Many Rolex consumers ask about the cost involved in wristwatch upkeep and what is included in the standard watch overhaul. For those considering purchasing an expensive Swiss Made movement, this is also an essential after-sales factor to consider. Be aware that a brand-new Rolex will need care during the lifecycle of this watch.
Disclaimer: Before going any further, note that I'm not affiliated with ROLEX SA. This information about watch care and the service cost is for educational purposes. Therefore, do not take this as an endorsed estimation of your service cost. For a more precise valuation, you will need to contact Rolex customer service or consulting your local authorized dealers.
The information present in this article, will give you a broad idea of what to expect for a Rolex watch overhaul service. From experience and information, I have gathered gentlemen and ladies references have identical Rolex Service fares.
All Rolexes have the same standard upkeep cost starting at $800. This price is for a standard watch maintenance; the cost does not encompass any repairs vital for a damaged instrument.
Standard costs are the same for a vintage movement and a modern calibre, starting at $800. Rolex vintage restoration is beyond the standard service scope and could require the product to be sent back to the factory in Switzerland.
A malfunctioning vintage timepiece may require more items replacement, this will increase the Rolex service costs.
Another aspect that could increase the cost is the metals and alloys used: Rolesor, Oystersteel. Rolex's Yacht-Master case, which has a 40-mm diameter, is made from Rolesium, a combination of stainless steel 904L superalloy and platinum 950.
Rolex watches with gold or precious stones settings are more expensive to service because of the parts replacement pricing.
For example, bi-metal 18ct gold or Platinium bracelets will be more expensive to replace than the charge for satin-brushed Oystersteel bracelets. Cerachrom two colour bezels on sports chronometers are proprietary innovative material only may by the brand.
A Rolex watch retailer will not directly service a watch. However, every Rolex-certified watch retail boutique is referenced to provide after-sales service for Rolex watches.
Even if you did not purchase your Rolex watch at their store, they will act as a drop-off and pick up point.
People often wonder why Rolex service is near twice the cost to service Grand Seiko or an Omega Speedmaster chronograph. There is indeed a premium on the cost because of the brand, and their certified workshops offer a deluxe setting for your appointment.
However, the basic service costs is not outrageous. it is only when your movement is broken or needs several gears replacement that the price can become a bit prohibitive. Some may compare servicing as to changing the oil in your car, but there is a lot more to it.
A complete Rolex watch revision is not squeezing a few drops of lube on top of the Oyster Perpetual movement. Overhaul work involves the dismantling and reassembling of a high-precision mechanical movement.
A truly experienced and professional horologist is imperative to do this delicate and time-consuming act successfully. A COSC-certified chronometer watch (contrôle officiel suisse des chronomètres) will need prestigious rigor of calibration to be consistent for another ten years.
Finally, hand-polished brush metal is achieved only by experienced technicians. If you contemplate and consider the time and level of expertise involve during a watch reconstruct, the overall bill is not extravagant for a complicated upgrade due at a 10-year interval.
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Automatic mechanical Rolex watches have a very long lifespan and can become a long-term family heritage. As long as it is maintained and mechanical pieces are accessible, a self-winding three-handers movement can be repaired. To preserve the internal mechanism, its calibre needs periodic disassembling, cleaning and lubrication. The procedure is known as a reconditioning or model overhaul.
For Rolex mechanisms, the action is imperative every ten years when the Rolex watch has been well handled and remain accurate. However, the usual interval doesn't apply if the model is defective or has been water deteriorated. Self-winding models have multiple wearable items that need replacement. Drying lubricant can increase internal friction and increase wear-and-tear inside the in-house Oyster perpetual movement.
There are indicators that a watch needs adjustment sooner than the ten years interval recommended by the brand.
timekeeping exactitude: A clear indication that a timepiece needs servicing is when it is no longer performing. A Rolex is a reliable COSC-certified timekeeper. If the exactitude is outside the manufacturer's stipulations, the model needs a certified technician.
Underperforming power reserve: The instruction booklet will show the power specs for your watch model and reference. A high-efficiency power reserve is the hallmark of a timepiece in mint condition. When a full wind watch does not keep running according to the reference specifications, the model needs to be disassembled, ultrasonically cleaned, lubricated and re-calibrated, because a decreasing power reserve is evidence of an internal malfunction. Under these circumstances, a timepiece has to be sent to a Rolex-trained clocksmith.
When you send your Rolex watch to an Authorized Center, the first step is identifying the model and serial number. With this information, the engineers will know the movement type and access the manufacturer records. An appraisal will confirm its authenticity. RSC will NOT service counterfeited Rolex watches. A check will be made to see if the watch has been reported as lost or stolen. The records will inform the authorized centre technicians where the product was purchased and if it has been refurbished before.
A trained professional will inspect the timepiece state. The Oyster case will be unscrewed and open, and constituents will be evaluated. The engineer will produce an agreed report that will detail all the necessary and non-critical works requisite to restore the functionality and aesthetic of the contraption. The examination report will integrate quotes and list upgrades that need to be done. Before any work begins, you will have to authorize it and approve the billing.
After you have acknowledged the refitting plan, the watch will be disassembled. For full-service, models need complete dismantling, the bracelet and link will be separated from the main case. The movement parts will be meticulously disassembled after it disengages from its casing. Wearable constituents like the gaskets will be disassembled and discarded. Then the disassemble pieces will be ultrasonically cleaning removing all traces of dirt and dust. Old lubricants will also be washed away from the internal gears. They used a specially formulated cleaning agent during the ultrasonic baths.
Under a powerful magnifying glass, the caliber gear and mechanism will be examined to detect abnormal signs of wear and tear. Worn out segment will be replaced with new genuine parts — the objective is to reestablish the mechanism mint-condition and its full capabilities during a full-service.
