Today I went to the Rolex dealer to ask how much it would cost to service my 94010 snowflake submariner watch. I was astounded at his estimate. So after careful consideration, I decided to try it myself.
I immediately encountered problems. The case back did not pry open as my previous diver watches from 30 years ago did. The gouges I made in the case and case back looked horrible, but I felt I could buff that out later. Next I went to Wal Mart and sure enough, found a watch case back opening tool. I tried that, and discovered there were no indentations for the tool to connect with, so I wondered What The F*&# now ! I decided I was going to not let this beat me, and submit to A real Rolex dealers gouging, so I busted out a hacksaw, and sawed some grooves on the case back, that the tool could grab, yep, it worked fine.
The movement would not come out, so I just unscrewed the stem and broke it off, figuring I could solder it back together later, cause I am a good solderer. I took the movement to the car wash and zapped it with a high pressure nozzle, It flew out of my hands a couple of times but I was able to get it back before it hit the drain. I wired it to the jeeps antennae to dry it out on my way back home.
I wanted it to be better lubed so as not to have to do this gain, so I gobbed Vaseline all over the newly cleaned movement and set it aside.
Next, I decided to polish the case, and pondered on how best to do this. The only tool I could think of, and guessed that the pro’s would do the same, was to take it to my grinder. I am smart……..so decided to change the grinding wheel to the finer grinding wheel so as not to take off to much metal, as I was told collectors don’t like over polished watches. I began slowly at first, but a couple of times the wheel grabbed the watch out of my hands and slung it across the room, putting dings on it that I now had to grind out also. Careful anyone who tries this at home, the case gets real hot, real fast. I as able to smooth out the case so all the bevels were now gone, and the case was without dings.
I took it to the red rouge wheel and knowing it will get hot, I held it instead with vise grips, and polished away for about two hours, and wa la…….it shined !
The case back gouges where I tried to pry it off earlier were a challenge at first. But I had a fix for this too, cause I am smart. MI got some steel epoxy and slapped it on there. I rand into another challenge here, as later I found the epoxy covered the threads……hmmmm….so I got a dremmel and went around the area, taking out the excess epoxy till I could see the threads again, easy enough right?
I took the newly lubed movement and gently placed it back into the shiny case. I re-inserted the winder thing and soldered it to the place I thought it was originally attached to. The case back went back on, albeit I did have to attach a cheater bar to the case back tool to get it screwed in to the proper depth, but really, it was no sweat.
All done, it doesn’t wind yet, I still have to heat up the watch on a stove burner to get the new lube up to operating temperature (98.6 degrees) but expect no problems.
The only real issue I have now is a strap will not fit onto the watch. Unknowingly I went a little too far on the case cleanup and ground past the holes on the lugs that the spring bars fit into. For now I will use it as a pocket watch until I can figure out how to re-drill those lug holes without damaging my newly refurbished prized Tudor Snowflake 94010.
I will follow up when I see how much better the accuracy is now that it was cleaned and lubed.