "was worth", because now, after seeing what you did, I'd pay less than half that for it because like others have stated, I'd have to replace the hairspring due to weakening and probably also a rusty mainspring due to having its grease stripped and not replace properly.. not to mention stripping the watch apart, cleaning it and re-oiling and fixing whatever else might have happened to it between the times you first opened and last shut the movement in its case!

    Sad thing about YouTube videographers, always evidently so poor they need to strip gold and silver off antique metals to make ends meet…Think about it… the amount of gold in that watch was worth less than you probably paid for it without a 5 finger discount involved in a 1 way transaction. Even if you got the watch because you thought it was solid Gold you were wrong so, evidently you know nothing about scrapping for precious metals before being on the losing end of that as well. Should have just sold the watch "as found, unopened, not running" on Ebay to make the most cash out of thinking it had more gold n it than it did.

    Summing it all up here, I think it comes down nicely to the fact that many people who make youtube videos are often more ignorant about their topic than many of the people who watch them on any given topic! You must have the get rich and/or famous quick youtube channel philosophy of, "Anything for a click or an ego stroking". Working in a tray of Naptha or not, I certainly hope you didn't fleece someone too badly if you tried to pass on that watch for more than around $35 bucks if you didn't have it serviced by a professional after first telling them about your skills at ,"Repairing An Antique Pocket Watch With Lighter Fluid"!

    Anyhow, I call Bullshit on your video as a method of repairing a pocket watch because getting a timepiece's train to run is the first step in watch repair, not the last!

  9. The local Austrian watchmaker just quoted Euro 250, close to $300 to repair my gold pocket watch, so I declined the offer… any suggestions?

  10. Just found a circa 1899 Waltham "Seashore" or some such model pocket watch with a gold (filled?) case that was my long-late grandfather's. Funny thing is it doesn't have a seconds dial, which I have never seen one w/o. The watch was almost fully wound when I found it.
    It runs for a few seconds, then stops, until I shake or tap the watch hard, and then it goes again, over and over. like that. So there is nothing I can just soak the whole watch in that will safely clean it and get it running again? I'm afraid if I take it to a pro shop to clean and oil then it will cost more than the watch is worth, so should I just scrap it for the gold? It's my understanding that this model was Waltham's cheap-o (ist) for some reason anyway (maybe b/c it doesn't have a seconds dial)?

  11. If you can afford watch cleaning solutions from L&R or Zantech from a supply house, I think this would offer a safer cleaning option than lighter fluid. You should disassemble a watch movement completely. The dial and hands need to be removed first to prevent any possible damage to these parts. Then, you can disassemble the movement completely.

  12. Beware eBay purchasers this watch has not been serviced only rinsed in lighter fluid without been striped down and is running dry without oiling, very bad practice.

  13. This is how not to service a watch, you would not drain the oil from your car engine then run it ,you would not get far and this watch that you have now sold on eBay will die in a very short time.

  14. Though not recommended?? It actually worked!! I received small box of broken pocket watches. A few were intact. I came across this video and figure to give it a shot. i open the back covers and place one in a small dish of lighter fluid. after a minute of dip and slushing away. IT started to ticking away! Wow! taken it out to prevent any possible damage. I looked closer, i can see the bits in the fluid like in the video. Now i need to order watch oil and i am in business.

  15. If you are going to do a movement dunking in lighter fuel you should remove the hands with a special tool, find out how the dial is attached to the front plate and remove it. The dial washer and cog then come off and you can now dunk and soak. Failing to remove the dial will lead to excess fluid being trapped behind and probable problems. You should also dry the movement very carefully with a hair dryer set to warm and low blast and keep the watch at a distance until all fluid has evaporated. NOW you have to service it with watch oil (and only in minute quantities), on both sides. Even after doing this you should carefully check for hair wrapped round the pinions, missing jewels and teeth, etc. before reassembly. Last week I received a watch bought on Ebay and it tried to go but kept stopping. I found an inch long nylon hair (almost invisible) wrapped round balance pinion. Very difficult to remove but it came out eventually. Next time I will use lighter fuel and ignite it! By the way if you have a really valuable watch NEVER do any of the above. This is a DIYers Save Yourself Some Cash, trick.

  16. 1. Lighter fluid can remove numbers from watch dial.
    2. Lighter fluid can remove pallet stones from pallet fork and roller jewel from balance.
    3. Lighter fluid is not be inhaled.
    4. After a proper cleaning, the movement should be lubricated with watch oil.
    What you have done is akin to cleaning a newborn baby with a brillo pad!

  17. OHHH NOOO !!! naptha and butane may clean the old oil and dust , but what happens to the pivots when it is run without oil !!! Watches need a VERY small amount of watch oil -NOT WD40 or 3&1

  18. Just in principle, you should probably squirt WD40 in the gears before you close it back up and leave a tiny piece of duct tape on the inside of the case, to ensure you have used all modern repair techniques available.

  19. I am so glad I randomly came across this channel. Also very surprised to see the man behind the channel. I was expecting some 30 year old who is not american. But you remind me of a guy I used to sell random jewelry to I met off craigslist in oklahoma.

  20. Ha! Not sure how to put back together…Not making fun,, it’s just that I know the feeling all to well,, It’s at this moment that you wish you had filmed taking it apart,,, Good Job Man

  21. is the intelligence of the most beautiful working person.I think you deserve it.I have succeeded in technological areas.I mark this ✟.I am also successful in hydrazine and chemistry

  22. Talk about a video I need! I have so many old Swiss watches laying around because they are sporadic. dirty, and not always worth the jewelers need for that $110 tune up. I would guess you put some money in my pocket with the ones this works on if I up and sell them. Thank You AGAIN. Using the serial # off the movement, your watch was made in 1920. Here are a couple links you may already have…https://pocketwatchdatabase.com/search/result/elgin/22206388

  23. great video, just as a cautionary recommendation instead of pushing the hour hand back you are much better off just removing the hands and then putting them at the correct time. If you push the hour hand back you're liable to mess up the internals.

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