If you’ve ever had the opportunity to enter the Rolex Service Center (RSC) building in Manhattan on 53rd off of Fifth, you feel like you are entering an exclusive lounge. You check in at the front desk and customer service representatives will come out to assist you with next steps. You never see what happens in the watchmaking rooms behind closed doors, but the way Rolex services your watch is a codified system that has an air of mystery.
After assessing your watch after drop off (or mailing it in), you’ll receive a checklist with some service requirements that are deemed necessary. There may be a sublist that includes optional services that are categorized as cosmetic. Extra costs beyond the movement servicing may include replacement parts. In 2016, when I got my 14060M Submariner serviced by RSC, I chose to have the crystal and bezel insert replaced for cosmetic reasons.
Photo courtesy of Millenary Watches
I am of the mindset that I want my watches to look and perform as close to new as possible. I don’t intend to resell any of my watches in hopes of making any significant money. I want to enjoy my watches as much as possible, and if I do sell any of them, I will be OK with earning back whatever is proper market value.
So I had the whole RSC service completed, and it cost around $1,200, which seems pretty steep, but it probably covers about 10 years of wear, so $120 per year is not too bad if you love your Rolex.
FACTORY SPEC SERVICING
One that is different about getting your watch serviced by Rolex is that Rolex Service Centers are philosophically operating with the goal of getting every watch that comes in for service up to factory standards. So they will replace everything that they deem is necessary to get the watch up to those standards. So if you want to preserve your vintage dial and hands, go to an independent who handles those preservation jobs.
Most of us do not own watches worth that much consideration when servicing. I’m all for having my Rolex watches serviced by Rolex even if it costs more. You get a two-year post service warranty and service paperwork.
SO WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE SERVICE?
The trained technician will remove the bracelet and take apart the watch case and disassemble the movement. Each part is ultrasonically cleaned and inspected for wear. Worn parts will be replaced. The movement is reassembled and lubricated and adjusted up to an accuracy of +/- two seconds a day.
The case and bracelet will typically be refinished to its factory finish. The watch is reassembled and tested for water resistance and undergoes final inspection and precision observation.
To keep your Rolex in good shape between servicing, be sure to check out the Everest line of watch rolls and pouches.