It's About Time

Which Watch Should I Buy?
I am often asked this question by my customers. Before a question like that can be answered, I have to ask for what type of watch you are looking.
  What purpose will the watch serve? 
There are many different watches made for many different purposes and you need to know how the watch will be used. 
What do you need the watch to do? 
First, you need to know if the watch will be a dress watch worn only on evenings out, or will it be a watch you will wear while working in the garden? A dress watch can be slim and elegant, more like a piece of jewelry; a work watch should be more durable and easy to read.
 Do you need the watch to be water-resistant? 
Will you wear it in the shower or diving? 
There is a big price difference between a water-resistant watch and a professional diver’s watch. 
Do you want a watch you can wear in the shower or a watch that will be used for scuba diving?
 Gaskets should be coated with a silicon-based lubrication when the watch is opened and available locally if they are damaged.
What functions do you need?
 Do you want a calendar, a stopwatch, a watch that gives time in more than one time zone, an alarm? 
How much accuracy do you want?
 Do you time sporting events or is accuracy within a minute or two a day close enough for you? 
Do you want a mechanical watch or a quartz watch? 
A quartz watch uses a battery that needs replacing every one to three years but usually does not require as much maintenance as a mechanical. A mechanical watch uses a mainspring for power and requires cleaning and oiling every four years or they are subject to wear. Quartz watches are generally more accurate but many people prefer the “art,” shall we say, of the mechanical watch. 
Are you looking for a work watch that you need for the time function only, or are you looking for a watch that will be passed down in the family? 
I repair many watches that came from fathers and grandfathers. 
Are you looking for an investment?
 Watches can be a good investment if you are careful and study the market for used watches.

 How much money do you want to spend?
 Are you prepared to spend thirty dollars, three hundred, or three thousand? 
You might spend one hundred and twenty dollars on a work watch or several thousand on a precision high-grade watch. There are watches available on today’s market that sell for seventy or eighty thousand dollars. 
Do you want a gold plated case or do you need stainless steel? 
The thickness of gold plating today is measured in microns; stainless steel wears forever but only comes in white. Titanium watches are available but band replacement might be a problem. Several years ago watches appeared on the market with the band integral to the case. When the band wears out, as bands do, will you be able to replace it. Seiko has a policy of discontinuing parts, bands included, after the watch is ten years old. Is the crystal – the glass covering over the face of the watch – easy to replace or will it have to be specially cut? Round and flat crystals are readily available but a faceted crystal might not be available a few years from now. 
Is the crown – the part used to set the watch – easily replaced? 
Rolex crowns, for example, are easy to replace but are lock-down crowns that require the threaded tube to be replaced at the same time. They require more time than a dress watch that can usually be repaired in a day. In the last few years some watch manufacturers have decided not to supply watchmakers with the parts to repair their watch, so the watch must go to the factory; sometimes for something as simple as a new gasket or a crown. Sending a watch to a repair center means packing and shipping and waiting six weeks or more for your watch to be returned. There are several local watchmakers competent to repair and seal any watch available but are constrained by the lack of a part. 
To summarize: Decide what you want and purchase a watch that has only the functions you need and no more. The parts that are most subject to damage or wear are the BAND, CRYSTAL, CROWN, and GASKET. You should be able to replace the band with whatever type of band you want; expansion, leather strap, or bracelet. The crystals, crowns and gaskets should be available locally.

All About Water Resistance

Water Resistance is the term used to indicate the amount of pressure a watch can withstand under water at a specific depth without leaking or losing accuracy. Water-resistant is a term approved by the Federal Trade Commission, they disallow the term waterproof. Water resistance and depth are not the same. A watch is tested at the specified depth at a temperature of 18c-25c and stationary. Any movement through the water changes causes pressure changes. There are several degrees of water-resistance. Note that no watch should be worn in the shower or bath as the chemicals in soaps and shampoos will damage the gaskets.
Non-water-resistant. These watches will leak if any water gets on the case or crown. : General water-resistant watches can withstand minor moisture from splashing but should not be worn for swimming, diving, bathing or showering. These watches are the most misunderstood. Most people believe that water-resistant printed on the dial means the watch is sealed for swimming, diving, showering, etc. Not true. General water-resistant watches should not be used underwater. : can be used for swimming in shallow water, but not for snorkeling or other water sports. are often called diver’s watches and can be used for snorkeling, swimming and other water sports, but not for high board diving or sub aqua diving. is suitable for high impact water sports and aqua diving not requiring helium are professional diver’s watches and can be worn for deep-water diving.
Water-resistance is not permanent. Gaskets around the case back, the crown and the crystal are subject to wear. They can deteriorate in time and should be inspected periodically. For deep water diving watches I change the gaskets if there is any question and water test them in a pressure chamber. This involves more time and expense than a general water-resistant watch. Checking the gaskets in a general water-resistant watch can often be just a visual inspection. The application of silicone lubrication can extend the life of the gaskets and can be done when replacing the cell. 

