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Help!! Repair of broken bezel insert?

January 19 2018 at 11:59 AM
Philip  (Login PhilipVRF)
from IP address

Hi guys - until now I have only read, but seldom posted on VRF, BUT NOE I really need your help.
I have bought my personal grail, a 1970 Submariner 5513, box and papers, virtually untouched with a „kissing four“ bezel.
A few days ago the beautiful bezel insert broke at the 12 o‘clock mark. At first the insert and the tritium pearl were lost, which broke my heart. I went back and amazingly found the bezel insert the next day.
Now it is broken at the twelve mark and I need help because I need an expert to repair it or tell me what to do. Also I need a tritium pearl, if anyone knows where to ask.
Thank you guys for any advice.

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(Login PhilipVRF)

Does anyone know if it is possible?

January 20 2018, 6:54 AM 

Are these aluminum bezel inlays repirable at all?

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(Login dynhm6)
VRF Member

You can often find...

January 20 2018, 8:58 AM 

...pearls and bezels on ebay—both new and used. However, you've got to be careful so as to avoid purchasing aftermarket parts being sold as OEM Rolex parts. A VRF member may also have what you need for sale, so check the listings.

I've never heard of anyone repairing a Sub bezel (they're generally replaced when badly damaged), but it may be possible. Unless someone with experience with that type of repair chimes in, I'd find a local watchmaker with a Rolex parts account and take it to him. He'll likely recommend replacing it. On the other hand, unless the business side is severely damaged, I'd probably just reinstall it (presuming it hasn't been bent out of shape)—with or without the pearl—and consider it added character.

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(Login roh123)
VRF Member

If just broken...

January 20 2018, 4:30 PM 

Pop in a pearl and glue it together. Depending on the damage it can often look decent and should be enough to keep it in place mounted.

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(Login GMTKiwi)
VRF Member

It's the pesky 'cross sectional distortion' that trips us up with broken inserts ...

January 24 2018, 11:36 AM 

Inserts usually break at the weakest point, the hole where the pearl slots in. The problem I've found is that when an insert breaks they tend to 'grow' slightly. and can be a devil to refit to an insert (using glue or whatever). Something akin to the way the belt on my trousers keeps my beer belly neatly in check ... but out it pops as soon as I undo my buckle wink.gif

My engineering skills are fairly raw but I'm thinking the odd way a broken insert suddenly seems to be a squilli-meter larger than it was before it broke, is what engineers might refer to as 'cross-sectional distortion'. Bend, twist, break, cut or fold a piece of steel and it stretches. I had to learn about it 25 years ago when I was making up window frames from stainless steel 'U' channel for an old sports car. Gentle curves were easy but anything involving a tighter curve, or a cut (or similar) just distorted the steel. That engineering problem was ultimately solved with slots being cut, filled with stainless welding rod and a long afternoon on the flapper disc.

Anyways, much less drama with a broken insert. If you are very lucky, you might simply have success refitting a broken insert to a bezel, using the simple 'glue and spring-loaded clothes peg' trick. The bad news ... I have never used that trick and successfully re-fitted a pearl. I'm thinking a clever watchmaker working with a broken insert might do very judicious work with a dremel to ease the fit a bit and get you up an running again with insert and pearl fitted . With early inserts now running at $2k / $3k plus it's certainly viable to fix 'em ... but you want the right guy on the task.

Good luck !

Edited for typos, poor grammar and generally sloppy conveyance of my message.

This message has been edited by GMTKiwi from IP address on Jan 24, 2018 11:42 AM

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(Login PhilipVRF)

Thanks guys

January 25 2018, 10:47 AM 

Hey guys, thanks so much for the input. It sounds bad, but not as bad as I thought it could have.
Does anyone know a wizard who could attempt a fix? With or without the pearl?
Maybe someone feels compelled to give it a shot.
I‘d somehow hate to give it to my great but ‚regular’ watchmaker.... Thanks again for your input

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(Login greenoyster)
VRF Emeritus


January 26 2018, 8:03 AM 

I received an answer to one of your question via PM could you please change your name
for Philip1 or something like it. Thanks you very much
Philip happy.gif

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(Login PhilipVRF)

No problem.

February 12 2018, 10:11 PM 

Was the answer that you received anything that could help with my bezel issue, by any chance?
Have a great day, Philip.

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(Premier Login fantastictime)
VRF Managing Director


February 13 2018, 2:44 AM 

Hi New Philip happy.gif

I am going to ask you to come up with a new N54 login and user name for use on VRF please.

Philip has been a prolific member here for over 15 years and so the confusion will continue.

Thank you for your help.

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