Rolex watches have withstood the depths of the deepest oceans and the summits of the highest mountains. To ensure their watches can perform accurately under any circumstances, Rolex tests them to the extremes. The brand designed a series of trials measuring things like shock resistance, water resistance, and basic wear and tear. These ensure their timepieces can excel in any real-world conditions, even those they’re never likely to encounter.
Still, like all watches, Rolex timepieces are manmade and subject to human error – or sometimes, user error. If the accuracy of your Rolex watch is no longer keeping accurate time, it might be time for a service. However, there are a few things you can try before shipping your watch off to Rolex for a full service.
Winding an Automatic Rolex
Most modern Rolexes have perpetual movements. Automatic or self-winding are other names for perpetual movements, meaning the motion of your wrist powers the watch. If you wear your watch daily, the motion of your wrist should do a sufficient job of winding the movement. However, you’ll still need to wind your automatic watch occasionally. Sometimes you’ll need to power it up after if you’ve left it unworn. It can also help with regular maintenance.
Winding your watch is a relatively easy process. We’ve shared some steps here detailing how to wind your Rolex. If you still need more guidance, you can check out this handy video on how to wind a watch.
- Start by locating the crown at the three-o’clock hour marker.
- Turn the crown counterclockwise (toward you), which will allow the crown to pop out to the first position.
- Once the crown is out, rotate the stem clockwise (away from you) 30-40 times to wind your watch. Don’t worry about over winding it. You may feel some resistance, but keep in mind you can’t overwind an automatic watch like you can a manual.
- Lastly, make sure to screw the crown all the way back in to maintain its water resistance.
Why Wind Your Watch?
Winding your watch periodically, even if you wear it regularly, will help it keep better time. For instance, if your watch is losing or gaining time consistently every day, you may just need to wind it more regularly. However, keep in mind that it’s normal for a mechanical watch to gain or lose a few seconds daily. According to COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) standards, a watch should lose no more than 4 seconds per day and gain no more than 6 seconds. So, if your watch is -4/+6 seconds per day, you’re in the clear. If your watch falls just outside of the COSC regulations, it’s not a cause for concern. It just means you might want to wind your watch more frequently.
Other Options for Maintaining the Accuracy of Your Rolex Watch
Opinions differ as to how often you should get your watch serviced. We recommend you have your Rolex serviced by a watchmaker about every 7-10 years. However, if you notice your watch is losing or gaining significant time, don’t wait for your next service interval. Take it to an authorized Rolex service center and have it checked out by the professionals. A certified watchmaker can tell you if there’s something wrong with your watch. This might save you hundreds or thousands of dollars by conducting the repair on-site before you ship it to Rolex.
One final tip: if you don’t want to have to worry about wearing your watch daily or winding your watch regularly, look into purchasing a watch winder. Watch winders don’t just keep your watch wound. They also double as a storage container when your watch isn’t in use.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on February 8, 2013. We have updated it in June of 2019 for relevance and clarity.