Rolex 1601 In Need of Restoration (Cross Posted in Rolex)

Thread: Rolex 1601 In Need of Restoration (Cross Posted in Rolex)

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  1. #1
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    Rolex 1601 In Need of Restoration (Cross Posted in Rolex)

    I finally bit the bullet and pried Daddy's DateJust off my wrist long enough to send it down to Texas and the magical hands of Mr. Bob Ridley. It's a 1601 from roughly the 1960s. The serial number is badly worn making it difficult to date, but it's a 56XXXX (we think).



    I had a very limited idea of the service history. I knew my father had purchased the watch pre-owned and that it had been serviced at least as late as 1983, and that was about it.

    Dirt under the crystal and some scarring on the dial told me the watch had been opened and mistreated by someone in the past. The lighter spot to the right of the nine o'clock marker is actually a scratch.

    A suspicious rattle told me the 1983 service was probably the last one it had had and boy was it due.

    So off it went. The prognosis was worse than I'd hoped but better than I'd feared.



    Shockingly enough, this poor, neglected 1560 is still keeping good time, but as you can see it's looking pretty rough. Fortunately, the butterfly rotor is salvageable. I think it's lovely. Sadly, though, the acrylic crystal is not. We'll replace it with another acrylic though. I like the warm, soft glow, so different from the sapphire on my midsize (which is, of course, quite pretty in its own right).

    Someone has beat up on this barrel bridge at some point.



    Mr. Ridley tells me he's seen this type of thing before in watches of this age. Clearly there's a sadistic monster out there with a grudge against Rolexes.

    Despite the needed work, this engineering marvel is still a thing of beauty.





    Among other things we'll be replacing the barrel bridge, case tube and crown, the crystal, the mainspring barrel, train wheels, the mainplate, and various screws. We'll finish up with a very light polish since we don't want to compromise the vintage appeal. Dial and hands are to be cleaned but otherwise left untouched.

    As far as cost--well, the watch has enormous sentimental value to me since it belonged to my father. Let's just say I loved him a lot. A reeeeal lot. A no-new-watches-for-Jeannie-plus-not-going-out-to-dinner-again-in-this-decade lot. Worth it, of course.

    I'm told the work will take 3 to 4 weeks, after which the watch will continue to tick away merrily for decades with only routine servicing. I cannot wait to have it back on my wrist.

    Jeannie

    *movement photos courtesy of Mr. Bob Ridley and used with permission

  2. #2
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex 1601 In Need of Restoration (Cross Posted in Rolex)

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Its sure not going to be a cheap job; but it'll be done right.

    Looking forward to seeing the finished article.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  3. #3
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex 1601 In Need of Restoration (Cross Posted in Rolex)

    I'd pay a fortune to have my Dad's watch on my wrist. But Mom say's it's gone missing... I am glad for you. And the watch will have an inner beauty when it's done. Keep us posted!
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

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  5. #4
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    Re: Rolex 1601 In Need of Restoration (Cross Posted in Rolex)

    Thanks, gentlemen. No, it's not going to be cheap, and yes, it's worth it. I did have a spot of good news today. Turns out the mainplate is salvageable after all. This means cheaper, but more importantly, more original. Also, I'll get it back sooner. Mr. Ridley actually thinks he'll finish it this week. He's been a real pleasure to work with.

    Jeannie

  6. #5
    Member JohnnyMonkey's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex 1601 In Need of Restoration (Cross Posted in Rolex)

    Cool....looking forward to seeing the finished result

  7. #6
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    Re: Rolex 1601 In Need of Restoration (Cross Posted in Rolex)

    For those who are interested here is a photo essay of some of the work:

    https://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=399331

    Jeannie

  8. #7
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex 1601 In Need of Restoration (Cross Posted in Rolex)

    Hi -

    Same here, basically. My father received a Omega Constellation when he finished his doctorate from my grandfather, but he threw it away after a deadly accident that killed my mother and brother (back in '73) because it held too many bad memories (plus it had been badly damaged, and would have cost a small fortune to have had it restored). For him a symbolic act of cleansing, but: ouch.

    My grandfather, who gave him that watch, collected Hamiltons and had about 30 different watches when he died in 1963. No one knows what happened to the watches, but knowing my grandmother - who thought more than one watch was completely unnecessary - they were probably given away or simply sold to a jeweler for a modest sum at best...

    My father wore only really cheap watches from that point on. I gave him a left-handed automatic (a Kienzle from the 1980s with a Miyota work inside (he's left-handed), but he hated wearing it because he didn't want to have to reset it when he didn't wear it for a few days.

    Today he wears whatever cheap digital he can find at Costco or any other discount place, preferring very large numbers (he's 75) and doesn't bother replacing batteries, simply buying a new watch when the battery runs out. He throws the old ones out...sigh.

    Jeannie, treasure that piece and you will find that the repair will be worth it. Literally priceless.

    JohnF
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  9. #8
    Member Popoki Nui's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex 1601 In Need of Restoration (Cross Posted in Rolex)

    Short term pain, long term gain, Jeannie. You will have your watch back in no time, and your Daddy will be very proud of the results.

    I went thru this with my Dad's Tudor, except that the highly recommended watchmaker botched the job. I was loathe to part with it but I knew it had to be done. Then it had to be done again after the first guy screwed up. But in the end, I got the watch back in amazing mechanical condition, I got to participate by restoring the case, and in the process I found myself a very competent watchmaker with whom to trust all my watches.

    Can't wait to see the finished watch!
    PM is not working for me. If you need to contact me, please email. Thanks! popokinui1(at)gmail(dot)com






  10. #9
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    Re: Rolex 1601 In Need of Restoration (Cross Posted in Rolex)

    After pictures (courtesy of Mr. Bob Ridley and used with permission):





    Jeannie

  11. #10
    Member Popoki Nui's Avatar
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    Re: Rolex 1601 In Need of Restoration (Cross Posted in Rolex)

    Lovely! Wear it in good health.
    PM is not working for me. If you need to contact me, please email. Thanks! popokinui1(at)gmail(dot)com






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