Rolex Datejust 16233

This Rolex Datejust came in recently in a non running state. The watch has been owned from new by the husband of the lady that bought it in, and unfortunately the crystal had been smashed and replaced sometime ago. The problem was the dial hadn’t been removed to check for any crystal shards that may have made their way through the date aperture and into the movement, needless to say there were some that managed to get through. These eventually worked their way through into the inner workings and it eventually ground to a halt. Rolex were contacted at the time to see what it would cost to repair, I’m not sure what the price was but it was enough for it not to be sent off and it ended up in the back of a drawer! The owner was very fond of this watch and happens to have a significant birthday coming up soon, his wife thought it would be nice to get it resurrected for him in time for the event. What a sensible woman!

As I’ve mentioned it wasn’t running and as you can see from the picture the crown was stuck in the time set position.

Rolex 16233

The watch has the usual undecorated Rolex caseback.

Rolex 16233

With this removed the calibre 3135 movement can be seen. I’ve written about these in the past so I wont dwell too much on the technicalities, I’ll just say they are beautifully crafted movements with a free sprung balance, Bregeut overcoil and lovely perlage decoration.

Rolex 16233

As usual with (relatively) modern Rolex’s I removed the autowind mechanism and rotor as a unit whilst the movement’s still in the case….

Rolex 16233

….I also remove the balance out of harms way.

Rolex 16233

Once this is done I can remove the movement. The dial had plenty of debris on it and the luminous compound had disappeared from the minute hand.

Rolex 16233

I removed the dial and handset which revealed the reason why the date was stuck, there was a great chunk of crystal that had been dragged around by the date disk until it got itself wedged between it and the back of the dial.

Rolex 16233

These shards of crystal are extremely hard and sharp, this piece scored the date disk a little and the back of the dial.

Rolex 16233

Once the movement was in the clamp I then stripped the autowind mechanism.

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

With that dismantled I then popped out the date disk…

Rolex 16233

….which revealed another chunk of crystal stuck in the second wheel top jewel.

Rolex 16233

I removed the top plate next which then reveals the calendar mechanism and the keyless work. This was the methodically stripped.

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

With the calendar side finished the movement was turned over so I could start on the motion work.

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

Soon the movement was in its constituent parts ready for cleaning and inspection.

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

Whilst the parts were going through the cleaning machine I turned my attention to the hands. As I mentioned at the start the minute hand had lost its luminous compound and required re-luming, this picture shows the underside of the hands.

Rolex 16233

To ensure the new lume matched perfectly I stripped the old compound from the hour hand.

Rolex 16233

I then mixed up a fresh batch and applied a couple of coats.

Rolex 16233

After cleaning a couple of issues were found during inspection, the hour wheel had obviously fallen victim to some shards of crystal and had bent a couple of teeth….

Rolex 16233

…. and the intermediate calendar wheel was no longer one unit, some crystal had jammed in the pinion leaves and the resulting build up of torque had sheared the joint meaning both sets of leaves now rotated independently. This meant the date wouldn’t change over as the power now couldn’t be transferred to the date change wheel.

Rolex 16233

Normally these would be minor issues, just order a couple of new parts and everything’s OK, but Rolex’s parts policy means I can’t order any as I’m not Rolex accredited. Not to worry, I’ll reform the teeth on the hour wheel, but before I can do that I’ll have to anneal the wheel by heating it and quenching. If I fail to do this the teeth will just break of when I attempt to bend them back. This picture shows the wheel after the work is done, as you can see the annealing process dulls the colour slightly, it also softens the metal a little but as this is a low torque component that only carries the hour hand and drives the date changeover it will be fine.

Rolex 16233

The intermediate wheel just needed staking back together so a suitable anvil and punch was chosen….

Rolex 16233

….and with a few taps of a 70gm hammer the job was done. With a job like this the temptation is to hit the punch a lot harder than is needed, it’s such a tiny component that hardly any force is required!

Rolex 16233

With those jobs done the rebuild could begin, the mainspring was first.

Rolex 16233

Then the rest of the movement was systematically rebuilt and lubricated, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

At this stage the balance is refitted, the power can then be wound on and the rough timing adjustments done.

Rolex 16233

Then it’s flipped over and the dial side is tackled.

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

Once I got this far I could recase the movement and assemble the autowind mechanism.

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

This was then refitted and the case closed back up.

Rolex 16233

In the meantime I had ultrasonically cleaned the jubilee bracelet and end links, it’s amazing how this particular style of bracelet attracts the dirt!

Rolex 16233

And that’s it, job done! These are the type of Rolex’s I love, ones that are worn day in, day out and used as the manufacturer intended. No mollycoddling of this beauty!

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

Rolex 16233

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