Independent Testing

Horological Journal May 2009

     Bench view watches 25: Bench view this issue is more a case of matters arising than a specific consideration. A number of things have come to light that are worthwhile considering in a preemptive fashon, with details to follow later.

     It was recently brought to my attention that there is a specialty oil on the market, Advertised as “non deteriorating Nano-particle diamond lubrication”. What is claimed is the lubricating qualities of the molecular-sized diamond crystals [spheres] (up to 4nanometers across) are used to coat the working surfaces of the materials in frictional contact, filling the pores of the substrate with a very hard, smooth layer og diamond nano-particles, thus reducing the tendency for the materials to gall, along with the reduction in all the other bad aspects of friction.

     The lubrication is supplied as a carrier oil, with the Nano-particles in suspension. Different densities are available. The diamond particles are so fine that they remain in suspension indefinitely, kept from settling by Brownian motion.

     Once applied to the working surfaces, the parts are allowed to run under load as normal for a time, giving the particles time to bed in, after which the carrier oil can be washed out, leaving the diamond behind, partly due to mechanical attachment, and partly due to van der Waals forces. Initial experiments seem to suggest a massive reduction in friction, but the longer bterm ability of the material to remain effective is yet to be shown.

     If the fidelity of the oil can be established, it may well prove to be a very useful lubricant for mainsprings, keyless work anf escapements, to nothing of the anti-oxidation qualities such a coating would possess. Horological tests are already being carried out in stainless steel bearings that have previously been difficult to keep clean due to the galling of the cages and balls. The maker Chris Arnold, claims that the areas of Horological work that are traditionally left to run dry, such as wheel teeth and pinion leaves, should be coated. There is logic in this, in that the coating is not oily or greasy and may improve contact where even the slightest sliding friction takes place. I don’t expect that such claims should be quietly accepted!

     Different grades are available, but those that have been designed for Horological use have been licensed (as of March 2009) to GrobetUSA, their exclusive distributor, under the name Quicken®. If ant readers have any experience with the product, they are requested to contact the Technical Editor with their findings…….. 

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