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Endeavor

Self Servicing Rolex Submariner 3135

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Dear members;

 

I'm brand new to this forum and I'm seeking some help and / or guiding hands.

Let me first start to say that English is not my native language (living in Denmark), so I do apologies on beforehand for spelling or grammatical mistakes :-(

 

I bought a new Rolex Submariner (16613) in 1992 and had it officially serviced in 2003. Since then I worn it till about 2009 when I started to wear other (quartz) watches. The Rolex was worn intermittently on special occasions ..... until now. I like to wear it again. It runs fine (about +3 sec/day), but I do realize that it needs a service. Unfortunately, my financial situation has changed dramatically and spending a huge sum of money to service a watch is out of the question.

Leaves me with a few options; let it run until in doesn't, leave it in the drawer to preserve it or do it myself. Having done other mechanically / logistically big & complicated projects, looking at Mark Lovicks excellent video's, I feel pretty confident that, with some help and advice, I can tackle this endeavor.

 

Currently I'm studying the 3135 movement, reading forums and slowly enquiringly some additional small tools. As with everything else, the more I study, the more I become aware of my limitations and "weaknesses".

For example, I don't have a timegraph, a Bergeon winder for a new main-spring or a nice collection of lubricants, to name a few. Purchasing these items are not withing my reach, so other solution have to be found.

As for the lubricants, purchasing small amounts of the required lubricants from a forum member would for be a solution for me.

Is for example, a new main-spring a necessity? Can one install a spring (reasonable successfully) without a Bergeon winder? Which place best (fair prices) to buy parts?

 

As with Marks excellent videos, I'm very curious if there is (are) forum member(s) who is (are) willing to reach a helping hand / give me some guidance? It would be very, very nice if I could service my own watch and not have to witness a slow death of such a wonderful timepiece.

 

Hope to hear......

 

Friendly regards: Roland.

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Hi Roland, welcome to the forum.

 

First of all I would strongly advise that you don't attempt to service your Rolex yourself until you have successfully stripped down and rebuilt a few other, less valuable movements. Probably the biggest challenge when you first start out working on watches is simply handling and manipulating the small parts without losing them. You are likely to encounter screws as small as 0.5mm (that's the screw driver size too not the thread size) so practice in handling parts on this scale is essential before tackling high value watches. 

 

The essential tools that you'll need are decent screw drivers, good tweezers, a movement holder, and a loupe. You will also need a case wrench that will fit your Rolex when you come to tackle that. A timegrapher is not essential (at least not to start with) but is nice to have, however you do not need to spend a fortune. There are some very good computer programmes out there which are available for free (look for Watch-O-Scope or Biburo to name a couple).

New main springs don't require a winder as they are supplied ready wound in a washer, you just push them into the barrel.

Lubricants are expensive though, even for the 2ml pack sizes, but they will last you for a lot of watches.

 

The most important attribute though is patience, you will need that in abundance.

You will certainly get all the advice you need here.

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A warm welcome to the forum Roland. I don't want to sound too negative, but I do advise you take on board what Mark has just said.

I do not want to criticise you're abilities, but the chances of servicing your Rolex as a first attempt at watch repair without making even a minor mistake are quite slim. There is a far greater chance that you will inflict more serious damage during your first service, than you would leaving the watch untouched and running for the next twenty years. You must also bear in mind that sourcing spares for your Rolex watch is virtually impossible these days.

Take Marc's advice, buy a cheap movement or two and practice on these first. Do make sure that they are running movements and not broken ones. That way you will know when you have serviced them they should still be running.

I wish you all the best, whatever way you decide to go, but please remember we are always here to help! :)

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Hello Marc;

 

Thank you for your kind advise and welcome!

 

I was indeed thinking of stripping and rebuilding a few other mechanical watches. I put already an email out to family members if they have any scrap watches laying around (not grandpa's heirloom ! :-). I do have a running old pocket watch, which for sure needs a service and could be a potential candidate!? In the past I serviced / "restored" a few English fusee dial clocks, but of course watches are a different kettle of fish.

As for the most essentials, most is already in place as I do also electronics; soldering minuscule SMD (Surface Mounted Devices) components. This also requires storing, organizing, handling and manipulating of very small components.... without losing them or ejecting them out of the tweezers.

