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Old 14 September 2006, 06:50 PM   #1
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The Rolex Sub/Sd Bezel, Removal, Cleaning, and Adjusting

Posted by TNRonin.

This is an exact copy of a thread from another forum. This thread is the work of a watchmaker, whom I purchased my SD from. The watch depicted in these photos is the current watch I'm wearing. I hope it will be of help to anyone interested in these watches. The watchmaker in question is Randall Benson of Wet Work Watches.

Originally writen for the TZ Rolex forum, I would like to save it over here now that it is no longer available on TZ`s site:

I thought this was a good time to get this post up. Although some of you may know all this, I`m sure there are others that are`not quite sure about what to do, or they would like to feel a little more confident taking this apart. Let me assure you, the Rolex timing bezel is as simple as they come, the only truly leary part would be to watch out and be careful of the very small click spring.

My real reason for removing the bezel on my SD was to see how thick the crystal was. Its been my experience that a watch rated for 1000 meters and above will have an extraordinarily thick crystal, on the average of 5mm thick. The SeaDweller is capable with a crystal roughly 2.5mm thick (After writing this, I was told the crystal is 3.2mm thick, still much thinner than comperable watches). I`ve read that Rolex cuts their crystals at an angle to take advantage of the strength of the crystalline structure that this produces. Perhaps this is why the Seadweller`s crystal can be much thinner than other watches rated to these depths. But when I removed the bezel, I realized that by it`s design, there is allot of adjustability in it, so that became the focus of this post.

REMOVAL: Here is my favorite bezel tool, simple but effective. The Leatherman Micra has been a major star in most of my exploits. But really, any thin blade will work, as you can see on your Sub/SD, the bezel gap is pretty large. If your really concerned about putting marks on your bezel, simply wrap a cut piece of plastic baggy or masking tape around the blade.

Rolex actually makes cutout`s below the bezel at 2,5,8, and 10 O`clock for their removal tool. Knowing that these are there, and knowing that the click spring is at 12 O`clock, start the removal at 4 or 6 O`clock, so as not to damage the click. Just slide the blade in, and the bezel will pop off with the slightest upward pressure.

Hold the bezel steady once its popped off, dont let it get away from you with the click spring. Pay careful attention to the bezel click at 12 O`clock, remove the bezel towards 12 O`clock, so as not to drop the click. You can also do this procedure over a large mixing bowl, so the if the click falls out, it falls into the bowl, and is easy to find.

With the bezel removed, you can see the cut out the click spring rides in, make sure you understand its orientation, and then if you want to adjust the spring, you can remove it.

Now the word adjusting may sound scary, but once you understand the simplicity of the click, adjusting it wont be so frightening. Here you can see what goes were and how the pressure is applied by the spring to the bezel so that it`s either firm, soft, and to align the bezel dot with 12 O`clock.

This is really simple, and should somewhat explain itself. Bending the spring outward will make it apply more pressure, and hence make the bezel firmer, or harder to turn. Bending it in will make it easier to turn. And shortening it will help align the bezel dot. Some may say "Is`nt it easier to just remove the insert in order to align it"? Well, it could be easier, but I`ve always found that removing an insert puts the insert at risk for damage, so if the watch is utilizing this kind of spring, I feel its easier and safer to modify the spring itself. Keep in mind that the bezel has 120 clicks, so it will never be more than 1/2 second off, so the amount of material to remove from the spring should be minimal, and its always easier to remove a little and check fit, than it is to try and get the spring to grow. I think just about any small file with a medium cut will do just fine, perhaps the wife`s nail file will work in a pinch (just don't get caught with it, ha, ha). If you decide you want to try manipulating the spring, before you do, get one of these hand vices from the TZ tool shop or a hardware store. Like this.

Notice the click spring I`ve circled. Heres how you would hold it in the vice. Keep in mind that this is spring steel, and it wont bend too far without breaking. The amount of adjustment should be minimal, and then a test fitting to see the effect should be done, so as not to go to far.

While you`ve got the bezel off, if your like me, you may notice a build up of soap scum on the inside, egads! I simply run a Q-tip around the inside, and it comes clean. I`ve found that the bezel will start to get pretty firm feeling, not as positive as it was, and this is when a quick cleaning of the teeth inside will make it feel brand new.

BTW, this is very precise machine work here, to make the bezel itself responsible for indexing the whole 120 clicks. Every other watch that I`ve worked that had 120 clicks on the bezel resorted to using two different clicks springs.

After you`ve done all you want to do, or dare to do, the bezel pops on with fingure pressure, but you must be aware of the click, and the washer that provides for some of the smoothness of the Rolex bezel.

Heres the washer I`m talking about, it was against the case, but below the click when we first removed the bezel, but you`ve probably discovered that at this point. Also note the cutouts I spoke about earlier, around the case for Rolex`s removal tool. Again, this scan shows the washer going under the click, and then the click going on top of the washer.

To re-fit the bezel, start at the 12 O`clock side, get the bezel on top of and pushing in on the click spring, doing it at an angle like I`m showing below.

Pushing the bezel up parallel with the case at twelve, you can now drop the 6 o`clock side down. With both thumbs, it`ll snap on with a light click.

When the bezel pops on, make sure to seat the click by turning it counter-clock-wise. It wont quite feel right for a second, but then the click will find its place, and it`ll be better than it was before, if you cleaned that soap scum out ;^) And she`s ready to wear again.

Now, I would`nt post this if I thought there was a chance that someone would inadvertently harm their precious watch. I try to only post things I think the average WIS would`nt have a problem with, and would benefit from. The only real point of trouble is to be aware of were the click spring is, and don't lose it. HOWEVER, if you have any doubts about your ability, or are concerned about damaging the watch, please take it to your dealer or a qualified watchmaker. So, how thick was that crystal anyways?

Well, its about that thick. Without removing the movement and measuring form the inside, I can only guestimate. Buy laying a ruler against it, it looks to be about 2.5mm. After writing this, I was told the crystal was 3.2mm thick, still very thin compared to other watches in this league. I find this amazing for a watch that's rated so deep. For comparison, the Citizen 1000 meter divers watch uses a 6mm thick sapphire crystal. I hope you enjoyed this, and got something out of it. I like to share what I find on the bench, and hope to continue to share little bit`s of Rolexia when I find them.

And for the GMT link below.

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All posts are my own opinion and my opinion only.

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