For vintage watches, original parts currently present could be replaced by recently produced counterparts; these could be a concern for watch collectors who want to keep the original elements. In this case, what is necessary is a restoration instead of a standard revision.
This is why you need to give clear instructions when your models are going for a scheduled appointment. Aged or vintage Rolex watches can depreciate on the watch collector's space like the Day Date referred to as the president's watch. If a contemporary 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 an accomplished watchmaker specialized in older and vintage watches.
After all the necessary servicing, 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 movement will be re-oiled using Rolex's lubricants. The stage guarantees lower friction between the sections. Checks and controls will ensure the Rolex watch functionalities benchmark are satisfactory. The work is done in an air clean environment vs a regular open watchmaker repair station where dust could be present in the air.
Rolexes are high-quality chronometer watches. It means that they must meet or exceed COSC specifications. Movement carefully adjusted will basically obtain COSC certification, which is a consistent time exactitude with a maximum deviation of -4/+6 seconds per day. Therefore, after the re-assembly, it is necessary to have it calibrated and tested. The movement frequency and fidelity are electronically checked for several days in different positions and at multiple temperatures.
The servicing includes hand polishing and refinishing of scratched watch cases and wrist bracelets. The procedures 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 product, then this is for you. However, some wristenthusiasts and die-hard affacionados prefer not to have their contraption refinished. They enjoyed the memories 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 to be left unpolished, but it will not reduce the bill.
Every time timepieces are open, they need to be tested for water and condensation resistance after resealing. Underwater waterproofness up to 100 meters is standard for the Swiss brand. High-pressure testing is systematic and included in the procedure. Hyperbaric testing equipment is required to guarantee a timepiece is hermetically sealed. A model such as a Rolex Submariner Date or Sea-Dweller necessitates proficient barometric machinery, available at Rolex facilities, to test water-proof rating up to 1,200 meters (4,000 feet).
Too often, Rolex holders will forget about their servicing intervals until there is a real problem. When people get a costly estimated service fee, they think to go to an independent specialist to fix up their watch. With your approved Center quote in hand, many people shop around on the Internet to find a respected independent that will ordinarily do the work for half the price. When I mentioned independent, I mean a company is not authorized by the brand to recondition Rolex devices.
The question is highly debated, time and time again, among fans. I will offer my opinion on the question:
Rolex Service - Pro's
|If you live in a large city, like New York, London or Singapore, Authorized centres are convenient locations.
Component replacements are always OEM, meaning real Rolex stock.
The Authorized Center offers an exclusive setting.
After servicing time, your device will get a two years guarantee. For the following 24 months, the guarantee will cover any servicing defects.
Rolex Service - Con's
|You don't have a direct relationship with the technician that is servicing your horological apparatus.
Communicating your special requirements is more complicated at times (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. There is no $100 quick adjustment at an Authorized Center.
The primary complaint I heard about Rolex is the time duration to have your service. The workshop turnaround timeframe is between 6 and 8 weeks.
As a general rule of thumb, a non-associated watchmaker will be in comparison half the price of an official centre. It does not mean that they are half the quality. There are several competitive 5-star organisations that offer the same level of service. The independent rework invoice is considerably cheaper, but there is a catch.
If your Rolex watch is open and serviced by an independent watchmaker, you will lose your Rolex warranty afterwards. But if your Rolex watch is no longer guaranteed, it will not affect you.
More importantly, Rolex S.A. does not supply Rolex watch parts to firms without an associate account. If your Rolex watch fix up consists of replacements, a watchmaker without an account, may not be able to get them. The consensus is that when generic elements are used to fix a Swiss timekeeper it will lose some of its authenticity, depreciating it on the second-hand marketplace. Again if you have no plan to resell your lifetime heirloom, the pre-owned worth is not a consideration.
If you can afford Rolex service cost, choosing a reputable unauthorized service company is a viable solution. I would avoid a corner shop with little or no practice with expensive luxury watches. The type of shop that change batteries and cut keys.
A suitable independent company should specialize in luxurious Swiss watches. Several of them have qualified watchmakers able to service many Swiss brands like Omega, Breitling, IWC Schaffhausen, Audemars Piguet,Girard-Perregaux, Patek Phillipe, Jaeger-Lecoultre and many other models presented at Baselworld.
Choose a business that only does horological restoration and repairs. Several jewellers also offer revamps, but jewellery repairs are different skills. Check if they have a Rolex account for access to genuine stock or how do they source authentic articles for repairs. A retailer of good repute will be clear and upfront. Vague answers are not going enough and are probably a sign that they are using generic pieces.
An excellent indicator is the star-ratings and comments found online. Watch enthusiasts are often vocal on social media if they are unsatisfied with the work quality. Trustpilot or GoogleMyBusiness will list local businesses, including their ratings and consumer's feedback.
Apart from a lower service bill, you want is a trusted relationship with the watchmaker that will take care of your device. Effective interaction is what you are looking for with an independent company. It's an opportunity to establish a long term relationship for your impending service and revision needs. At the time you start using a non-associated organisation to service your Rolex instruments, it will be difficult to turn back to an Authorized Center.
Rolex SA is not allowing third-party engineers to modify their rolex watches. As a result, you will have to continue to use an independent expert. If you are planning to resell your Rolex eventually, the service history will be a factor for the reselling price. Of course, a service history at an Authorized centre is best. However, if the watchmaker is well-known, this will not be a big issue.
In Conclusion, having an efficient relationship with an honest watchmaker is a real asset for people owning a Rolex watch superlative chronometer. You will save money and get your refurbishing done faster. Otherwise, an Authorized Center remain the easiest solution.