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Thread: Rolex Service rant

  1. #1
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    Rolex Service rant

    Happy Friday all. Iíve not posted in a while, as life seems to have gotten in the way of my hobby of late.

    Yesterday I received my late Ď70s Oysterquartz ref:17000 back from Rolex service. Having worn it for 24 hours Iíve noticed that RSC has replaced the vintage date disc to a new one. Gone are the beautiful ďopenĒ sixes and nines. When I booked this watch in for service I was pretty clear in explaining to my AD that I did not want the vintage aspects (dial and hands etc.) touched- and I had to fight RSC pretty hard on this. Nowhere in their repair estimate was any mention of a new date disc.

    Does anyone have any experience of this? Thankfully my Oysterquartz is not a valuable vintage piece, but nonetheless it annoys me that Rolex seems to decide what THEY want to do with MY watch. This may seem trifling, but when youíve just forked out 650 quid and you donít get what you want, itís irksome. I imagine sourcing a retrofitting a vintage date disc is possible, but what a pain!

    I have called the AD in the hope that something can be done about this. I expect not.

    For those considering getting a vintage watch serviced at RSC - a cautionary tale.

    Thanks and wishing everyone a good weekend ahead.


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  2. #2
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    That's not good, but I think you are well and truly Donald Ducked.

    Never send a vintage piece back to the manufacturer, asking for trouble.

    I have used an accredited independent several times and they were great, a chat with the guy actually doing the work before sending it in rather than it ending up on some 'turn it back into brand new' production line.

    Same with vintage Omega, Simon Freese rather than Omega.

  3. #3
    Craftsman Euan Begbie's Avatar
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    Rolex Service rant

    I had a similar experience recently and after a lot of back and forth I got a satisfactory outcome.

    Feel free to pm me for more info.


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    Last edited by Euan Begbie; 16th April 2021 at 15:59.

  4. #4
    Are you sure your instructions got to RSC. They always provide an estimate of work before hand...did you get that?

    I reckon itís the shop youíve used thatís at fault. Iíve found dealing directly with RSC to be very smooth.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougair View Post
    Are you sure your instructions got to RSC. They always provide an estimate of work before hand...did you get that?

    I reckon itís the shop youíve used thatís at fault. Iíve found dealing directly with RSC to be very smooth.
    Yes they did get the instructions. In the end I physically went into Rolex SJS before Lockdown 2, as I was in the neighbourhood, to persuade them not to change the dial and hands. The AD hadnít been able to convince them. I saw all the paperwork sent by Rolex to the AD.


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallasey Runner View Post
    That's not good, but I think you are well and truly Donald Ducked.

    Never send a vintage piece back to the manufacturer, asking for trouble.

    I have used an accredited independent several times and they were great, a chat with the guy actually doing the work before sending it in rather than it ending up on some 'turn it back into brand new' production line.

    Same with vintage Omega, Simon Freese rather than Omega.
    Sadly I think thatís right. As I didnít have papers for my OQ, I wanted it Rolex serviced. In future I wonít go down this road again.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euan Begbie View Post
    I had a similar experience recently and after a lot of back and forth I got a satisfactory outcome.

    Feel free to pm me for more info.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks - Iíll PM you now.


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  8. #8
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    Why does Rolex do this (ignoring the ownerís wishes)?

    Rolex hasnít bought the watch, the OP has. But Rolex is behaving as if itís the owner, not the service provider!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post
    Why does Rolex do this (ignoring the ownerís wishes)?

    Rolex hasnít bought the watch, the OP has. But Rolex is behaving as if itís the owner, not the service provider!
    In order to guarantee their work, they insist on new parts.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ach5 View Post
    In order to guarantee their work, they insist on new parts.
    I even waived the guarantee for any issues created by the dial and hands!!!!


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  11. #11
    This is exactly the reason my 16750 has not gone back to Rolex, but it needs looking at, and I want it left original. Unfortunately, Duncan wonít work on this model. Maybe I need to speak to someone close to Rocco and see if he would be willing to look at it?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post
    Why does Rolex do this (ignoring the ownerís wishes)?

    Rolex hasnít bought the watch, the OP has. But Rolex is behaving as if itís the owner, not the service provider!
    Perhaps Rolex have adopted Patek's marketing spiel so that you never actually own a Rolex anymore.....

