Our service manager from our Hampshire store, Sarah, takes us inside the mysterious world or Rolex servicing.
Most customers are quite surprised when I tell them the price of a Rolex watch service. It can sound like a lot of money to service something so small. But most of our Parkhouse customers are already aware of the prestige and quality that is associated with the name Rolex, so there has to be a good reason for it.
Recently I got the chance to visit the Rolex servicing centre in Kent to find out more.
Upon arrival at the U.K. servicing centre, it really was like stepping into a film set on a James Bond movie. Beautiful Koi carp swam around in the moat surrounding the building, and I was greeted by my host after he had appeared behind a sliding door hidden within one of the walls. You could feel yourself being immersed into the world of Rolex as you travelled around the maze of white-washed corridors, home to the highly skilled men and women working so diligently and deftly on a multitude of watches.
As the tour continued, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to the watch technicians and researchers, and I soon realised that each and every person there was highly specialised in the many different stages of the Rolex after-sales process. Each and every watch that passes through their hands goes through the same strict and meticulous testing and workmanship that it did when it first left the factory in which it was assembled in Switzerland; no matter its age or condition. There are 10 steps that occur once your time piece arrives here, and each one is in a league of its own in terms of the quality and attention to detail it entails to ensure you receive your watch back in the best possible aesthetic and technical working condition.
Your watch is striped back to each individual component, all by hand. Did you know that there are around 220 different individual parts that make up your watch's movement?! The bracelet is detached from the case, the movement is then removed and dismantled. Ready for the next stage.
2. Cleaning the Movement
Each individual part of the movement is ultrasonically cleaned in specially formulated solutions - using the very latest materials and machinery.
3. Replacement of Components
A master Rolex watchmaker closely inspects each and every single movement component and identifies which parts require replacing. Only parts that are supplied directly by the Rolex Headquarters in Switzerland are used.
4. Lubrication and Reassembly
Using the most advanced lubricants, each functional component of the movement is carefully lubricated to minimise friction and prevent wear. This ensures that the movement of your Rolex time piece will continue to perform accurately for years to come.
5. Timing Calibrations
The heart of your Rolex watch movement is its balance wheel, which has a frequency of over 690,000 beats per day! To ensure time keeping precision, the watch maker meticulously adjusts the balance wheel and electronically tests its timing accuracy. Your Rolex is then thoroughly tested and carefully observed over a period of several days to verify its performance. This is the very same set of testing your watch underwent before it left the factory in Switzerland when it was first made!
6. Refinishing the Case and Bracelet
The same keen attention to detail that is devoted to servicing the movement of your Rolex also goes into servicing and caring for its case and bracelet. After initial cleaning, the case and bracelet of you watch are closely examined and any worn or damaged components replaced with genuine Rolex parts. Your case and bracelet are then expertly refinished and ultrasonically cleaned to restore lustre. One of the gentlemen who I spoke to had been refinishing Rolex cases for over 35 years!
7. Reassembly of the Case
The case is then carefully reassembled by hand, and all the seals replaced to guarantee water resistance.
8. Waterproof Tests
The watch case is rigorously tested to ensure it meets pressure-resistance requirements. The three-step process - vacuum test, compression test and condensation test - will reveal the presence of even the smallest amount of moisture inside the case.
9. Final Quality Control
Extensive quality checks are carried out at each stage of the servicing process. During the final check, the power reserve, timing accuracy and aesthetic appearance of your watch are verified one last time against manufacturing specification, to guarantee the highest possible standard of quality.
10. Service Guarantee
After a complete service, your Rolex is covered by a two-year Service Guarantee. This guarantee excludes and damage or deterioration that results from an accident or from mishandling of the watch. Any intervention by a non-Rolex authorised third party of the addition of any non-Rolex manufactured parts or accessories will void the service guarantee. In the unlikely event you have to bring your watch back, it is treated with utmost priority, and returned to you in the quickest time possible.
And there you have it. It really was astonishing to see the sheer amount of work and attention to detail your watch goes through when it comes for its servicing. This entire process takes only around 4-6 weeks (slightly longer if you’re lucky enough to own a 'vintage' Rolex), and what you receive is your watch back in full technical and beautiful aesthetic order, knowing you can continue to enjoy it for years to come - it really is worth the wait!
Now, after seeing it for myself with my own eyes, I wish to spread the word of the wonderful world of Rolex and hope to hear " How much?! That is amazing value!" from everyone who brings their beloved Rolex for servicing - knowing their time piece is in for the very best care and attention one would expect with such an amazing, prestigious and fascinating brand.