Removing and replacing the Diafix spring can seem a little tricky, but honestly, it’s pretty simple once you know what not to do. It’s also a great skill to learn because if you’re not cleaning and lubricating these jewels properly, you’re just hurting your overall watch service. Many people don’t even lubricate the jewels because they don’t have an automatic oiler. So today I’m going to show you three alternative ways to lubricate the jewels, which will take your watchmaking skills up to another level. And we’re going to do it starting right now.

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When I did the video on replacing the four most common shock springs, some of you asked about the Diafix spring. This is another spring that can cause a little frustration in certain people, especially if you’ve never had to do them very much. And I’m sure there’s many ways to do it, but this is how I approach them. So let’s look at the spring.

You have a block which holds the capsule, and around the underside of the lip of the block, there’s a groove. And in this groove, there’s two arms that sit inside the groove, and there’s a finger that also sits under the groove. The two legs are providing the tension which holds the spring in place.

Diafix Shock Setting
Diafix Shock Setting

Now I think one of the errors that people make is they approach it similar to an Incabloc spring, and they want to remove these two legs and then take out the spring completely. Well, you don’t really need to do that.

 What we want to do is release the finger at the top of the spring from the groove. Then what we’re going to do is just move the spring forward so that we can remove the end stone. So there’s several different ways to approach removing a Diafix springs.

One of the ways is to put a little bit of rodico across the two ends of the spring to keep it from flying away. But in this particular case, the spring is sitting in a recess in the plate.

Rodico On Diafix Spring
Rodico On Diafix Spring

One of the things that helps tremendously when working on any kind of shock spring is magnification. You really need to be able to see what you’re doing so that your moves are deliberate and that you don’t damage anything. If you can’t clearly see the spring, then you don’t know if you’re putting too much pressure on the spring, possibly bending it.

You really only want to press on the spring enough to be able to release it. So that’s where magnification comes in. If you haven’t seen my video that I did on game changers for watch repair. I would really encourage you to watch that because magnification and watchmaking go hand in hand.

 The way we’re going to approach removing this diashock spring, I’m going to use a brass rod that’s flattened on two sides to act as a safety to put over the two legs of the spring. And then I’m going to use an oiler. In this case, it’s a Bergeron yellow.

It’s not one that I use for oiling very much, but they do have other purposes like what we’re doing today.

bergeon oiler used to open Diafix Spring
Bergeon oiler used to open Diafix Spring

I’m going to do is I’m going to stick it in between the spring and the edge of the jewel block. And I’m just going to put the slightest amount of pressure to release this finger that’s in the groove right here. And you see that the brass rod that I was using as a safety kept the two fingers that are under tension from being able to come out of the groove. So now I’m just going to simply slide the spring forward, exposing the end stone. Now I can remove the end stone.

Diafix Spring is Released
Diafix Spring is Released

 The other question that comes up is what’s the best way to lubricate it? Now if you don’t have an automatic oiler, you can definitely lubricate it in the traditional way. To do that, I use alcohol and then I use a leather buff to cover the jewel on a piece of watchmaking paper. And then I just buff it slowly back and forth.

Here you can see the clean jewel, which is stuck to the underside of the leather buff.

The Clean End-Stone Jewel
The Clean End-Stone Jewel

And then with a small drop of Moebius 9010, we want to put enough oil on it so that we cover approximately between 50 to 70 percent of the surface of the jewel.

The Lubricated End-Stone
The Lubricated End-Stone

 Now the disadvantage to this method of oiling the jewel is that your tweezer game has to really be on point in order to be able to pick the end stone up, flip it over, and lay it precisely where it needs to be on top of the other jewel. You got to be able to pick it up, turn it over, and lay it in place.

Now to replace the spring, we’re simply going to take our tweezers and pull back on the spring, and then gently push down on the finger with our oiler, locking it in place.

End Stone Installed in Shock Setting
End Stone Installed in Shock Setting

So what do you do if you don’t have those types of tweezer skills?