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Omegamanic View Post
    This is exactly the reason my 16750 has not gone back to Rolex, but it needs looking at, and I want it left original. Unfortunately, Duncan wonít work on this model. Maybe I need to speak to someone close to Rocco and see if he would be willing to look at it?
    Have you considered Steven Hale?

    https://www.shwr.co.uk/

    That is where I have just sent my matte 16750.

  14. #14
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    My view and Im happy to be shot down is Rolex cannot and doesn't want to become a boutique service dept. They will have a standard procedure that details the steps and procedures on receiving a watch for service. Yes vintage collectors want to maintain patina and provenance , but if that gets in the way of disassembly and assembly checks then Rolex will revert to SOP.

    I would summise that by adhering to the SOP for each watch they will know with confidence the return rate for after service defects is negligible. After service returns will be a KPI or measure of success for the service dept.

    For every WIS who like the OP is clearly unhappy that parts have been swapped out there will be a ( probably larger) group who exclaim in delight ď the watch came back looking like newĒ.

    I feel the only area of accommodation is on polishing. Since at this stage the watch is already fully assembled and any tests for WR security etc will have been passed. As polishing apart from return packaging is the last process they maybe some latitude for the customer to express a preference.

    As others have said above, independents seem the best option until you get certain models eg SD43ís where parts are strictly controlled reducing the pool of folk willing to work on these pieces.

    All of the above is of no consolation to the OP , just my opinion on how Rolex and probably the other majors work.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by higham5 View Post

    For every WIS who like the OP is clearly unhappy that parts have been swapped out there will be a ( probably larger) group who exclaim in delight ď the watch came back looking like newĒ.
    Couldn't agree more - I'm sure a big majority of watch owners are more than happy have a watch that looks like new after a service (and that 'big majority' will go up to 100% of the ones that threw away the B&P after purchase!)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonRA View Post
    Couldn't agree more - I'm sure a big majority of watch owners are more than happy have a watch that looks like new after a service (and that 'big majority' will go up to 100% of the ones that threw away the B&P after purchase!)
    Well, yes, that's undoubtedly true. BUT they had specific instructions not to change something, on something which is the customer's possession, which I don't find acceptable. Its their perogative not to perform the work according, but they have to inform the customer of this in advance, where the owner can decide on alternative solutions. I think the OP could claim for damages, as Rolex have damaged the OP's enjoyment of the watch, by ignoring specific instructions.
    An alternative example - if you owned an pukka artwork and you gave it to me for cleaning, restoration or whatever, and I decided that the original painting was terrible so decided to scrape part of it off and paint my own 'improved' version, you'd be livid, and the artwork would be worth a fraction of its original value. Its the same idea.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrGrumpy View Post
    Well, yes, that's undoubtedly true. BUT they had specific instructions not to change something, on something which is the customer's possession, which I don't find acceptable. Its their perogative not to perform the work according, but they have to inform the customer of this in advance, where the owner can decide on alternative solutions. I think the OP could claim for damages, as Rolex have damaged the OP's enjoyment of the watch, by ignoring specific instructions.
    An alternative example - if you owned an pukka artwork and you gave it to me for cleaning, restoration or whatever, and I decided that the original painting was terrible so decided to scrape part of it off and paint my own 'improved' version, you'd be livid, and the artwork would be worth a fraction of its original value. Its the same idea.
    Totally agree - I wasn't implying that it was right what they did, just noting that most people would be pleased to have a new looking watch because they wouldn't be bothered about maintaining originality. But when you are, your wishes should be respected.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrGrumpy View Post
    Well, yes, that's undoubtedly true. BUT they had specific instructions not to change something, on something which is the customer's possession, which I don't find acceptable. Its their perogative not to perform the work according, but they have to inform the customer of this in advance, where the owner can decide on alternative solutions. I think the OP could claim for damages, as Rolex have damaged the OP's enjoyment of the watch, by ignoring specific instructions.
    An alternative example - if you owned an pukka artwork and you gave it to me for cleaning, restoration or whatever, and I decided that the original painting was terrible so decided to scrape part of it off and paint my own 'improved' version, you'd be livid, and the artwork would be worth a fraction of its original value. Its the same idea.
    My feelings exactly. They give me a list of proposed repairs - I tell them what I want, and they carry out the repairs. Nothing boutique about that. I can do that with most service providers.