Yes, I do need a case wrench (29.5mm if I'm correct) and I forgot to mention that I haven't got a fancy cleaning machine either.

Cleaning solutions and save cleaning methods are also on my list to be investigated / sorted & purchased.

Time, patience, and determination I have in abundance.......

Nice to know that the main-spring is already pre-wound............another "worry" off my list.

Yes, I noticed the lubricants are very expensive and do have a shelf life. That's why the idea of maybe purchasing from another forum member(s). This seems to me a double edged sword; I don't have to buy (spend) so much and for the seller there is "turn-over" in his/here stock.

As for timegrapher; thanks again for the advise. I had a look yesterday, but the once I found so far were Windows based and not free, I need Mac OSX 10.7. I will have a look today at the once you suggested ;-)

As for the tweezers; as mentioned, I do have a good pair for my electronics, but I could use some more with finer tips. One eBay, there are plenty for sale but the question is, which are any good, the best shape and which material: stainless steel or brass?

Yes, I try to be well aware of the challenges ahead, hence my investigations and seeking advise / help. I won't start until all my questions / fears are answered / taken care off. I'm sure the more I dive into this endeavor, the more questions will arise.

Nevertheless, I sincerely like to do it and it's going to be a very interesting challenge :-)

 

Friendly regards: Roland.

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Hello Geo;

 

Also thank you very much for your warm welcome and advise.

I will take Marks and your advice and start with the pocket watch. It's running fine, so this would enable me to check my work afterwards.

Maybe a daft question; but why are Rolex parts, for a 3135, so hard to come buy? Seems to me a very current movement, no? All this kind of info has to go in my "good idea / bad idea" balance.

 

Regards: Roland.

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Starting on a pocket watch is good idea because of the size, but if you can find a cheap movement that is the same size and of similar construction to your Rolex, you'll get a better feel for things.

The problem with getting parts is due to Rolex refusing to supply you anyone except authorised dealers, regardless of how old or new your movement is. That's why you really can't afford to make a mistake when servicing it. The Swatch group who owns Omega and a few other good brands, is about to do the same thing at the turn of the year.

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Hello Geo;

 

Okay, that's a very heavy point of consideration.

Before I had a look at this webpage http://www.watchrepairtalk.com/topic/3270-self-servicing-rolex-submariner-3135/and this page has given me the impression that spare parts were not a problem. Not knowing that perhaps once you knock on the door, they may not open it........unless you are an authorized dealer?

 

Another thing I like to bounce around; when I went to the authorized Rolex dealer in 2003 (Schaap & Citroen in Holland) to get my watch serviced, I was asked why? I answered that I thought it was a good idea, but their eyes were rolling. Now you are mentioning that there is a chance, due to my inexperience (which is a fair comment!), that the watch possibly may be better off for the next 20 years if I wouldn't interfere with it.

Question is; is it just me who thinks that, or is it my "paranoia" that the watch requires a service every 10 year or so?

Bearing in mind that the last service was in 2003, can I "permit" to let it run from now on for another 20 years without servicing? (If so, that would suite me perfect!). Of course with "permit" I mean that the watch is then still in reasonable / serviceable condition?

Please understand that I'm in no way "attacking" statements/remark or what have been said, but I try to get a feel how "urgent" a service is due, or is it just me pushing for a service?

It may well be that I'm, with perhaps watch enthusiast, are exceptions to the rule; meaning that most likely the majority of the people buy their watch, never heard of the word "servicing" and happily enjoy their watch for the rest of their life's?

I try to figure out what's best for my watch and my wallet.

 

Best regards: Roland

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Roland, I'm not saying your watch doses not need a a service, after twelve years it more than likely does. If it was done thoroughly the last time, and lubricated with synthetic oil, and you have not been using it very often, then I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it.

My concern was that in trying to do the work yourself without prior experience, that you might damage the hairspring or break a pivot. That was why I made the comment regarding leaving it just now and either having it done professionally, or by yourself if you gain enough experience to do it safely.

Regarding purchasing parts from the likes of Cousins, that's fine if they happen to have the part in stock. I would also add, with a watch of the quality and value of your Rolex, I personally wouldn't want to fit generic parts unless there was absolutely no other option.

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That's clear and thank for your advise. General consensus is that I need to gain experience, since there is no room for error on my Rolex. Also, that I can keep wearing it while doing so..........that all sounds good!

