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Thread: Rolex won't service my wife's Lady Datejust

  1. #1
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    Rolex won't service my wife's Lady Datejust

    Dropped my wife's lady Datejust to an AD to send to Rolex for service. Got a call from them with an unexpected problem. They quoted standard service £550 & new crystal £110. However they said Rolex informed them that the dial is not correct for her watch & they will have to replace it with the correct dial otherwise they will not service it.

    I explained to them that we bought it new from an AD back in 1999 and it was chosen from one of their display pieces. We have the box & papers and even the original purchase receipt. It has never been serviced in 22 years of ownership & rarely left her wrist.

    Rolex are adamant that it's not the correct dial and refuse to service the watch unless they replace the dial with one that they say is the correct one. Needless to say my wife is not having it as it has sentimental value in that I bought it for her on our first anniversary.

    What realistically can we do?

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  2. #2
    Master MakeColdplayHistory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zen123 View Post
    What realistically can we do?
    Have it serviced by a good independent e.g. http://www.watchworks.co.uk/about-us.html ?

  3. #3
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    Thatís bizarre.

    Only thing I can think of is to try and deal with Rolex directly and be persistent.

  4. #4
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    Might we see a clear and in focus close-up of the dial please ?

  5. #5
    Is the AD still in existence? They might be able to clarify the situation or get some leverage to the service Center.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by MakeColdplayHistory View Post
    Have it serviced by a good independent e.g. http://www.watchworks.co.uk/about-us.html ?
    +1 for Rocco at Watchworks.

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  7. #7
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    How odd. Are they saying it's a dial out of another watch? I heard back in the day ADs would swap dials, bracelets etc on request, so perhaps it was swapped at the AD.

    Still, if Rolex sold it like that, Rolex should service it like that. I'd be fuming tbh!

  8. #8
    Craftsman Idontgram's Avatar
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    To be fair to Rolex, they arenít to know if an AD swapped out parts 22 years ago or if itís someoneís weird mod project.

    I personally think it would be reasonable for them to offer to service any watch with original Rolex parts throughout but if thatís not their policy, theyíre at least being consistent.

    Sorry to hear it OP, sounds like youíre stuck as servicing is at their discretion but hopefully an opportunity for an independent to do business and probably cheaper for you too.

  9. #9
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    When my brother bought his DJ about twenty years ago, the AD swapped parts out of other watches to build his as he wanted. Chopping and changing parts on a DJ was commonplace back then and Iím pretty sure it was supported by Rolex.

  10. #10
    My wife bought a Datejust about 30 years ago but the AD only had one and she wanted a different coloured
    dial, AD got one from Rolex and swapped it. As others have said think this was pretty common back then
    rather than them order a whole new watch. Never had any issue servicing.
    Not sure if Rolex kept a record of if a watch had a dial swap.

  11. #11
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    Same experience here with my first Rolex. It was a TT DJ on jubilee and I wanted a white dial with Romans. The AD swopped dials to get me what I wanted, and indicated it was a routine thing.
    Never had the watch serviced tho so can't comment on that aspect.

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  12. #12
    I can imagine that happening OP

    My wife has an OP Date, she bought it around 20 years ago from an AD close to us. It was perfect but she preferred the silver dial rather than the blue it had... so it was changed prior to pick up.

    Come the day, she was very pleased with it and spent a happy week with it until we noticed it said ‘Date Just’ on the dial!

    Had the correct silver dial fitted eventually, but easy to see how many Rolex’s may have alternative dials in them.

  13. #13
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    These are the dial options Rolex said can change to on my wife's watch at our expense. The dial fitted to her watch is like the one arrowed except it has sunburst blue background instead of Rolex plastered all over.

    I called Rolex Kent earlier and asked them if the dial was fake or aftermarket to which they said it was genuine Rolex. I am fully aware that in years gone by the AD would change dials at the customer's request & obviously this was endorsed by Rolex at the time. When my wife chose this particular piece we were not informed that the dial was swapped. Unfortunately the AD is no longer here.

    I believe Rolex are being a bit unreasonable here and they just added another reason why I should stop buying Rolex watches. Anyway I've asked them to send the watch back & we'll probably send it to Rocco at Watchworks.


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  14. #14
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    There has to be more to this. What is the model number of your watch and may we have a picture of it with the dial in?

    If as related so far, the refusal to service would mark a significant and strange change in policy. Previously, if all parts were Rolex then a watch would be serviced.

    I currently have a Daytona 116520 in stock that has a black / diamond dot dial from a white gold model. Rolex have serviced it with that dial --- most conspicuously not original to the model.

