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The Art of Watchmaking; Prestons’ Authorised Rolex Service Centre

13 October 22

Here, we talk with Prestons’ Head Watchmaker, Steve Tillston, and his Rolex-trained team about their experience as Rolex Accredited Watchmakers at Prestons’ Authorised Rolex Service Centre in Wilmslow and what led them to discover their passion for horology.

Opened in February 2020, the Authorised Rolex Service Centre is located on the first floor of Prestons’ flagship showroom, Prestons Wilmslow. Here, we explore with Steve and his team, Abbas, Joseph, Pedro, what led them to become watchmakers, the importance of servicing your wristwatch and what makes this showroom so special. 

Do you have any early memories of watches as you were growing up?

Steve: “I remember having watches as a child, I always used to take them apart but couldn’t figure out how to put them back together again. My mother’s alarm clock was always in pieces; if I could take it apart, I would, I really enjoyed it.”

Abbas: “I had a friend who had recently purchased a watch; my friend kindly showed me it and this is where it began. I was, at the time, studying Mechanical Engineering so I suppose you could say I’ve always had that sort of mindset but this was where my passion for watchmaking truly began.”

Did you always know you wanted to be a Watchmaker? 

Steve: “I think I knew very early on; I could have only been 16 years old. I remember vividly my mother seeing an advert in the local newspaper and saying to me “you like taking things apart, why don’t you have a go at this?" I read the advert and have been a watchmaker ever since. I suppose I have my mother to thank for where I am today.”

Pedro: “When I was growing up, I had originally dreamed of playing football professionally but watchmaking runs in my family. My mother is in the watchmaking industry and guided me into the profession. I knew once I had started exploring horology that I would really enjoy it.”

What does it mean to be a Rolex Trained Watchmaker?

Steve: “Each of us, and each watchmaker that works within an Authorised Rolex Service Centre, are specially trained by the brand so as to ensure the quality and consistency of servicing operations worldwide. Each of us work in adherence with Rolex standards, thereby guaranteeing the performance of the brand’s watches over time. Abbas, Joseph, Pedro and I are committed to upholding Rolex’s aim of providing exceptional service."

From all the watches you’ve serviced, what is your favourite watch?

Steve: “The team and I had a lovely client visit us here at Prestons Wilmslow recently; her husband had sadly passed away and she wanted to pass on his watch to their son for his birthday. It was so heart-warming to work on something so special with so many memories attached to it, we restored the functionality to ensure the watch was just as her husband had left it. The watch had a service and was returned to the client, it was well-loved and the perfect sentimental gift to pass on to the next generation.”

What advice would you give on the care of a Rolex watch?

Steve: “The fitting of the watch onto a wrist is so important. Each of our dedicated sales team members are Rolex trained and therefore able to advise on the size of the bracelet to suit the size of your wrist.”

Joseph: “The team and I also find that clients often visit us to arrange the polishing of their timepiece once a scratch has appeared; Rolex watches are designed to be worn and loved every day, our team would advise only polishing your wristwatch in accordance with the servicing schedule and enjoy wearing it every day in-between. I personally believe that every mark on your watch is a memory to commemorate something special.”

What makes the Rolex Servicing process so special?

Joseph: “Rolex watches are designed and built to last.The service process begins from the moment a client brings their wristwatch to one of our showrooms and ends when it leaves us with its two-year international guarantee.

The servicing of a Rolex watch comprises several detailed steps requiring the use of specific tools and instruments that are tested and sometimes even developed by the brand – I love how meticulous every step is. The team and I begin the service process by separating the bracelet from the case and delicately removing the movement. From that point on, the movement, case and bracelet follow separate servicing paths.

Each component is carefully examined to determine whether it still meets Rolex requirements, cleaned, dried, lubricated and carefully reassembled piece by piece. The case, bracelet and parts are individually re-polished or satin-finished by hand by myself or one of the other watchmakers in our team. The watch is tested for accuracy, precision and waterproofness as well as pressure-tested to ensure it meets the expected chronometric performance set by Rolex.

At the end of the process, the timepiece is placed in a specialist pouch and is presented back to the client by one of our dedicated sales consultants. It is an incredibly detailed process.”

What do you think having an in-house Authorised Rolex Service Centre brings to Prestons and their clients?

Abbas: “It offers in-house expertise to each of our clients, as often we are client-facing in the showroom or the Service Centre. Steve, Pedro, Joseph and I love to show our clients the servicing process and guide them through the work that will be undertaken on their timepiece.”

Steve: “I completely agree Abbas; I remember we once had a gentleman bring his Rolex watch to us as he had a time-keeping concern. I met the gentleman in the showroom for an appointment and soon found that his mobility problems were affecting the timekeeping of his watch. It felt very personal and had I not met the gentleman, it would have taken a longer time period for us to understand how to best advise the client.”

What makes The Prestons Experience so special? 

Steve: “The Authorised Rolex Service Centre, which is located directly above our Wilmslow showroom, is incredible. It is a wonderful place to work, being so close to the showroom really helps us to offer the best after-sales experience possible. I have been the Head Watchmaker at Prestons for the last four years and I feel so honoured to be leading this team to ensure each Rolex watch that enters the workshop continues to make wonderful memories. 

Abbas, Pedro, Joseph and I look forward to supporting and advising Prestons’ clients for years to come.”

Our Showrooms

Over the years, generations of families have become customers of Prestons, and many have gone on to become friends. Today, our teams look forward to welcoming you to our showrooms in Wilmslow, Guildford, Norwich and Leeds.

Prestons Guildford


Our Guildford showroom, which is now located on the opposite side of the high street, is designed to reflect the architectural merit of the Edwardian building it now occupies. The store features newly extended spaces dedicated to the fine watch houses it showcases, alongside a comfortable lounge to allow our clients to explore our bridal and fine jewellery collections. Explore This Showroom

Prestons Wilmslow


Located in the heart of Wilmslow, this showroom features a selection of spaces dedicated to the fine watch houses it showcases. Of course, the bridal collections Prestons have always been famous for remain a prominent feature of the store and surround the famous Aquarium Bar which sits at its centre. Explore This Showroom

Rolex by Prestons, Leeds


This showroom, located in Victoria Gate, features extensive Rolex showcases alongside a discrete VIP lounge. Every element of the interior design radiates the values of the Rolex crown: excellence, precision and attention to detail from louvre walls in walnut, to the careful calibration of colours and patterns within the fittings and furnishings. Explore This Showroom

Prestons Norwich


Located on the historic Norwich high street, Prestons Norwich has been expanded and redesigned to reflect the character of the building it has occupied for over 150 years. The showroom features collections by Patek Philippe, Rolex and TUDOR alongside our fine jewellery collections. Explore This Showroom
Guildford showroom