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Rolex Watch Repairs

If you have any questions about the repair of your Rolex, please call or email me.

How Often Should Your Rolex Watch be Serviced?

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

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 hardening and 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 thousandths of a millimeter.

Rolex recommends the watch to be cleaned and oiled every five years .

Complete Overhaul – $200

A complete overhaul 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 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.

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.

Cost is $200 plus the return express mail shipping costs.

Why Have Your Rolex Serviced?

The longer you go between servicing, the more extensive the wear is likely to be, the more parts need replacing, the more expensive it will be. Don’t necessarily rely on the watch’s accuracy to determine when it should be serviced.

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.

When Should I get my Rolex Watch Serviced?

A car’s oil should be changed every 3,000 mile’s, your Rolex should be serviced every 3-5 years.

A common misconception among many is that high-end timepieces do not have to be serviced regularly. Actually, your Rolex should be serviced every three to five years. Just like other luxury items that need routine maintenance, so does the Rolex. You might be making a drastic error in the future, by thinking that your Rolex does not need to be serviced regularly. Don’t wait for a problem to happen, get routine maintenance your Rolex.

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.

The Rolex factory normally charges $600-$700 for an overhaul and turnaround time varies from 4-6 weeks!

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 750 Rolex watches in 2017. 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


Ship watches to:
Mark Sirianni
25 Fraley St.
Kane, PA 16735

(814) 837-9435
(814) 558-4818 (cell)

Click this Link to Prepare for Shipping

Rolex Submariner after an overhaul, crystal and bezel insert.

These are a few of the nice Rolex watches that I have repaired over the years.

History of Rolex

Rolex SA is a Swiss manufacturer of wristwatches and accessories renowned for their quality and prestige, as well as their cost (from a few thousand to more than one hundred thousand U.S. dollars). Rolex is the largest single luxury watch brand, with estimated revenues of around US $3 billion (2003) and an annual production run of between 650,000 and 800,000 watches per year.

Rolex SA was founded in 1905 by the German Hans Wilsdorf and his brother-in-law, Alfred Davis. Contrary to popular belief, Hans Wilsdorf was neither Swiss, nor a watchmaker. Wilsdorf Davis was the original name of what later became the Rolex Watch Company. They originally imported Hermann Swiss movements to England and placed them in quality cases made by Dennison and others. These early wristwatches were then sold to jewelers, who then put their own names on the dial. The earliest watches from the firm of Wilsdorf and Davis are usually marked inside the case back only. Hans Wilsdorf registered the trademark name in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1908. The word was made up, but its origin is obscure. One story, which was never confirmed by Wilsdorf, is that the word came from the French phrase “horlogerie exquise” meaning exquisite watch industry. Another is that the name was chosen to indicate movement when spoken in English. The Wilsdorf and Davis company moved out of Great Britain in 1912. Wilsdorf wanted his watches to be affordable, but taxes and export duties on the case metals (silver and gold) were driving costs up. From that time to the present, Rolex has been headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

The company name Rolex was officially registered on November 15, 1915. It is thought this change was part of a drive to popularize wristwatches, which at the time were still considered a novelty largely for women (pocket watches were more common). Wilsdorf was said to desire his watch brand’s name to be easily pronounceable in any language. The company name was officially changed to the Rolex Watch Company during 1919. It was later changed to Montres Rolex, SA and finally Rolex, SA. Rolex SA is a foundation initiated and originally funded by Hans Wilsdorf and the Aegler family. According to foundation documentation, the Rolex SA company can never be sold, nor traded on any stock market.

Among the company’s innovations are the first waterproof watch case; the first wristwatch with a date on the dial; the first watch to show two time  zones at once; and most importantly the first watchmakers to earn the coveted chronometer certification for a wristwatch. To date, Rolex still holds the record for the most certified chronometer movements in the category of wristwatches. Another little known fact is that Rolex participated in the development of the original quartz watch movements. Although Rolex has made very few quartz models for its Oyster line, the company’s engineers were instrumental in design and implementation of the technology during the early 1970’s.

The first self-winding Rolex watch was offered to the public in 1931, powered by an internal mechanism that used the movement of the wearer’s arm. This not only made watch-winding unnecessary, but eliminated the problem of over-winding a watch and harming its mechanism. Rolex was also the first watch company to create a truly waterproof watch.

Rolex has also made a reputation in watches suitable for the extremes of deep-sea diving, aviation and mountain climbing. Early sports models included the Rolex submariner, Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller. This watch featured a helium release valve, co-invented with Swiss watchmaker Doxa, to release helium gas build-up during decompression. Another sports model is the Rolex GMT Master II, originally developed at the request of Pan Am Airways, to assist pilots in transcontinental flights. The Explorer and Explorer II were developed specifically for explorers who would navigate rough terrain such as the world famous Everest Expeditions.

