Rolex Service Report – Yachtmaster


Rolex Service - before

Back in September I mused about wearing or staring at a watch. I used my personal, 16-year-old daily wear Rolex Yachtmaster (the “Watch of the Open Seas”) as fodder. The watch had quit working, and after sitting on it for a few months, I finally sent it in for Rolex service. Here’s what happened . . .

You brute!

I also posted about my Yachmaster on a forum in the Rolex section. I was a bit surprised at some of the responses. I was excoriated for being “abusive” to the watch. I’m embarrassed to admit that my lifestyle is not nearly as “rough” as they claimed it must be, given the condition of the watch. The fanbois insistence on my errant Rolex-owning ways was as if I’d abused one of their own. Was it an enthusiasts’ forum? Or confessional?

I live the rather mundane life of a healthcare professional. I remove the watch for most of the day while seeing patients. It’s seen a lot of desk action, as I’m quite active on social media. I never subjected the Yachmaster to wrenching on cars, gardening, woodworking or beach volleyball. Admittedly, the photos made it look like my Rollie had seen action in the Iraqi “sandbox” during a perpetual windstorm.

Rolex Service Report - ugly

Restore or repair?

When I decided to take the Rolex in for service, I briefly considered declining the polish to keep the battle scars (assuming that was an option) . I chickened out. I decided to let the authorized dealer have their way with my viciously blemished timepiece. I returned the Rolex back to the dealer where my wife bought it, expecting a bill north of $750

I sheepishly turned my watch over to the pretty young lady at Hamilton’s Jewelers. “Wow,” she said. Suffice it to say, she wasn’t reacting to my rugged good looks or my charming repartee (not for lack of trying).

Dial 1(350) for platinum

Several days later, I got an emailed service estimate (below). You’ll notice the dealer added the option of replacing the platinum dial for $1350. They’d discovered two small scratches.

Several years ago, I dropped the watch face-down on a tile floor, shattering the crystal, causing the scratches. That crystal was replaced by… gasp… an unauthorized watch dealer.

I declined the $1350 replacement dial. Those small scars can be our little secret. But I did request replacing the hands and the crystal (since it wasn’t a genuine crystal). The service was done by an in-house Rolex-certified watchmaker, so the Yachtmaster didn’t have to return to its Swiss homeland.

My turn to say “wow”

I was anxious and curious about how the watch would look when I got it back. The final tab was $1,047. I wasn’t surprised by the bill, but very pleasantly surprised at the final result. Here it is fresh from the service.

Rolex service - after

Some of the commenters in my previous article asked to see the before/afters. Here’s the side-by-side comparo.

It was definitely worth the scratch to remove the scratches and receive an almost-like-new Yachtmaster. That said, I can’t promise my “rough and tumble” lifestyle won’t once again leave the Rolex bruised and battered. Circle of life and all that.


  1. I think I found the dial scratches, just to either side of center? They certainly didn’t do a Mumbai special heavy buffing job that loses details. I’m most impressed by whatever they did to the textured portion of the bevel, as you can’t buff out matte. I have to imagine they did some very fine grit-blasting.

    • There are a couple of blemishes on the dial where you spotted them – good eye. But, there’s an honest-to-goodness scratch at “2 o’clock” to the cyclops. In any case, I didn’t think the dial was worth $1350. I don’t plan on selling the watch. And, you have to really look for the scratches. I think there’s some “value” in preserving some of the “historical scars”… not wiping away all evidence.

      But, yeah… I was impressed with the bezel (the satin-matt / polished) results. And, the rest of the watch was not over-polished. As good a result as I could have wished for (and was admittedly a bit nervous about). All done locally!

  2. I love this restoration, since it’s not coming back perfect. It’s still “yours”.

    Post coming on the refurb (with a new dial) of my old Seamaster…we can compare and contrast.

  3. Good to see a review of a manufacturer servicing. I have to note that the pre-servicing center links were a lot more fingerprint resistant.

  4. I would be so delighted with a service like that!

    You can carry on with your everyday lifestyle wearing that watch with no worries if you know in the back of your mind what can be achieved by a Rolex service!!

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