10 things every Rolex owner should know

Tim Wells

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Messages
1,321
Location
Dallas, Georgia
#22
I thought about doing that Sam, goodness knows I'm equipped for it or so I thought. I'd have to quit my job to attend WOSTEP and eventually get the CW21 certification, and then hopefully get a parts account.

What I later found out by discussing this with two of this country's top Rolex independent repairmen/restorers is that there is an inordinate amount of money one has to spend on various devices, cleaning machines that Rolex has to approve JUST to get to work on their watches.

Then, later on someone representing Rolex may come by to "inspect" your shop and see you are still using the old trusty L&R Tempo cleaning machine and kindly inform you that it is no longer acceptable and you must upgrade your equipment to a Greiner ACS-900 which costs over $12,000. This is in order to keep up with Rolex standards for cleanliness and it hurts, even to a watchmaker that services high end timepieces. This explains why an overhaul on a Roles will cost you $400 or so as a minimum. If you send it to a service center or RSC it'll be more.

This scenario actually happened and it was enough to turn me off to the idea altogether. Rolex effectively holds there independent CW21's hostage for fear of loosing their parts accounts and loosing all their investment. As for quartz movements, most are off the shelf from places like ETA (by far the most popular), Ronda, Miyota… Some are japanese, swiss or other and some are repairable while others are not.

Quarts watches are a watchmakers bread and butter as they are cheap. You just install a new $10 movement which comes with a new battery. Put the dial back on, install the hands, re-case and hand it mack to the customer in a matter of minutes and charge them whatever. Some makes like Citizen watch co, their parts are not available even to me (watchmaker) you have to sent it back to them. Again, you're being held hostage. Last one of those I took in I told the owner to toss it in the trash and get a Seiko.

Longines are hard to get hold of too as they make their own movements or at least have their name on them. For the record. I've overhauled Rolexes, Omegas and a host of others over the last 20 years and in my opinion, the Omega movements were every bit as robust and impressive as any Rolex movement I ever encountered, especially what is used in the older DateJust models, even the quickset calibers.

To put maybe a few things into perspective for Phil as to the why's of things; If I get a watch in with only a broken balance staff, I'll do a full overhaul on the watch. The reason is because I don't want it coming back. If it were sent out with just the staff replaced and regulated, it may stop a month later because of some other thing like oil sinks being dry, etc.

If I take every single part out and clean them twice, inspect, repair as needed and reassemble it, I know where I'm starting from and what to expect from the watch and the outcome is then much more predictable and I have confidence in the work I did and warranty it for a year. Always have.

Sorry this post had no stainless steel content :-{
 
Last edited:

rodsta

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2007
Messages
160
Location
Mountain View Arkansas
#23
Bert is right about finding a qualified jeweler to fix the bands on just about any watch.
It seems there is a general practice of "Just replace it" type of businesses out there. I work on all kinds of watches and most all watch bracelets/bands are fixable and at a reasonable cost. The laser is a great tool for that.

Rod
 

Phil Coggan

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Apr 2, 2008
Messages
1,147
Location
South Wales
#24
Tf
I was recently at a master Swiss watchmaker's workshop in Vermont (Churchill's neighbor and friend) and he showed me a sophisticated device used for regulating high-end quartz movements. You actually reprogram the movement as there are no mechanical adjustments like you'd would expect. Perhaps Patek uses a similar movement, and if so, that could account for the silly price for service.

I always thought quartz movements would be cheaper to toss and replace as opposed to repair and regulate.
Sam, my thoughts exactly, the watch has trebled in price over about ten years, in fact that exact model is no longer available, but exactly how much is the quarts movement in it, ok, it's at the top end of quarts movements, I expect there is such a thing but for £650 a service, it's more economical for Patek I would think to chuck it and replace it with a new movement....job done for a small fraction of that price and a much bigger profit with the service.

Phil
 

DakotaDocMartin

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Oct 15, 2007
Messages
1,772
Location
Grand Forks, ND
Thread starter #25
Several years ago I was at SCI with one of my best customers and we stopped at a jewelers booth. My friend bought a new bezel for his Rolex for something like $1400. When I asked if they had one to fit my Timex I thought I was going to be shot...the look I got was deadly!!
My grandpa used to fish with a multi-millionaire down in Florida. He could afford any watch he would want to own. He wore Timex watches. When they quit, he's toss it into the ocean and buy a new one. :)
 

Tim Wells

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Messages
1,321
Location
Dallas, Georgia
#27
Phil, That's probably exactly what they did, just swapped it out. The guts to a quartz are nothing like and not nearly as complicated as a manual wind or an auto. Plus they are usually plastic, gears and all.
Tf

Sam, my thoughts exactly, the watch has trebled in price over about ten years, in fact that exact model is no longer available, but exactly how much is the quarts movement in it, ok, it's at the top end of quarts movements, I expect there is such a thing but for £650 a service, it's more economical for Patek I would think to chuck it and replace it with a new movement....job done for a small fraction of that price and a much bigger profit with the service.

