Instructables

Remove and replace the bezel on your Rolex Submariner.

Picture of Remove and replace the bezel on your Rolex Submariner.
This instructable will guide you through removing and replacing the bezel on your Rolex Submariner. The same general process can be used with a GMT Master II. I used my stainless steel anniversary sub, reference 16610. The same process can be used with the two tone (16613) and solid gold (16618) subs. Just be extra careful on those 2, as the 18k gold is a lot softer than the SS.

**** I'll say it now. Attempt the following steps at your own risk. If you trash your Rolex, I'm not buying you another one! *****
 
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Step 1: Prepping for the POP

Picture of Prepping for the POP
For this instructable you'll need:

- Tape (electrical tape works great)
- A thin bladed knife. Not too sharp. Butter knife works great.
- Plastic bag (optional)
- A Rolex Submariner watch.
- 4X Jewelers Loupe (optional)
- Patience. This is my first Instructable, so bear with me.
- A reason to do this. The bezel on my watch was binding up when trying to turn it. I removed mine to clean it. Some people like to change bezels from time to time. You'll note that mine has a green bezel. Most Subs have a black one. If I can source a black one, I'd change it for a new look. Certainly cheaper than buying a whole new watch. Some GMT Master II owners will swap between pepsi, black or the so called coke bezels. Google those terms and you'll see what I mean.


So, first we have to prep the watch to avoid scratches. Some may want to remove the bracelet, but that's unecessary. You'll want to place a piece of tape right on one of the lugs*, ensuring it's right up against the bezel, but NOT covering the very thin gap between the watch case and the bezel.

IF you've never done this before, there's a spring that can fly off in the next step. It's really small, and it'll be a bugger to find if it takes flight. It may not be a bad idea to place the entire watch in a plastic bag to catch the potentially airborne spring. I've done this before and know how to avoid the flying spring. It would be harder to see the pics if i used a plastic bag anyway.

*on a watch, lugs are the "shoulders" that stick out from the case, between which the bracelet or strap is attached.

Huge shout out to this instructable. Just saved me $500, not to mention reassured me my stainless/gold Sub was not broke. The bevel caught on my trunk lid and popped off in my driveway; bevel and ring went flying. The spring stayed with the watch. Like others, I saw the spring and thought it was a metal shaving from the break. Luckily, I found this post before I discarded it. I called a repair shop and told me it would be $500 for service and $1K for new (gold) bevel. Instead, I followed the steps here and fixed it in 10 minutes.

mcgary911 (author) 6 months ago

Wow just saw this (due to the ddhix reply). Rolex does recommend a service every 5 years, and that price is about right. It includes much more than just an oil change. If Laborte is talking about the Ballew's in Sea Girt on Rt 35, I've actually gotten some good service there about 7 years back. They fixed a minor problem and wouldn't accept any money. If Laborte is still around, I'd like to hear how this turned out.

Laborte2 years ago
My bezel came off the other day (had my rolex sub for 10 years only taken off to go to sleep). My daughter found the bezel in the dryer to my surprise and gave it to me so it was missing / off my watch for about an hour, to my surprise I didn't notice it was missing. my watch worked fine by the way with the exception of the missing bezel. I examined my watch when she gave the bezel to me. I mistook the spring for a metal sheer (when metal on metal sometimes produces a sheer and i very carefully and like an idiot removed it. I popped the bezel back on. Looked great but noticed now it made no click when moved counter clockwise and would also turn clockwise... Now I know why I took the spring out. Well I took it to my authorized Rolex dealer Ballew Jewelers in Seagirt to have them replace the Bezel Click Spring. They told me I was over do for the tune up (every 5 years adding oil???) I asked price they told me 500 dollars which I said for now please just replace the bezel click spring please. .... Well guess what they call me up the other day and tell me that my watch bezel didn't fall off but was knocked off and the shock broke the balance which will cost 300 dollars. I told them that didn't make sense so i told them I needed a second opinion. I just picked it up and wouldn't you know it the watch doesn't work... I'm so made at them I feel like they didn't get the 500 dollars for the tune up and tried to get 300 out of me. When i dropped my watch off it worked... and now it dosen't I am so pissed its not funny. Its new Years eve and Rolex NY is closed til Tuesday the 3rd. I need to complain because i feel like some real funny business is going on. I asked them when i was leaving to please make a copy of the receipts so I can show Rolex when I complain they did hesitantly. I know these guys just closed their Red Bank store so I'm wondering if this is some type of scam because times are tought. I am never one to try to get over on someone or would I ever try to screw someone out of a rolex dist. ship but something is very fishy about this and right now I have a 5,000 dollar paper weight which is killing me.
ddhix Laborte6 months ago

I'm sorry to hear about your watch problems. But I have to say that it is common for watchmakers and customers to have differences like this.

I am certain that you are telling the truth when you say the watch worked after the trauma. But understand that the balance staff was most likely fractured. In this case, the watch can run for a period of time, until the pivot in the balance finally separates entirely as a result of the severe fracture. What most likely happened on the watchmaker's end, was he noticed the watch was not working, and decided to do an inspection. Upon inspection, he found the broken balance staff.

The every five years adding oil. . . Well, I am definitely on the side of the AWCI and NAWCC when they give the comparison of oiling your car engine. You change the oil in your engine every so many miles, because the oil gets dirty. A watch and clock requires the same care, except on a phenomenally smaller scale.

