GREASES, OILS, ADHESIVES & ABRASIVE PASTES
Greases and oils are primarily used for lubrication. Grease is notably thicker than oils, which also come in different viscosities. In watchmaking, as one moves away from the mainspring barrel and closer to the balance wheel, lubrication becomes more fluid. It starts with grease and ends with the thinnest oils.
Grease is sometimes used as a protective layer to prevent oxidation, for example, on a lathe.
Adhesive and abrasive pastes, on the other hand, are mainly used for polishing. It can also involve what might paradoxically be called “matte polishing.” The Diamantine abrasive paste, used for achieving the highest quality of polishing known as black polish, often consists of diamond powder mixed with olive oil.
In the past, watchmakers took advantage of the winter cold. They placed their oil bottles outside, to separate the liquid inside into thicker and thinner oils.
Greases are paste-like lubricants that consist of mineral oils, synthetic oils and thickeners. Greases may also contain additives and solid lubricants. Greases are used on the steel-steel friction points in movements.
Oils reduce friction between moving parts. In watchmaking, the rubies from the wheels and pinions are oiled. Oils are important in watches because they allow the parts to function properly, reduce operating losses and reduce wear.
Polishing any surface requires the use of an abrasive material that is intended to machine and transform a surface. The material in question is a powder mixed with a thinner which together create polishing pastes.
Diamantine is the hardest of all polishing pastes. It is also usually used for the finest polishes. In watchmaking, these are called “blocked polish” or “black polish”.