Servicing a Rolex: Why do it in the first place?
Rolex watches are pieces of mechanical engineering. They have parts inside that move to keep the iconic sweeping hand working. Just like your car needs an oil change after running every few kilometers, a Rolex also needs lubrication on the moving parts.
Some might think that this means only the mechanical watches need servicing, not the ones with Quartz movements. But that is not the case. Even if you have one of the old Rolex OysterQuartz watches, you should get it serviced occasionally. This ensures the proper functioning of the timepiece and improves its life.
When should you service your Rolex watch?
Rolex is known to produce some of the most reliable watches in the market. Until 2016, the Swiss manufacturer suggested that users get their watches serviced every 5 years. Given that it is a watch you always wear on your wrist, 5 years was a good enough interval. But, in 2016, Rolex announced that all of their watches need to be serviced in intervals of 10 years.
This basically shows that Rolex watches are even more reliable than before. The new movements are made in such a way that they can run for a long period of time before they will need any attention.
While that is a good enough number on its own, there are still several other metrics that you have to rely on. Here’s how you can measure when it would be best to get your Rolex serviced:
Depending on the usage
Yes, Rolex does say that the watches need servicing in 10 years. But that is suggested with the lab tests in mind and not the real-world usage. The service interval actually depends on the usage. Let’s say you wear your watch occasionally and when you don’t wear it, you keep it in a proper watch box. With this kind of usage, you can definitely get it serviced in longer intervals.
On the other hand, if you wear the watch every day to work, the movement keeps taking wear and tear. This means that you will have to get the watch serviced more frequently than in the above example. This could be anywhere between 5-7 years.
Lastly, if you wear your watch to a game of basketball every weekend, it is recommended that you get the watch serviced every 2-3 years. This is because the watch takes the G-force every time you are playing with the watch on your wrist. This also applies to someone who takes their watch for a swim every now and then.
Maintaining the service interval according to your usage will allow you to ensure longevity as well as the proper functioning of the watch.
Facing trouble with timekeeping
Most Rolex watches are timekeeping devices that use mechanical movements. These movements are not always as accurate as a Quartz movement. Out of the factory, a Rolex watch is capable of keeping time +2/-2 seconds. This kind of number is totally normal with a watch from a reputable Swiss manufacturer. However, the numbers can change over time.
On a timegrapher, the watch can sometimes even go up to +7/-7 seconds. At this point, you will come to notice that the watch is not accurate anymore. After you match the time with your phone, you might observe that the watch has gone 5 minutes backward or forward after 2-3 days of usage. If you are facing such trouble, you should get the watch serviced immediately.
Servicing a Rolex watch: The process
There are two ways to go about the servicing. Either, you take the watch to a service center. Or you can take it to a watchmaker who is experienced with such watches. Both have their own pros and cons.
While the Rolex Authorized service center sounds to be the best option, it is not exactly. Most of these service centers keep the watch for 4-8 weeks. This is a huge time period, especially for someone who likes to have their watch with them at all times. The benefit that you get is peace of mind. You know that your watch is in safe hands.
You can also visit trusted companies with their own service centers. In most scenarios, these companies don’t take more than a week. But the caveat here is that you might not have peace of mind. At least when you drop your watch for the first time.
The process is the same regardless of whom you give your watch to.
Disassembling the watch
As soon as a watchmaker receives your watch, they remove the bracelet from the case. They use special chemicals to soak the bracelet. This will remove any kind of residue from it, and in the end, you will get a clean, like-new bracelet.
Then, they open the case back and carefully start removing every mechanical part. This includes the movement and everything around it. They even strip it down to the point where they remove the dial and the hands. Once the case is emptied, they keep all the parts properly. This means that they soak the case in a chemical solution to clean it. The dial is kept safe in a box. Hands, screws, and other tiny parts are also kept somewhere safe.
After that, the movement is completely stripped apart. This allows the watchmaker to check if there might be any problem with the watch.
Once everything is ripped apart, they start to service the watch. The watchmaker checks if all the parts are in working order. If not, the specific parts are replaced. After that, the watchmaker makes sure that there is enough friction in the moving parts. They do this by putting 5-6 different oils in the movement.
Now, the watchmaker puts back everything and tests the movement using a timegrapher. If everything is alright, they will assemble the watch back. However, if there is an issue with the timekeeping, they will adjust the balance wheel and rerun the test.
Lastly, the watch is assembled back into the case, and the bracelet is also attached.