How to Wind a Rolex Watch

You bought your first Rolex. Congratulations! Now that it’s officially yours, it’s important to know how to use it correctly. Winding and adjusting your Rolex watch doesn’t require any tools, but it does require some know-how. Here, we’ll give you step-by-step (and visual!) instructions on how to wind your Rolex watch.

Manually Winding Your Watch

If your watch has not been worn in several days, it is important to wind your watch before setting the time, day, or date. Yes, even if it’s an automatic watch—all watches lose power if they’re not being worn. Good news is, winding your Rolex is the same for all models.

If you have a Rolex watch with a date window, you should always wind the watch first before trying to set the day or date. How you adjust your watch will depend on whether you have a quickset or non-quickset Rolex.

Quickset vs. Non-Quickset

When it comes to watch movements, Rolex has always been a technical innovator. And in 1977, its 3035 movement was revolutionary. The new quickset function made setting the date on a watch easier than ever before.

How do you know whether your watch is quickset or not?

If you have a newer Rolex, you most definitely have a quickset. But depending on the vintage, you might have a non-quickset on your hands. Best way to tell? Know your Rolex’s model number.   (Read: How to Find Your Watch Model Number)

Once you have your model number, you can check out this exhaustively detailed table to check what movement is inside your watch. (Ctrl + F is your friend, here.)

How to Wind Your Rolex

Winding is standard procedure for any Rolex with a screw-down crown (which is most of them). It’s done the same way for all Rolex watches, like so:

1. Unwind the crown by twisting it counterclockwise until it is free of the screw threads.

2. Twist the crown clockwise about 30 times, which will wind the movement of the watch.

Remember: Always wind your Rolex before you try to set the time. It’ll make things go a lot smoother.

How to Set the Time on a Rolex Watch

It can be tricky to change the time on your Rolex. If your Rolex is a non-date model, your job is easy. But depending on the age of your watch, you might have special instructions for adjusting the time/day/date of your watch. Reference the section above to be double sure.

No-Date Rolexes

1. Pull the crown out to the last notch.

2. Twist the crown clockwise or counter-clockwise to adjust the hands.

Rolex Date/Datejust (Non-Quickset)

1. Pull the crown out to the last notch. The seconds hand will immediately stop.

2. Turn the crown counter-clockwise until you hit the correct date. This may take a while.

3. Stop twisting the crown once your hands are in the right position.

Rolex Date/Datejust (Quickset)

1. Pull the crown out to the first notch.

3. Twist the crown counter-clockwise (for a men’s watch) or clockwise (for a women’s watch) to adjust the date.


4. Pull the crown out to the last notch to adjust the time.

Rolex Day-Date (Double Quickset)

1. Pull the crown out to the first notch.

2. Turn the crown clockwise to set the date.

3. Turn the crown counter-clockwise to change the day of the week.

4. Pull the crown out to the last notch and turn clockwise or counter-clockwise to set the time.

Rolex Day-Date (Quickset)

  1. Pull the crown out to the first notch.
  2. Turn the crown counter-clockwise to change the date.
  3. Pull the crown out to the last notch and turn clockwise to set the day.

Remember: Once you’re done adjusting your Rolex to the correct time, day, and date, screw the crown back into the case. That will keep the movement protected from water and debris.

Other Rolex Winding Options

Tired of having to manually wind your automatic Rolex every time you wear it? You need a watch winder. It’ll wind your watch when you’re not wearing it, which goes a long way towards keeping it in top form. Keeping your Rolex wound is important, and it might save you some money on service costs in the long run. (Read: How to Take Care of Your Watch)



Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 23, 2014. We have updated it for clarity.

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