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my first Rolex - Lady Datejust cal 2035

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3 hours ago, oldhippy said:

I'm disgusted at the way you opened the watch. If you do not have the correct tools you should have left it. What the hell would you have done if something went wrong. It would have cost you a packet, I don't expect you have insurance to have covered your work. 

Public liability for tradesmen doesn’t come cheap, it doesn't come at all unless you are qualified in your profession. Almost every tradesmen's profession these days has a governing body.

5 minutes ago, Knebo said:

Yes, I actually tend to do that anyways. But this time I was blinded by the fact that the 4 cap stones (2 for balance and 2 for escape wheel) are the same Rolex part reference; and the 2 setting/hole jewels are also the same part reference. But you are right, even Rolex may have slight differences in the actual parts.


That's a good point! It would be great if we could all agree on a particular number of degrees (e.g. 180°) and then be able to compare. But that's me dreaming, I guess 🙂.

I remember that Nev did say he pulls the balance back 180° from rest.

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3 hours ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

Public liability for tradesmen doesn’t come cheap, it doesn't come at all unless you are qualified in your profession. Almost every tradesmen's profession these days has a governing body.

fortunately watch repair is not considered a profession and we don't have any governing body.

For instance the American watch and clockmakers Institute who perceives there such an entity lost a heck of a lot of their membership several years ago when some of the East Coast states that require licensing of watchmakers dropped that requirements. Because in order to have your license you had to be a member of the Association and a member of their local chapter in order to keep up your knowledge etc. but once they dropped the licensing because the number of watchmaking licenses issued wasn't justified and typically a license watchmaker doesn't really protect the public's health like maybe a licensed doctor or something well there Association totally crashed and burned to the ground at least the local chapters did. National is still limping on.

Even Rolex that used to require the AWCI's CW 21 to have a Rolex parts account dropped it but they also dropped it because it meant that the AWCI was controlling who could get a Rolex parts account. Apparently that upset Rolex.

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5 hours ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

I remember that Nev did say he pulls the balance back 180° from rest.

5 hours ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

generating very high amplitude for the first couple of oscillations the impulse pin might be on the receiving end of a good belt from the outside of a fork horn

Oh, this is great. Can you post a link to the thread? I hope there are some reference times to compare (and how much it depends on the beat rate of the balance/movement). 
While I think this is definitely superior to the blower, I was thinking that the risk of hitting the outside of the fork with the roller isn't actually there --- I only do this test without the pallet fork installed.


8 hours ago, oldhippy said:

I'm disgusted at the way you opened the watch. If you do not have the correct tools you should have left it. What the hell would you have done if something went wrong. It would have cost you a packet, I don't expect you have insurance to have covered your work. 

Well... I think that was a bit harsh.

First, if you really look at what I am doing there, I hope you'll realize that it's actually no real risk. The Robur ensures that the Rolex-specific wrench stays tightly on the serrations of the caseback to eliminate the risk of slipping and damaging the serrations. The wrench with Rolex-style dye and the dye on the caseback (with plastic protection) exert no more pressure or stress on the case than during a crystal change. Yes, the pliers look terrible, I'll admit that! But I only use them to hold the watch steady between the lugs -- no real pressure here and with plastic protection again (if I had felt strong forces on the plier, I'd have stopped). Then I gently turned the wrench as it was held in place by the Robur. It worked like a charm. Not a single scratch.

Second, you don't know the arrangement I have with my friend. And I will not get into that. But, trust me, if I made any serious mistake, I'd not hesitate and pay whatever damage from my own pocket.

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No I don't know the arrangement. I hope you know how much it would cost you if you caused damage. If you do not have the proper opening case tools for Rolex watches you should never go near them. When I say proper opening tools I don't mean cheap crap from China. Here is the proper tool this makes sure you have the right grip and pressure to open also the correct vice to hold the case. I wish I still had mine.


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I had some time to work on the watch this week and here is my progress.

Here is the Rolex oiling chart with my notes and equivalences of Moebius oils/greases:


0. About the oiling of the balance shock jewels: I redid it many times over until I got it right. These jewels, as you saw in my drawing, are really extremely difficult. I've never had many problems with this task in other watches, but here... In the end, I tried a different approach and dropped the oiled cap jewel from the top into the hole jewel. Also tricky, but it worked a bit better.

1. I start with the barrel and barrel bridge etc. 



2. then the keyless works (nothing unusual here):


3. I recommend installing the balance stop spring AFTER the keyless works. This way, you run no risk of damaging the thin spring with the pinion coming from the setting lever.