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  19. #19
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    I was pretty clear in explaining to my AD that I did not want the vintage aspects (dial and hands etc.) touched
    You say “dial, hands etc” but you stop short of clarifying whether you said date disc. Did you specifically say no date-disc change and get confirmation back? Sounds like they might be just taking your direct instructions if you didn’t, otherwise it comes down to individual interpretation where “vintage aspects” stop.

    Not sure I can jump on the Rolex-service-hating bandwagon here. It reads like you knew what you were dealing with and the risks prior to service, but needed Rolex paperwork so went ahead anyway.
    Last edited by Christian; 17th April 2021 at 21:33.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian View Post
    You say ‚Äúdial, hands etc‚ÄĚ but you stop short of clarifying whether you said date disc. Did you specifically say no date-disc change and get confirmation back? Sounds like they might be just taking your direct instructions if you didn‚Äôt, otherwise it comes down to individual interpretation where ‚Äúvintage aspects‚ÄĚ stop.

    Not sure I can jump on the Rolex-service-hating bandwagon here. It reads like you knew what you were dealing with and the risks prior to service, but needed Rolex paperwork so went ahead anyway.
    Itís a fair question. There was no itemisation of the date disc replacement by Rolex following their initial assessment of the watch. They did mention the glass, dial, hands and crown. For this reason, I didnít specify that I would like to preserve the original date disc.


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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian View Post
    You say ‚Äúdial, hands etc‚ÄĚ but you stop short of clarifying whether you said date disc. Did you specifically say no date-disc change and get confirmation back? Sounds like they might be just taking your direct instructions if you didn‚Äôt, otherwise it comes down to individual interpretation where ‚Äúvintage aspects‚ÄĚ stop.

    Not sure I can jump on the Rolex-service-hating bandwagon here. It reads like you knew what you were dealing with and the risks prior to service, but needed Rolex paperwork so went ahead anyway.




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  22. #22
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    You will also see from this that I approached this with caution having sought the advice from TZ.

    https://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.p...-advice-needed


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  23. #23
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    Amidst the general condemnation of Rolex SC for replacing the date disc, no- one has questioned why it needed replacement?

    Date wheel teeth get damaged and worn, and Rolex policy is to replace any part thatís showing wear. An independent may use judgement and discretion, especially if the owner wishes to keep the original and accepts tge rusk ofit deteriorating further and causing the watch to not run.

    Personally, I couldn't get too excited about the minor detail of the date wheel numerals, the open 6 and 9 always seems like a load if crap to me, I really canít see how it matters. What does matter is having a date wheel in good condition, faulty datewheels stop watches from running, Iíve had to carefully re-profile damaged teeth to cure such faults on vintage watches where a replacement wheel canít be sourced and I would much rather fit a new replacement!

    Strongly advise the OP to enjoy the watch and forget about it, I have an extensive collection of vintage Omegas and theyíve all had parts replaced at some point.......for good reasons!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Amidst the general condemnation of Rolex SC for replacing the date disc, no- one has questioned why it needed replacement?

    Date wheel teeth get damaged and worn, and Rolex policy is to replace any part thatís showing wear. An independent may use judgement and discretion, especially if the owner wishes to keep the original and accepts tge rusk ofit deteriorating further and causing the watch to not run.

    Personally, I couldn't get too excited about the minor detail of the date wheel numerals, the open 6 and 9 always seems like a load if crap to me, I really canít see how it matters. What does matter is having a date wheel in good condition, faulty datewheels stop watches from running, Iíve had to carefully re-profile damaged teeth to cure such faults on vintage watches where a replacement wheel canít be sourced and I would much rather fit a new replacement!

    Strongly advise the OP to enjoy the watch and forget about it, I have an extensive collection of vintage Omegas and theyíve all had parts replaced at some point.......for good reasons!
    Thanks Walkerwek, I certainly have queried the reason for the change, as they didnít mention it in their preliminary diagnostics. A lot of what you say is true and fair, itís just that I bought a watch for its particular aesthetic and now itís not quite the same. Not a big deal. Iíll chalk it down to a learning experience. I appreciate the response.