On the more glamorous side, Ian Fleming’s James Bond character wore a Rolex Oyster Perpetual in the series of spy novels. In the early EON production Bond films, Commander Bond wore a Rolex Submariner. However, for the Bond films starring Pierce Brosnan and the film with Daniel Craig, James Bond’s standard issue watch is an Omega Seamaster. This is due in part to Omega being open to jointly promote their association with the films’ producers.

Rolex Watch Models

Rolex SA has three watch lines – Rolex, Tudor and Cellini. Among modern Rolex Oyster watch models are:

  • Air-King
  • Datejust
  • GMT Master II
  • Explorer
  • Submariner
  • Sea-Dweller
  • Daytona Cosmograph
  • Day-Date
  • Oyster Perpetual
  • Yacht-Master

The stainless steel Daytona has become one of the most sought after watches of all time. Dealer waiting lists can run from three to seven years and there are reports of collectors paying up to $15,000 for the privilege of owning this exclusive watch.

The primary bracelets for the Rolex Oyster line are named Jubilee, Oyster and the President. Rolex “dressy” watches are from their Cellini line. The third brand in the Rolex empire is the less expensive, but high quality, Tudor brand. It was established by Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf, in 1946. While still sold in Europe and the Far East, the Tudor line was discontinued in the United States as of 2004.

Rolex is the largest manufacturer of swiss made certified chronometers. In 2005 more than half the annual production of COSC certified watches were Rolex.

Standing the test of time, Montres Rolex makes watches recognized worldwide as accurate, durable, expensive, and often imitated. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the Swiss company is credited with making the wristwatch popular. Rolex -the first to create a waterproof, airtight, and dustproof watch – makes men’s and women’s watches, stopwatches, pocket watches, and clocks. Brand names include Explorer II, Day-Date, Yacht-Master, Lady-Datejust, GMT-Master II, Cosmograph Daytona, Submariner, and others. Its gold, bronze, and stainless steel watches are available with diamonds or other precious stones. Rolex watches are sold through authorized Rolex dealers only.

  • 1905: Company is founded as Wilsdorf & Davis in London.
  • 1908: The Rolex brand name is introduced.
  • 1919: Company moves to Switzerland.
  • 1926: Introduction of Oyster model, the world’s first waterproof, airtight wristwatch.
  • 1931: Introduction of the Perpetual model, the first waterproof, self-winding wristwatch.
  • 1960: Founder Hans Wilsdorf dies.
  • 1963: Andr Heiniger is appointed as company’s CEO.
  • 1988: Introduction of Oyster Chronograph Chronometer.
  • 1992: Introduction of Oyster Perpetual Yacht Master; Patrick Heiniger is appointed CEO.
  • 1995: Opening of new company headquarters.

Company History

Montres Rolex S.A. is the best known of the premier producers of fine watches in the world. Recognized as an innovator in technology and marketing, the company is credited with establishing the widespread popularity of the wristwatch in the early 20th century. Rolex watches are prized for their precision timekeeping, durability, functionality, and distinctive design. Rolex’s mystique as a closely held private company and its carefully cultivated image continue to strengthen the watch’s desirability as a status symbol as well as a precision instrument. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, where the company opened a new headquarters in 1995, Rolex has become closely linked with a number of major events in such sports as yachting, equestrian riding, golf, and tennis. Rolex watches in stainless steel, gold, and platinum, and with or without custom-set precious stones on the dial, crystal, or band, retail anywhere from $2,400 to over $100,000.

Developing the Wristwatch: Late 1800s and Early 1900s

The company’s founder, Hans Wilsdorf, was born in Kulmbach, Bavaria, on March 22, 1881. One of three children, Wilsdorf was orphaned at the age of 12. He was raised by his uncles, who encouraged him to be independent and self-reliant at a very early age. According to Osvaldo Patrizzi, author of Orologi Da Polso Rolex, Wilsdorf later attributed his success to that early upbringing. As a teenager, Wilsdorf studied mathematics and languages at school and apprenticed with a prominent exporter of artificial pearls. At 19 he went to work as an errand boy and English translator for Cuno Kourten, a major clock and watch exporter in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, which, along with Geneva, formed the hub of the high-quality watchmaking industry at the time. There, Wilsdorf was exposed to the most influential people and practices in watchmaking, which would later be an important asset in the founding and success of Rolex.

In 1903 Wilsdorf moved to London, where he worked for a large watch store. Two years later, he borrowed money from his sister and brother-in-law to establish his own company, Wilsdorf & Davis, with his brother-in-law a partner in the venture. Wilsdorf chose London for his new enterprise at least in part because of its position at the time as the world’s economic center. Its colonial holdings gave England tremendous wealth as well as a network of trade avenues that would later be advantageous in Rolex’s international business.

