Rolex in Canada

I’m thinking of getting my c.1961-vintage Submariner overhauled. Rolex USA charges $225 for the factory movement service plus parts. I want to get a new dial and hands with Luminox (?) markings to replace the refinished ones, plus a new bezel insert and in the US it the whole job will cost $542.25 plus tax. (The watch works fine, but I want it to be “perfect”.)

Do any Canadian Dopers know how much service would be in Vancouver? Would I save money by dropping it off next time I’m in B.C.; or by having the work done here?

You’re probably better off having the work done where you live. If your baby starts mis-behaving after the upgrade your Rolex owned and operated local service will possibly be more responsive to your concerns than one in Cananda.

Rolex Watch Service Centre (California) Inc.
9420 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, California 90212
Tel. + 1 310 271 6200
Fax: + 1 310 271 6250 Rolex discussion forum may also be of assistance.

These folks should be able to advise as to service locations in Vancouver


Rolex Building
50 St Clair Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario M4V 3B7
Tel. + 1 416 968 11 00
Fax: + 1 416 968 23 15
Monday - Friday:
8:30 am - 5:00 pm (EST)

Astro, thanks for the information. Los Angeles as an official Rolex service center is certainly news to me. I considered sending mine to Switzerland after being told by Someone In the Know that the Swiss are the only certified Rolex service specialists in the world.

On a related note, I’ve often wondered if taking a Rolex to a regular watch repairer is a good idea. Is it possible for someone to switch the inside components, as some suggest can happen? Seems unlikely to me.

Priced a replacement 18K Rolex watch band lately?

Thanks astro. I took it to Beverly Hills for the evaluation.

No worries about “local” service. Right now BH is local. In a few months I’ll be living about 30 or 40 miles from Vancouver, B.C. Just wondering which will be less expensive. I’ll have to call Rolex Canada on Monday.

I still haven’t decided if I want to take my c.late-1970s Sub in for service, or if I just want to sell it.

tsunamisurfer: I’ve heard horror stories about Rolexes being seized by U.S. Customs. I’d be careful about mailing it outside of the country. (If I opt for taking it to Canada, I’ll wear it both ways.)

Both of the Subs were bought from non-Rolex jewelers who did the work. Part of taking them to Rolex B.H. was to make sure they’re authentic and with the right movements (they are – and the evaluation is free). They run just fine. The older one has a refinished dial, and I really like the new Luminox (am I using the right name?) markings on my GMT-II. I’d like a new dial for the old Sub so that I can get the excellent luminescence. The '70s one has the original dial and the luminescence is completely gone. If I have it overhauled and have a new dial put in, then it won’t look right (not a concern with the older one, since the dial is refinished anyway). Right now I can sell it in “original configuration”. A new dial would make it more useful, but some people collect these things. If I keep it, I’ll get a new dial. If I sell it, I’ll leave it original.

I have a 1991 submariner, and have never had it serviced. I’m aware that it’s overdue–isn’t a service every 4-5 years recommended?

In any event, what’s the best way to get the watch serviced? A local jeweler here in Newport, RI says the watch can be be serviced in-house or be sent out. They say the service generally runs about $300 with parts.

I think I’d prefer it to be sent out to the most reputable place possible (in the U.S.). Some years ago I was told that I should send it to New York.

However, I don’t have any addresses or contact info handy, other than what came with my watch ten years ago.

I went to the official Rolex website, and incredibly, can’t find anything about service. How do I contact Rolex USA?

Any suggestions? Thanks!

BTW, tsunamisurfer, upon returning to the U.S. from Europe about 6 years ago, I got a lot of questions from U.S. Customs about my watch. They wanted to know if I had a receipt (from 4 years previously? Of course not!), where had I purchased it, etc. Eventually, they were satisfied with my answers and let me go.

Call Rolex in Beverly Hills (see astro’s post) and they can give you a number to your nearest RUSA service centre.>Rolex Quality>Rolex Around the
World>Impeccable After Sale Service>

Rolex Building
665 Fifth Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10022
Tel. + 1 212 758 77 00
Fax: + 1 212 371 03 71

Monday - Friday:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Good question, don’t know. I took mine to a jeweler I trust and he said, “I wouldn’t get it cleaned until it starts to give you problems.”

I’m not sure about that answer, frankly. All mechanical pieces require adequate lubricant. He suggested that I should keep the case sealed–which touches on a HUGE argument in the Rolex camp. Some believe you should keep the Oyster case sealed, others say it is irrelevant as long as the repairman is qualified.

I sure as heck will not be sending it to anyone in NYC. Love the city, but there have been too many media exposes about unethical jewelers in NYC and, without me standing over them with my .45, there’s just no way. Same thing with strands of pearls or precious gems. I know for a fact that some jewelers will pull the ol’ switcheroo if given a chance.

Vancouver? Lucky man, Johnny L.A.

I bought my c.1961 Submariner from a jeweler who specializes in fine watches. He had just overhauled it when I bought it, but when I took it to Rolex B.H. (mostly for authentication) they reported that “Movement oils dry/gaskets worn”. Since it had just been lubed, I’m guessing that they found worn gaskets. (They no doubt enter a code that matches one or more conditions that they found.) If you take your watch to a a Rolex Service Centre you’re guaranteed that it will be up to Rolex standards. If you take it to a jeweler it might not be. (BTW: The watch runs fine. I’d just like to get a new dial with Luminova – I finally remembered the word – and they won’t do that unless you get the Factory Movement Service.)

Keep the case sealed? If the tech is qualified, there shouldn’t be a problem. There really isn’t a “seal” after all. It’s just a screwed on back. With the proper tool the back can be removed by anyone. As long as you don’t damage the gasket (I think there’s one, but it might just be a really good fit – I’ll have to check my book) you should be okay. But you’d have to make sure the tech is really qualified before you let him start taking pieces out.

Rolex have a procedure that they follow when they service a watch:

Diagnosis. Identification allows a paper-trail to be created or added to for your watch. Then they evaluate the condition of the watch and make service recommendations. (This is what happened with the two Subs – basically, and “estimate”.) The watch is then timed in several positions to check performance.

Disassembly The movement is completely disassembled and every part is inspected and ultrasonically cleaned in solutions to remove dried and congealed lubricants.

Lubrication The movement is lubricated with the proper oils.

Timing The timing is calibrated and observed and tested over several days.

Case and Bracelet The bracelet is examined and serviced as necessary. The case is hand-refinished. The case and bracelet are ultrasonically cleaned

Pressure Testing “Utilizing a vacuum and compressed air test, a Rolex technician will verify the unique protective features of the Oyster case in a pressure tank where it is completely submerged in water.”

Wrist Motion Simulation The technician puts on the watch and then heads off to the Men’s room with some porn magazines. No, actually the watch is put onto a machine that simulates wrist motion to make sure the self-winding mechanism is performing to original standards.

Quality Control The watch is examined one more time before it is returned.

There is no guarantee that an independent jeweler will do all of these things.

As for Vancouver, I’m not moving to Canada. They have this “thing” about people owning firearms up there. But Birch Bay, WA is only several miles from the Canadian border, and it’s much closer to drive to Vancouver than it is to drive to Seattle – about 1/3 the distance.