Rolex Service Cost and Watch Repair in 2021

How much Rolex Service cost?

Many Rolex consumers ask about the cost involved in wristwatch service and what is included in Rolex's standard watch overhaul service. For those considering purchasing an expensive Swiss Made Rolex, this is also an essential after-sales factor to consider. Be aware that a brand-new Rolex will need service during the lifecycle of this horological instrument.

Disclaimer: Before going any further, note that I'm not affiliated with ROLEX SA. This information about watch maintenance and cost is for educational purposes. Therefore, do not take this as an Official Rolex estimation of service costs. For a more precise service estimation, you will need to contact Rolex customer service or visit your local authorized Rolex dealers, but this information will give you a general idea of what to expect for a watch overhaul service.

From experience and information I have gathered a gentlemen and ladies Rolex has aligning maintenance costs. All Rolexes have the same standard maintenance cost and starts at $800. This price is for a standard watch revision; the cost does not include any repairs needed for a damaged Rolex watch.

Costs for Rolex vintage watches

Standard costs are the same for a vintage movement and a modern calibre, starting at $800. The servicing fee will be different because of the movement replacement parts price. Rolex vintage restoration is beyond the standard service scope and could require the watch to be sent back to the Rolex factory in Switzerland. A malfunctioning vintage timepiece may require more parts replacement, therefore, increase the final bill.

Rolex Gold and diamonds models

Another aspect that could increase the Rolex cost is the watch materials. Rolex Watches with gold or diamonds settings are more expensive to service because of the components replacement pricing. For example, a bi-metal 18ct gold bracelet will be more expensive to replace than the charge for a satin-brushed Oystersteel bracelet.

Rolex Retailer

A Rolex retailer will not directly service a Rolex watch. However, every authorized retail is due to provide after-sales service to Rolex customers. Even if you did not purchase your Rolex at their store, they will act as a drop-off and pick up point for your national Rolex Service Center.

servicing fees

Average Rolex service prices

Several factors can increase your servicing charge. Here are the primary factors :

  • The condition of the watch and how did you take care of it
  • The costs of spare parts and component replacement.
  • Internal damage cost by water infiltration

Therefore, watches in good condition only need a ten-year revision to maintain the high performance and longevity of the movement. On the other hand, a watch that has been roughly handled, drop on the floor or generally neglected will need a more expensive maintenance service to be refurbished closed to its original retail condition.

Most of us understand the value of a high precision COSC-chronometer wrist-watch and have taken reasonable care of it. As a result, we can expect a less expensive charge of its maintenance.

You can expect the average Rolex service costs to be around $1200. Rolex enthusiasts often confirm this average cost on several online forums. For the best of us who have taken unrivalled care of their watches, a less expensive revision cost will be closer to $800.

Why are Rolex service costs so expensive?

People often wonder why Rolex service is near twice the cost to service an Omega watch. There is indeed a premium on the cost because it is a Rolex, and their service centers offer a luxurious setting for your appointment. However, Rolex basic service cost is not outrageous.

it is only when your watch is broken or needs several parts replacement that the price can become a bit prohibitive.

Some may compare servicing a Rolex watch to changing the oil in your car, but there is a lot more to it. A complete watch service is not squeezing a few drops of lubricants on top of the Oyster Perpetual movement.

Rolex overhaul service involves the dismantling and reassembling of a high-precision mechanical movement. A highly experienced and professional watchmaker is required to do this delicate and time-consuming operation successfully. A COSC-certified chronometer will need prestigious accuracy of calibration to be consistent for another ten years. Finally, hand-polished brush metal is achieved only by experienced technicians.

If you consider the time and level of expertise involve during a watch service, the overall costs are not extravagant for service due at a 10-year interval.

Rolex Service Price

Understanding Rolex prices

During a scheduled maintenance a number of necessary and non-necessary works will be diagnosed by a Rolex trained technician. The non-necessary works are mainly cosmetic repairs. They don't affect the functionalities and performance of the model. The aim is to flawlessly refurbish the timepiece to its Rolex original condition. Rolex qualified professionals have high standards but prices can be also high. Beyond the necessary service, it is up to you to decide the aesthetic benchmark you want to get.

The official Rolex quotation will include the non-essential refinishing. The work can require replacing parts. This will significantly increase the official service bill.

Let's say your Rolex crystal has a small chip in. It's not a necessary repair because it does not causes a malfunction, but Rolex will offer you to replace it... for an additional fee.

This is how your Rolex bill can increase from its basic pricing around $800 to well above $1000. Depending on the cosmetic condition of the Rolex restoration to a mint condition will not be cheap. Be aware that the Rolex service cost can go from $800 to $2000+ very quickly if you decide to replace faded parts of your Rolex watch.

This could explain why some Rolex customers confronted by Rolex service costs turn to independent watch repair facilities to service their timepieces. Some reputable independent watch repair companies often service several Swiss brands and can have Rolex trained watchmakers. The work will be done outside the guarantee and could be an issue if you do service it later on at a Rolex facility.

How often to service Rolex watch?

When does a Rolex need service?

