Do you own a Rolex but lost its original box and papers? If so, you’re not alone. Many watch owners share the same concern. You all might ask, “Will Rolex service a watch without papers?”
This post will answer frequently asked questions about serving your watch without papers. But first, let’s start by knowing what Rolex “papers” are and whether the Rolex watch box and papers are essential.
What are Rolex “Papers?”
These are papers that accompany your Rolex upon purchase. They help validate that the product is authentic. Some information includes the warranty, original purchase receipt, and the owner’s manual.
Your Rolex papers likewise include this information:
- Serial numbers
- Service history
- Name of purchaser
- Warranty information
- The Rolex dealer you purchased it from
Additionally, “papers” originally meant actual papers. However, Rolex switched over to using a plastic warranty card in 2006. It’s an electronically activated card that contains the same data as the paper-based warranties.
A Rolex guarantee card looks like an ID card. Upon theft or loss of the card, Rolex will not replace it.
Are Rolex Watch Boxes and Papers Important?
Yes, the Rolex watch box and papers are essential in the pre-owned watch market. These things authenticate or legitimize a watch.
These papers may not be considered legal documentation or are required in transferring watch ownership. Yet, they make it easy for a timepiece to appear credible.
They also add roughly 25% to the value compared to a pre-owned Rolex without a box and papers.
A solid staple in the watch world is the pre-ceramic Rolex Submariner 16610. It costs around 17.8% more if it comes with its box and papers. So, from $8,700 Submariner, it could increase to $10,250.
Another model worth mentioning is the Rolex GMT-Master II 16710. It costs about 23.3% more with a box and paper. It shows that the absence and presence of boxes and papers heavily influence a watch’s pricing, collectibility, and desirability.
Nevertheless, it’s an essential watch when buying a pre-owned timepiece, not the box and papers. The older the watch, the less critical the papers are, except if it’s a sought-after collector’s piece.
So, Will Rolex Service a Watch Without Papers?
Yes, Rolex will happily service a watch from its brand even if the owner doesn’t bring the original certification papers.
Here are the three conditions that Rolex needs to service a Rolex without papers:
1. It isn’t stolen.
2. It hasn’t been modified.
3. It is an authenticated Rolex watch.
They will service it as long as you bring the timepiece into their Official Rolex Retailers and Service Centers, which are available in more than 100 countries. With that number, you will likely find a skilled watchmaker in local Rolex service centers.
Rolex understands that many Rolex owners misplace or lose their original documentation a few years after purchasing the luxury item.
An Official Rolex Retailer Will Check if the Watch Is Stolen
Before serving the Rolex, a retailer will assess if it’s genuine or stolen by checking the watch’s serial number.
They will verify that number through international stolen watch databases online, such as the Rolex Tracker, The Watch Register, and MyStolenWatch.
When most Rolex buyers invest in such a luxury timepiece, they typically take enough time to register its serial number first with the company where they bought the watch. Some Rolex owners even report cases of loss and theft to the police and the Rolex company itself.
To find your Rolex serial number, check the side of the case between the lugs near the six o’clock position. Every Rolex watch has an engraved four to eight-digit number, which tells the production date.
What Happens When Rolex Services Your Watch
The Rolex-certified watchmaker will carefully examine your watch, its condition, movement, model, and type.
They will then provide you with an estimate of the work, and once approved, the servicing starts. You can only estimate the exact price for the watch service with an authorized service center.
The genuine Rolex will then be dismantled entirely. This work requires great care and talent.
The watchmaker will remove the band, open the case, and remove the internal mechanism of that case. Every individual component is closely examined.
They will even remove the movement from the case. They will perform this process to determine parts that no longer meet Rolex’s aesthetic and functional specifications.
3. Cleaning and Lubrication
Each part of the watch undergoes an ultrasonic bath to remove impurities. They use a specially formulated solution to clean each part of the movement.
Next, they will lubricate the movement carefully. They will also refinish the metal bracelet and case to restore their luster.