  15. #15
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    I think it's a ref 69174 bought from new in 1999. Here's a picture of it.

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  16. #16
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    Would more likely be a 79174 if it were a 1999 watch, but the change to 2235 calibre movement was circa 1996 IIRC so if old stock when you bought it then could still conceivably be a 2135 calibre 69174.

    I can see no reason why Rolex would not service that watch with this dial in place, unless it were somehow in some unacceptable state and needed to be replaced. They certainly always would have serviced it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haywood_Milton View Post
    Would more likely be a 79174 if it were a 1999 watch, but the change to 2235 calibre movement was circa 1996 IIRC so if old stock when you bought it then could still conceivably be a 2135 calibre 69174.

    I can see no reason why Rolex would not service that watch with this dial in place, unless it were somehow in some unacceptable state and needed to be replaced. They certainly always would have serviced it.
    The only reason they gave was that the dial did not come with the watch & that they will only service it if we replaced the dial with any of those they specified.

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  18. #18
    Could it be that they just think that the dial needs replacing and like for like isnít an option?

  19. #19
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    Anyway it looks like Rolex won't budge on their position so I've asked for the watch to be returned. We will be looking at getting it serviced by an I independent watchmaker.

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  20. #20
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    Duncan at Genesis is another Rolex accredited independent with a good reputation. He revitalised the 26mm Datejust I bought here (new crystal, new official Rolex dial and movement service). All in all a very good experience.

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  21. #21
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    That dial is correct for a 69179 all white gold and several other models, but not for 69174 for some reason. Rolex are really being silly here (but this is protocol in Geneva these days), so call it back and service locally. TBH sh1t like this is reason enough to look away from Rolex, they've gone full blown megalomaniacs, somehow thinking what they produce isnt run of the mill mass produced trinkets.

    They'd be better of spending some time on fixing the 32XX calibre which is having huge teething problems and endless warranty repairs...

  22. #22
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zen123 View Post
    Anyway it looks like Rolex won't budge on their position so I've asked for the watch to be returned. We will be looking at getting it serviced by an I independent watchmaker.

    Sent from my SM-G991B using Tapatalk
    Personally I wouldn't let them off the hook without escalating it first. Kick up a stink, you'll feel better for it!

    They sold you that watch. They should service it. Whether the dial matches their brochure or not, it's the product they sold, and they know full well ADs swapped dials and the donor watches were sold too with the swapped out dial.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 744ER View Post

    They'd be better of spending some time on fixing the 32XX calibre which is having huge teething problems and endless warranty repairs...
    Care to expand? What the issue with 32xx movement?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    Personally I wouldn't let them off the hook without escalating it first. Kick up a stink, you'll feel better for it!

    They sold you that watch. They should service it. Whether the dial matches their brochure or not, it's the product they sold, and they know full well ADs swapped dials and the donor watches were sold too with the swapped out dial.
    I would do this!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 744ER View Post
    That dial is correct for a 69179 all white gold and several other models,
    Are the other models also gold? I wonder if Rolex disapprove because the dial is exclusive to precious metal models and is seen as an unseemly upgrade?

    But then it was fitted by a Rolex dealer so perhaps not.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    Personally I wouldn't let them off the hook without escalating it first. Kick up a stink, you'll feel better for it!

    They sold you that watch. They should service it. Whether the dial matches their brochure or not, it's the product they sold, and they know full well ADs swapped dials and the donor watches were sold too with the swapped out dial.
    Thereís no right to have a watch serviced, they can do as they wish.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Thereís no right to have a watch serviced, they can do as they wish.
    There's no right to good service in general, that doesn't mean we shouldn't expect it. If someone changes the watch I understand it, but it's all original Rolex parts in the original configuration sold, of course they should service it.

    If Rolex didn't provide servicing they'd sell a lot less watches, so let's not pretend it's not part of their offering when selling the watch in the first place.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    Personally I wouldn't let them off the hook without escalating it first. Kick up a stink, you'll feel better for it!

    They sold you that watch. They should service it. Whether the dial matches their brochure or not, it's the product they sold, and they know full well ADs swapped dials and the donor watches were sold too with the swapped out dial.
    But surely the issue is with the dealer swapping the dial not Rolex. They arenít refusing to service it. They are saying they wonít service it with the dial it has currently. Rolex didnít sell the watch the dealer did.

  29. #29
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Lovely dial. If the watch was sold by an Authorised Dealer then presumably they would have been authorised to put in that dial.

    I wouldn't be happy being treated like I'd submitted something dodgy for service. I would complain. I'm guessing the new dial was on an exchange basis.

    Great things have been said on this forum and thread about Duncan, Rocco and even Stephen Hale. I'd give one of them a call but still complain.