Wilsdorf soon distinguished his company from its many successful competitors in two essential ways. First, he was tireless and methodical in pursuit of perfection in his products. Second, he specialized in unusual items, most notably the wristwatch. Pocket watches were still the accepted timepiece, with wristwatches considered inelegant and useful only for specialty purposes, such as sporting activities, where it was impractical to consult a pocket watch. The association of the wristwatch with hard physical work gave it a rough reputation that was distasteful to the genteel consumer. In his book Timeless Elegance – Rolex, George Gordon noted that men of the time were heard to say they would “sooner wear a skirt than a wristwatch!’

The wristwatch also presented logistical difficulties, including ensuring accuracy in so small a device and avoiding damage in the watch’s unprotected position on the outside of the wrist. Unlike a pocket watch, a wristwatch was exposed to blows, moisture, and dust. Shipments of wristwatches sent abroad were often found to have rusted by the time they arrived from exposure to dampness.

These obstacles were a galvanizing force for Wilsdorf, who cast a shrewd eye to the future. He calculated that resistance to the wristwatch would wane as its usefulness grew with the changing times. The wristwatch was already becoming more popular with young people and with the fashion world, which appreciated its ornamental value.

The wristwatch was also becoming more suitable for an increasingly active and mobile society. Technological innovations made travel to distant shores available to a significant number of people. People also began to appreciate a variety of new sports that required rugged, specialized equipment, of which the wristwatch became an indispensable part. Flying expeditions, car racing, mountain climbing, and sea exploration grew in popularity and caught the public imagination. Rough and tumble sports began to take on a reputation as romantic and adventurous. Rolex would capitalize on these associations and promote this image heavily in its marketing materials.

Early in his venture, Wilsdorf demonstrated his nature as a risk-taker and innovator by making a large investment in small caliber lever escapement wristwatches. He spent several hundred thousand Swiss francs, five times the capital of his firm, on the first order. Wilsdorf purchased the internal mechanisms from the Swiss firm of Herman Aegler, a manufacturer whose reputation for quality Wilsdorf knew from his time as an apprentice. The mechanisms were machine-made and so were available at a reasonable price; they were also durable and precise.

To house the mechanisms, Wilsdorf supplied the cases, which he purchased from well-known English manufacturers. The cases were made in sterling silver and three types of gold in a wide array of styles for dress, casual, or sportswear. The watches sold briskly in England and abroad, including the Far East. Working in concert with Aegler on logistical aspects of production, Wilsdorf developed a line of immensely popular watches.

Introducing the Rolex: 1908

The next several years saw many changes and innovations at Wilsdorf & Davis. In 1906 Wilsdorf introduced the expandable metal watch strap. This style of strap, made to match the watch case, would become a signature Rolex look continuing to the present day. The next year, Wilsdorf opened a technical office at La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. Wilsdorf delegated the management of that office, obtained British citizenship, and settled in London, marrying a short time later. In 1908 he coined the name ‘Rolex’ to establish a signature brand that would distinguish his product from other watches that may even have contained the same parts. Wilsdorf reportedly settled on the name Rolex because it was easy to pronounce in different languages and short enough to show clearly on a watch face.

This move demonstrated Wilsdorf’s farsightedness. Although it later became common practice to use one brand name for the entire watch, this was a new idea at the time. As watch parts came from different manufacturers and distributors, it was the retailer’s name that appeared on the watch face and internal movements. Wilsdorf justified his desire to use his own trade name by maintaining that the watches he sold had to meet more stringent quality criteria than either the manufacturer or the other suppliers required. Initially, Wilsdorf met with great resistance from retailers. By placing only a small number of watches with the name ‘Rolex’ on the face with the other watches in an order, Wilsdorf was able to convince retailers to take the Rolex-brand watches along with the ones stamped with the retailer’s name. He gradually introduced the Rolex name in the marketplace by increasing the proportion of Rolex watches in his shipments over time. An intensive marketing campaign later solidified the name recognition of Rolex. By establishing an identity separate from that of the retailer, Wilsdorf had shifted the balance of control in his favor, and retailers came to rely on the Rolex name as a customer draw as much as Wilsdorf relied on the retailers for market exposure.

At the time that Wilsdorf established the Rolex brand name, he began to focus in earnest on the production of wristwatches with the accuracy of a chronometer. Two milestone awards were bestowed on his timepieces in 1910 and 1914. In 1910 Wilsdorf & Davis was given the world’s first certificate of a first-class chronometer for a wristwatch from the School of Horology at Bienne, Switzerland. In 1914 a Rolex wristwatch was awarded a Class A certificate by the distinguished Kew Observatory in England, the first given to a wrist chronometer. The certificate required passing a series of tests over 45 days. The watch was tested in five different positions and three different temperatures, including ambient (65 degrees Fahrenheit), oven-hot, and refrigerator-cold. After earning its Class A certificate, the company insisted that all Rolex watches would be required to meet chronometer standards, and none would be sold without a certificate. In fact, self-imposed standards were applied to all of the internal mechanisms received from outside suppliers. If the movements did not meet the standards after seven days of rigorous testing, they were rejected. The reputation of the Rolex as a quality instrument continued to grow.