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with a broken Rolex. Watchmakers, Clockmakers, and customers do have a higher instance of disagreements. The one piece of advice I offer to anyone who is buying an expensive clock (like a Grandfather Clock), or watch (like a Rolex) is to keep in mind that since you are buying a high price, high quality item, then the inevitable repairs on it are going to be high price, and high quality. People are often shocked when I quote them $400 for a full grandfather clock service.

3366carlos1 year ago
i just saw an antiques show and they were saying that having all those scratches on a rolex add price to it, since the scratches tell a story. i wish i could afford a rolex.
The bezel came off my 11 year old black steel submariner. Gone. Where do i got to replace it?
sbarber33 years ago
Hi, great article. I am sick of paying Rolex like $400 for these stupid repairs so thank you for the info. I did want to mention that my 5513 had an omni-directional rotating bezel and NO spring, so if anyone is confused and has a 5513 (I'm sure other models) don't be surprised if there is no spring and it turns both ways.
LA.Boi.933 years ago
my god! i love you! (not really, but u know what im saying) my ss black sub from 1992 was getting really gunky, and i cleaned it all, (except internals, that i sent it in for) but they didnt do under the bezel and it was stiff, so i follwed this and now its how it was wayyyyyyyy back when i got it... :)
mcgary911 (author)  LA.Boi.933 years ago
LAB, Glad to see this dusty old instructable is still getting some mileage and glad your watch is working better now. Enjoy those nice smooth clicks.
awesome instructable, really helped me out
i had two orients with misaligned bezels, drove me crazy
owenstokes4 years ago
hey guys i know this is 2 years old but im so glad i found it as its saved me a small fortune after droppinjg my sub the bezel poped right off found the bezel but no spring -gutted- however now i still have the watch with bezel it just spins freely though any help onj finding a spring outside of rolex would be a great help as i was quoted over $1245 here in uk for service and repair to bezel cheers everyone
leegaff4 years ago
I have a Rolex Submariner that I just had a main spring replaced.  When I picked the watch up from the repair shop I noted that the black insert between the bezel and crystal had most of the black color removed and the numbers and index marks also.  I did not notice the damage until I drove away and observed the watch in lighter conditions.  By the time I got back to the shop it was closed.  Since the repair guy did not bring the damage to my attention I assume he will claim it was like that when I turned the watch in for repair.    I assume a new black number ring can be installed to replace the damaged one.   What is suggestion re this problem. 
mikeyumi4 years ago
I did this with a Stainlees and Gold Submariner today. Made me a bit nervous, but it worked great. Rolex is about 15 years old. Heaps of grime between the bexel and frame. (It was a Bit*&%7 to turn bezel. Cleaned it up and put it back together. It's like new and all for free! Well Done and Thanks.
Kobinger4 years ago
I have a submariner (genuine) and I cannot for the life of me rotate the bezel.  I don't want to take a pair of channel locks to it, in fear of marring the metal beyond repair. 

And prying the bezel off of a non-rotating bezel would be risky because the "spring or something else" might be (bent, broken, repositioned...) . 

Is this correct?  Does anyone have an opinion on the matter.

Should I go forth and "pop" the bezel off?

Taank eeou

Kobi
mcgary911 (author)  Kobinger4 years ago
Kobi,
First thing, your Submariner only rotates counter clockwise. So start with the simple stuff, make sure you're turning it the proper way. A GMT Master will turn both ways.

You can try removing the bezel to see what's up, just use the plastic bag trick. If you're uncomfortable with that, or feel you're having to use too much pressure, pack it up, and find a decent jeweler. It shouldn't be much money to have them take a look.

Good luck..
Drillmn3005 years ago
A Rolex will only be worn by those that can afford them, too heavy or too bulky are comments made by people that can not afford to spend that much on a watch or have the money but choose not to spend that much on a watch. It took me a long time to save up for a 2 tone Submariner and can never see getting rid of it, once you have worn one they are hard to get away from.
Brennn105 years ago
I picked up a $3 Faux Rolex at a yard sale. I like to look rich for less.
I knocked the bezel off my SS sub with a lucky strike to my wrist, and somehow found the ringed components and then surmised a spring of that general shape should be found on my carpeted floor. I found it, again, somehow (It's non-ferous) and then had no idea if assembly by hand was asking for irreperable damage. After 6 minutes on your pages, I'm back in business and better for it! I don't remember being this amazed for many years. Thank you so much. -Blake Aasgaard
mcgary911 (author)  blakeaasgaard5 years ago
Hey Blake, glad this helped you. As some others alluded to, yeah, it's kind of geared to a limited audience. Cool that someone found some help here. As for limited audience...yeah, you may not have a Rolex sub. I don't have a lot of the stuff involved in the instructables i read, but I love to find out how stuff works. I love to find out you can fix some things that you wouldn't even attempt without some guidance found in places like this. BTW, you never know when long lost cousin Clem will pass away, and leave you a nice Rolex, right?
pdub775 years ago
because everyone has one of these. ; )
theRIAA6 years ago
rolexes weight too much. along with most mens watches in production today. they don't have to be so big, i want a razor thin watch, is that too much to ask?

i do respect that you would rather clean the watch yourself.

$15?? i have one of these, works great:
http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.8186
I agree, too heavy. The last watch I had was aluminum. It was still big but it was half the weight of most mens watches. The only problem is that the aluminum didn't hold up so well.
Stainless watch now,plastic watch before.
Derin theRIAA6 years ago
my swatch felt heavy at first,because my old watch was plastic and thus lighter,but i got used to the extra weith,i dont feel the weight nor the watch anymore
MrBungle6 years ago
The perfect watches for people that don't like the bulk: Skagen

Also Skagen on Amazon