Automatic mechanical Rolex watches have a very long lifespan and can become a family heirloom. As long as the parts are available, a self-winding wristwatch can be repaired. To preserve the watch mechanism, its caliber needs periodic disassembling, cleaning and lubrication. The procedure is known as a watch service or watches overhaul.

For Rolex watches, the operation is needed every ten years when the watch has been well handled and remain accurate. However, a service scheduled interval doesn't apply if the Rolex is malfunctioning or has been water damage.

Self-winding Rolex watches have multiple wearable parts that need replacement. Drying lubricant can increase internal friction and increase wear-and-tear inside the in-house Rolex perpetual movement.

There are indications that a watch needs servicing sooner than the ten years interval recommended by Rolex SA.

  1. Rolex timekeeping precision: A clear indication that a timepiece manufactured by Rolex SA need servicing is when it is no longer accurate. A Rolex is a reliable COSC-certified timekeeper. If the accuracy is outside the manufacturer's specifications, the model needs a certified watchmaker.
  2. Underperforming Rolex power reserve: The Rolex instruction manual will show the power specifications for your model and reference. A high-efficiency power reserve is the hallmark of a Rolex timepiece in mint condition. When a fully wind Rolex does not keep running according to Rolex specifications, the model needs to be disassembled, ultrasonically cleaned, lubricated and re-calibrated, because a decreasing power reserve is an indication of an internal malfunction. Under these conditions, a Rolex has to be sent to a Rolex certified watchmaker.

Water Damage Watches

Rolex authentification

When you send your watch to a Rolex Service Center, the first step is identifying the watch model and serial number. With this information, the Rolex enginers will know the movement type and access the watch record. A watch appraisal will confirm its authenticity. Rolex will NOT service counterfeited watches. A check will be made to see if the watch has been reported as lost or stolen. The watch history will inform the Rolex Service center technicians where the watch was purchased and if it has been serviced before.

Rolex diagnostic

A Rolex trained watch specialist will examine the timepiece condition. The Rolex Oyster case will be unscrewed and open, and components will be evaluated. The engineer will produce an official Rolex report that will detail all the necessary and non-essential works required to restore the functionality and aesthetic of the watch. The Rolex diagnostic report will include costs and list the parts that need replacement. Before any work begins, you will have to authorize it and approve the costs.

What does Rolex Service Include?

Rolex full-service

After you have approved the service, the watch will be disassembled. For full-service, watches need complete dismantling, the bracelet and link will be separated from the main watch case. The movement parts will be meticulously taken apart. Wearable parts like the gaskets will be removed and discarded.

Then the components will be ultrasonically cleaning removing all traces of dirt and dust. Old lubricants will also remove from the watch gears. Rolex used a specially formulated cleaning agent during the ultrasonic baths.

Components evaluation and replacement

Under a powerful magnifying glass, the caliber parts will be examined to detect abnormal signs of wear and tear. Worn out parts will be replaced with new genuine Rolex parts — the objective is to reestablish the watch mint-condition and its full functionalities during a full-service.

Vintage Rolex servicing

For vintage watches, original parts could be replaced by modern parts; these could be an issue for watch collectors who want to keep the original parts. In this case, what is necessary is a watch restoration instead of a standard watch service.

This is why you need to give clear instructions to Rolex when your watches are going for a scheduled maintenance appointment. A vintage Rolex can depreciate on the watch collector's market if a modern sapphire crystal replaces a vintage glass.

If your own a valuable vintage caliber, check that you know what you are doing before sending a watch back to Rolex. I recommend you seek advice from a professional watchmaker specialized in old and vintage watches.

Watch reassembling and lubrification

After all the necessary replacements, the watch is reassembled. A Rolex certified watchmaker will rebuild the mechanical movement and recased the caliber inside the Oyster watch case. Watch gaskets will be systematically refurbished with brand-new gasket seals. During the procedure, the components will be re-oiled using Rolex's lubricants. The stage guarantees lower friction between the parts. Checks and controls will ensure the model functionalities benchmark are satisfactory. The operation is done in a clean and dust-free environment.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual calibration

Rolexes are high-quality chronometer watches. It means that they must meet or exceed COSC specifications. Watches serviced by Rolex will obtain COSC certification, which is a consistent time accuracy with a maximum deviation of -4/+6 seconds per day. Therefore, after the watch re-assembly, it is necessary to have it calibrated and tested. The movement frequency and precision is electronically checked for several days in different positions and at multiple temperatures.

Case and bracelet polishing

The overhaul service includes hand polishing of the watch case and bracelet. The operation will restore the timepiece mint condition, close to the look and feel when it was purchased at the official Rolex retailer. If you enjoy the feeling of a new watch, then this is for you. However, some wristenthusiasts and die-hard affacionados prefer not to have their Rolex refinished. They enjoyed the watches history left by the scratches and marks on the case. There is no right or wrong at the end of the day; it's a personal choice. You can request the watch to be left unpolished, but it will not reduce Rolex service costs.

