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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:48 am 
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Here's a bit of a "first world problem" question for you! -

What do you consider to be 'within manufacturing tolerance' when it comes things such as manufacturing blemishes on the dial of a brand new watch?

For example, is it OK (in your opinion) as long as you can't see a blemish with the naked eye, or should a "prestige" watch's dial be perfect under a x2, or x5, or x10 loupe?

I'm just curious to know as I've always liked to have a look at my watch dials with a x5 loupe as I feel that's not an unreasonable level of magnification, given current manufacturing techniques and the fact that "prestige" watches are sold on the basis of precision. However a friend of mine borrowed my x5 loupe to look at his brand new Rolex and it's given him the headache of highlighting a very VERY small blemish that he now can't UNsee! I don't have a picture, but basically it looks like there was a tiny air bubble in the white paint on the "Rolex" wording on the dial, so there's a tiny dot of black of the dial showing through.

I'm struggling to give him advice because on the one hand it's an issue that's only shown up under a x5 loupe, although when you know it's there, you can convince yourself you can see it with the naked eye, and I also know the feeling that once you know something's there it'll always irritate you! Dial blemishes are different to external scratches IMO, because normal wear and tear will cause minor scratches to the case and bracelet, but under normal circumstance the dial will never change (patina aside).

If it was mine (and knowing I'm quite OCD about that kind of thing!), I'd probably look to get a warranty replacement dial, but obviously opening up a watch can potentially cause more issues than it's worth.......

Interested to hear your thoughts.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:20 am 
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It is often posted that the worst thing you can do is look at a watch with a loupe of 5-10x magnification. That being said, mine is 6X, so we always don't listen to the advice of others. I would recommend that he return it to Rolex and have them address it, they may say that it is not visible to the naked eye and refuse to address it. However, if you friend was to leave it as it is I think there would always be the little devil on his shoulder whispering in his ear about it. Let Rolex have a look and be guided by their response. At least that option will give him some peace of mind.



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:33 am 
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I'd be worried if I'd spent many pennies on a supposedly superlative timepiece that had a blemish on the dial. I've just checked my Superocean Chrono with my loupe and can find no blemishes on the dial. My argument to Rolex would be that the blemish may be superficial now but could significantly deteriorate over time and may become all too apparent.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:34 am 
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I agree. It's there and Rolex themselves ought to be the first to say that it shouldn't be. I share the anxiety about the watch being needlessly opened but I think one just has to trust them to get it right. I suppose he could try to insist on a replacement but they wouldn't be obliged. Perhaps some goodwill, a free service or something.

Alternatively, given the insanity of the Rolex market, he could probably list it on eBay as a super collectible watch with the rare and coveted "Rolex-bubble-blemish" and double his money ...



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:16 pm 
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Yes I've heard people say that "louping" your watch is generally a really bad idea, but I've always enjoyed seeing the precision in macro, and I guess I've been lucky that all mine (well, all my more expensive watches) have been blemish-free. I feel bad for my mate though - he doesn't own any watch tools, or a loupe of his own, and literally the first time he's checked a watch out using a loupe, it turns out be an £11K GMT Rootbeer that has a blemish!

I've told him to hold fire for a bit to see if he can try to forget about it, but I think it's going to bug him as much as it would me (and you guys too, by the looks of it!). I guess if he does decide to send it in, and if Rolex don't fix it under warranty, he could always pay for a dial change himself....although god knows what that'll cost him! :shock:

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:07 pm 
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This is why I don't use a loupe because ignorance is bliss :) I don't want to see or know the flaws as I'm sure most watches have them if you look hard enough. I'm of the mindset that if you can't see it with the naked eye then it's not a flaw.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:46 pm 
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In my mind it depends on the price range, I often loupe my watches and have a macro camera setup that I use to look even closer, down to x20. I can say that the only four manufacturers that truly pursue perfection to every level have been Lange, Patek, Jorne, and VC. AP are close, but not quite. At their price point I would expect that sort of quality control and attention to unseen details, Patek, Lange and Journe even take it so far as to finish the portions that cant possibly be seen unless you are a watchmaker and open the case....but a sub 10K watch should be forgiven some imperfections if they can only be seen at magnification IMO.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:00 am 
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I totally agree that it's price dependent. That's why even though I also have a x10 loupe I never use it on any of the watch dials I own!

However, I personally think that x5 is a reasonable expectation as I'd expect all higher-end watch manufacturers to give every dial they fit at least a cursory glance under that kind of magnification. I can't think that any manufacturer from the likes of Tudor upwards would trust QC to just a naked-eye observation.

As my mate pointed out, Rolex say on their website that most of the dial work is done by hand "to ensure perfection", so I think he's going to speak to the AD and see whether they suggest it's something Rolex would do under warranty.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:20 am 
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I really don't think he'll need to fight. Rolex aftercare is pretty good and I'd be surprised if they did anything other than apologise and undertake to fix it.


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2019 7:18 pm 
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I bought a 10x loupe when my Chronomat was about 4 years old because I wanted to admire the details of my watch and also there are many details on a Buck Rogers Chronomat that you can scrutinize to see if Breitling has been doing a good job with their quality control and craftsmanship. I happened to discover a very small uncoated mark on the red Sec Hand tip. I am not sure whether it's due to aging that the paint wore off overtime or the coating was not perfect in the first place. Without any hesitation I sent the watch in, which they replaced the Sec Hand within a few minutes with no questions asked.

Personally I do not accept blemishes like these on a high quality watch because it is details that makes the difference and so I will not hesitate to send the watch in for such cases, provided if the watch is still under warranty of course.

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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 1:58 am 
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:lol: It's funny we all seem to fall into one of two camps on this! On the one hand there's the, "If you can't see it with the naked eye then it's not a problem" camp, and the, "If you KNOW it's there then it's still a problem" camp!

I think my mate is in the latter group. (And if it ever happened to me then I'm pretty sure I am too. :? )

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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 5:32 pm 
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I would be very interested in hearing Rolex respond to this. I have had excellent experiences with Rolex after service but if they replace a dial for a flaw that can’t be seen by the naked eye that would take them up a notch!

I always assumed the only brands I would hold to this level are the ones that constantly advertise their pursue for perfection and hence have a reputation to uphold.

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