The next two methods of oiling the jewel are the same, but you’re going to be using a different method of lubrication. So we’re going to start by removing our spring again, and again we just slide it forward. This time we’re going to use a small piece of rodico to remove the jewel.

Now we’re going to re-clean the jewel to get the lubrication that we just put on it, off of the end-stone. Now we have a clean end stone again. And this time we’re going to install the clean end stone back in the setting with no lubrication.

This time we’re going to use an automatic oiler.

If you’re not familiar with automatic oilers, it’s simply a reservoir with a very thin needle.

Automatic oiler
Automatic oiler

It has a screw to limit the amount of oil that comes out of the dispenser. That adjustment is made here. When you stick the tip into the jewel, you just simply pull back on that screw and it dispenses the perfect amount of oil in the jewel. So there’s the very small needle that goes into the jewel hole. And when you retract the screw, you see a little bit of oil come out. And that goes down into the jewel hole. The way the adjustment screw on the automatic oiler works is when you turn it, the screw rotates, allowing the dispensing screw to move either further or allow it to move less, depending on where you have this screw set to.

 So that would be fully open and that would be the minimum amount of oil coming out, which for balance jewels and any kind of jewel like that, I keep it set at the minimum.

To use an automatic oiler,

Inserting Automatic oiler into shock setting

you very carefully insert the tip into the jewel hole, retract the screw, and it dispenses the oil into the jewel hole.

If you don’t have an automatic oiler

What is the best way to lubricate the jewel? Well, one way is with a tool like this.

Oiling Wire
Oiling Wire

This is a non-branded jewel oiler that has a very fine wire on the tip. And you can use this whenever you need to oil through the pivot hole. I want you to think about this. The automatic oiler has a very fine tip, which first locates the jewel hole, and then when you retract the lubricating screw, the oiler deposits a small amount of oil on top of the jewel hole, and then the tip retracts, pushing the oil down into the jewel hole.

Basically, we need to duplicate that task manually. The first thing we want to do is, we want to get a small amount of oil. In this case, I’m just using 9010. And then we’re just going to drop it right on top of the jewel hole. This simulates the action of the automatic oiler when you retract the lubricating screw, inserting the wire into the jewel hole simulates the action of the tip of the automatic oiler pushing the oil into the jewel hole. If you don’t have one of those oiler-type tools, you can use a tool like this.

Pushing the oil into the Jewl hole with the wire.
Pushing the oil into the Jewl hole with the wire.

If you don’t have one of those oiling wires like I just showed you, you can also use one of these to push the oil into the jewel hole, which leads us to my bonus tip for the day.

Pro Tip

 Watch repair is really all about problem solving, and the solution is often right under your nose. As long as I can remember, I’ve been making these little tools that I’m about to show you.

Old Balance staff used as an oiler
Old Balance staff used as an oiler

 What I do is I save old balance staffs and repurpose pivots off of old parts movements that aren’t any good anymore. And I just take a toothpick and I drill a hole in it, and then I glue the balance staff into the hole with the good pivot pointing out.

 Here’s another one that I made with the pivot from a fourth wheel. Here’s another one I made from a balance staff from an old Seiko movement.

Forth Wheel PIvot
Forth Wheel PIvot
Seiko Balance Staff
Seiko Balance Staff

But the other thing that I do is I measure the tip, then I just print out a label with the size of the tip and attach it to the toothpick. This one is 0.5 millimeters, and this one is 0.12 millimeters. Not only are they very useful for pushing oil inside a jewel hole, but they also make great pivot gauges.

Sizing tool for balance staff tool
Sizing tool for balance staff tool

 And I probably have 40 or 50 of these of varying sizes that I make out of old balance staffs mostly. Now, if you don’t have a quantity of balance staff’s or you haven’t gotten to that point yet, you could probably find a lot of balance staffs that are going to be pretty cheap and you could use them to make your own.