This very nice vintage Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date reference 1500 came in for a service. The watch is powered by the excellent Rolex Calibre 1570. It was a highly regarded chronometer rated movement produced by Rolex throughout the mid 60s to mid 70s, and fitted to the Oyster Perpetual, Submariner and Explorer range.
I start by opening the caseback which reveals the beautifully executed Rolex Calibre 1570. The movement looks in very nice condition, and it is very clean despite some ageing lubricant, so far so good.
Movement is de-cased, the dial and hands are in beautiful condition.
Dial is now off, showing the calendar works.
After stripping down the dial side, I move on to the upper side. You can see the extensive use of the surface finish “perlage” on the mainplate, very nice indeed. Also of note, the movement has an indirectly driven centre sweep second, with a friction spring.
Here you can see the train wheels.
And this is the automatic works, fully stripped down.
The Rolex Calibre 1570 is now fully disassembled, and ready for cleaning and detailed inspection.
The first thing I notice during disassembly is that the date change yoke jewel is chipped in several places. Still functional, but I am concerned about further chipping and release of very hard jewel particles in the movement, so opt for replacement.
Another issue is some wear on the third wheel pivot.
I try to burnish the pivot on the Jacot tool, as sometimes the removal of only a minute amount of material is sufficient to restore the surface finish.
The pivot comes out perfect. Unfortunately upon fitting the wheel in the movement I can tell there is too much side shake. Too much material had to be removed to restore the surface of the pivot, so the pivot fit is now a little too loose. I could fit a jewel with a smaller diameter hole, but this could cause a problem in the future: if the wheel ever gets replaced a new wheel would no longer fit.
So in the end I fitted a new Rolex wheel, to “future proof” the maintenance of the watch.
The final issue is with the ratchet driving wheel jewel which had cracked within its setting in the plate, so this was replaced by a new Rolex jewel.
With all these issues resolved, assembly can commence. I start with the balance wheel. The balance on this movement has a beautiful Breguet overcoil, and is regulated with Rolex’ microstella screws. This does without the conventional “curb pin” type regulator and the inherent isochronal error that it introduces.
The barrel and train wheels are now in place.
Escapement now installed, and we have a running movement, in fact it is running very well indeed.
The dial side is now re-assembled.
The dial and hands are fitted. A specific movement holder makes life much easier here, as the indirectly driven seconds arbour needs to be supported to press the sweep seconds hand on.
The movement is now re-cased, without the automatic works at this stage.
A close up on the colourful Rolex reverser wheel.
The automatic module is now re-assembled, ready to be installed.
Gasket replaced and lubricated.
And the watch passed a vacuum and pressure test, it is ready to go home.
I would like to conclude this article by sincerely thanking Paul, the owner of this beautiful watch.