Service: Rolex Oyster-Perpetual Date Chronometer 6534 calibre 1030

This is the second watch Jan sent me – a 1957 Rolex Oyster-Perpetual Date Chronometer. It’s fully wound, but doesn’t tick.

After a couple of futile attempts to open the back with the original Rolex tool, I resort to my trusted children’s bouncy ball, and some methylated spirit for cleaning the watch back and ball – and it finally gives in!

Last service mark is 10/89, but the movement looks fairly clean, so I would say it had another service in between then and now. I shake the watch a bit, and the balance swings a bit, but the escapement wheel doesn’t turn, even though the watch is fully wound. As I’m going to take apart the movement and clean it, I don’t worry about that too much at the moment. The movement has some marks and scratches, as you would expect at that age.

This watch has the calibre 1030 movement, which is properly chronometer certified. Nice decorations!

I take off the rotor before removing the movement from the case.

As usual, the hands come off first.

The dial isn’t held by pins, but just pushed over the rim of the movement. Whoever designed the date wheel must have liked roulette! I am missing a green zero, though….

Having taken the movement apart, I remove the balance jewels, and clean, rinse and dry everything. Oddly enough, there is a bit of sticky clear tape stuck to the bottom of the escapement wheel. No idea how that got there, but it explains why the watch wasn’t running!

First, I put the balance jewels back in and oil the jewel caps.

Then I put the barrel and wheels on the plate.

The bridges and pallet fork go in.

And the movement starts ticking.

Now I put the bottom plate together.

When checking the date change, I notice that it takes 3 hours to complete! I normally adjust the hands so that the date change is just complete at midnight, but I can’t do that here – otherwise the date change will start at 9 in the evening! So I decide to let it start at 11:30 and finish at 2:30.

The movement goes back into the case and the auto-winder assembly goes back on.

The back gets a new gasket.

And we’re done. A nice little watch – chronometer certified, date, and automatic. What more could one want?

13 thoughts on “Service: Rolex Oyster-Perpetual Date Chronometer 6534 calibre 1030

  1. Hello sir.
    I have a 1066 movement but there are issues with the balance wheel, we’ve been trying to find it in ebay and other sites but it has been impossible to find it. Is there any chance to adapt this piece from another movement?

  2. Hello Christian,

    I am delighted to have just bought one of these at auction, from 1954. My first Rolex!
    I am not a watchmaker but I clean and restore vintage watches, usually by removing the movement and cleaning the case and bracelet in ultrasound machine.
    Is there anything I need to know about removing the crown stem? Is it the usual 1.5 turns, crown in winding position?
    Thanks for your help,

  3. Thanks so much for this post. The combination of high-resolution photos of the movement in all its elegant complexity, along with the detailed description of the process you went through to get it running again, is just spellbinding. I found your site after just having inherited my father’s 1956 OP, which he purchased new in Zurich in November of that year. I finally got the back off today (won’t even begin to tell you what a challenge that was). Movement SN and case date code are both consistent with about April 1956 production. It’s still working perfectly, and I just had it serviced, so looking forward to another few years of daily use. It’s a treasure. Glad you spent the time and effort to keep another one alive and well. As with other fine antiques I have, I consider myself only a steward and caretaker rather than the “owner.”

  4. Hi!

    That’s a great little tutorial. I have an old Rolex case that looks very similar to this one. Could you please tell me the measurements for this case as I really need a movement for it and wonder if the 1030 will fit. The case has the original Plexi and caseback, but no crown and dial. I really need to know what dial size I need.

    Much appreciated

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