Postwar import tax increases prompted Wilsdorf to move his company headquarters to Switzerland in 1919. He established Montres Rolex S.A. in Geneva and retained the London office as a branch office. In the 1920s, Wilsdorf established Rolex’s image as a sportsman’s technological tool. He tackled the problems of moisture, dust, and heat resistance and began working toward an automatic winding mechanism. He introduced new styles that were waterproof, lightweight, and durable. He also began a series of innovative marketing events showcasing Rolex watches in real-world action. As he introduced new models, he would link them to events generating new records in sporting and technological achievement. In particular, he focused on sports events requiring considerable daring and, most often, considerable means. The elite sporting associations made Rolex popular not only with sportsmen but also with wealthy spectators as the watch became a status symbol. In 1925 Rolex registered the crown trademark, a symbol of its elite aspirations.

Rolex introduced the Rolex Oyster, the world’s first waterproof, airtight wristwatch in 1926. He patented the twinlock and triplock screw-down crown and the waterproof case. The following year marked the first of many record-setting marketing events. Mercedes Gleitz swam the English Channel in the record time of 15 hours and 15 minutes, wearing a Rolex watch. When she emerged, the watch had kept perfect time. To capitalize on the event, Rolex watches were often displayed in aquariums in jewelers’ windows. By 1927, “Rolex” was printed on the case, movement, and dial of all Rolex watches. The following year saw the introduction of the Rolex Prince, an elegantly styled timepiece that gained a reputation as a gentleman’s watch.

Technological Innovations in the 1930s

In 1931 Rolex introduced the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, the first waterproof, self-winding wristwatch. The rotor automatic winding mechanism, invented by Rolex’s technical chief, was semicircular and able to turn both clockwise and counterclockwise, so that the movement of a wrist could wind it. The watch was even more accurate than a traditional watch, since the tension put on the mechanism by constant winding was greater than that provided by winding done once a day. In another marketing coup, in 1935 a Rolex Oyster went over 300 miles per hour on the wrist of Sir Malcolm Campbell as he set the world land-speed record in his race car at Salt Lake Flats.

The 1940’s were a significant decade for the future of Rolex. In 1944, Wilsdorf’s wife died after a four-day illness. The couple had no children, and Wilsdorf was determined to protect the business he had created, even after his death. He set up the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation and transferred his interest in Rolex to the foundation, creating a governing council and detailing precisely how he wanted the funds handled. His specifications included large donations to charity, horological institutions, universities, and professional schools.

Rolex achieved an industry record in 1945 with 50,000 certificates for wrist chronometers. The company introduced four new models over the next few years, the Date Just in 1945, the Rolex Moonphase in 1947, and the Rolex Day/Date/Month and the Oyster Day/Date/Month in 1949.

In 1953 Rolex enjoyed another marketing coup when the British Himalayas Expedition reached the summit of Mount Everest wearing Rolex Oyster Perpetuals – which lost no accuracy in extreme weather and rough handling. A new Day/Date model was introduced in 1956 that had the day written in full in one of 26 languages. The first automatic waterproof watch, the Submariner, was introduced in 1953, with resistance to 100 meters’ depth, and the GMT Master, a watch for pilots that tracked time in two different time zones simultaneously, was introduced in 1955.

In early 1960, Rolex performed its most astonishing feat when the bathyscaphe Trieste emerged from 35,798 feet with a special Oyster attached to its outside still running perfectly. The watch had been exposed to a pressure of almost seven tons per square inch.

Later that year Hans Wilsdorf died at the age of 78, and in 1963 Andr Heiniger assumed leadership of the company. Heiniger, born in 1921 at La Chaux de Fonds, continued to guide the firm in much the same way Wilsdorf had. During Heiniger’s tenure, however, tradition became more the focus than innovation. Rolex continued to do well by keeping quality high and production relatively low, maintaining a steady course through fluctuations in the economy, explosions in the price of components such as gold, and the flood of electronic parts into the watchmaking industry.

In 1971 Rolex introduced the Oyster Perpetual “Sea Dweller.” The first diving watch with a helium valve for saturation diving, which was waterproof to 2,000 feet. In 1975 six divers won the world diving record off the Labrador coast in Canada, reaching 350 meters wearing Rolex Sea Dwellers. In 1978 Rolex introduced a quartz movement Oyster, waterproof to 165 feet and resistant to magnetic pull up to 1,000 oersted. The same year, a Rolex Oyster Quartz reached the top of Mount Everest, as Reinhold Messner made a significant climb without an oxygen mask. In 1973 Tom Shepperd crossed the Sahara wearing a Rolex Oyster GMT Master, which was unimpaired by exposure to extreme heat or sand storms.