Assuming that servicing prices only went in the last 12 years, I didn't even bother to check. Can anybody give me an indication of the servicing prices in the UK? Or from experienced people like Mark Lovicks?

 

Regards: Roland.

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Hi Marc; Very interesting.

 

If I can't get the software to work on my Mac, I could possibly run it on Windows, be it XP.  My Macbook has, via bootcamp, a Windows XP copy. So it may be worth a try. Coincidentally I do have the same Logitech webcam as the member Ocram is showing on his pictures.

Very nice tip, thanks a lot!

As for the UK servicing prices quote so far, I guess I have been "had" by the official dealer in 2003.............. Also, I had to go back with it since the minute and hour hands were touching........... That's why I wasn't keen to bring it away and paying 1/2 of my fortune!

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Marc and Geo;

 

What do you think of one of these as a "tester"? Would the inside be realistic enough to the "real deal"?

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3-Colors-Mens-Automatic-Mechanical-Date-Stainless-Steel-Wrist-Watch-Gift-/300903016709?var=&hash=item460f37a905:m:mu35S-uNgvR5l8WZWiYpUCg

 

Hope to hear.......

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Hi Endeavor,

 

First, Welcome to the forum. Now, the link is for Chinese copies of the Rolex. The movement inside most likely is completely different from what you have.

 

IMHO, I would try my hand better at a Swiss made movement (they are closely related...sometimes). Hopefully, you could be started in one of those Swatch ETA 2840, 2842, 2846 which are inexpensive and fairly similar to the much expensive ETA 2824, 2836, etc. (some parts are interchangeable) At least, those will give you a feel for what you are dealing with. Then, of course, the Rolex movements may be somewhat different since they are, if I'm not mistaken, modified in house...but it would be most of the time based on some of those movements...or the other ones from the absorbed manufacturers now under the Swatch group and then nothing I've said applies. :)

 

Hope this has confused you a little bit more. :)

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

 

PS, And then there is the Chinese ETA clones and the Sellita movements and....oh, well!

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Marc and Geo;

 

What do you think of one of these as a "tester"? Would the inside be realistic enough to the "real deal"?

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3-Colors-Mens-Automatic-Mechanical-Date-Stainless-Steel-Wrist-Watch-Gift-/300903016709?var=&hash=item460f37a905:m:mu35S-uNgvR5l8WZWiYpUCg

 

Hope to hear.......

It would be fine for playing with, but will bear no resemblance to yours inside.

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What do you think of one of these as a "tester"? Would the inside be realistic enough to the "real deal"?

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3-Colors-Mens-Automatic-Mechanical-Date-Stainless-Steel-Wrist-Watch-Gift-/300903016709?var=&hash=item460f37a905:m:mu35S-uNgvR5l8WZWiYpUCg

 

 

Those are awful choices if you plan to practice on them. They most likely contain some low grade clone of the Miyota 8215 movement (DG2813 etc.) and those are notoriously tricky to get back together.

 

There are asian clones of the exact movement you have (3135), but those are not exactly cheap ($300+).

Edited by Rob

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Dear members;

 

I'm brand new to this forum and I'm seeking some help and / or guiding hands.

Let me first start to say that English is not my native language (living in Denmark), so I do apologies on beforehand for spelling or grammatical mistakes :-(

 

I bought a new Rolex Submariner (16613) in 1992 and had it officially serviced in 2003. Since then I worn it till about 2009 when I started to wear other (quartz) watches. The Rolex was worn intermittently on special occasions ..... until now. I like to wear it again. It runs fine (about +3 sec/day), but I do realize that it needs a service. Unfortunately, my financial situation has changed dramatically and spending a huge sum of money to service a watch is out of the question.

Leaves me with a few options; let it run until in doesn't, leave it in the drawer to preserve it or do it myself. Having done other mechanically / logistically big & complicated projects, looking at Mark Lovicks excellent video's, I feel pretty confident that, with some help and advice, I can tackle this endeavor.

 

Currently I'm studying the 3135 movement, reading forums and slowly enquiringly some additional small tools. As with everything else, the more I study, the more I become aware of my limitations and "weaknesses".

For example, I don't have a timegraph, a Bergeon winder for a new main-spring or a nice collection of lubricants, to name a few. Purchasing these items are not withing my reach, so other solution have to be found.

