Thursday, November 5, 2020

RUSTY Rolex Restoration - the video you've been waiting for!


A full 3 weeks of restoration, recording, and editing. The upload to YouTube itself took almost two days.

You will notice the difference: Bobby's videography is simply next level. 

A bit of background: this 1996 Rolex GMT Master II suffered badly. Soaked in water, it spent two years in a drawer. The amount of rust was unbelievable. Actually, apart from the case and bracelet, only 8 of close to 100 internal parts were preserved. 

But the core challenge was to preserve the mainplate: the very base of the watch that hold all components together. The main plate bears the Rolex serial number and preserves the very identity of the watch. If the mainplate is replaced, that GMT Master II is no longer the same watch.

Of course, Rolex would not bother with any of the restoration I undertook. They would simply replace the entire movement. Even a half brained monkey can do that kind of 'restoration'. Instead, I've spent a whole week soaking the mainplate in vinegar, dissolving and removing the rust, brushing it of, reaming out broken screws, and inserting new jewels and posts. Finally, the main plate was rhodium plated and you, the viewer, will have a hard time believing it is the same component.

Would I and could I do it again? That depends on the availability of Rolex spare parts. The current state of supply of parts to Australian independent watchmakers is unchanged since 2013: none, zero, and no chance. My parts box is now almost empty and new replacement parts are now so expensive that any restoration work is next to impossible.

In a way, this video should simply be titled: "The last Rolex restoration".

R.I.P. Rolex.

Watch it here:

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