Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

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 🙂

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

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.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

With the caseback removed we get a glimpse of the calibre 3135 movement, a veritable workhorse for Rolex.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

The first thing to be taken off is the oscillating weight, then the automatic framework with its distinctive purple reverser wheels can be removed.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

I usually remove the balance assemble to prevent damage and the upper crown wheel and gears before removing the movement.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

A (blurry!) shot of the dial and handset before removal.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

Underneath the dial sits the date disc, note the beautiful perlage work, a feature of all Rolex movements these days.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

With the disc removed I can undo the four blued top plate screws….

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

….which allows me to remove the plate. Underneath is the motion, calendar and keyless work.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

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 🙂

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

The dial side is now stripped so it’s ready to be turned over….

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

….to start work on the wheel train.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

The bridge is removed here allowing us to see the beautifully grained wheels.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

With just the centre wheel, bridge and barrel to be removed this stripdown is nearly done.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

And here it is ready for cleaning and inspection.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

Rebuilding starts with a new mainspring as usual.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

The barrel and train is next to be fitted.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

The train bridge, the upper crown wheels and their bridge is next.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

Now the ratchet wheel, pallet fork and bridge are fitted….

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

….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.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

The autowind framework is next with Rolex’s patented reverser wheels.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

The keyless work is now fitted meaning the power can be wound on and any timing adjustments made.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

The calendar work is next….

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

….then the top plate and date disc.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

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 🙂

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

I now re-case the movement and fit the oscillating weight.

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

And here she is, ready for a few more years service. Did I mention I like the 16600’s? 🙂

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

Rolex 16600 Sea Dweller

 

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