How often should a mechanical watch be serviced?

A common question for a watchmaker is, “How often should a mechanical watch be serviced?

Servicing for your Rolex
Every Rolex is manufactured and tested to the most stringent of levels. However, like a finely tuned automobile, it may require periodic servicing or “scheduled maintenance” over the life of the watch. Unfortunately, most people don’t have their watches serviced until they experience a problem—thus, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” This can be an expensive philosophy.
Probably the biggest cause of watch malfunctions results from neglect. This often comes from the lubricants coagulating (or hardening) and thus causing friction within the movement’s gears—just imagine running your car on the same oil for 5 years! Over time, this friction can cause excessive wear to the parts and will eventually result in damage to the movement. Remember, these parts are so tiny they function within tolerances measured in microns (thousandths of a millimeter).
Therefore, the best recommendation for keeping your watch in proper running order is to wear the watch regularly. By wearing the watch it will keep a constant flow of the lubricants, thereby reducing the possibility of coagulation.
Rolex recommends the watch to be cleaned and oiled every five years .


Complete Rolex Overhaul $200

A complete overhaul (aka: Overhauling, COA =Clean/Oil/Adjust) includes the complete disassembly of the watch case, bracelet, and movement. The case and bracelet are ultrasonically cleaned, polished, and refinished. The process removes scuff marks and scratches . The movement components are inspected for wear, and all worn or rusty movement parts are replaced with genuine replacement parts. The movement is ultrasonically cleaned, and then reassembled using recommended lubricants. Proper lubrication is an acquired skill of the watchmaker, achieved through years of practice and dedication. The movement is electronically calibrated and placed into the case. The completed watch is pressure tested to check water resistance. The watch is then subjected to a time test to assure accuracy before delivery. I use genuine Rolex parts where needed.

Pressure Test

Most watches are water-resistant, however no watch is truly waterproof. A water-resistant watch has gaskets that help protect the case against average water pressure at a stated pressure or depth. Your watch should be pressure tested every time the case is opened to perform any inspection or service to test for potential leaks and its ability to maintain the manufacturers original pressure standards.

Keep in mind, if you ever see your crystal fog up, do not ignore the warning signal. Get your watch to a watchmaker as soon as you can. The moisture will rust and corrode your movement, dial and hands.

Why is my price on a Rolex repair less expensive than other repair shops or the factory?

My answer to this question is -Why are other repair shops and the factory so overpriced!! I have been a watchmaker for over 35 years and live in a small town and have a shop with low overhead. I feel that it is better to keep my prices down and do more quality watch repair for my customers and keep repeat customers, rather than overcharge on each repair. I do each repair job one at a time and pay special attention to the needs of each individual watch repair.

I will gladly give you names and email address of previous Rolex customers if you would like to contact them before sending your watch in for repair.

I serviced 275 Rolex watches in 2011,300 in 2012 and 350 in 2013. I have the experience and knowledge to make the repairs to just about every Rolex style.

What is done during an overhaul of your Rolex:

  • Disassembly of the watch & movement.
  • Ultrasonic cleaning.
  • Inspection for corrosion/friction fatigue.
  • Proper Lubrication .
  • Replacement of all gaskets and seals.
  • Water-pressure test to Rolex specs.
  • Timing calibration.
  • Polish case, band and crystal.
  • -4/+6 official COSC timing test
  • One year warranty


Your watch is completely taken apart during the overhaul process

Mans Rolex 3135 movement

Below are a few pictures of what can happen when a watch is not serviced on a routine basis and what can happen when water enters your watch.