Waterproof guarantee

Every time watches are open, they need to be tested for water resistance after resealing. Underwater waterproofness up to 100 meters is standard for the Swiss brand. High-pressure testing is systematic and included in the maintenance. Hyperbaric testing equipment is required to guarantee a timepiece is hermetically sealed. A model such as a Rolex Submariner or Sea-Dweller necessitates professional barometric machinery, available at Rolex facilities, to test water-proof rating up to 1,200 meters (4,000 feet).

Servicing Summary

  1. Disassembly of the watch bracelet links and Oyster case
  2. Cleaning of the bracelet links and Oyster case
  3. Disassembly of the watch movement
  4. Cleaning of all the movements parts
  5. Watch movement parts inspections
  6. Replacement of worn-out movement parts
  7. Reassembly of the movement parts
  8. Lubrication of the movements
  9. Time calibrations and testing
  10. Watch re-casing
  11. Reassembly of the Oyster case and bracelet
  12. Refinishing the case and bracelet
  13. Rolex Waterproof testing
  14. Final Rolex quality control

Independent watchmaker vs official Rolex Center

Too often, Rolex holders will forget about their servicing intervals until there is a real problem with their watch. When people get an estimated service cost from Rolex, they consider going to an independent watchmaker to serve their watches.

With your Rolex Service Center quote in hand, many people shop around on the Internet to find a reputable independent that will generally do the work for half the price. When I say independent watchmaker, I mean a watch repair company is not authorized by Rolex SA to service Rolex watches.

The question is highly debated, time and time again, among watch fans. I will offer my opinion on the question:

Rolex Centers - Pro's

  • If you live in a large city, like New York, London or Singapore, Rolex service centres are conveniently located.
  • Component replacements are always OEM parts, meaning genuine Rolex parts.
  • The Service Center offers an exclusive settings
  • After servicing time, Rolex watches will get a two years guarantee. For the following 24 months, the guarantee will cover any servicing defects.

Rolex Centers - Con's

  • You don't have a direct relationship with the watchmaker that is servicing your watch.
  • Communicating your special requirements is more complicated at time (but not impossible)
  • Full servicing or nothing is probably a significant issue. If you only need a simple operation, you will be charged the full-service costs. There is no $100 quick adjustment at a Rolex Service Center.
  • The primary complaint I heard about Rolex is the time it takes to have your Rolex service. The turnaround time is between 6 and 8 weeks.

Cost of independent servicing

As a general rule of thumb, an independent watch service company will be half the price of a Rolex Service Centers. It does not mean that they are half the quality. There are several reputable companies that offer the same level of service for your Rolex.

The independent watch service cost is a lot cheaper, but there is a catch.

No more Rolex warranty

If your Rolex watch is open and serviced by an independent watchmaker, you will lose your Rolex warranty. But if your Rolex watch is no longer under Rolex warranty, it will not affect you.

Non-genuine Rolex spare parts

More importantly, Rolex S.A. does not supply spare parts to independent watch service companies. If your watch needs replacements parts, an independent watchmaker may not be able to get them.

If a non-Rolex spare part is used to repair your Rolex watch, the watch will lose some of its value on the second-hand market. Again if you have no plan to resell your watch, the resell value is not a consideration.

Future official servicing

The Rolex watch company does not like those independent watchmakers upgrading their watches.

If you go outside the Rolex authorized service centres, it will be more costly if you want Rolex to service your watch in the future. Rolex will only do future services if the customer pay to get non-Rolex parts removed and replaced.

If you decided to go with an independent watch repair company, you will have to stay with independent watchmakers for future servicing of your Rolex.

Independent watch repair companies

If you can afford Rolex Service costs, choosing a reputable independent watch service company is a viable solution.

I would avoid a corner shop with little or no experience with expensive luxury watches. The type of shop that change watches batteries and cut keys.

A suitable independent watch repair service should specialize in luxury Swiss watches. Several of them have qualified watchmakers able to service many Swiss brands like Omega, Breitling, IWC, etc. Choose a company that only do watch servicing and repairs. Several jewellers also offer watch repairs, but jewellery repairs are different skills.

Check if they have a Rolex account for access to genuine parts or how do they source parts for repairs. A good retailer will be clear and upfront. Vague answers are not going enough and are probably a sign that they are using generic parts.

Good indicators are the ratings and comments found online. Watch enthusiasts are often vocal on social media and forums if they are unsatisfied with their watch service. Google My Business will list local watchmakers, including their ratings and consumer's feedback.

Beyond lower service costs, you want is a direct relationship with the watchmaker that will take care of your watch. Good communication is what you are looking for with an independent watch company. It's an opportunity to establish a long term relationship for your future watch service needs.

At the time you start using an independent watch company to service your Rolex watches, it will be difficult to turn back to a Rolex Service Center.

Rolex SA does not authorize third-party companies to service or modify their watches. As a result, you will have to continue to use independent watch repair companies.

If you are planning to resell your Rolex in the future, the service history will be a factor for the reselling price. Of course, a service history at a Rolex Service centre is best. However, if the independent watch service company is well-known, this will not be a big issue.

In Conclusion

Having a good relationship with a reputable independent watchmaker is a real asset for people owning a Rolex watch. You will save money and get your watch service time shorter. Otherwise, a Rolex Service Center remain the easiest solution.

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