How to Wind & Set Your Rolex Watch

Set a Rolex Oyster Perpetutal You have finally bought the Rolex watch you have been eyeing for years. But no sooner do you get it on your wrist than you realize the time and date are wrong. Winding and setting your Rolex is a relatively simple task, as long as you know what you are doing. In this article by Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers, we’ll cover the basic information that you need to know.

Rolex Crown Positions

The first thing to understand about winding and setting a Rolex is the different crown positions. The crown of the watch is the small, grooved knob on the side of the watch case. It is what you use to make all the adjustments to your Rolex watch.

When the crown is screwed all the way flush with the watch case, the watch is completely sealed, and the inner workings of your Rolex are protected from dust and moisture. This is the only crown position in which you should wear your watch.

To change the crown position for adjustments, you must unscrew the crown to the point where it is free of the screw threads. Once the crown is free of the screw threads, the crown is now ready for hand winding.

Hand Winding Your Rolex Watch

Almost all Rolex watches are automatic, or self-winding. As long as you are wearing the watch, a weighted rotor in the movement oscillates with your arm’s movements, and the mainspring maintains tension. A slipping clutch prevents the spring from being overwound.

So why should you have to know how to wind a self-winding watch? If you don’t wear your watch daily, or perhaps if you are an extremely inactive person, you may have to manually wind your watch from time to time.

Before you make any adjustment to the crown, make sure the watch is off your wrist. Winding or setting your Rolex while it is on your wrist might be tempting, but the angle is awkward, and once you release the crown from the case for adjustment, you can put lateral stress on the delicate winding stem.

To wind your Rolex, unscrew the crown counterclockwise until the threads are released and the stem pops out slightly from the case. Now turn the crown clockwise about 30 full times to completely wind the watch and fully charge the movement.

Even though there is a slipping clutch in the automatic winding system so that you can’t technically ‘overwind’ it, do exercise some caution. The winding mechanisms in self-winding watches are usually a bit less hearty than the ones in a typical hand-wound watch and more susceptible to damage from careless or excessive use.

Winding a Rolex Watch It is always best to let the watch wind itself. However, if you don’t wear your Rolex on a daily basis, you should consider investing in a quality watch winder. Watch winders are simply devices that simulate the movement of your arm, and keep the mainspring of a watch that isn’t being worn properly tightened.

Watch winders (such as the Scatola Del Tempo seen to the left) are great for collectors with multiple watches. Not only do they keep your watches accurate even when they are not being worn, but they probably extend the overall life of the watch by keeping the internal mechanism lubricated and moving.

Setting the Time, Day, and Date on Your Rolex Watch

If your watch has not been worn for several days, it is important to fully charge the mainspring by manually winding it before you set the time, day, and date. The steps that follow will vary a bit according by model, and whether your Rolex is a quick-set or non quick-set. In the following sections, we’ll outline specific details of setting the time, day, and date on various models.

Also, if your Rolex has a date or day and date feature, it is a good idea to set the hour and minute hand to five or six o’clock before you change the date. The date change mechanism on many Rolex watches is engaged between 9 pm and 1 am, and changing the date manually during that time could harm the mechanism.

Setting a Rolex Oyster Perpetual (No Date)

First, unscrew the crown from the case and make sure your watch is fully wound. Next, pull the stem out gently past the winding position. Position the hands to the correct time by moving them either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Once the time has been set, screw the crown back tightly into the case to seal it case against dust and moisture.

Setting a Rolex Date and Datejust (Non-Quickset Models)

After making sure the watch is fully wound, gently pull the released crown stem out past the winding position to set the date. Turn the crown clockwise or counter-clockwise so that the hands pass the midnight position twice, after which you can set the correct date. The second hand will automatically stop and not advance until the crown is returned to position two, though this is not true of models manufactured before 1972.

To set the time, extend the crown fully and wind the crown either clockwise or counter-clockwise until you reach the appropriate time. When the time and date have been set, return the crown to the winding position and screw it tightly back into the case to seal the watch.

Setting a Rolex Date and Datejust (Quickset Models)

If your Date or Datejust Rolex is a Quickset model, the instructions for winding and setting are the same as above, with the exception of setting the date. To set the date on a ladies watch, wind the crown clockwise. To set the date on a man’s watch, wind the crown counter-clockwise.

Setting a Rolex Day-Date

How to Set Your Rolex Watch After fully winding the watch, extend the crown one position to set the date. Wind clockwise or counter-clockwise past the midnight position twice, after which you can set the correct date.

To set the time, extend the crown fully and turn it clockwise or counter-clockwise until you reach the appropriate time. When completed, return the crown to the winding position and gently push and screw the crown back into the case to seal the watch.

Setting a Double Quickset Rolex President

This process for setting a Double Quickset Rolex President (or any Double Quickset Day-Date Rolex) is slightly different than setting a Single Quickset model. After fully winding the watch, extend the crown one position to set the date. To set the date, wind the crown clockwise.  To set the day, wind the crown counterclockwise.

To set the time, extend the crown fully and turn it clockwise or counter-clockwise until you reach the appropriate time. When completed, return the crown to the winding position and gently push and screw the crown back into the case to seal the watch.

Setting a Rolex Submariner (No Date)

With the watch fully wound, pull the crown past the winding position to set the time. Turn the crown either clockwise or counter-clockwise until you reach the correct time. When completed, return the crown to the winding position and gently push and screw the crown back into the case to seal the watch.

Should you ever decide that it’s time to sell your Rolex watch, contact Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers for a free appraisal and immediate cash offer. To read some common questions & answers about selling a previously-owned Rolex timepiece, please go to: How to Sell a Rolex.

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