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 🙂
This Rolex 16613 came in recently for attention to the obvious smashed crystal but also for a movement service. The watch wasn’t particularly in need of one, but if you just change the crystal without checking the rest of the movement it can cause expensive damage so it’s a very sensible precaution. It’s good to see the movement had been hacked, this stops any possibility of hands getting bent or wheels being damaged by loose pieces of sapphire crystal.
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.
This lovely gents Rolex came in recently for a movement service, it was losing time, had very little power reserve and kept stopping. Powered by the calibre 3035 which is the predecessor to the current calibre 3135, it was the first high-beat (28,800bph) movement made by Rolex. The 3035 was a development of the venerable 15xx series and has a free-sprung balance with Breguet overcoil, contains Rolex’s patent Microstella regulating system and has an instantaneous date changeover mechanism.
This beautiful gents Rolex oyster perpetual date came in recently for a service. It has a gorgeous engineers bezel and the loveliest deep blue dial I’ve ever seen on one of these.
This lovely gold dialled Rolex reference 1603 came in with a low power reserve, when I tested it I got 28 hours from a full wind which is about 33% down on what you’d expect from a healthy 1560 calibre. A service and new mainspring should sort this out! The watch dates from 1961 according to the inside of the caseback and is in exactly the condition I love to see vintage watches in that have been used as intended and looked after.
One of the reasons I enjoy working on Rolex watches is the fact that in most cases inexperienced hands haven’t been inside trying to adjust or regulate due to a couple of factors. The first is the caseback design which needs the correct sized die to allow it to be opened, it can’t be achieved with a £2.99 pair of needle nosed pliers like a lot of traditional casebacks. Secondly, once inside you then need a microstella adjusting tool to actually adjust the rate of the watch, there’s no regulating lever to prod back and forth with a blunt implement before slipping off and squashing the hairspring, you wouldn’t believe the amount of times I’ve had watches sent for regulation where this has clearly happened!
A friend of mine sent me this Rolex Explorer II for a check up which has been his daily wearer for the last 10 years or so. He works in engineering in a brewery and there’s been no pampering of this example – it genuinely leads the life of a tool watch.