How to wind a Rolex watch

Posted by Suzie Kidger-Clarke

on 21st September 2023

Winding a Rolex watch can seem like an intricate art, especially with the myriad of models and their diverse features.

Here, we’ll guide you on how to wind a Rolex, ensuring its impeccable performance and longevity.

A brief history of Rolex watches

Founded in the early 20th century, Rolex has become synonymous with luxury, precision, and timeless elegance. The journey of this illustrious brand began when Hans Wilsdorf, its visionary founder, envisioned watches that combined elegance with functionality.

In 1910, a Rolex watch was the first wristwatch in the world to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision, granted by the Official Watch Rating Centre in Bienne. This was just the beginning of Rolex’s association with precision and excellence.

Over the decades, Rolex watches have been associated with groundbreaking innovations. In 1926, the Rolex Oyster was introduced, the world’s first waterproof wristwatch. This ingenious design was a significant milestone in watchmaking, sealing the case from water and dust.

Many Rolex models introduced over the years have catered to specific professionals and adventurers. The Submariner, for instance, became the watch of choice for divers, while the GMT-Master catered to pilots with its dual time zone feature.

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Understanding the basics of your Rolex watch

Rolex, a brand steeped in tradition and innovation, offers more than just time-telling instruments; each Rolex watch is a marvel of craftsmanship and engineering. To appreciate the complexity and allure of Rolex watches, one must delve into the basics that make these timepieces world-renowned.

Materials and Craftsmanship: Rolex is meticulous in its selection of materials. The brand uses a proprietary blend of 904L stainless steel, known for its corrosion resistance and sheen. Moreover, it is one of the few watchmakers that craft their gold, ensuring consistent quality and hue in every piece.

Movements: At the heart of every Rolex watch is its movement. Rolex prides itself on its automatic movements, often referred to as self-winding. These movements harness the natural motion of the wearer’s arm to wind the watch, negating the need to manually wind it frequently. However, many aficionados relish the tactile experience of manual winding and for them, certain Rolex models do offer this feature.

Oyster Case: A defining feature of most Rolex watches is the Oyster case. This innovation from the 1920s made watches water and dust-resistant. Its hermetic sealing is achieved through a system involving the screw-down case back, winding crown, and bezel.

The Dial: Each watch dial is a piece of art. From the luminous hour markers to the meticulously crafted hands, the attention to detail is evident. Rolex ensures legibility while offering various customizations, including gem-set markers for those seeking an extra touch of luxury.

The Crown: Integral to the Rolex design is the winding crown. This component serves multiple functions – winding the watch, setting the time and date, and ensuring water resistance, especially in models that feature screw-down crowns. Properly using and understanding the winding crown is crucial for maintaining the watch’s functionality.

Cyclops Lens: Introduced in the early 1950s, this magnifying lens over the date window is another iconic feature. It magnifies the date for better legibility, a practical touch that has now become a signature design element.

Rolex Bracelets: Rolex offers a range of bracelets, each with a distinct style and functionality. The Oyster bracelet, for instance, is both robust and comfortable, designed for everyday wear. Meanwhile, the Jubilee and President bracelets cater to a more luxurious aesthetic.

In essence, Rolex watches, whether modern Rolex watches or the classics, are an amalgamation of tradition, innovation, and precision. Every component, every curve, and every tick of its hands is a testament to Rolex’s relentless pursuit of perfection. This dedication ensures that every Rolex, past or present, remains a symbol of prestige and unparalleled craftsmanship.

Why winding your Rolex is crucial

Most Rolex watches, whether manual or automatic, require winding to maintain accuracy. The winding process ensures the coiled spring stores tension for proper movement function.

The winding crown, often adorned with the Rolex crown symbol, is pivotal for setting the time, date, and winding. For many Rolex models, this crown can be screwed to the watch case to ensure water resistance.

