Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How To Kill a $11,000 Watch in Two Easy Steps

Step 1: wear it for 10 years without servicing
Step 2: unlock the winding crown and jump into the pool

The reason for the state of the Rolex Submariner, as depicted above, is simple.
The watch owner failed to overhaul his watch when the watch was due for service.

Consequently, the delicate rubber crown seal wore off and water got into the watch through the winding crown.

As a matter of fact, all of this trouble, including a $6,000 repair bill, could have been avoided by simply replacing the rubber seal, at the cost of $10.

To blame Rolex for those shocking pictures is ridiculous.
Owners should take their responsibilities and respect overhaul service when the watch is due.
However, I am afraid that we will see those same horrific pictures for the years to come, as there is no cure for stupidity.


Anonymous said...

While I'm thankful for the opportunity to see the innards of incorrectly cared for watches and learn from others mistakes, do you ask permission of your clients before you post the possessions on the internet and call them stupid?

Nick said...

Dear anonymous -
Thank you for your comment but you are jumping to conclusions. This fine example is from my private collection.
Actually, most of my clients are very smart indeed, but by their own admission, even smart people do stupid things.

Anonymous said...

It might help enlighten readers if you mention the service intervals of watches(now that we know it's not 10 years).

Nick said...

A regular overhaul is advised due to the deterioration of lubricant and the rubber seal. Ideally, overhaul should be carried on a mechanical watch every 4-5 years.
In addition to regular services, professional water resistant watches have to be pressure-tested on a yearly basis.

After 5-6 years, permanent and irreversible damage might affect your watch, resulting in inferior performance and poor timekeeping.

JonW said...

Very scary indeed! I know a guy who wears his Rolex until it finally stops and then gets it serviced, he also wears it diving. I will forward his this blog page, hopefully it will remind him to get his watch in for service! :)

Robert-Jan said...

This scares me!


Anonymous said...

Surely that first commenter has something better to do than make surly comments on blogs... what's the problem? I think this was a very helpful and educational post.

Bruce said...

I'm an utter neophyte when it comes to watch appreciation but down through the years (I'm 63) I have NEVER worn my watches when bathing, showering or swimming.

As far as I'm concerned, unless it's a designated "diver" (and I don't own any of them), If I go into the water, it comes off!


Unknown said...

With all due respect, I gotta say there's must be a lot more to the story than this. This looks like many years of neglect and corrosion. It's likely the owner got water or something in it, it stopped working, and he set it aside for many years. The movement would have stopped working long before the components deteriorated to the condition in the photos.

Nick said...

Hi JC -
I totally understand your disbelief -
the magnitude of the damage is so great that even our brain cannot process what lies before us.

According to the repairman's markings which are engraved inside the case back, this particular watch has recently been overhauled twice- in 2000 and 2006, but the crown seal was either damaged or worn out.

Also note there is practically no damage to the dial or hands, but some white deposit around the 12 hour marking indicates damage caused by chlorine.