This Rolex Sea Dweller ref 16600 came in recently for a service and I thought I’d feature it as I love these particular watches, I’ve had one for many years and they are my favourite Rolex sports watch. I’ve had them, sold them, tried vintage Rolex (5513 & 16800) but have always returned to the ref 16600 – there’s just something about them! The one featured is an F from 2004, meaning the serial number starts with the letter F. The various letters denote years of manufacture and this is a handy way of dating your Rolex if your not sure how old it is, however Rolex now uses random serial numbers which just isn’t cricket 🙂
The caseback is engraved with ROLEX OYSTER, a couple of coronets and Original Gas Escape Valve. Very few Rolex have engraved backs, this and the Millguass being notable exceptions.
With the caseback removed we get a glimpse of the calibre 3135 movement, a veritable workhorse for Rolex.
The first thing to be taken off is the oscillating weight, then the automatic framework with its distinctive purple reverser wheels can be removed.
I usually remove the balance assemble to prevent damage and the upper crown wheel and gears before removing the movement.
A (blurry!) shot of the dial and handset before removal.
Underneath the dial sits the date disc, note the beautiful perlage work, a feature of all Rolex movements these days.
With the disc removed I can undo the four blued top plate screws….
….which allows me to remove the plate. Underneath is the motion, calendar and keyless work.
I’ve removed the calendar work here, the calibre 3135 (along with all modern Rolex calibres) features an instant snap over date whose wheel is under tension from a highly polished jewelled lever and spring. It’s one of the little things that I love about Rolex 🙂
The dial side is now stripped so it’s ready to be turned over….
….to start work on the wheel train.
The bridge is removed here allowing us to see the beautifully grained wheels.
With just the centre wheel, bridge and barrel to be removed this stripdown is nearly done.
And here it is ready for cleaning and inspection.
Rebuilding starts with a new mainspring as usual.
The barrel and train is next to be fitted.
The train bridge, the upper crown wheels and their bridge is next.
Now the ratchet wheel, pallet fork and bridge are fitted….
….then the balance assembly can be fitted. Rolex escapements are so well engineered they’re a joy to set up, there are built in adjustments for all parameters.
The autowind framework is next with Rolex’s patented reverser wheels.
The keyless work is now fitted meaning the power can be wound on and any timing adjustments made.
The calendar work is next….
….then the top plate and date disc.
This is a better shot of the dial and handset. It has a beautiful deep gloss black dial with white gold surround lume plots and white gold hands. Yummy 🙂
I now re-case the movement and fit the oscillating weight.
And here she is, ready for a few more years service. Did I mention I like the 16600’s? 🙂