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hpreston

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Thank you for your service and congrats on your Rolex Submariner! Yes, the bracelet was probably one of the least expensive elements of the old steel 5 digit Rolex watches. Its important to remember that this bracelet design on them has been around for at least 40+ years...which was when these watches were roughly $1,000 (and that's before a discount...which was commonly 25% on steel ones in the early 80s). I doubt any changes/improvements were made to the bracelets other than eventually adding solid end links. So yes, I can see them seeming cheap today compared to modern bracelets from other brands, which have solid center links and machined clasps. I'm actually wearing a 19 year old 16570 Explorer II today, on an oyster bracelet with hollow center links, a stamped steel clasp, and solid end links. I've never had any comfort issues with mine. However, it can depend on the bone structure of one's wrist or how hairy one's wrist is. Many years ago an acquaintance with very hairy arms had a 1990s TAG Heuer SEL, and said he couldn't wear a Rolex, or Omega or several other brands because they pulled the hair on his wrist and were very uncomfortable.
It was my honor, but thank you.

I understand about the design evolution, and it’s OK, I love the watch, don’t love the bracelet, and I am glad I don’t have super hairy forearms!
 

New Shoes1

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Always learning, thanks gents!

@mak1277 now that I know what to call, I also prefer ZULU to NATO
Also check out the chevron straps from Crown & Buckle. Basically a single loop Nato that adjusts to fit your wrist without all the excess strap length on a Nato. I've started using them for multiple watches.
Shogun 2.jpg
Shogun 3.jpg
 

Belligero

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He's referring to 5 digit bracelets. They're hollow center links compared to the current day bracelet which is why he doesn't like the older bracelets.
I seriously doubt he's even active enough to have an informed opinion on that.

Older Rolex bracelets are great to wear.
 

Kaplan

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Re: the above, the single piece strap is a ZULU, while the double piece is a NATO. I prefer ZULU straps myself.
This is not correct (even though some on-line sources claim so). At least it's not universally true that Zulu straps are from a single piece, as a quick search will show. But they can be made with a single strap:


What seems to be the unifying quality of Zulu straps is the chunkier hardware.

Timefactors, where I've bought my NATOs and single piece straps from, call their single piece straps for "RAF pattern straps" (they're still listed on the site under their NATO models).
 
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Kaplan

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On the hollow link oyster bracelets, have anyone of you heard about a refinishing / refurbishing service for these? I met the guy who does the repairs here (which I actually hadn't bothered to look up until right now) - if I understood him correctly the bracelet comes back feeling almost like new, which may require some addition of material (welding on and polishing?) to achieve.

Apart from any dive in resale value from not being all original, what are your thoughts on this?
 

Journeyman

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On the hollow link oyster bracelets, have anyone of you heard about a refinishing / refurbishing service for these?
Michael Young of Classic Watch Repair in Hong Kong has a very good reputation for refurbishing Rolex bracelets. He is very well-known for tightening-up sagging bracelets.

He's got very good reviews on various watch-related internet fora.

 

Kaplan

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^ From a quick glance it looks like they do something similar to the bracelets as the site I linked - but at a lower price. It looks like they offer an Oyster bracelet restoration for $180 (which seems really cheap for the work that must go into it).

I just called Classic390 and their price for restoring a bracelet in steel (using the same 904L steel as Rolex, where necessary) is $550 - which actually seems quite reasonable. Might be worth it for by nearly 30 year old sub bracelet.
 

Dino944

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^ From a quick glance it looks like they do something similar to the bracelets as the site I linked - but at a lower price. It looks like they offer an Oyster bracelet restoration for $180 (which seems really cheap for the work that must go into it).

I just called Classic390 and their price for restoring a bracelet in steel (using the same 904L steel as Rolex, where necessary) is $550 - which actually seems quite reasonable. Might be worth it for by nearly 30 year old sub bracelet.
I have heard of oyster bracelets being restored, although I had more commonly heard of it on old jubilees (with hollow center links) or Day Date bracelets (as gold is so soft) that have lots of stretch and need restoration.

I doubt having the bracelet restored impacts the value of the watch the same way as having the case restored/refinished. People generally value a watch having its original case finish and beveled edges. Bracelets especially with big flat links like an oyster it is probably less of an issue. Where that becomes an issue is something like an Oysterquartz bracelet or RO bracelet.

Before, restoring your old bracelet, just for the hell of it, I would call Rolex USA (if you are in the US) and ask how much a replacement bracelet would cost. If its not that much more than the restoration, you might be able to simply buy a new bracelet and keep the original (provided you do not send it to them on a bracelet...Rolex US only replaces parts on a trade in basis, but if you supply it on a cheap leather strap or no strap...what can they do?
 

Kaplan

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I have heard of oyster bracelets being restored, although I had more commonly heard of it on old jubilees (with hollow center links) or Day Date bracelets (as gold is so soft) that have lots of stretch and need restoration.

I doubt having the bracelet restored impacts the value of the watch the same way as having the case restored/refinished. People generally value a watch having its original case finish and beveled edges. Bracelets especially with big flat links like an oyster it is probably less of an issue. Where that becomes an issue is something like an Oysterquartz bracelet or RO bracelet.

Before, restoring your old bracelet, just for the hell of it, I would call Rolex USA (if you are in the US) and ask how much a replacement bracelet would cost. If its not that much more than the restoration, you might be able to simply buy a new bracelet and keep the original (provided you do not send it to them on a bracelet...Rolex US only replaces parts on a trade in basis, but if you supply it on a cheap leather strap or no strap...what can they do?
I'm in Europe, where I believe that, at least earlier, Rolex was less severe with restrictions on replacement parts - but I don't know if that has changed to be more uniform worldwide.

Getting a quote on a new bracelet does makes sense before going ahead with a restoration.
 

Dino944

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I'm in Europe, where I believe that, at least earlier, Rolex was less severe with restrictions on replacement parts - but I don't know if that has changed to be more uniform worldwide.

Getting a quote on a new bracelet does makes sense before going ahead with a restoration.
Yes, it seems in many parts of Europe, Rolex service centers have been much more lax about replacing parts and they didn't make people do it on a trade in basis. Wishing you luck with whatever you decide on the bracelet.
 

Dino944

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Guess what. Got this piece of shit back from the factory. Took two months to fix and they didn’t charge me a dime. Who fucking cares.
View attachment 1433990
Wow, 2 months is like a world record in speediness for them. I can remember many years ago, my Dad sent in a Nautilus for service and it took nearly 8 months to get it back. Anyway, glad to hear it all worked out for you.
 

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