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Old 24 April 2021, 08:04 AM   #1
"TRF" Member
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 50
1981 Ladies DateJust - Jubilee - Service or Trade

Greetings -

I bought a 1981 Rolex DateJust two tone Jubilee for my wife's 30th birthday in 1981. Next month will be her 70th birthday and I would like your thoughts about servicing it or trading it.

The watch has been worn daily for 40 years, serviced by Rolex several times, and for her birthday I'm struggling with servicing it again or buying a new one.

To start her watch has the typical worn Jubilee link issue, and held sideways it sags noticeably. The dial lume (champaign) is almost gone, and in a prior service Rolex mysteriously replaced only one hand - leaving the remaining hand lume slightly different colors. The acrylic crystal is scratched and will need replacement, and likely the winder and stem will need replacing as well.

The local AD showed the watch to their in house expert who suggested that Rolex will likely have a base charge of $750 to service the watch, and if they deem that the bracelet needs replacing that will likely add $2K plus my my wife's current bracelet in exchange. She also thought that if they replace the dial they will also replace the hands, which she expects will add $1K to the service. All in all the service range is from $750 to $4K depending on what they find. She also said that she can request that the original parts remain on the watch, but if Rolex deems that they no longer meet specs they will likely insist on changing them out.

Aside from the financial decision (which doesn't bother me - a 40 year old watch that was bought for a special birthday isn't something that I feel compelled to replace) my wife is petite at 5'1" and not much above 100 pounds. She has arthritis and recently repaired cataracts, so her vision isn't what it was 40 years ago. Her champaign dial/hands don't have great contrast and we're not getting any younger. Changing the dial for legibility isn't a bad plan, but when the AD had her try the white/Roman numeral dial on the current model my wife didn't like it. The new version of her watch is 28mm (I believe her current watch is 24mm, but the AD saleswoman said it's 26mm) and has a larger case (in line with Rolex's move to overall larger cases), which she wasn't sure about one way or the other.

So, what to do? I don't know how to advise her. She rebels at the idea of spending the current price on a new watch, but I reminded her that in relative terms it's just as extravagant (from her perspective) as the original watch was at the time. She also doesn't want to put a lot of money into the older watch if it seems silly to do so. I told her that doesn't bother me, just get what you want.

I question sending it to Rolex with an open checkbook for them to decide what needs to be done. I don't mind paying to keep it in top condition, but I do feel uncomfortable that Rolex will decide what needs to be done and I have little say in the outcome.

lencap is offline   Reply With Quote