As for the lubricants, purchasing small amounts of the required lubricants from a forum member would for be a solution for me.

Is for example, a new main-spring a necessity? Can one install a spring (reasonable successfully) without a Bergeon winder? Which place best (fair prices) to buy parts?

 

As with Marks excellent videos, I'm very curious if there is (are) forum member(s) who is (are) willing to reach a helping hand / give me some guidance? It would be very, very nice if I could service my own watch and not have to witness a slow death of such a wonderful timepiece.

 

Hope to hear......

 

Friendly regards: Roland.

I have been watching this post with interest as I serviced my Rolex 3135 approx a year ago. I spent a long,long  time collecting all of the correct lubricants & tools.

This includes a timegrapher which is essential with this grade of watch. The Rolex is not a standard build of watch i.e. to regulate you will need a microstella tool. The Rolex is unique as the regulation adjustments are made on the balance via tiny adjustment screws. These screws adjust both the beat & the regulation so attempting this task without a timegrapher would be foolish to say the least.

 

Ps I was quoted by Rolex for a service £600 excluding parts.

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I spent a long,long  time collecting all of the correct lubricants & tools.

This includes a timegrapher which is essential with this grade of watch. The Rolex is not a standard build of watch i.e. to regulate you will need a microstella tool.

Well, there goes the ETA 2840 et all....different animal all together!

 

59.091photo2__22896.1412960250.500.750.j59.091photo4__94631.1412960250.500.750.j

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Agree with all of the above.

You would be better off with a Swiss automatic as it will be much closer to what you would be likely to find in your Rolex, and the build quality will make it much easier to reassemble.

Even then I would suggest starting off with a manual wind movement before progressing to an auto.

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Thank you all for your replies so far. I think the discussion is getting very interesting indeed.

I paid in 2003 about £300 for a service. Now I have red quotes from £132 to a whopping £600 excluding parts. For £132 it becomes tempting to save some money and get it done (obviously I have to add shipping cost). Paying £600 for a service is, for me, out of the question and in that case I'm back to my first dilemma; 1) wear it and let it run until it doesn't, 2) put it in a drawer to conserve it or 3) DIY.

Option 1) is a real possibility and I was trying to get a feel for how long it may last.

Option 2) I may just as well sell it.

Option 3) Take, with the help of all forum members, all the excellent information these day on the internet; like Mark Lovicks "I show you screw by screw" video's, a well calculated risk.

Me being me, Option 3) is very tempting and if successful; very rewarding. For me, that would take "the shackles off" and the watch would be truly mine.....well worth the effort & risk it seems...... 

I will soldier on and hope to receive much more valuable information .....

Thanks already for the info so far :thumbsu:

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I think that option 1 and 3 are about the same range in price by the time you are ready and have invested in tools and parts, maybe more $$$. Only, option 3 gives you the advantage of the knowledge, something you don't pay for when they do it for you. Food for thought.

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Hello bobm12;

 

Option 1) was to do nothing, wear & enjoy it until it falls apart........whenever that may be?

You could be right in that "letting it done", may be equal £££ / $$$ to the investment it requires to do it yourself. However, by "letting it done" you face the same problem in 8-10 years time again, and again and again. It's the famous "providing them with fish or teach them how to fish".

As for the equipment, maybe just like you, I have to take my time. Also, with time, maybe alternative, cheaper methods can be found?

I like to think; "If you haven't got time, you have to have lots of money. If you haven't got the money, you have to have lots of time".

I'm now in the last category........ so I have to take my time.......

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Done my due diligence and dismantled the 3135 this afternoon. So far, everything went according to plan and I'm nearly at the end of Mark's first video; balance replaced and prior to cleaning.

As written before, my Rolex was officially serviced in 2003 and I can not conclude anything else than it was floating in oil. There was oil between cover plates & bridges, making them "stuck", the levers from the keyless work were all stuck together (seemed quite thin oil to me, no grease), the ratchet wheel had a big droplet of oil on top and a lot of components were sticky to the tweezers. Basically the whole movement came far more "sticky" apart than on Mark's video.

Question; because of this "over-oiling"; is there anything I need to pay special attention to?

What damage can over-oiling do?

At first glance all pivots seemed in good condition, but I have to thoroughly inspect them after cleaning.

Hope to hear......

 

Regards: Roland.

Edited by Endeavor

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