4. the new shock spring for the escape wheel arrived:
a. putting in position
b. recommendation: to install, put a thin plastic sheet over it to hold it in place. then put one of the "legs" in, keep the two legs in the middle of the circle where the full diameter of the circle/setting is. With the plastic sheet it's then actually quite easy to put in the second led.
c. jewel in
d. carefully push in the "head" of the spring.
e. oiling is safer and cleaner with the approach taken with old non-shock-protected balance jewels: 1. from the "opposite" side, put a drop of oil in the oil sink; 2. then push it through with a very thin needle (I use broken and then sharpened oiler).





5. Gear train. Note: the Rolex training manual says that the seconds pinion is magnetic and may attract tiny metallic particles during cleaning, so one should clean it with Rodico before installation.


6. Putting the bridge and oiling the train. 

7. Pallet fork. 
a. Install without lubrication, install balance and let run for a few minutes to remove the Eplilame from the contact area.
b. remove balance and lubricate exit stone (1 drop every 7 teeth = 3 drops for all 21 teeth).
c. just for checking, I took the fork out again and took the photo below. The quality isn't great, but you can see how the 9415 has distributed nicely in a "channel" created by the removed Epilame. I'm happy with that.



8. BUT OH GOD, what do I see there!? The balance spring seems to be deformed... you can see how the coils are all bunched up on one side... Not sure if this the case before or if/when it happened to me...20231208_165802.thumb.jpg.f892685156bf12d9201af45d00d391e1.jpg

Well, I had to sleep over it for a night. Checked what replacements would cost me (about 400USD). But I had done some successful hairspring repair before, so I will try.

After taking it off, it looks like it's only bent where the endcurve begins so that it curves back too much (instead of staying parallel to the next inner coil). Furtunately that's all and it's perfectly flat.


So one careful bent and we're good again. (I looked at images of NOS hairsprings for this calibre and used that to verify the correct shape).


Putting it back on was fiddly, but not too difficult. The end of the hairspring is held between two plates that are held together with a screw. To be sure of the correct length, Rolex recommends bending the last bit of the hairspring as an indicator where it should be positioned (you see that in the pictures).


9. Well, with the watch ticking nicely now, I can move on to the calendar. A very simple mechanism with just one additional wheel and a jumper spring. In addition to the points on the oiling chart, I also put a tiny bit of 9504 on every 10th tooth of the calendar disc.

The calendar disc is then just put on top and only held in place by the jumper spring (which needs to be pulled back to mesh with the teeth under the disc. Then the dial secures it. Nothing else, interesting.



10. Dial and hands. Turning crown until date changes, then installing hands at midnight.



11. Again, some testing to see if everything runs well. 

And, OH NO! While the timegrapher shows very nice running, the minute hand seems to lag. Every hour, it looses 10min (while the timegrapher is totally happy with everything).

Well, I had already noticed that the time setting is VERY soft. Almost no resistance. So I suspected the canon pinion being too loose.

It also makes sense with the owner's observation: she said that the watch was loosing a lot of time (whereas my timegrapher showed that it was "only" loosing 20sec/day). 

Ok, hands off, dial off, calendar off again.

Time for my staking set! (after taking the photo, I positioned the blades and the canon pinion a bit better, of course). One rather soft tap with the hammer and I installed it again (better hammer again than overdoing it).


Now it's perfect, the one tap was just right! I can immediately feel a bit more resistance when setting the time (but still nice and soft). 

12. Calendar, dial and hands back on.


Very happy to see the date change at exactly midnight. 


13. At this point I did the casing so that the dial and hands are protected. (if I had installed the automatic module before the dial/hands, I'd have to rest it on the rotor to install calendar/dial/hands, which I don't like).



14. Now I assemble the auto works. The NOS rotor has arrived and it looks perfect (compared to the old, worn one).


a. rotor and upper bridge (+oiling)


b. the center hole of the reverser should only be lubricated with the thinnest film of oil, apparently. I use a sharpened piece of pegwood put into HP1000 and then cleaned off so that only a bit of oil remains on the wood. With that I oil the center.


c. all the wheels in place. Then the lower bridge on top. Oil the other side of the rotor axle.


d. Then this clip holds the rotor. It's a bit ticky to install. I put a sheet of plastic on top to hold it in place and not damage it with the tweezers. That helped a lot!




15. And here we go with the auto works into the cased watch. A bit fiddly again. It helps to slowly "wind" the watch with the crown a bit to help the meshing of teeth between the auto driving wheel and the ratchet wheel. Also note that the auto driving wheel isn't really fixed properly to the auto bridge, so it can slip out of its position rather easily. So careful before tightening any screws.

With a bit of patience: Perfect!