4. Refinishing and Replacement
Watchmakers will replace worn-out components and refinish some parts. The new features installed to replace the old parts come from their headquarters in Switzerland. So, you can ensure that your watch will still have genuine parts.
They will also electronically test the movement to ensure its timing accuracy. The same attention to detail is given to other parts. The Rolex can be polished or left unpolished, depending on the watch owner.
Some people believe that refinishing the watch erases the watch’s history. But for others, a scratch can be a precious memory. So, it’s a personal preference.
Rolex Letter of Authenticity
Suppose you lost your Rolex papers but still want to prove that your Rolex is authentic to potential buyers. In that case, another option is to obtain a letter of authenticity from Rolex.
This certificate may not be as good as the original papers, yet it will make your watch more appealing to buyers. You can obtain this letter or certificate from a credible or respected source.
Official Rolex service centers can authenticate Rolex watches. This process may cost $150, and they will deliver the papers within seven to 10 days.
FAQs About Rolex Watch Care and Service
How much does Rolex service cost?
It depends on the watch type, the kind of work required, and the condition of the timepiece. Rolex service costs typically range from $600 to $1,000. Authorized Rolex services will give you the exact rates on their services.
What happens if I lose my Rolex papers?
Unfortunately, Rolex cannot replace a lost guaranteed card. Still, you can sell a pre-owned Rolex without the original papers. The downside is you’ll get less money than if you have the original papers.
Is it essential to have a box and papers with Rolex watches?
Yes, it’s ideal to have the original box, papers, and other items that came with the original purchase. Pre-owned watches with their original papers and boxes are more collectible and desirable. They can add about 25% to the timepiece’s value.
How old of a watch will Rolex service?
The service of a Rolex depends on how often the timepiece is used. Rolex recommends service every ten years but also depends on real-life usage and model.
If you use the Rolex heavily and in rougher situations, like outdoor work or hiking, it is ideal to have the watch serviced more frequently.
How long does a Rolex service take?
If a complete overhaul is necessary, a Rolex-authorized service center takes at least four to six weeks to service a Rolex. The length of a Rolex service depends on the condition of the watch. This is why a thorough diagnostic examination of the timepiece is essential before carrying out a service.
Are Rolex watches registered at the time of purchase?
Rolex watches are not registered when bought. However, you can register it via its serial numbers. RolexTracker.com is a global database to register your Rolex. That registration sends a notification if anyone worldwide tries to search or register for your watch on that site.
Moreover, Rolex keeps a record of every timepiece produced. If the watch gets stolen, you can reach out to Rolex with your serial number.
How long is the Rolex warranty?
Rolex guarantees the proper functioning of its watches for five years from the date of purchase. The warranty excludes normal wear and tear and damage due to misuse, theft, and loss.
Rolex issues an international five-year warranty that will be dated at the time of purchase. It is also automatically registered with Rolex.
Is it okay to buy a Rolex without papers?
It comes down to personal preference. Some won’t mind buying a Rolex without papers since they pay less.
However, it’s best to buy Rolex from a reputable Rolex dealer and watch stores than pawn shops or Craigslist to be sure you’re buying an authentic Rolex watch.
TL;DR: A Rolex service center will service a watch without papers. This rule applies when you bring the luxury watch into one of their Official Rolex Retailers and Service Centers or ship it to them.
There you go. We hope we’ve cleared the question for you.
Keeping its documents is best when you pay a lot for a luxury timepiece. That way, the presence of these papers and the box will increase its value or make it easier to sell your watch if you ever decide to do so someday.
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My name is Eve Acosta and I’m the person behind this site. Watches are what get me ticking ;).
No, but seriously, I just love watches, I have over 30 myself. It’s an obsession of mine, which is why my husband recommended me to put my hobby into some good use and build this site – so I did.
My passion for timepieces came from the fact that my parents own a small chain of shops selling timepieces. I’ve worked at the shop since I was 11 and fell in love with the merchandise.