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Restoration of a Broken Rolex GMT Master

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This article explores the restoration process of a broken Rolex GMT Master, conducted by professional watchmaker Richard Perrett. The watch in question arrived with severe performance issues, with components falling apart internally. With the GMT movement and the potential for accurate performance, the restoration aimed to address the main issue of dried-up old grease in the mainspring barrel. The article highlights the watch’s growing status as a classic and highly collectible timepiece and emphasizes the longevity and improved performance achieved through the restoration process. It concludes by encouraging readers to subscribe, like, and share the accompanying video, which showcases the step-by-step restoration process undertaken by Richard Perrett.

In this captivating video, watchmaker Richard Perrett takes on the task of restoring a broken Rolex GMT Master. The watch, which is several decades old, arrived in poor condition, with multiple issues. As the restoration commenced, Perrett encountered the alarming sight of dried-up old grease in the mainspring barrel. Despite this setback, the video highlights the meticulous process of restoring the watch’s automatic movement and demonstrates how subscribers to Perrett’s channel can gain valuable insight into the intricacies of watch restoration. The article also mentions the Sea Wolf watch, a personal favorite of Perrett’s, and prompts readers to watch the accompanying video for a better understanding of the restoration process and the remarkable performance of the Major Sea Wolf Sea Wolf Black model.

Restoration of a Broken Rolex GMT Master

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In the world of timekeeping, watches hold a special place. They are not just simple accessories; they are intricate mechanisms that require precise care and maintenance. Over time, however, even the most well-crafted watches can succumb to wear and tear. This comprehensive article aims to provide you with a professional understanding of watch damage and how to diagnose, clean, repair, and rebuild a watch movement to bring it back to its former glory. By the end of this guide, you will have the knowledge and skills necessary to restore a watch to its full potential.


Before delving into the intricate details of watch repair, it is essential to understand the basic components of a watch movement. A watch movement refers to the mechanism that keeps time and consists of various parts, including the mainspring, balance wheel, escapement, and gear train. The movement is powered by the mainspring, which stores and releases energy through a series of gears and levers, ultimately allowing the watch hands to move.

Causes of Damage

Several factors can lead to damage in a watch movement. One common cause is improper care and maintenance. Regular servicing, including cleaning and oiling, is crucial to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris that can hinder the smooth operation of the movement. Additionally, physical shock and impact can damage delicate components, leading to misalignment or breakage. Water can also pose a significant threat to watch movements, causing corrosion and rust. Finally, aging and natural wear and tear can gradually degrade the performance of a watch movement.

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Diagnosing the cause and extent of damage in a watch movement requires a careful examination of its components. Begin by inspecting the exterior of the watch for visible signs of damage, such as scratches, dents, or loose parts. Then, carefully open the watch case and examine the movement itself. Look for any misaligned or broken parts, dirt or grime buildup, rust, or signs of water damage. It is crucial to document any observations and create a thorough assessment before proceeding with the repair process.

Cleaning the Movement

Proper cleaning is a vital step in restoring a watch movement. Begin by disassembling the movement into its individual components. Each piece should be carefully examined, and any dirt, debris, or old lubricants should be removed. Cleaning solutions specifically formulated for watch movements should be used, as they are designed to dissolve dirt and grime without causing damage. Ultrasonic cleaning may also be employed to remove stubborn debris. After cleaning, each component should be dried thoroughly to prevent moisture-related issues.

Replacing Components

In cases where components are damaged beyond repair or are missing, replacing them is necessary to restore the watch movement. It is essential to source genuine and compatible parts from reputable suppliers or directly from the watch manufacturer. Each replaced component must be meticulously fitted and aligned according to the original specifications. Additionally, proper lubrication is crucial to ensure smooth movement and reduce wear between parts.

Restoring the Mainspring Barrel

The mainspring barrel is a critical component of a watch movement, as it stores and releases energy to power the timekeeping mechanism. Over time, the mainspring can lose elasticity or become damaged, affecting the watch’s accuracy and power reserve. Restoring the mainspring barrel involves carefully removing the old spring, inspecting it for any signs of damage, and replacing it with a new one of the appropriate length and strength. Proper lubrication of the mainspring and barrel walls is essential to reduce friction and ensure optimal performance.

Fixing the Broken Screw

Small screws play a significant role in holding various components together within a watch movement. If a screw becomes broken or loose, it can result in misalignment or loss of function. Fixing a broken screw requires precision and patience. First, the remaining part of the broken screw must be carefully removed, ensuring not to damage adjacent parts. A new screw of the exact size and specifications should then be inserted and securely tightened. It is crucial to avoid overtightening, as it can cause stress and damage to delicate components.

Rebuilding the Watch

After addressing the specific areas of damage, it is time to rebuild the watch movement. Begin by carefully reassembling the cleaned and repaired components in the correct order and alignment. Take care to ensure each part fits snugly and moves smoothly when necessary. Proper lubrication should be applied to reduce friction and wear. Once the movement is fully reassembled, it can be fitted back into the watch case and securely closed. A final examination should be conducted to ensure proper function and accuracy.


Repairing and restoring a damaged watch movement is a skilled task that requires knowledge, precision, and patience. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can confidently diagnose, clean, repair, and rebuild a watch movement, bringing it back to life. Remember to approach each step with a professional mindset, ensuring that you use proper tools, techniques, and genuine replacement parts. With practice and experience, you can become proficient in the art of watch repair, preserving these intricate timekeeping devices for generations to come.

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