Success Symbol: The 1980s and Beyond

During the 1980’s, Rolex introduced improved versions of its traditional styles. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronograph Chronometer Daytona with tachometer was introduced in 1988, and by 1989 over half of all the Swiss chronometers certified by the Swiss Institutes for Chronometers had been produced by Rolex. The year 1990 marked the manufacture of ten million chronometers. New models such as the Oyster Perpetual Yachtmaster built on Rolex’s reputation for creating instruments for the elite sporting set, and advertising targeted such upscale magazines as Gourmet and Outside, showing Rolex watches in action with such elite performers as the U.S Equestrian Team and the U.S. Sailing Team.

From the early 1960’s through the mid 1990’s, Rolex’s sales increased by approximately 20 percent a year, while the production of about 500,000 watches a year, well short of demand, kept the price high. In fact, Rolex was so successful in creating a status icon that counterfeiting became a major issue for the company. To deter counterfeiters, Rolex invested in an anti-counterfeiting device that was not reproducible. Equally inimitable was the quality built into each timepiece; in the 1990’s Rolex remained one of only a few Swiss manufacturers still doing a majority of hand building, carefully guarding its niche as a producer of durable luxury chronometers.

In the 1990’s, Rolex introduced two new models, each the result of some five years of development. The first of these debuted in 1992, as the Oyster Professional Yacht-Master. The second, introduced in 2000, was directed at the women’s market and extended the company’s Oyster Daytona range, with the Oyster Perpetual Daytona for women. In 1992, Rolex’s board of directors appointed Patrick Heiniger to lead the company into the next millennium. Heiniger continued the company’s association with the high-end sports bracket, placing the Rolex name on such prestigious sporting events as the U.S. PGA Championship tournament, The U.S. and British Masters golf tournaments, the Rolex International Polo and Equestrian Championship, as well as events in the professional tennis and yachting sports circuits. In 1995, Rolex moved into new headquarters, known as Rolex VII, located on the outskirts of Geneva and housing some one-third of the company’s employees. There, the company remained committed to its tradition of excellence and quality.

The Rolex Submariner Cal. 3135

Rolex is a manufacture with old traditions and one hundred years of history. Rolex is always considered a luxury watch, giving assurance to its owner.

The case and the bracelet are made of stainless steel. It is a COSC certified automatic chronometer with central seconds and date indicator. There’s a special Triplock screwed down crown with increased water protection.

Many Rolex owners are interested in how to learn whether their watch is genuine without opening the case. The most reliable way is to find reference and serial numbers on the case (concerning Oyster models). Serial and reference numbers are usually stamped on the surface of the case between the lugs (at 6 o’clock and at 12 o’clock correspondingly). In other models, serial and reference numbers are placed on the inside of the case back. According to the serial number, this model was produced between 3/4 1997 and 1999.

Inside the watch there’s a well known Cal. 3135. Its features: 28.50 mm in diameter, 6.00 mm – height, frequency 28.800 vph. The movement is based on 31 jewels. The calendar is instantaneous. The balance wheel is made of glucydur.

On the balance there are two pairs of adjusting nuts known as the Microstella system. Rolex uses a Breguet overcoil for better isochronism. Special screw-nuts are used for adjusting balance end-shake. For shock protection Rolex uses a KIF system.

The movement is adjusted for five positions and temperature. The visible parts of the bridges are finished with a colimaconnage pattern. On the rotor there are special slots – these are a traditional Rolex design.

The surfaces of Bridges are rhodium plated, edges are beveled. The screws are finished to a high level (the surface and the walls are polished, edges including the slot are chamfered).

Almost all parts are made by Rolex (excluding the hairspring which is made by Nivarox). I know that Rolex specialists are going to produce hairsprings themselves. Recently you could find the Zenith chrono movement in Daytona watches. Now it has been replaced with a Rolex caliber.

I would say that Rolex’s tendency to be independent has good and bad sides. On one hand, independence in business is good, but on the other hand it makes manufacturing less flexible. There are too many costs associated with producing a new caliber, and replacing an old caliber with a new one has to be justified economically. That’s why Rolex sometimes uses older conceptions and decisions in its movements.

This watch has been well worn for about 7 years without any service. When I checked it, I noticed a strange noise inside the watch. The winding weight (rotor) touched bridges and the case back while rotating. I hoped that perhaps the automatic winding module was not screwed in properly. But after one look at the movement it was clear that the problem is in the oscillating weight axle. The movement was full of red dust – a product of wear. I’ve checked the rotor axle jewel – it was dirty, but not damaged. As for the axle – it was worn enough to allow the rotor to touch movement parts.

Unfortunately, Rolex still does not use ball bearings in its top calibers. Instead, there is a plain sleeve bearing, and proper oiling is critical. When the lubricant evaporates or migrates, the metal axle experiences wear against the jewel. In Fig. 6 above you can notice a rut left by the jewel. If Rolex specialists had designed an automatic device based on ball bearings (like in most modern automatic devices) – the watch would be more reliable.

