A Rolex watch is similar to a finely-tuned sports car: Both are crafted of high quality materials and are designed for performance. Both carry substantial price tags and are treasured by collectors and aficionados. And — perhaps most importantly — both require significant skill to service.
As with a sports car’s engine, any Rolex model should be opened and serviced with the utmost care. Obviously, a trained factory technician or experienced watchmaker is the best bet for attending to the inner workings of your Rolex, however those with deftness and patience may try their own hands at servicing their beloved timepieces.
Before you even begin to consider entering and tampering with the mechanical innards of a Rolex, you must first acquire the requisite tools for the job. To start, a high quality set of watchmakers’ or jewelers’ screwdrivers is in order. Precision-made sets are best, as they will have uniform screwdriver blade sizes to work on the smallest watch parts and screws. Couple this screwdriver set with some surgical steel tweezers for holding those tricky pieces, and your task will be infinitely easier.
Next, a Rolex-specific waterproof case wrench will make opening the watch a simple procedure. Be certain to have a case wrench crafted exclusively for Rolex models to insure proper removal and replacement without fear of marring any surface finish, or misaligning parts.
A compliment to the case wrench is a bracelet link remover and/or bracelet screw remover. This tool will allow you to easily adjust-to-size an existing watch bracelet, or disassemble a watch band for cleaning, maintenance, repair, etc. In particular, if you are aiming to clean your Rolex, learn how to clean a rolex watch in one of our previous posts.
Also, a jeweler’s light and magnifier are key additions to the amateur watch tinkerer’s kit. Watch parts range in size from small to miniscule. Having a light and magnifier (or combination lighted lens) at-hand will guard against the inadvertent loss of a valuable screw, dial, or sundry tiny piece.
Having a clutter-free work area will prove most beneficial, as will a padded work mat. Both will help in keeping the watch and its many parts together and in clear view, as well as safeguarding the most fragile pieces from damage. For the uninitiated, dissecting a Rolex may appear routine, but once the watch’s parts are out and neatly organized, it can be an intimidating sight.
Finally, no person should attempt to open and service a Rolex without doing sufficient study of the proper steps and protocols. A wealth of instructional videos are available as learning aids, as are step-by-step manuals and schematics for dedicated training.
Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the Rolex blueprint, the parts and part placements, and the inner workings of the watch. Understand how each piece functions in conjunction with the others, and commit this information to memory. Then carefully organize your tools and work station, and begin the task at hand. Remember! You’ve got a lot invested in your Rolex … take the time to learn how it operates, and you’ll enjoy servicing it as much as any sports car.