• Sandra K Stewart

The story behind my ROLEX; & how to care for luxury timepieces...

My first Investment timepiece- a classic Rolex Oyster Perpetual...

I use the term "investment" loosely.. To clarify- this is a timeless wardrobe accessory that I will not replace, and love for all of my lifetime- rather than a traditional "investment" that will serve me well throughout my life financially.

I purchased my dream watch as a 'F*** y**' " I can achieve everything I've ever dreamt of on my own' after a bitter separation.

ALOT of money... VERY WELL SPENT.... In the two short years that followed the end of a long term relationship ( albeit crushingly painful) I proudly had achieved everything I had been begging a previous partner for. ON MY OWN...

I was in a sinking ship financially with a seriously reckless partner and found myself in an out of body experience watching my own dreams of wealth, health and happiness being stripped away before my eyes! With little to no control over the inevitable and devastating outcome....

After such an experience, I vowed to get what I wanted independent of anyone else.

No one would ever come between my own financial wellness and the future of my daughters life outcomes and assets ever again..

After saving for my daughters future (as a priority), returning to study and saving over six figures in investments as a single mum, I proudly waltzed into Rolex and purchased my dream watch in CASH. No credit needed!

That moment was all mine. No friends, no partner, no family accompanying me to the store. Just little old me on my lonesome off to make some of my wildest dreams come true.


In the fews years that followed I've achieved more on my own than over a decade with the wrong company.

Upon reflection I cant think of buying such a special piece for a better reason.

Every time I look at my favourite watch, Im reminded of my own grit, determination and courage to achieve the things I was told I would never do on may own...

Especially with a young child to care for full time and seemingly every obstacle against me....

Work and achievements truly worthy of an investment purchase!

So after owning the watch and wearing it at least fifty percent of the time, I've learnt a few things -

the single most important- I'm so glad I purchased a classic! Thank goodness I had the common sense to buy a colour combination and style that's, practical, can be dressed up and down, and is true to the Rolex brand and iconic heritage. I also bought a smaller more classic womens style as the bigger trendy watches didn't suit my overall style.

Most people don't realise you need to WEAR the watch to keep it perpetual movement. As Drake says.. 'This is a rolly- it shh never stops.." ( Well they do if you dont wear them) When you wear your Rolex daily, you don’t need to wind it. If you take it off and set it aside, the watch will retain its “charge” for two days or more, depending on the model. However, if you haven’t worn your Rolex for more than a couple of days and the watch has stopped, I recommend that you manually wind it when you set the time before putting it on.

Note: If you ever wondered why luxury travel manufactures like Louis Vuitton make rotating watch trunks this is why.....

Its a great watch (performance wise) "At Rolex we want to ensure that your watch performs as well throughout your life as on the day you bought it." Rolex

Im so glad its practical.. I love that I'm not afraid to wash my hands, get it wet or go to the gym in wearing it...

I realised accessories can elevate an entire outfit! Transforming a basic look by adding iconic and classic jewellery is not to be underestimated. My Chanel bags I don't take to the gym.. My Cartier and Rolex do.. ALL STYLE - ALL DAY!

SO.... The "caring for" part... Its recommended to obviously avoid ridiculously hazardous activities and practicing basic care and respect for your watch.

Its recommend to service the watch and also to refrain from non official customisations as this voids warranty. ( I would also add don't repair it elsewhere for the five years of Warranty) and only go to professional watch dealers there after .. If you must....

Details below for Rolex servicing and warranty taken from

Every Rolex is subjected to a stringent set of tests to ensure its precision and reliability. Our confidence in our ever-stricter quality assurance allows us to set a new standard in watchmaking: all new Rolex watches bought as of 1 July 2015 now come with an international 5-year guarantee. Watches bought between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2015 have all had their guarantee extended to 3 years.

All that is needed is to give your Rolex just the smallest bit of care.  A Rolex that is worn every day requires little looking after.  You just have to make sure to screw down the crown tightly to ensure its waterproofness, after you wind it up manually, reset the time or change the date.

I would also advise servicing your watch...

The Rolex service procedure is designed to ensure that every timepiece leaving a Rolex workshop complies with its original functional and aesthetic specifications.

Each movement is completely overhauled and each case and bracelet is meticulously refinished to restore its lustre. Timekeeping accuracy and water-resistance are rigorously tested to guarantee the level of quality and reliability you naturally expect from a Rolex watch.