Replacing the axle solved the problem. The oscillating weight began rotating smoothly. End shake was less than 0.04 mm so I didn’t replace the spring-clip.

The automatic module is dismounted. All parts fit perfectly. I would like you to notice that the quality of all parts is very good. There are no problems with servicing this caliber. It fortified my opinion that good manufacturers think not only about factory assembly, but also about ease of periodic servicing. Rolex technical information is well done and easy to understand.

The balance bridge is placed on two supports, which provides better stability. The bridges and the plate are finished with circular graining. This is not only for decorative purposes but also for better dust protection.

After inspecting the pallet fork, it was clear why the watch had stopped. Note that the escape wheel teeth and palettes are very dirty. This prevents the movement from working properly. The main plate is also dirty.

Let’s look at the automatic winding module. The automatic system is perfect. It is bi-directional, in the style of ETA/Eterna. The two red colored wheels appear to be fabricated from a light alloy, and are coated with PTFE (Teflon) for lubrication of the outer teeth and inner clicks. The red wheels are the calling card of Rolex. Unlike ETA’s reversing wheels, Rolex’s are dis-mountable for better servicing. They are easier to clean and oil (only pivots should be oiled). That’s why they are more durable than ETA’s. In Fig. 10 below I disassembled the first wheel. There are four clicks on two swinging levers.

As seen below, all bridges are removed. The wheel train system is traditional for a movement with central seconds. Because it uses fewer wheels, this system is very robust and reliable, however the construction requirements are tougher. In other systems where central seconds are made as a pinion added to the train wheel, the automatic winding module can be placed to one side, making the movement thinner. Rolex’s construction does not allow this trick, so the automatic winding device is placed above the wheel train. The movement ends up being 6 mm high – quite thick for a modern movement.

In Fig. 11 below you can notice a gold lever (yellow arrow). It is a stop device and it keeps the balance rim from moving when you pull out the crown. Two regulating nuts for balance bridge (marked with blue arrows) are made for balance endshake adjustment. 1/8 of a turn makes about 0.01 mm.

The bridges are dismounted. The blue arrows are point out the regulating nuts for balance endshake adjustment. This is very useful.

Traditionally in high quality watches, the calendar bridge, hidden under the dial, is finished in perlage style. To reduce friction, the calendar ring is mounted on 3 jewels. They are not shown in the picture. You can also notice one more jewel in Fig.12 below. According to international requirements, watch jewels can be functional, not functional and decorative. According to these requirements, manufacturers can claim only the quantity of functional jewels. I would hardly believe that these 4 jewels are of the utmost necessity – it’s a Rolex thing.

You can see the instantaneous date changing mechanism. There is a steel part of complex shape (2) mounted on the date wheel (1). It can move at a certain small angle, set by the slot. The jewel roller (5) moves on the surface of the steel part (2). The lever (3) with roller is pressed against the steel part (2) with a strong spring (4). At approximately 12 p.m. the jewel roller reaches the indentation or dip in the steel part (2). Under the pressure of the spring, the roller moves to the center of the date wheel (1) and moves the steel part at an angle sufficient to catch the tooth of the date wheel and move it on one step. In the Fig. 13 the date wheel (1) is in the position immediately after date changing.

There are 31 jewels are used in this movement, but as shown below, instead of a central jewel there is a bronze bushing. I guess that this construction is more reliable than a jewel during shocks. Anyway it is easy to replace the bushing, so it is no disadvantage but rather a feature of this caliber.

After cleaning the movement and oiling according to Rolex recommendations, amplitude increased to a normal 270 degrees. The early wear is the result of 7 years of use with no service. Unfortunately, many watch owners bypass the advice of the manufacturer to oil and clean the watch periodically. Mechanical watches should be cleaned and oiled every 2-3 years. You will rarely find a watch with no problem after even 5 years without servicing. The first indications that your watch should be inspected are reduced accuracy and a smaller power reserve. Even if you feel that everything is all right, remember that oil is not eternal – it dissipates over time and parts work dry. The products of wear such as metal dust can affect other parts and spoil their lubrication. It is clear that periodic cleaning and oiling are cheaper than replacing expensive parts.

Rolex Cosmograph

The Cosmograph Daytona now beats to the rhythm of a Rolex Movement. Rolex devotees had been eagerly awaiting it. It was presented at the opening of the recent World Watch, Clock and Jewelery Show, Basel 2000. The new Cosmograph Daytona, equipped with the self-winding Rolex movement, it will doubtless remain one of the most striking events in watchmaking this springtime.

We first need to situate the arrival of this new time-keeper within the historical context which made its predecessor an emblematic show piece of contemporary watchmaking.

For the past forty years, the success of the Rolex Cosmograph has continued unabated given a three-year delivery period on steel models. The myth linked to the Cosmograph owes much to terminology. The reference to descriptive astronomy (cosmography) the very essence of time measurement is enough to grasp the ambition encapsulated within this prestigious model.