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how to wind a rolex watch

How to wind a Rolex watch: Step by step

  • Unscrew the Crown: Rotate the crown counterclockwise until it pops out.
  • Position for Winding: Pull the crown out to the proper winding position. Most Rolex watches feature screw down crowns, so ensure it’s in the correct date or winding position.
  • Turn the Crown Clockwise: For most Rolex watches, simply rotate the crown in a clockwise motion. Feel the mechanical resistance, and stop when the watch is fully wound.

Common mistakes to avoid when you wind a Rolex

Avoid over-winding. Once the watch fully wound, you’ll feel increased resistance. Also, while setting the time or date, ensure the watch dial indicates AM/PM correctly. For non-quickset models, set the date a day early.

Manually winding vs Automatic winding watches

Manual winding requires the wearer to wind their Rolex regularly. On the other hand, automatic winding watches harness the wearer’s arm natural motion for the self-winding mechanism. Still, even an automatic watch can be manually wound when needed.

Rolex is known for its high-quality automatic, or self-winding, watches. Here’s a list of some of the most popular and iconic automatic winding Rolex watches:

  1. Rolex Submariner: Initially designed for divers, the Submariner is perhaps one of Rolex’s most recognizable and sought-after models.
  2. Rolex Datejust: Introduced in 1945, the Datejust was the first automatic wristwatch to display the date in a window on the watch dial.
  3. Rolex Daytona: This chronograph was designed for racecar drivers and has become one of the most iconic Rolex models.
  4. Rolex GMT-Master II: Created for international pilots, it features a 24-hour hand and a rotating bezel to read time in two time zones simultaneously.
  5. Rolex Oyster Perpetual: The essence of the Oyster concept, this watch is the direct descendant of the original Rolex Oyster from 1926.
  6. Rolex Yacht-Master: Inspired by the world of yacht racing, it combines style with function.
  7. Rolex Sea-Dweller: Designed for deep-sea diving, this model can withstand extreme underwater pressures.
  8. Rolex Milgauss: Made for those in the scientific community, it’s resistant to magnetic fields.
  9. Rolex Sky-Dweller: A sophisticated watch for world travellers, the Sky-Dweller displays two time zones and an annual calendar.
  10. Rolex Explorer & Explorer II: Paying tribute to the brand’s association with exploration, these models are robust and functional.
  11. Rolex Air-King: A tribute to aviation, this watch has a clear and readable dial.
  12. Rolex Pearlmaster: Combining jewel-setting artistry with Rolex’s watchmaking expertise, the Pearlmaster is a feminine interpretation of the Datejust.
  13. Rolex Deepsea: An even more robust diver’s watch, designed for extreme underwater exploration.

While this list highlights some of the most iconic and popular automatic winding Rolex watches, it’s important to note that Rolex has various iterations, limited editions, and collaborations within each model.

If you’re interested in a specific watch or need more information about a model’s movement, you can get in touch with LH Watch Trade to find out more.

Our tip tips for maintaining your Rolex

  • Always return the winding crown to its screwed-down position to maintain water resistance.
  • Use a watch winder for extended periods of non-use, especially for automatic movements.
  • Avoid excessive pressure when winding to prevent internal damage.

The impact of proper winding on the longevity of Rolex watches

Correct winding practices ensure that the Rolex movement operates efficiently, adding years to your watch’s life.

If you experience issues during the winding process or setting the time and date, it’s best to consult an expert, especially for specific watch models like vintage Rolex models.

Conclusion: Ensuring the timeless functionality of your Rolex

A Rolex, whether of the manual wind or self-winding variety, epitomizes luxury and precision. With correct winding practices, you can ensure its timeless charm remains unwavering.

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Trust LH Watch Trade to care for your Rolex watch

At LH Watch Trade, our passion for Rolex runs deep. As seasoned Rolex experts, we recognize the intricacy, artistry, and precision behind every Rolex timepiece.

Whether your cherished Rolex requires meticulous servicing or intricate repairs, we pledge to treat it with the utmost care and expertise it deserves. Leveraging years of experience and specialised knowledge, our dedicated team ensures that every Rolex entrusted to us is returned to its owner in impeccable condition, reflecting its original grandeur.

Remember, a Rolex is not just a watch; it’s a legacy. Trust us to help you preserve that legacy.