16. Fresh gaskets. 20231215_001234.thumb.jpg.3b502094ca8cbee70f31b50bfdd33433.jpg20231215_002243.thumb.jpg.c5c8a10f8912296712747c9bf4438919.jpg20231215_002503.thumb.jpg.1f72ba5944c93f729bed4e9b6ed508b3.jpg


17. Now some initial regulating and waiting a bit for it to settle. The 2035 calibre doesn't have a free-sprung balance like most other Rolex; it has a movable hairspring holder (for beat error) and "normal" regulating pins (albeit not metal but made of jewels!). Simple for a first adjustment.  Good night.

18. After some time, I come back for fine regulation via a microstella screw integrated in the balance cock.


It swings very well. Around 280° amplitude (visually and on timegrapher). And the hairspring "breathes" nicely. 



19. The final product (after also polishing the crystal and the golden links on the bracelet).



20. Final timegrapher results tomorrow! I need to sleep now.





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Really did enjoy reading and watching this post. Thank you. 

I was able to judge myself by your work. Could I do what you did? 98%, I think so. Can't afford the regulator pin for the balance. Therefore as I don't have the option, I will never try. Could I do it as well as you? Probably not. Still at the learning and practice stage.

But, as I said. So informative, so interesting.

Thank you

Edited by rossjackson01
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Thanks @rossjackson01! Much appreciated. 

I'm definitely still learning, too! Aren't we all (hopefully)? 

One recommendation is certainly to do extensive research on the specificities of the particular movement before even starting the service. I've probably spent as much time on research as I've spent on the bench. And this forum was insanely useful (shout-out to @JohnR725for sharing the service guide, which was a game-changer). 


8 hours ago, rossjackson01 said:

Can't afford the regulator pin for the balance. Therefore as I don't have the option, I will never try.

You mean the balance spring /hairspring? Trust me, I was sweating bullets over it! But I had no choice. The watch wasn't running properly as it was, so I had to do something. But I had previously done hairspring work, so I was hopeful that I could do it. 

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So, here's the final outcome on the timegrapher:

AT FULL WIND (seconds/day @amplitude)

Dial up: +7 @283°
Dial down: +9@280°
Crown down: -8@260°
Crown left: -4@254°
Crown up: +8@251°
Crown right: +5@244°


Dial up: +2 @245°
Dial down: +7@249°
Crown down: 0@221°
Crown left: 0@218°
Crown up: -10@216°
Crown right: -13@213°

Average of 3 positions (dial up, crown down, crown left):
full wind: -1.6 / after 24h: +3 --> Average: +1.4

Average of 6 positions: 
full wind: +2.8 / after 24h: -2.3 --> Average: +0.5

Delta of 3 positions:
full wind: 15 / after 24h: 7

Delta of 6 positions:
full wind: 17 / after 24h: 20


And now a bit of an overload of pictures, hahahah.


Dial up: FW_Dup.thumb.jpg.ee9c17aa2beff159c49d1bc7d9be7e91.jpg
Dial down: FW_Ddown.thumb.jpg.6ff35d043d7c00d808796be5a40b4210.jpg
Crown down: FW_Cdown.thumb.jpg.0498bc0e9e4cf399322ed287575f1994.jpg
Crown left: FW_Cleft.thumb.jpg.d233848b812d224c457d712e072b4283.jpg
Crown up: FW_Cup.thumb.jpg.3429cbf5324404f96598b71a12899e49.jpg
Crown right: FW_Cright.thumb.jpg.462110e2997408c9fb7ba61659cd1317.jpg


AFTER 24h:

Dial up: 24_Dup.thumb.jpg.281f7f6c592d6740b101d7d85d7d8e93.jpg
Dial down: 24_Ddown.thumb.jpg.3d470cc574dc5929e9207c2824e29347.jpg
Crown down: 24_Cdown.thumb.jpg.7a4de28246543708129ce8cc4d3a60f9.jpg
Crown left: 24_Cleft.thumb.jpg.f35ab05ab8a3d5f8a1021f3489c68f9b.jpg
Crown up: 24_Cup.thumb.jpg.db61d3d2d623925dee8317314e4c8bfe.jpg
Crown right:24_Cright.thumb.jpg.124edf3e29e2337a9560b1494c7aa37f.jpg




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17 minutes ago, rossjackson01 said:

Not an overload. It's how we learn. 

Parts. Did you have to replace many? If so which?

Glad to hear!

I had to replace the reversing wheels (both), the rotor (which was wobbly because its axle was worn) and the spring that I broke. Close up pictures of the wear on these parts are in my earlier posts in the thread. 

The rest seemed fine to reuse 🙂


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