- Precision Horology
Rolex Oyster Perpetual: A Complete Overhaul
Updated: Jan 31
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is an instantly recognizable classic. This particular model has a Rolex caliber 3000 beating away. The Caliber 3000 is certainly not my favorite movement from Rolex but nonetheless, it beats away and keeps good time. This is a chronometer-rated movement and the timing results attainable attest to that fact. This particular model was a steel & gold version.
Once opened, we can immediately see areas that need to be addressed. The gold-colored ring around the automatic block is not a design feature - it's worn on the plate from the automatic weight rubbing due to a worn axle. These movements are rhodium plated brass and the plating has been worn away.
As we dismantle the watch we can check all the functions. Endshakes are one of the most important things we can check to make sure everything is free and correct. We make adjustments as we go.
Here we see the movement being stripped down. The gear train is exposed.
Another issue noted was with the barrel. There was too much side shake which causes the barrel to tilt and foul the center wheel. If we leave this unchecked it will cause a loss in amplitude and eventually stop the watch. We can punch up the whole, ream out to work harden and check the side-shake. Problem solved. After cleaning we install a new mainspring.
May hobbyists and people interested in horology will ask me - what is the most important aspect of watch repairing? The answer is simple - cleanliness. It's an often underrated and neglected aspect. If watches aren't clean, they won't run. First, we peg out all the jewels with wood to clean old oil, then they will go through an ultrasonic pre-cleaning and then through a single-stage cleaning, 3 stage rinse, and heated drying.
Here we see the cleaning in progress. Once the movement is cleaned, we coat the relevant components with epilame. Epilame is a surface treatment that we apply to stop oil creep. It is used on the escape wheel, pallet fork, seconds wheel, ad reversing wheels on most Rolex movements.
We mentioned earlier that the axle was worn. Here we are replacing the old axle and installing the new one.
The movement is assembled and nearly complete.
The movement is now complete and cased up. We now begin the testing process for timing, power reserve, and water resistance.