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Rolex Oyster Expedition 1957


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Looking for information on a Rolex Oyster Expedition, 1957 SN276113.

I have been asked if I would service this watch and need to know it’s average value and should I try to remove all the scratches from the case or leave it alone?

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Is it a Rebberg movement? They are very simple. But either way, it'll be about as simple as it gets with an indirect-drive centre-seconds.

I would only ultrasonically clean the mid case. I don't think they look nice when buffed abnd it spoils the edges. The caseback has slight damage due to ham-fisted opening.  If it were mind then I'd dress it on the lathe with a flat polisher to get it flat. Maybe 400-grit, onwards.

Often the pendant tube will be good enough and a replacement crown can be used. They are a disposable item on manual-wind watches as the threads take a lot of wear.

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3 hours ago, rodabod said:

Is it a Rebberg movement? They are very simple. But either way, it'll be about as simple as it gets with an indirect-drive centre-seconds.

I would only ultrasonically clean the mid case. I don't think they look nice when buffed abnd it spoils the edges. The caseback has slight damage due to ham-fisted opening.  If it were mind then I'd dress it on the lathe with a flat polisher to get it flat. Maybe 400-grit, onwards.

Often the pendant tube will be good enough and a replacement crown can be used. They are a disposable item on manual-wind watches as the threads take a lot of wear.

I have never buffed on my lathe with a flat polisher.  Anywhere I could go for technique?  I'll let you know the movement when I receive the watch.  btw, thanks

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13 hours ago, jdrichard said:

I have never buffed on my lathe with a flat polisher.  Anywhere I could go for technique?  I'll let you know the movement when I receive the watch.  btw, thanks

HI JDR,

So, for simple case back polishing, you'd spin up the case back using a 3-jaw or wax chuck. Then, to achieve a flat polish, you need to make a polisher from a suitably flat and hard material. Either you'd use material charged with polishing paste, or attach emery paper to the polisher. There are many materials suitable for this, but the choice depends on whether you are using a paste or emery. For pastes, examples are soft metals like zinc or copper as they embed the abrasive particles well. Also hard woods like boxwood. For emery papers, I usually use either wood or brass strips to make a polisher. You can also use an old file as a backing. Self-adhesive paper is easiest, but you can glue paper on.

For the method, you must pay attention to keeping the polisher parallel to the surface you are cutting/polishing. If you are polishing an angled facet, for example on a watch bezel, then you can use a tool rest to match the angle of the facet by looking closely under a loupe, and then hold your polisher over the tool rest, matching the same angle. Basically, using the tool rest as a guide.

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For a flat back, I'd probably lap it. Put paper on a piece of plate glass (or a surface plate, lapping plate etc.) and move through the grits to 1500/2000 (if going for a mirror). then polish.

Remember to move the piece in a figure eight, to avoid pressure concentration in any single point. Also rotate the piece every few strokes, before doing more eights.

It was pretty common to use a "lap seal" on gas tight components; a bit of a lost art these days... But it can be made quite flat.

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In the world of vintage watches, the current trend is polishing reduces the value. On some watches like Submariners and GMT-Masters this will be a deal breaker for some.

I would leave it to the owner to decide. If this is a heirloom piece and will not be sold on then by all means polish it so that it looks decent enough to wear but if it was bought as an investment maybe not.

Wearing a beat up watch for me is part of the charm, most folks cant believe a 70year watch can function well enough to be worn daily.

Anilv

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That is a good point and very true with sport watches in particular. Loss of original chamfers is a big deal. “Thin” lugs are another problem. 

I think this watch could benefit from a light polish. Don’t make it look new, but tidy it a bit. With few reference examples I think it is safer than the “in your face 24-7 submariner”.

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On 11/16/2020 at 4:58 PM, AshF said:

Hah, yeah, I watched your video, then I had the same problem.  I'll try a pin vice later.

Any ideas about the other side?  That setting cap on the centre wheel will stop the wheel from being removed from the bridge.

 

On 11/17/2020 at 6:39 AM, oldhippy said:

A little grease will do fine

 

On 11/17/2020 at 6:00 AM, AshF said:

Thank you very much guys.  All sorted now.  Once I understood the mechanics of the piece it was more obvious what to do.  I got it on my staking set and tapped it out, it was actually quite easy to move in the end.

A quick follow on question...  Since the centre wheel is friction fit (and doing the job of a cannon pinion) I guess it'll need a little grease right?  Just as you would a cannon pinion?

Thanks again everyone.

 

1 hour ago, Ronp said:

It  could be me, but I think this is a bubbleback if I see the picture correctly, so not to be flatpolished.

 

 

I’ll have a look on Sat when it arrives

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