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Proper Maintenance of a Rolex – Part II

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In part one of this article, day-to-day maintenance of a Rolex watch was discussed from the point of view of someone who many have never before owned a mechanical watch. In Part II, using this same perspective, the mid to longer term maintenance requirements of a Rolex watch will be examined.

ONCE A YEAR

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It’s a good idea (though not necessarily mandatory) to bring a Rolex in for a service checkup once per year. At this time, the watch can be pressure checked to make certain that nothing as compromised the water resistance rating for the watch. The watchmaker can also visually inspect the movement for any signs of corrosion, lubrication issues, and undue component wear. Finally, the watch can be placed on a timing machine which can test the accuracy of the movement, and verify that it’s still running within COSC Chronometer specifications. If the movement timing has fallen outside of COSC specifications, a simple timing regulation can be performed. If the watch has picked up any scratches or wear marks, this would also be a good time to have them buffed out.

FULL SERVICE EVERY THREE TO EIGHT YEARS

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While a yearly service checkup might be considered optional, a full service every three to eight years should be considered mandatory and should only be performed by a Rolex Certified Watchmaker. If yearly checkups are being performed, then a full service can probably be (depending on the age of the watch) pushed toward the latter part of the full service interval. As one might expect, the full servicing is far more comprehensive than what’s performed during an annual checkup. In a full servicing, the movement is removed from the watch case, and completely disassembled. It’s then cleaned (often in an ultrasonic bath) to remove all the lubricants from the various components. Afterwards the movement is re-assembled (warn components are replaced), and fresh oils and grease are applied per Rolex standards. Other services normally performed at a full service mirror those performed at an annual service such as pressure testing, accuracy testing, and watch exterior cleaning and polishing.

FACTORY OR INDEPENDENT SERVICE

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Many Rolex owners often wonder about sending a Rolex for service directly to Rolex for “factory service” or if an independent watch maker should be considered – there are pros and cons to both. Clearly a Rolex factory service is the “safest” way to go to ensure a Rolex is serviced properly – but this option is usually more expensive than using an independent watchmaker. Another disincentive to sending a Rolex watch directly to Rolex for service is the fact that Rolex likes to replace parts (and charge the owner for doing so). When those parts are replaced, Rolex historically keeps the old parts – which is a huge problem for vintage watch owners. Imagine sending in a rare vintage double red Sea-Dweller for service to Rolex and getting the watch back with a new watch dial – the value of the watch would be decimated. As long as a Rolex Certified Watchmaker is used to service a Rolex, an owner can expect comparable service and quality to sending a watch directly to Rolex. Normally a Rolex Certified Watchmaker has the same tools and equipment used by Rolex to service a watch, as well as the same training to perform the service. But an independent Rolex Certified Watchmaker will generally take a more consultative approach with the owner – if parts need to be replaced, it will be discussed with the owner prior to taking action. Whether an independent service agent is chosen, or Rolex themselves is used, if Rolex owners will properly service and maintain their watches, they can expect not only a lifetime of reliable performance, but a lifetime for the next generation their watch is passed on to as well.

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