Yikes! Your Rolex watch just got a huge ding in it! Maybe you scraped it against a brick and really scratched your Rolex bracelet. OUCH! Maybe you dropped it on a hard floor and really damaged that beautiful finish. What do you do? Good you found this article, because we are going to tell you how to get it fixed. Have you heard of laser welding? It might be the perfect solution for a scratched or dented Rolex.
What is Laser Welding?
So, let's talk about lasers. I am not talking about lasers from your favorite sci-fi movie, I am talking about laser welding. What is laser welding? Laser welding, when talked about with watch case or bracelet repair, is referring to using a laser pulse to weld a very small amount of steel or required metal to a watch case. I have commonly watched videos of this on Instagram or on YouTube and the preferred method is using a metal string that is about as thick as a paper clip, fed onto the case while using a laser to weld it into the damaged area. The bench jeweler only adds an extremely small amount of metal on each pulse shot from the laser.
Experts in this field specifically use the exact metal composition of the watch case to match the metal color. For example modern Rolex watches are made out of 904L steel. It is known to have a more blue white color than 316L steel found both in Rolex watches produced before the 1980’s. Professional watchmakers will always attempt to use the correct matching metal so that the dent or scratch is filled and repaired so well that you cannot find it after they are done.
Once the scratch is overfilled, then the bench jeweler will remove the excess material added during the welding process. The goal here is to create the exact shape of the case when it was being produced by the manufacturer. This process is called grinding the case or bracelet. I know grinding sounds bad, but this is a very intrical part of the process. The case has to be shaped before one could apply the necessary finishes. Time to talk about polishing.
Polishing a watch case is a real art. The process involves a multitude of buffing tools to create the perfect factory finish. That mirror finish on the side of your watch, requires a combination of wheels and rouges. I have watched this process from start to finish and I saw three different wheels used from firmer ones to extremely soft and multiple rouges were applied to these wheels. To get the perfect mirror finish, on a Datejust case it was about forty minutes of work and cleaning in between each step. It is a laborious process that I could tell took years to perfect. The same is for brushed finishes requiring different wheels and tools to produce a perfect brushed look.
DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! These professionals were trained in apprenticeships and a lot of times are certified by boards of expert watchmakers and jewelers. A Rolex is a watch that can last multiple generations if properly taken care of. We hope that we can help guide you through what to do with your Rolex in your time of need.
Lastly, a Rolex bracelet is thousands of dollars so it is worth it to purchase a Rubber or leather strap for your watch, to keep the bracelet in good condition. Below is a list of repair stores that we suggest:
There are a lot more companies all over the world that specialize in this type of work, but we have had experience with these three companies and have been quite impressed with their work.