Phil
 

dogcatcher

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
455
Location
Abilene TX Ruidoso NM
#28
My grandpa used to fish with a multi-millionaire down in Florida. He could afford any watch he would want to own. He wore Timex watches. When they quit, he's toss it into the ocean and buy a new one. :)
There used to a Timex plant here in Abilene, TX if your watch quit working you could send it in for repairs for 50 cents and that included return shipping. They closed and moved overseas, cheaper labor and no more 50 cent repairs.
 

DakotaDocMartin

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Oct 15, 2007
Messages
1,772
Location
Grand Forks, ND
Thread starter #29
Well Neal, I didn't chuck it in the ocean but after that I did upgrade...to a Casio.
My son wore a stainless Seiko for 15+ years and recently bought himself a nice Breitling. My gold watch is in the safe. I have digital time sources everywhere it seems and, for the most part, I don't have to be anywhere at a certain time anymore. :)
 

sam

Chief Administrator & Benevolent Dictator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
10,022
Location
Covington, Louisiana
#30
Tim: In addition to training, I heard some numbers being tossed around like $100K+ to equip a workshop (workbench?) with proper gear to receive Rolex's blessing and repair certification. Most people can't afford that so only the high end stores that carry Rolex can swing it. And I've heard that now you must have a certified Rolex watchmaker in-house to qualify as a dealer. Not sure how accurate this info is but it's what I've heard in my travels working international jewelry shows.
 

Phil Coggan

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Apr 2, 2008
Messages
1,147
Location
South Wales
#31
I thought I'd throw this in for a laugh.

When my Submariner was in for a mainspring repair I decided to get another watch as we were going on holiday and I fancied something new but not expensive.

My son has an Invictor, a great watch but huge, I went on their website to find a smaller one, one took my eye, a Sub-Aqua Skeliton, it looked good but had no sizes...so I sent to the USA for it.

A few days later it arrived..it looked great but it is BIG, my wife said "Are you going to wear it!" You bet I am...I bought it ;)

Well I did wear it and got lots of good comments, here's some pics compared to the Rolex, BTW Simons is another half an inch wider across the face and nearly an inch thick!

Phil







 

Tim Wells

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Messages
1,321
Location
Dallas, Georgia
#34
It may be a new requirement, I don't know. But, in the Atlanta area there are herds of Rolex dealers and not a single authorized repairman, they all get sent out usually to a RSC (Rolex Service Center) which is where they like to do what happened to Phil.

There was one man locally that was a CW21 but I hear he quit. The reason I found this out is this past February, I called every one of them asking if they had an in house authorized repairman and none did. I was calling on a co-workers behalf because I didn't want to work on his Submariner. He's a good enough fellow but slow to pay and frankly I don't like working on the brand because I can't get parts and if I goof… well I'm screwed.

I ended up repairing the case tube for him anyway for which I had to buy a pair of special wrenches. It turned out perfectly and we're both happy. He inherited the watch (1990's) vintage and shortly thereafter let a local Rolex store overhaul it. It came back with water spots all over the dial which were not removable and when he brought it back to them, they claimed they couldn't see them. They refused to warranty their work. As far as I'm concerned, they owe him a dial. I don't know, maybe you can see it?




Tim: In addition to training, I heard some numbers being tossed around like $100K+ to equip a workshop (workbench?) with proper gear to receive Rolex's blessing and repair certification. Most people can't afford that so only the high end stores that carry Rolex can swing it. And I've heard that now you must have a certified Rolex watchmaker in-house to qualify as a dealer. Not sure how accurate this info is but it's what I've heard in my travels working international jewelry shows.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Tim Wells

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Messages
1,321
Location
Dallas, Georgia
#35
Phil, it may say Sub Aqua but please don't wear it near any body of water. If you fall in, you'll go straight to the bottom following that anchor, uh I mean watch.
 

Phil Coggan

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Apr 2, 2008
Messages
1,147
Location
South Wales
#36
Sam/Tim, I never wear it near water unless I have my life vest on ;)

As for those water spots....you choose to see what you want to see :rolleyes:

Phil
 

DakotaDocMartin

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Oct 15, 2007
Messages
1,772
Location
Grand Forks, ND
Thread starter #37
It came back with water spots all over the dial which were not removable and when he brought it back to them, they claimed they couldn't see them. They refused to warranty their work. As far as I'm concerned, they owe him a dial. I don't know, maybe you can see it?
It looks like it's all smeared with schmutz of some sort. I can't imagine why they can't see it (probably because of $$$) and, why it would get sent back that way. :(
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
4,969
Location
Christchurch, New Zealand
#40
Holy crap, Phil. That thing is the size of a car!!!! The weight of the thing must have you walking around in circles!!!! :)

I had an interesting one last year..........a lady (in NZ) wanted me to engrave the back of a new Rolex she had brought for her son's graduation. It was to be a simple inscription with name, date and a small message.

I asked her to get the watch back removed (if possible and conveinient) to make life easier for me so she went back to the dealer and they advised her that if I engraved the back of the watch then all warranties would be removed and part of the "servicing" meant the back would be replaced. They were adamant about it and did everything to dissuade her from getting the work done.

Naturally the job never went ahead which was a shame.............but it does raise the whole question of warranties etc. It all seemed rather silly to me as an engraved watch backs are standard fare for presentations and is hardly likely to alter the function of the watch.

Cheers
Andrew
 

Sponsors

Top