How to Oil a Watch Without Taking It Apart in 5 Steps

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Regular cleaning and oiling of your watch is an important factor in keeping the watch running the way it should, and whether you do it yourself or take it to a watch expert, you may wonder at some point if lubing a watch is possible when you don’t want the watch taken apart first. Although there are different opinions as to whether you can truly oil a watch without taking it apart first, most experts agree that while this is possible, you’re still not going to get as good of a cleaning and oiling as you would if the watch was disassembled first.

One of the reasons this is so is because for a watch, especially an expensive or luxury watch, to be oiled it has to first be thoroughly cleaned, and this is impossible without taking the watch apart. Nevertheless, if you’re interested in getting a watch oiled and you don’t want to take it apart all the way, there are a few ways you can make this happen, and the following tips can help.

1. Use an Ultrasonic Cleaner

Most jewelers use a “swirl” type watch cleaner, but if you’re interested in knowing how to oil a watch without taking it apart first, you can try an ultrasonic cleaner instead. Most of these cleaners are box-like devices that you put the watch in, and the ultrasonic waves get into the watch parts and lubricate them. It isn’t as thorough as taking the watch apart first, but it works.

2. Rinse with a Special Lubricant

Another option for you to oil the inside of the watch without taking it apart first is to use a type of rinse that is part rinse, part lubricant. You can keep the watch in one piece and soak it in the solution. With these solutions, each internal part of the watch will be covered so that they are both cleaned and oiled. Again, it’s not the perfect option because not all oils are good for all watch parts, but this may still be a good option for you if you don’t want to take the watch completely apart.

3. Use a Special Oiler

There are special oilers that look sort of like a needle used for medical injections. With these devices, the lubricant is inserted inside of the watch and is distributed among the different parts. If you are not thoroughly familiar with the movement of your watch, you may miss oiling certain parts on the inside, which is a definite drawback for this type of lubrication.

4. Use an Automatic Oiler

These oilers can insert just a minute amount of oil inside of the watch so that you aren’t over-oiling it. The best part about the oilers is that you simply push a button and the watch is oiled on the inside with the appropriate amount of oil. These devices are usually used for more expensive luxury watches such as Rolex and others, but they can be used for other watches as well.

5. Use a Simple or Precision Tip Needle Oiler

These oilers look like the specialized, injection-type oilers but operate a little differently. Instead of injecting the oil into the watch, you simply dip the tip of the device in some oil, place the needle on the outside of the watch, and the “force” from inside the watch will automatically draw the oil in and spread the lubricant around. The main difference between these two oilers is that the precision tip oiler has a slightly bent shape that makes getting into the inside of the watch a lot easier. Most amateurs will not use these types of oilers because they can be complicated to use properly.

Why Is Oiling a Watch So Important?

The oil in your watch is much like the oil in your vehicle – it keeps everything inside running properly and smoothly. Just like the oil in an engine, watch oil needs to be changed occasionally so that the watch runs the way it should. Inside of your watch are lots of complex, intricate parts that have to work together for the watch to tell time accurately and for a long time. This is one of the reasons why when you need your watch oiled, it should always be done by the experts.

Watches also have to contain the right amount of oil because both too little and too much oil can affect the watch in numerous negative ways. They also should be cleaned well before they are oiled, which is another reason to trust the job to the experts and not try to do it yourself. Fortunately, your watch shouldn’t need cleaning and oiling very often – usually only every five years or so, depending on the watch – and since the job is normally not very expensive, it is always worth it to go ahead and get this done occasionally so that you can keep your watch even longer.