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What to do with a non-functioning Rolex? Fix and sell and sell broken?
August 11, 2014 6:44 AM   Subscribe

I have this watch I looks great but was left in a damp basement for two years and is no longer working. Is it worth taking it to be fixed? is there a market for used/broken Rolexes? I would never buy a $500 watch, but should I pay pay $500 to fix a $5000 watch? Thanks, and just looking for opinions :)
posted by 1inabillionmistake to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I think this will be a difficult question to answer without somebody going in and having a look. There is a large market for used Rolexes (Rolex Oyster Perpetuals), but it really depends on what's wrong with it.

If it doesn't work because water got inside and everything is rusted solid, you're probably looking at way more than $500, if you go through Rolex for servicing.

Alternatively, you could sell it as 'nonworking for parts', but you won't get very much.

My suggestion would be to take it to a local watchmaker and see if they'll give you an estimate. (Or at least try to open the back and see if everything's super rusted.)
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:55 AM on August 11


You might want to cross-post this question to a TimeZone forum. And yes, there is a market for non-working Rolex watches, here's an example. Ebay, too.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:57 AM on August 11


That watch has "Self Winding Automatic Chronometer Movement", which means it winds itself by the movement of your arm while you wear it. So even if it's stopped right now, you should try wearing it for a day or two and see if it starts up again. I think you can also wind it yourself by unscrewing and then pulling out the adjustment thing halfway and winding that a bunch.

Apologies if you have already tried these, just throwing them out there in case you haven't.
posted by Grither at 7:19 AM on August 11 [6 favorites]


Definitely take it to a local watchmaker and ask them for an estimate for repair. If you can get it repaired for a few hundred bucks, you can likely resell it for a decent amount. Ask them to give you an estimate and tell them not to start the actual repair work without your go-ahead.
posted by bedhead at 7:43 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Unless it was submerged for a long time, the damp conditions will not have permanently damaged the innards. The metals inside are pretty corrosion-resistant, it has very water-resistant seals. That's why they call it "Oyster." It might only need some cleaning and lubrication.
posted by beagle at 9:07 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Agree with bedhead. But please do not attempt to take the back off by yourself!
And probably not a good idea to even wear it (which could damage the self winding mechanism inside).
posted by lungtaworld at 10:03 AM on August 11


Shake it a little and see if it starts.
posted by Slinga at 10:04 AM on August 11


I recently was gifted a similar style Rolex that sort of works, but doesnt keep great time. I had it appraised and cleaned up for about 200. The very respectable jewler/Rolex dealer sent it in to Rolex for this plus certification. They offered to work on it and get it running perfectly for 900. Yikes. Now i just have a fancy slow running watch.
posted by orangemacky at 10:51 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


The watch market is crazy. I have a $350 Tissot which is inferior to my $14 watch from Target in every way except when considered as jewelry. It doesn't have the functions, it doesn't have the reliability, and it doesn't know some months don't have 31 days. A new battery costs more than the cheaper watch.

A watch like the Rolex should have annual maintenance. I was going to say $100/year, but that was the price years ago. Only you know if that works for you. I gave away a lesser Rolex because it didn't work for me.
posted by SemiSalt at 12:19 PM on August 11


If it were me, I'd sell it as-is to a watch broker. You'll get more money if the watch was working but then you'll have to pay for the repair. Most watch brokers are also watch repair people or have some on staff, they'll be able to figure out what's wrong and fix it more efficiently than you will. The challenge then is to get a fair price.

Rolex is not the brand most loved by watch snobs but has great resale value. An Oyster Perpetual is a very classic Rolex with a robust market. The page you linked has that watch new for $5375 (retail $6300). Wingate's, a reputable online store, has one used for $4250. It's slightly different, but assuming your watch is also stainless steel and not unusual in some way that's a rough guide for price. Of course expect significantly less than that to sell to a merchant, particularly not working. I don't know how much, sorry.
posted by Nelson at 2:04 PM on August 11


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