International Standards Organization
 (ISO0 2281)
 
Non-water-resistant These watches will leak if any water gets on the case or crown.

30meters/100feet/3BAR: General water-resistant watches can withstand minor moisture from splashing but should not be worn for swimming, diving, bathing or showering. These watches are the most misunderstood. Most people believe that water-resistant printed on the dial means the watch is sealed for swimming, diving, showering, etc. Not true. General water-resistant watches should not be used underwater.

50meters/164feet/5BAR: can be used for swimming in shallow water, but not for snorkeling or other water sports.

100meters/328feet/10BAR: are often called diver’s watches and can be used for snorkeling, swimming and other water sports, but not for high board diving or sub aqua diving.
 
200meters/662feet/20BAR: is suitable for high impact water sports and aqua diving not requiring helium
 
300-1000meters: are professional diver’s watches and can be worn for deep-water diving.

Rolex Production Dates


 During the past several years there has been an increasing demand for used wrist watches. Especially high-grade mechanical watches. Rolex is high on the list of most requested used watches; as they should be: they are well made, accurate, and durable. An old Rolex should be around for years to come. Over fifty percent of the Rolexes that come in for service were inherited or purchased used. I am often asked if I can tell the age of the Rolex, and as every Rolex has a serial number it is not difficult to date. The following is a list of serial numbers with the production date. To find the serial number on your Rolex you will have to remove the band at the 6:00 side. Printed between the case lugs is the serial number. This is the case serial number and not the movement serial number which is on the movement inside. Most watches are dated using the movement serial number but for Rolex use the case serial number. The number between the lugs on the 12:00 side is the case number, used for ordering crystals, gaskets, crowns, bands, bezels, and anything to do with the case. From 1955 through 1958 Rolex changed the continuation of serial numbering but got back on track in 1959. In 1987 they switched to a fraction, letter and numbering system. The fraction should tell you the time of the year the watch was produced.


Below are the Rolex Production Dates

1925 - 25,000
1926 - 28,500
1927 - 30,500
1928 - 33,000
1929 - 35,500
1930 - 38,000
1931 - 40,000
1932 - 43,000
1933 - 47,000
1934 - 55,000
1935 - 68,000
1936 - 81,000
1937 - 99,000
1938 - 118,000
1939 - 136,000
1940 - 165,000
1941 - 194,000
1942 - 224,000
1943 - 253,000
1944 - 285,000
1945 - 348,000
1946 - 413,000
1947 - 478,000
1948 - 543,000
1949 - 608,000
1950 - 673,500
1951 - 738,500
1952 - 804,000
1953 - 950,000
1954 - 999,999
1955 - 200,000
1956 - 400,000
1957 - 600,000
1958 - 800,000
1959 - 1,100,000
1960 - 1,401,000
1961 - 1,480,000
1962 - 1,557,000
1963 - 1,635,000
1964 - 1,713,000
1965 - 1,792,000
1966 - 1,870,000
1967 - 2,164,000
1968 - 2,426,000
1969 - 2,689,000
1970 - 2,952,000
1972 - 3,478,000
1973 - 3,741,000
1974 - 4,002,000
1975 - 4,266,000
1976 - 4,538,000
1977 - 5,005,000
1978 - 5,481,000
1979 - 5,965,000
1980 - 6,432,000
1981 - 6,910,000
1982 - 7,385,000
1983 - 7,860,000
1984 - 8,338,000
1985 - 8,815,000
1986 - 9,292,000
1987 - 9,765,000
        1987 - 1/2 - 9,999,999
      1987 - 3/4 - R00,001
1988 - R999,999
1989 - L000,001
1990 - L999,999
        1990 - 1/2 - E000,001
        1991 - 1/4 - E999,999
        1991 - 1/2 - X000,001
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