From 1961 to the present day, expectations have not fundamentally altered, and Rolex recently spoke of this model in terms of precision and functional efficiency as a precision instrument used for various calculations and tests, also indicating that The Rolex Cosmograph may be especially used for two types of calculation: timing performances and the calculation of hourly speeds, such as during a running race or a motor-race for example.

The Cosmograph is a chronometer-certified chronograph carrying the seal of the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute. To grasp the full scope of the Cosmograph, it is also essential to realise that it is the work of a company which has itself attained mythical status. If there were only one name that simply had to be cited in the watchmaking world, there is no doubt that Rolex would carry the day over the other legends that have made their mark on horological history.

One need only mention the brand among its manufacturing competitors to hear reaffirmation of the respect in which they hold this monument. Rolex unquestionably holds a place all its own, in a sphere apparently unaffected by the various currents affecting watchmaking as a whole.

Technical Highlights

The Cosmograph Daytona by Rolex had thus far been fitted with the Zenith El Primero movement, which itself has an excellent reputation. But the Geneva based company, famed for its discretion and restraint, is currently making it a point of honor to become less and less dependent on other firms. The bottom line is a determination to achieve ever greater mastery of its production. This being said, the design and production of a reliable chronograph movement is no easy task and demands tremendous investments in terms of both time and money.

Few have dared to tackle this feat. In fact, the project of creating this new in-house chronograph movement first took shape in 1993. The idea governing the development of the caliber was extremely straightforward –  to build a movement that was easy to maintain, particularly with a view to facilitating the work of people in charge of after-sales service around the world, and thereby to enhance customer service. However, concepts that are easy to explain are not necessarily easy to put into practice, as the engineers in charge of the project were to phrase it: it is always easy to make things complicated, but far harder to make a simple movement.

Such was the route that Rolex took, with a guiding principle of sweeping away what already existed and attempting to start afresh from nothing, or virtually so. The construction of this chronograph movement 4130 is built on a new architectural approach and involves less parts than a normal chronograph. This implied the registering of numerous patents for the conception of the object, which meets the demanding Rolex standards of ruggedness and high-performance.

All movements are subjected to the rigorous battery of tests performed by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and are certified as such. Fitted with a Rolex oscillator, this self-winding movement boasts a power- reserve of around 72 hours allowing one to leave the watch unworn during the weekend for a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. This chronograph movement 4130 underwent a large variety of test procedures over a long period of time before being publicly presented and launched on the market. Moreover, in the words of Pascal O’Neill, the director in charge of communication: at Rolex, tests are not done on prototypes, but on series in actual industrial production conditions. This means that development can take a considerable amount of time, but that when it is completed, we are entirely sure of the product and its qualities, particularly in terms of reliability.

The first new generation Cosmograph Daytona watches available at points of sale over the coming weeks. The first to appear will be the gold versions, including four ladies models with straps in yellow, pink, green or blue leather and matching dials in yellow and pink mother of pearl, green chrysoprase or turquoise. These new Cosmograph models will be easily recognisable thanks to the positioning of the 12-hour and 30;minute counters slightly below the 9 oclock3 oclock horizontal line.

Cosmograph Year 40

There are certain names in watchmaking which have an almost magical ring to them. Such is the case of the Cosmograph by Rolex, which already has a rich and splendid history behind it, causing it to have become a genuine myth in its own right.

This enviable position among the time-keepers that have made their mark on the century owes nothing to chance. In simple terms, the Cosmograph is a faithful reflection of societies concern to remain on the cutting edge of technology. All the Cosmographs are in perfect line with this ambition, as a brief overview confirms. It was in 1961 that the Cosmograph family first appeared on the market, taking over from the antimagnetic line.

The Cosmograph, Cosmograph Daytona and Oyster Cosmograph Daytona chronographs were produced continuously until 1988, when they were replaced with versions featuring self-winding movements (El Primero calibre) under the name Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph.

To launch the Cosmograph family in 1961, Rolex placed the emphasis on a resolutely sports oriented, in line with the Submariner (1953) and GMT Master (1954) models.

This new family has also inherited certain features from the Centograph, one of the brands first technical watches,a one-of-a- kind model produced in 1938. Over the first 27 years of production, the Cosmograph Daytona watches were to un-dergo a certain number of minor modifications which led to several variations on the basic theme. But they were all driven by the highly respected Valjoux 13 lignes movement, modified by Rolex and known as R72. The dials featured three counters located at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock and respectively displaying thirty minutes, twelve hours or the seconds.

The case back and push buttons were not yet screwed in. The dials carried the names Rolex Cosmograph, Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Daytona or Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. These models, which immediately achieved great popularity, came on steel or gold bracelets only. At the end of the sixties, Rolex offered a new option which immediately aroused much interest among connoisseurs. The difference lay in the dial which was different from the standard model in terms of the hour-markers and the colour of the totalizers.

