Brought in by one of my regular customers for a service and a clean up is this stunning Rolex Oyster Perpetual, with a solid calibre 3135 automatic movement that has yet to have a service in its life :)
The movement was running and with good timing but a service will help to keep things fresh and improve on an already good rhythm. The casing and bracelet had a few scrapes but the bulk of this would be sorted out with some light polishing and re graining of the bracelet links. The sapphire glass had some gunk around the cyclops but nothing the ultrasonic would not get off. So lets get underway and take a look at the watch >>>
With the movement safely out of its home it was time for the case and bracelet to have a nice long soak in the ultrasonic. Years of build up can really dull down an otherwise stunning watch but a few minutes in a nice warm cleaner will brighten up this casing. The original gaskets had seen better days so these would be replaced once all work is complete and the watch ready to be sealed back up.
Time to break down this movement for cleaning.....
The movement stripped down showed to have only minor dry oil deposits but no wear or damage, this watch was well cared for during its first ownership. With the movement cleaning away the casing & bracelet underwent a multi stage process of cleaning and graining to bring back the shine and pop of when the watch was new. With casing parts all done and sealed away, new gaskets arrived ready to fit, it was time to assemble the movement with some fresh lubricants......
With the movement all back together and running smoothly it was time to replace the gaskets and fit the whole watch back together ready for a new potential owner. With some effort this Rolex has now got some shine back in its face and a super smooth movement all freshly lubricated and ready for anything :)
This little gem was brought in after having attempted to get a reasonable quote for repair with a jeweller only to be met with extortionate demands. Having sent the watch off to JLC prior to visiting me the owner was met with a estimate of £3000, yes that's right £3000 for a rebuild & service. Id like to say im shocked at this price but it has become such common practice these days that nothing really shocks me coming from a high street jeweller :(
With the watch in hand it was time to pop the hood and see what exactly was so wrong that it could warrant even half that cost.......
With the back off we see a nicely finished P480c manual wind movement, and after a couple of winds the balance swings away albeit with timing issues, so nothing as yet to justify the cost, may be its on the other side ?
The dial appeared to be quite stuck in place despite loosening the dial screws and the reason being that someone had previously stuck the dial back on using superglue.......yep superglue :(
The dial feet clearly broken in place from previous service ( i use that term loosely ) and then to cover the horror it was superglue'd in place. With the glue getting into places it shouldn't this was going to require a fair amount of careful hand cleaning as well as a good spin in the watch cleaner.
Time to strip her down for first machine cleaning......
After machine cleaning it was still not enough to shift the superglue so some careful hand cleaning was required to remove the glue residues and deposits. Once back through the machine i was happy the watch parts were clean enough for reassembly and so the watch could be rebuilt and tested.
With the movement re built the watch was wound and checked on the timegrapher, timing showed to be excellent and easily able to keep up with modern mechanical watches :)
There were a few issues where glue had got into jewel holes and other such minor problems but with all these sorted the watch was running away beautifully. Timing was within 10 seconds a day with amplitude of 250+ and a beat error of 0.3ms i can't complain at that !
Quite why it would have cost £3000 to get this working again to good standard i will never know, but im going to assume pure greed on the part of the jeweller.
With the watch back together and working perfectly there was one happy customer ready to collect her. The watch had been the customers fathers and was of great sentimental value, so i was only to happy to pass on the good news that the watch that meant so much was now in good shape and could be enjoyed once more :)
Hertfordshire based watch restorer. Follow my blog for new watches under restoration/repair