  30. #30
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    But surely the issue is with the dealer swapping the dial not Rolex. They arenít refusing to service it. They are saying they wonít service it with the dial it has currently. Rolex didnít sell the watch the dealer did.
    An AD is the authorised representative for the brand, so I don't consider this a get-out-of-jail-free card for them personally. Plus as per the thread it was common practice at the time so evidently Rolex tacitly approved and benefited from the sales. You wouldn't see it happened today as the AD would be reprimanded.

    Personally I think Rolex stinks on this one. Usually I'm on the side of the service centre when they refuse to cater for unusual servicing requests, but this is just being pedantic at the expense of the customer for no good reason IMO.

  31. #31
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    Iím not sure being a dealer ďauthorisesĒ you to swap a dial on a watch. I would have thought being a dealer letís you sell the watch not modify it.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    Iím not sure being a dealer ďauthorisesĒ you to swap a dial on a watch. I would have thought being a dealer letís you sell the watch not modify it.
    The reality is is it was common practice, evidently accepted by Rolex at the time, and the ADs were acting as an agent on behalf of the brand. This wasn't one AD doing something dodgy, this was just the norm at that period in time.

    Rolex should stand by the product they sold IMO.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    The reality is is it was common practice, evidently accepted by Rolex at the time, and the ADs were acting as an agent on behalf of the brand. This wasn't one AD doing something dodgy, this was just the norm at that period in time.

    Rolex should stand by the product they sold IMO.
    Iím not sure there is much actual evidence to say it was common practice just anecdotal and whilst itís an issue for the OP in view of the sentimental aspect of the watch I would still contend itís the dealer who is the culprit not Rolex. Rolex will service the watch just not with the dial thatís on there.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    There's no right to good service in general, that doesn't mean we shouldn't expect it. If someone changes the watch I understand it, but it's all original Rolex parts in the original configuration sold, of course they should service it.

    If Rolex didn't provide servicing they'd sell a lot less watches, so let's not pretend it's not part of their offering when selling the watch in the first place.
    Yes, if we pay for service, we should expect good service.

    If the OP's experience is Rolex policy that's their choice. They are under no obligation to service a 20+ year old watch. Maybe they'll sell less watches in future, again their decision.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    Iím not sure there is much actual evidence to say it was common practice just anecdotal and whilst itís an issue for the OP in view of the sentimental aspect of the watch I would still contend itís the dealer who is the culprit not Rolex. Rolex will service the watch just not with the dial thatís on there.
    I'm a Rolex watchmaker working and have worked at 2 ADs, we swap dials all the time its nothing unusual. Especially on pricey pieces, if someone wants to shell up for a yellow gold daytona but they want a MOP diamond dial instead of a standard dial, we fit it while they wait with a champagne glass in hand.... The issue here is that some dials according to rolex are designated for only certain references. Watches with steel bezels for instance can't have diamond dials, yet sometimes you see a 116200 with a diamond dial etc...

    This one is a bit strange and stupid because the dial is allowed on the 79174 but not on 69174.... it's just rolex being anal retentive, as per. And therefore the OP should not accept it and ask for his watch back.

  36. #36
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    Iím not sure there is much actual evidence to say it was common practice just anecdotal and whilst itís an issue for the OP in view of the sentimental aspect of the watch I would still contend itís the dealer who is the culprit not Rolex. Rolex will service the watch just not with the dial thatís on there.
    Seems enough folk on here have commented on it, unless they all happen to share the same AD. I don't think a customer buying a Rolex off the shelf from an authorised dealer should have to face the 'it's not us it's the dealer' excuse, that's why we buy from an AD. Rolex has that relationship with the AD, it's on them to manage it, not the customer IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Yes, if we pay for service, we should expect good service.

    If the OP's experience is Rolex policy that's their choice. They are under no obligation to service a 20+ year old watch. Maybe they'll sell less watches in future, again their decision.
    I'm not claiming they have to service it, no business has to sell a service. I'm claiming they should service it, because it's the right thing to do in the circumstances given the watch is being submitted as sold by their AD.

    Perhaps they should offer the customer a new DateJust if the one they originally took their money for is apparently not up to spec. Hmm...

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post

    I'm not claiming they have to service it, no business has to sell a service. I'm claiming they should service it, because it's the right thing to do in the circumstances given the watch is being submitted as sold by their AD.

    Perhaps they should offer the customer a new DateJust if the one they originally took their money for is apparently not up to spec. Hmm...
    The AD took their money.

  38. #38
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    The AD took their money.
    And gave the majority of it to Rolex... what's the point of the A part of AD?