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  25. #25
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    With the amount they charge for a service Iím not sure why a more personalised experience isnít possible. If itís a vintage watch and the owner has requested most parts not to have been replaced canít they have a quick conversation with the owner or AD to determine exactly what theyíd like.

  26. #26
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    It's been a few years since I sent a 4/5 digit ref back to Rolex for servicing, but when I did I never had any issues

    Things may well have changed in that time

    I dealt directly with RSC, so no middle man to confuse the message, and listed point-by-point what they could, and could not do.

    Something along the lines of..

    1) Do not polish case at all
    2) Do not polish caseback at all
    3) Bracelet/clasp may be refinished
    4) Service movement
    5) Do not replace hands
    6) Do not replace dial
    7) Do not replace datewheel
    8) Do not replace glass (lack of waterproofness accepted at my risk)
    9) Crown/tube may be replaced if required
    10) Movement parts (not including the above) may be replaced if required

    etc, etc

    May seem onerous, but worked.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    It's been a few years since I sent a 4/5 digit ref back to Rolex for servicing, but when I did I never had any issues

    Things may well have changed in that time

    I dealt directly with RSC, so no middle man to confuse the message, and listed point-by-point what they could, and could not do.

    Something along the lines of..

    1) Do not polish case at all
    2) Do not polish caseback at all
    3) Bracelet/clasp may be refinished
    4) Service movement
    5) Do not replace hands
    6) Do not replace dial
    7) Do not replace datewheel
    8) Do not replace glass (lack of waterproofness accepted at my risk)
    9) Crown/tube may be replaced if required
    10) Movement parts (not including the above) may be replaced if required

    etc, etc

    May seem onerous, but worked.
    Did you get a 2 year guarantee with the service ?


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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodder View Post
    With the amount they charge for a service Iím not sure why a more personalised experience isnít possible. If itís a vintage watch and the owner has requested most parts not to have been replaced canít they have a quick conversation with the owner or AD to determine exactly what theyíd like.
    Because Rolex is not in the business of maintaing archives or being personal i.e boutiquey . The Rolex service cost is not that much.

    It's unfortunate what happened to the OP. General consenses is not to send anything that is not recent model to rolex, needs to be done directly & with a legal contract detailing each part.

  29. #29
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    I always have a list of parts that I donít want changed when sending vintage pieces in.
    Rolex wanted to change the mid case on my 1680 red as there was slight pitting.
    When I declined their generous offer the watch was serviced no problems and with a two year guarantee.
    The only difference is that it comes with a small card stating that the watch is not guaranteed waterproof to the dial depth rating, no problem!

  30. #30
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    Lesson learned for me. Thanks for all the advice and observations. If I get anything by way of a positive response from RSC, Iíll let you know.


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  31. #31
    Master RAFF's Avatar
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    Strange reading these accounts. When my dad had his 80s Explorer serviced about 5 years ago he asked for a sapphire crystal and was told that they wouldn't do that as all parts had to be in keeping with the original. They actually went into quite a spiel about it. I guess they've archived the parts for some models!

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by optix View Post
    Because Rolex is not in the business of maintaing archives or being personal i.e boutiquey . The Rolex service cost is not that much.

    It's unfortunate what happened to the OP. General consenses is not to send anything that is not recent model to rolex, needs to be done directly & with a legal contract detailing each part.
    Rolex are perfectly aware of the value of Ďkeeping things originalí when it suits them, hence all the limited supply of certain models, grey market prices etc etc, ever increasing prices justified because of value retention, then throw that all away when you get the watch serviced (which costs more than the average car, for some reason). Apparently they Ďknow what theyíre doingí but sometimes I do wonder - it all seems a bit too haphazard sometimes.


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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    Rolex are perfectly aware of the value of Ďkeeping things originalí when it suits them, hence all the limited supply of certain models, grey market prices etc etc, ever increasing prices justified because of value retention, then throw that all away when you get the watch serviced (which costs more than the average car, for some reason). Apparently they Ďknow what theyíre doingí but sometimes I do wonder - it all seems a bit too haphazard sometimes.


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    Unfortunately they do what suits them best at the time

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