The Watch Escapement & Oiling Procedures

Understanding Watch Escapement and Oiling Techniques: A Guide

If you have ever wondered how mechanical watches work, then understanding the escapement and oiling techniques is a must. These essential components not only provide precision and accuracy but also affect the lifespan of your watch. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of watch escapement and oiling techniques, and equip you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about your timepiece maintenance and care. Read on to discover everything you need to know about the mechanics and maintenance of your watch.


The world of watchmaking is a fascinating one, filled with intricate mechanisms and timeless designs. However, for those who are not well versed with the intricate details of watchmaking, the terminology and complexity of the design can be overwhelming. Consequently, most people are usually interested in the aesthetics and functionality of the watch and pay little attention to the inner workings. In this article, we will discuss one of the most vital components of a watch – the escapement, and the importance of regular oiling for the proper functioning of the watch.

What is an Escapement?

In a mechanical watch, the escapement is the component that regulates the energy flow from the mainspring to the balance wheel, ensuring the accuracy of the timepiece. The basic role of an escapement is to prevent the mainspring from unwinding too quickly by controlling the release of the energy. With the right manner of release, it can power the movement, and each second the balance wheel moves back and forth, ticking away precisely one second of time.

Why Do You Need to Oil Your Watch?

Regular maintenance is essential to keep the watch operating smoothly. If a watch is not appropriately maintained, it will accumulate small bits of debris and dirt that interfere with the complex inner working of the watch, resulting in inaccurate time-keeping. Oil, in this context, serves as a lubricant that facilitates the efficient operation of moving parts in the watch mechanism.

Proper Oiling Techniques

Oiling a watch requires skills and knowledge of an experienced horologist. It involves knowing the exact points in the watch mechanism that need oiling, the oil viscosity, and the proper application technique. Over oiling or under oiling, the watch can result in damage or inaccurate timekeeping.

Here are some recommendations for proper oiling:

  • Determine the points requiring oil: Experienced horologists are familiar with the intricacies of a watch and can identify the points that require lubrication. Typically, the points requiring oil are the pallet stones, the escape wheel, and the balance pivots.
  • Use the right oil viscosity: Horologists use different types of oil viscosity to ensure that the oil correctly penetrates through the watch mechanism. Thick oil is appropriate for the barrel and other low-speed areas, while low viscosity oil is perfect for faster areas that require more precision.
  • Proper application technique: When applying oil, use small oil drop to prevent over-oiling and damage to the components. Cleanliness is also critical when applying oil, and, therefore, it is important to clean the components before applying oil.

Video About Escapement Theory, Maintenance, and Oiling

For those who may be interested in learning more about escapement theory, maintenance, and oiling techniques, watching an educational video is a great way to start. The video presented by Antoine Simonin in front of a live audience provides informative insights into horology that is useful for watch enthusiasts and professionals. In the video, he discusses some of the most commonly used techniques to regulate the balance wheel, namely, the pallet fork and lever escapements. He also highlights the significance of proper oiling in the efficient operation of a watch mechanism. The audio-visual format of the video makes it easy to understand and follow the concepts.


In conclusion, proper oiling and maintenance ensure the accurate functioning of a watch. Without the lubrication provided by oil, watch components will wear down quickly and result in costly repairs. It’s important to engage the services of an experienced horologist to ensure that your watch gets proper and regular maintenance. Finally, it’s useful to keep abreast of industry developments and watch education by regularly watching informative videos on the subject matter.


  1. What is the function of a watch escapement?
    The escapement regulates the energy flow from the mainspring to the balance wheel, ensuring the accuracy of the timepiece.

  2. Why do you need to oil your watch regulary?
    Oiling a watch ensures the efficient operation of moving parts of a watch mechanism by acting as a lubricant between them.

  3. What are the recommendations for proper oiling of a watch?
    Proper oiling requires knowledge about the exact points that require oiling, using the right oil viscosity, and applying the right technique.

  4. What are the significant parts of a watch mechanism that need oiling?
    The significant parts of a watch mechanism that require oiling are the pallet stones, escape wheel, and the balance pivots.

  5. What is the significance of watching an educational video on watchmaking?
    Watching educational videos on watchmaking provides informative insights into horology that are useful to watch enthusiasts and professionals.

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