    Anyway, evidently we disagree on this, let's not drag it out

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    Personally I wouldn't let them off the hook without escalating it first. Kick up a stink, you'll feel better for it!

    They sold you that watch. They should service it. Whether the dial matches their brochure or not, it's the product they sold, and they know full well ADs swapped dials and the donor watches were sold too with the swapped out dial.
    I agree with this.

    Other comments here appear to be Rolex apologists. The only way you can buy a Rolex from Rolex is through one of their authorised dealers. These are very expensive luxury items that need servicing, and Rolex offers servicing so should do the job as that is how the watch was sold to their customer. Rolex has got it wrong here.

  40. #40
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    Rolex are willing to service this watch....but on their terms, and charges. After many years itís not that terrible is it? And thereís always the option of an independent. Hardly something to get too worked-up about. Itís given good service, and will again.

  41. #41
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    Yes it really is that terrible I would say.

    Along with the guy a few posts away who won't even be considered for a waiting list.

    A guy a week or so ago after buying 40 rolex over the years could not get on the waiting list either.

    Great service from both the brand and thei AD in question.

    Nah total BS it is what it is.



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  42. #42
    Craftsman Go Big's Avatar
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    I've had two different AD'S offer to swap dials, both within the last five years.
    One also swapped the bracelet on a Date just for me two years ago.
    Still a bit naughty to not service it.

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  43. #43
    Rolex sell you the watch - happy to take your money

    Now wonít service it without said dial change - not great - and even if wife agreed - equals more money

    You get watch back and go independent - Rolex get no money

    You donít buy another Rolex - they get no further money from you

    Now ask yourself - do they give a toss at losing your business? No. A gazillion salivating fan boy wannabes will coo and boast about the crown on their ďpieceĒ when you are long gone from the queue

    Do yourself the favour - vote with your feet - you might feel better - they donít care either way

    From the little I know Haywood is the expert of class here - and he would know - just my take on it all


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  44. #44
    Craftsman SydR's Avatar
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    Rolex won't service my wife's Lady Datejust

    Thread title is misleading. Rolex will service the watch but on their terms.

    Iím assuming Rolex are having this stance as itís what they see as an invalid combination. Pretty rubbish of them if that is the case. OP is doing the right thing by asking for watch back and going to an independent.

    Though I donít all this stuff about being sentimental about inanimate objects Ií certainly wouldnít be happy to have to pay to get a perfectly good dial swapped out.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by paskinner View Post
    Rolex are willing to service this watch....but on their terms, and charges. After many years itís not that terrible is it? And thereís always the option of an independent. Hardly something to get too worked-up about. Itís given good service, and will again.

    It's terrible that they won't return a serviced watch with the perfectly good dial it has. It's terrible they seem to want to charge the going rate to fit an unwanted and unneeded dial.

    Do you think the watch would have been purchased if the understanding was that in the future Rolex would demand it is returned to a state the buyer didn't like?

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by JonRA View Post
    Duncan at Genesis is another Rolex accredited independent with a good reputation. He revitalised the 26mm Datejust I bought here (new crystal, new official Rolex dial and movement service). All in all a very good experience.

    Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk
    Duncan has changed the dials on two of my Rolexes, the first I was even allowed by Rolex to keep the original dial but the second had to be done on an exchange basis...

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  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by kace View Post
    It's terrible that they won't return a serviced watch with the perfectly good dial .....

    Do you think the watch would have been purchased if the understanding was that in the future Rolex would demand it is returned to a state the buyer didn't like?
    It’s an old watch. We can’t know the full history of all this. Rolex surely have the right to set conditions, after all, no-one has to accept.
    Personally, I’d just use a good independent and not worry. Some things really don’t matter much.

  48. #48
    If the dial is originally from a DJ that was more expensive, gold, would Rolex be like this if you presented a gold DJ that had a dial from steel model? Or are Rolex like this in every permutation?
    Last edited by Rob; 1st May 2021 at 13:35.

  49. #49
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    Sheer arrogance from Rolex, they need to remind themselves who actually owns the watch, it isn’t their property.

    Rolex Service Centre will be following the guidelines they’re told to follow, its a ridiculous situation.

  50. #50
    Leaving aside all the arguments, it boils down to whether dial swaps in past were actually approved by Rolex or not?
    I see a lot of presumably, evidently etc but nothing concrete. I understand that information might be hard to obtain.
    May be they always had the policy but were selective in enforcing it or turning a blind eye.
    Your argument should be that you were sold the watch in current configuration by an AD and that you had no way of knowing that dial had been swapped and you would not expect an AD to sell you a watch with a modification without alerting you to the fact. See what their response it.

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