Should I Modify My Rolex?

4:12 PM

Rolex models change very little from reference to reference, maintaining a classical aesthetic while increasing in reliability as technology advances watchmaking techniques. However, not everyone appreciates the slow and steady style evolution of these timepieces. For those who like their watch to reflect their personality, a modified Rolex can give them what they want, but not without some risks when it comes to servicing and resale value. Like most other commodities, the more personalized they are, the smaller the market for them when it comes time to sell them.
Light Blue Rolex Milgauss Modification Idea
The first thing to take into account when deciding whether to modify your Rolex is that the watchmaker will not accept one of their timepieces for service if it has been modified. So, if you would like to change the color of the dial, for example, you will have to put the original Rolex dial back on before sending it in to the service center. If you make more permanent modifications, like adding a coating through a company like Titan Black, they will not work on the watch at all. This means that you will have to rely on someone else to service or repair your watch in the future.

If being blacklisted by Rolex Service Centers doesn't bother you and you plan on keeping your watch forever, you can feel free to modify your watch without being concerned about anything other than the dirty looks you will get from brand loyalists. There are many ways to modify a watch, from something as simple as swapping out the hour markers to more drastic modifications like blacking out or engraving. The good thing about a Rolex is that you don't have to modify them too much to make them stand out since there is such uniformity in their wristwatch model design. The photo above shows a Milgauss (Reference # 116400GV) that I altered in Photoshop.

The Milgauss is a charming model that is often overlooked. I love the lightning bolt second hand and its scientific legacy. But when it comes to the aesthetic, I have a hard time with the black dial combined with its orange and green design details. The Z-Blue dial version does a better job of offering a fresh and bold configuration, but the black dial isn't as sexy. I took to Photoshop to tweak the hour markers and other design details to make them pop against the black background and stainless steel case. I chose a light blue color that looks just as fresh as the Z-blue dial, but a little more low key.

While modifications are looked down upon by the watchmaker and purists, it is up to the owner of the watch to decide what to do with it. As long as you are okay with the restrictions that come with modifying your Rolex, I say go for it. If I've learned anything about watches in the past few years, it's that the most important part of owning a watch is that you love the way it looks on your wrist.


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