Rusty Restoration – Rolex Datejust (3135)

As soon as I opened up this Rolex Datejust I could smell pool water. It looks like it had taken a dip. The main goal was to save as many parts as possible, and I am pleased to report that only the automatic axle and mainspring were changed, everything else was saved.

As I took of the automatic block, it quickly became apparent that this was going to be a labor-intensive job.

Thankfully, the dial side of the movement didn’t suffer as badly.

I then remove the calendar section. It still looks okay under there.

As I start to disassemble the automatic work, it is quickly seen that this area took the brunt of the water damage.

The automatic wheels removed.

The bridges and screws have certainly seen better days and are going to require extensive cleaning and rust removal.

The bridges removed

General dirt and rust present on the mainplate.

After much manual cleaning, rust removal, polishing several ultrasonic baths and then running the watch through the cleaning machine I am happy with the result. I then install the balance so I can make the needed balance spring adjustments.

The gear train is in place.

Then the barrel bridge. Note the vast contrast between before and after.

The pallet fork and balance is then installed.

Calendar work and dial side are complete.

I can then fit the dial and hands. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything I can do about the dial damage. But hey, that adds to the charm and individuality of the watch.

I can now fit the automatic work once the watch is in the case. Note the difference in the oscillating weight now. It has lost some of its luster, but saving it was the goal of this job.

The watch is now cased and ready for testing. This Datejust ticks once again!

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