This is the offical process ROLEX follow-

Step 1 DISASSEMBLY The bracelet is detached from the watch case. The case is opened and the movement removed. The case is then completely disassembled.

Step 2

CLEANING THE MOVEMENT The movement is dismantled and each component is ultrasonically cleaned in specially formulated solutions.

Step 3

REPLACEMENT OF COMPONENTS A Rolex watchmaker closely examines each individual component of the movement and identifies which components require replacement. Only genuine replacement parts supplied directly by Rolex Headquarters in Switzerland are used.

Step 4

LUBRICATION AND REASSEMBLY Using the most advanced lubricants, each functional component of the movement is carefully lubricated to minimise friction and prevent wear. This ensures that the movement of your Rolex timepiece will continue to perform accurately.

Step 5

TIMING CALIBRATIONS The heart of your Rolex watch movement is its balance wheel, which has a frequency of over 690,000 beats per day. To ensure timekeeping precision, the watchmaker meticulously adjusts the balance wheel and electronically tests its timing accuracy. Your Rolex is then thoroughly tested and carefully observed over a period of several days to verify its performance.

Step 6 REFINISHING THE CASE AND BRACELET The same keen attention to detail that is devoted to servicing the movement of your Rolex also goes into servicing its case and bracelet. After initial cleaning, the case and bracelet of your watch are closely examined and any worn or damaged components replaced with genuine Rolex parts. Your case and bracelet are then expertly refinished and ultrasonically cleaned to restore lustre.

Step 7 REASSEMBLY OF THE CASE The case is carefully reassembled and all the seals replaced to guarantee waterproofness.

Step 8

WATERPROOF TESTS The watch case is rigorously tested to ensure it meets pressure-resistance requirements. The three-step process – a vacuum test, a compression test and a condensation test – will reveal the presence of even the smallest amount of moisture inside the case.

Step 9

FINAL QUALITY CONTROL Rigorous quality checks are carried out at each stage of the servicing process. During the final check, the power reserve, timing accuracy and aesthetic appearance of your watch are verified one last time against manufacturing specifications to guarantee the highest possible standard of quality.

Step 10

THE TWO-YEAR SERVICE GUARANTEE After a complete service, your Rolex is covered by a two-year Service Guarantee. This guarantee excludes any damage or deterioration that results from an accident or from mishandling of the watch. Any intervention by a non-Rolex-authorised third party or the addition of any non-Rolex-manufactured parts or accessories will void the Service Guarantee.

After a service, it is important to wind your Rolex manually before wearing it for the first time. To do this, unscrew the crown to the winding position and turn it clockwise about 20 times. Please remember to screw the crown back down properly against the case in order to guarantee waterproofness.

OK Soooo... What if you're out of offical Rolex warranty and disaster strikes?! A scuff, deep scratch or breakage????

Never fear there are a number of repair and polishing services available from authorised watch dealers like Nichloas Hacko that can help..


Suite 403, Level 4, Culwulla Chambers 67 Castlereagh St. Sydney 2000 NSW Australia Phone: (02) 9232 0500     Fax: (02) 9233 2273 Mon - Thurs: 11am - 5pm     Fri: 11am - 3.30pm

Master Watchmaker and Watch dealer specialized in ROLEX - IWC - BREITLING - CARTIER - OMEGA

CASE STUDY provided by N. Hacko

Just last week we published a photo of before and after of a Rolex case polishing job undertaken by Bobby, second year apprentice.

image below -

The polishing was done by hand using just various grades of emery paper and a wooden stick, with mirror finish achieved on a rotating buff wheel (cotton disc and polishing medium).

The end result speaks for itself. We posted the photos on Instagram inviting our followers to rate the job anywhere between 6 and 9 out of 10. As we expected, almost all marked the job with top grade.  What we didn't expect: this photo was one of the three most liked posts with over 600 likes. Yet a couple of watch enthusiasts couldn't help but to offer rather strange opinions on the matter. There were two complaints:

1. Case polishing is bad because it removes patina

2. Hand polishing and especially buffing on the wheel is a 'bad' method. Watch cases should be lapped, not polished.

Yes, for some, case polishing is a controversial issue.  Allow me to defuse it for you and help you understand the fundamentals. Once you understand those fundamentals then you will be able to make an educated decision. What is patina? Patina is a green or brown film on the surface of bronze or similar metals, produced by oxidation over a long period. Patina is also a gloss or sheen on a surface of antique furniture resulting from age or polishing. Please note: we use same term to describe completely different effects created in different manner on two different surfaces: bronze and wood. Yet in both cases, it is the patina - whether it is the sign of natural ageing, polishing with shellac and oxidation- which gives an object the distinctive 'naturally aged' shine and colour. It takes no expert to appreciate that a fine bronze sculpture should not be polished (only dusted!), neither should a fine French polished antique table be stripped down to bare wood or attacked with aggressive polishing agents. We leave bronze and wood alone- to age naturally. Stainless steel which is used in modern watches is a different story altogether. Ideally, stainless steel does not oxidize - so it cannot develop any patina whatsoever. The oxidation process of steel is simply called rust. Pitting is actually worse than surface rust - it is a nasty corrosion which kills the water resistance of watch cases. Since almost all modern watch cases are nowadays made of stainless steel, titanium or precious metal, we don't associate the term 'patina' with watch cases.  To use the term 'patina' on any watch case except bronze, is grossly inappropriate. Stainless steel cases leave the watch factory with a variety of surfaces: polished, gloss, mirror finish, brushed, sand blasted. General expectations with modern watch servicing are to at least improve the condition of scratched cases, if not to return them to as close to original finish where possible. Again, not to preserve any patina - because there is no patina to be preserved. "Please don't polish - I like my scratched case!" Fair enough! If your wish is to have all the bruise marks, dents and scratches 'preserved' than who am I to argue with your choice? Indeed, some watch owners are very particular in this respect. However, it is important to point out the obvious:  a vast majority of MODERN watch owners would prefer polished cases and bracelets, restored it to 'like new condition'.  Scratches are bad and undesirable. Disagree? Would you intentionally scratch your new car? Or a brand-new laptop, mobile phone - or a brand-new watch? Removing scratches is DESIRABLE. It's good. It's fine. Removing scratches is difficult, and we don't do it just for fun or to impress you, so relax and enjoy your new polished surface! However - there is an exception to this rule: unlike modern watches, rare, high value vintage watches SHOULD NOT BE POLISHED. Not because they are worth more when scratched, but because polishing - and in some cases even cleaning- could significantly reduce chances of assessing the originality of both external and internal parts. All the scratches, dings and dents help us to determinate if the watch is original or a Frankenstein put together from new and old parts, or a watch which has been restored correctly - or not.  Polishing is an inferior alternative to lapping Yes, it is true that almost all modern stainless-steel watch cases and bracelets are polished with the help of modern multi-million-dollar CNC machinery, fully automated, in a process which no longer involves human touch. The final step of that polishing process is lapping. Lapping is a technique where a liquid polishing medium is applied between the work-piece (watch case) surface and a lapping plate. Due to the nature and geometry of those lapping plates, as well as highly controllable lapping action, this automated process produces very uniform surfaces which retain geometry. In other words, polished ‘edges’ are crisp, defined and 'sharp'. They look like they have been defined and polished by robots - which they are. In other words, when it comes to case finishing, nothing beats machine lapping. Unfortunately, lapping is highly specialized process and your independent watchmaker is either not set for lapping, or when he is able to offer such service, it is only to a limited number of watch cases / shapes / brands. It is a trade in itself - and quite frankly, has nothing to do with watchmaking. To expect your independent small watchmaker to offer case refurbishment service equal to those of mega-brand is simply unrealistic: the same as expecting everyone to fly first class or drive a Ferrari. "Oh NO! You've polished my watch and rounded the lug! I am devastated!!" Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world, and we have to put up with compromise. Watch polishing is ALWAYS a compromise. At the end of the day, you have to answer this question for yourself: which one would I prefer - "before" or "after"? Because this is all we can offer. Polished cases could mean some very minor 'rounding'. This is just a nature of the polishing process, especially when done by hand. However, an experienced polisher is well aware of the process and will do everything possible to keep the wheel buffing action just for the final mirror finish. When we remove scratches, we use a range of abrasive papers and films, in various grades, which takes a majority of polishing time and this is why our results are as per photo. Not good enough for you? Well, the best polished case is - case replaced. For that, you need to talk to your watch brand service department. We can consistently offer; 6, 7 or 8 out of 10. On a good day - even a solid nine. For perfection see our competition. Conclusion watches can be repaired and restored! within reason! There is no such thing as patina on steel cases. Scratches are bad, so take a good care of your watch and you won't need frequent polishing. Polishing is time consuming, requires skills- therefore expensive. Learn to live with small imperfections -life is not perfect. Be happy with the end result - returning the watch case to 'brand new condition' is impossible!