These special Cosmographs, nicknamed Paul Newman by enthusiasts, are still great favorites among collectors. 1977 witnessed the commercialisation of a new and more modern version featuring a black dial and screw-locked push buttons. This innovation was obviously in tune with a need to improve the water- resistance as requested by clients.

The 1988 arrival of Cosmograph Daytona watches in the Oyster Perpetual (self – winding) chronometer – certified version marked a new chapter in the Cosmograph saga.The latest Cosmograph with its Rolex 4130 movement will undoubtedly be the hero of a new story in the making.

What is the Difference Between the Rolex Date and Datejust Models?

Actually, the difference is very small – 2mm to be exact. The case of the Date model is 34mm, which is 2mm smaller than the case of the Datejust at 36mm. That, and the fact that the Datejust is available with the Jubilee or Oyster bracelet, while the Date is only available with the Oyster bracelet.

What all Languages are Available on the “Day Wheel” of the Day-Date “President”?

The “day wheel” on the Day-Date is available in the following 26 languages: English, German, Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Spanish, Basque, Catalan, Ethiopian, Finnish, French, Greek, Hebrew, Dutch, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Moroccan, Norwegian, Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish and Turkish

What Does the “T” Designation at the Bottom of the Dial Mean?

This refers to the chemical used on the hands and hour markers, which causes them to illuminate. Around 1950, watchmakers started using Tritium as their luminous material, and began indicating the amount of that radioactive material with a designation at the bottom of the dial (i.e. T SWISS T or SWISS T < 25). Around 1998, watchmakers changed the designation to read SWISS or SWISS MADE, when they replaced the Tritium with LumiNova (an organic, non-radioactive chemical), as their source of luminescence.

How Many Watches does Rolex Manufacture each Year?

Rolex doesn’t release exact numbers, however, according to industry estimates and considering the number of Chronometer certificates issued to Rolex over the past few years, it’s safe to assume that Rolex produces somewhere between 700,000 to 800,000 watches annually. On the other hand, it is believed that counterfeiters produce over ten times that number!

Where is the Serial Number Located on my Rolex, and How can I tell How old my Watch is?

On early Rolex watches they stamped the Serial Number on the outside of the case back. Then, around the mid 1940’s they moved the serial number to the side of the case (between the lugs) at the 6 o’clock position. It is worth mentioning that the Case Reference Number (i.e. the Model Number) is located on the opposite side of the case at the 12 o’clock position — the bracelet now must be removed to access these numbers.

How Often Should I have my Rolex Serviced?

It is recommended to have your watch overhauled every 5 years. By having your watch serviced regularly you will reduce the chances of needing any serious (and costly) repairs.

Why is the Day-Date Sometimes Called a “President”?

Actually, Rolex has never referred to the Day-Date watch as a “President.” However, the bracelet we are used to seeing on the Day-Date is known as a President, since one was fitted to President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s watch during a service overhaul in 1956 — the same year the Day-Date was first introduced. And as a little known trivia fact, President Eisenhower’s watch wasn’t even a Day-Date, it was an 18kt Datejust given to him by Rolex in 1946 to celebrate the WWII victory — and Winston Churchill was also given one at the same time.

What Kind of Stainless Steel does Rolex use in their Watch Cases?

While most high-end watch companies utilize 1.4435 (or 316L) Stainless Steel, Rolex uses 1.4439 (or 904L) Stainless Steel. While they both have the same grade of hardness, 904L has a slightly higher nickel discharge, and thus a slightly higher resistance to corrosion. 904L is mainly used in industry applications handling chlorides, sulfur dioxide gas or other toxic materials. While this may sound like overkill for use with wristwatches, it’s just another example of over’engineering on the part of Rolex where only the best will do.

My watch came with a Plastic Crystal, Can I Cwitch it to a Sapphire Crystal?

No, plastic and sapphire Crystals cannot be interchanged. The cases are different for each and thus they cannot accommodate a different crystal type.

Do Genuine Rolex Watches “tick”?

This has been a big misconception regarding Rolex watches, “sweeping” versus “ticking.” And in the past people used this as a method of identifying counterfeit Rolex watches. The truth is, genuine Rolex watches do, in fact, “tick”. However, they tick at around 5 to 6 times per second, so it gives the illusion of “sweeping” or “floating” around the dial. If you watch the second hand with a loupe you can see it. In the past, cheap counterfeits would utilize quartz movements, and thus would “tick” once per second. However, these days counterfeits use mechanical movements that appear to “float” but only at around 3 to 4 times per second. This gives what we call a “choppy step” and can also be spotted with a loupe. With that being said, Rolex also made quartz watches, since the 1970’s, but were discontinued a few years ago. However, these models were only made in very small quantity, and represented only around 2% of their total watch production. Another Rolex model, the Tru-beat, featured a mechanical movement that was designed to “tick” only once per second. This “dead beat” seconds feature wasn’t very popular and the watch was discontinued shortly after it was introduced, in 1954.