Overhaul Procedure – Rolex Explorer II (3185)

This Rolex Explorer II wasn’t recently brought in. In addition to a standard overhaul, the customer wanted to update the look and change the dial and hands from black to white.

Here is the watch as it was brought in. Black dial with silver-colored hands.

I opened the watch to perform my initial checks and make sure no other parts were needed.

I then can the car un-case the watch and remove the dial and hands.

Once removed I have access to the calendar work.

With the calendar work removed, I have access to the winding and setting mechanisms. You can also see the GMT wheel which is the pink one. In the 3186 movements, this part was updated and standard style hour wheel was used. The GMT function is achieved by gearing on the minute wheel post. I personally prefer this style, as the minute wheel post and wheel always have excessive wear. Plus, this GMT wheel in this movement is an incredibly cool little part.

I then dismantle the majority of the dial side.

I can now commence dismantling the movement side.

Notice below how off-center the balance spring is. This is something that should have been rectified the last time it was serviced.

It appears as if this watch wasn’t serviced that long ago. However, there is practically no lubrication on the barrel arbor jewel and too much on the 3rd wheel jewel.

The escape wheel in-setting also appears to be flooded with oil.

With the movement completely dismantled I put it through the cleaning machine and then I am ready to assemble. Once cleaned, the first thing I do is center the balance spring and make sure it is flat. If a balance spring is not flat and centered there will be issues with timing. The balance-spring must ‘breathe’ evenly during each vibration to ensure accurate time-keeping.

I then install the gear train and barrel which houses a new mainspring.

The bridges are then put on.

Next, the pallet fork.

Finally, the balance is installed and the watch now ticks.

After performing timing checks the rest of the calendar wok is put in place.

Then the dial and hands can be installed. I procured a brand new dial and handset for the customer of this watch. I must say, I much prefer the white dial and black hands.

With the watch cased up, I can begin testing to ensure accuracy and water resistance.

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