If your Rolex watch is no longer keeping accurate time, or more specifically, if it’s losing or gaining time consistently over time, it might be time for a service. However, there are a few things you can do to improve accuracy before shipping your watch off to Rolex for a full service.
But before we go any further, know this—while most of the tips below are universal, try checking out this article for more general tips on improving the accuracy of your non-Rolex watch.
Winding an Automatic Rolex
Most modern Rolexes have perpetual (automatic) movements, meaning the watch is powered by the movement of your wrist. When you move your wrist, the rotor winds the watch.
If you wear your watch daily, the rotor should do a sufficient job of winding the movement. In the event you don’t wear your automatic watch daily, it’s important that you manually wind your watch.
Winding your watch is an easy process, just locate the crown on your Rolex (the knob at the 3 o’clock position) and follow these directions:
- 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 overwinding it—you may feel some resistance when it’s fully wound, but further winding will not harm it.
- When you’re done winding, make sure to screw the crown all the way in to seal it from water.
(For further instructions on winding, check out this blog post on Winding a Rolex Watch.)
Why Wind Your Watch?
Simple answer: winding your watch will help it keep better time. If you’ve been gaining 30 minutes to several hours on your Rolex every day, it may just need to be wound more regularly.
But ultimately, 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 (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’s okay for modern mechanical watches to lose or gain upward of 15 seconds per day.
Other Options for Maintaining Rolex Accuracy
Opinions differ as to how often you should get your watch serviced, but your Rolex should be serviced by a watchmaker about every 7-10 years. If it’s still losing significant time, take it to an authorized Rolex service center. A certified watchmaker can tell you what’s wrong with it and possibly save you major money by conducting the repair on-site before you ship it off to Rolex for hundreds (or thousands) of dollars.
And if you don’t want to have to manually wind your watch every day, look into purchasing a watch winder. Watch winders keep your watch wound and they double as a storage container when your watch is not in use.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on February 8, 2013. We have updated it for relevance and clarity.