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How to Wind a Rolex Watch: A Comprehensive Guide for Owner

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how to wind a rolex

Learning how to wind a Rolex is about more than just keeping time – it’s an opportunity to appreciate the self-winding mechanical movement designed to harness even the slightest wrist movements to power the watch. 

Not sure how to wind your timepiece? Master the proper techniques through this guide, and you’ll ensure your Rolex continues its Swiss-made magic with perfect punctuality for years to come.

Different Types of Rolex Watches and Crowns

Rolex offers different types of models. These watches bear different crowns, and identifying this feature is crucial in the winding process.

Rolex uses two primary types of winding crowns: 

  • Twinlock: The Twinlock crown is commonly found on watches like Datejust, Oyster Perpetual, Explorer, and Milgauss. This crown provides a double sealing system, ensuring effective water resistance up to 100 meters (330 feet).
  • Triplock: The Triplock crown is found in Submariner, Sea-Dweller, and Daytona models. The Triplock system features a triple-sealing mechanism, protecting the watch from water up to 300 meters (1,000 feet) or even deeper for specific Rolex models.

Here are some ways to identify if a Rolex has a Twinlock or Triplock crown:

  • Crown tube construction: Twinlock has a thinner, simpler tube. Triplock has a thicker tube with triple sealing gaskets visible.
  • Winding action: Twinlock crown loosens fully for winding, then screws down, while triplock requires partial loosening and tightening in stages for winding and sealing.
  • Water resistance: Twinlock is 100m, and Triplock is 300m or higher for professional dive watches.
  • Crown markings: While dots don’t confirm the type, Twinlock often has two dots and three for Triplock.
  • Engraving: The word “Triplock” or similar may be engraved on Triplock case backs for clarity.
  • Serial/reference numbers: Cross-referencing the serial or model number with Rolex documentation can verify crown type.

With a combination of factors like construction details, and functionality, you can determine if a specific Rolex watch has a Twinlock or Triplock winding crown. Proper identification aids in correct usage and winding.

Meanwhile, understanding the crown type helps ensure it is wound correctly without compromising the water resistance:

  • Twinlock crowns need to be screwed back down firmly after winding.
  • Triplock crowns require partially screwing them back down between the winding and sealed positions.

How to Wind a Rolex with a Screw-Down Crown

In this section, we’ll provide an easy-to-follow guide on how to wind a Rolex watch with a screw-down crown, ensuring your timepiece functions optimally. 

Step 1: Unscrewing the Winding Crown

Unscrewing the Winding Crown

First, gently grip the winding crown on the side of your Rolex watch. Rotate it counterclockwise towards 6 o’clock, releasing the crown from the case thread.

Step 2: Rotating the Winding Crown Clockwise

Rotating the Winding Crown Clockwise

Once the crown is unscrewed, wind it by twisting it clockwise. This will securely wind the movement inside your Rolex.

Step 3: Winding Until Fully Wound

Winding Until Fully Wound (Approx. 40 Rotations)

It’s crucial to wind your watch until it’s fully wound. Generally, you’ll need approximately 40 rotations or less. When you feel a slight resistance, this indicates it’s fully wound.

Step 4: Restarting a Stopped Watch

Restarting a Stopped Watch

If your Rolex watch stops, simply wind it by following the steps above, and the watch should restart. Remember to wind your watch fully if it stops for a prolonged period.

Step 5: Setting the Time and Date (If Necessary)

Setting the Time and Date (If Necessary)

Only set the time and date after your Rolex is fully wound – this makes it easier to manage. Pull out the crown gently, set the time and date to your desired preference, and then push it back in.

Step 6: Screwing the Crown Back Down

Screwing the Crown Back Down

Finally, secure the crown by screwing it back down clockwise until it sits flush against the case. This will maintain your Rolex’s water resistance and ensure it remains correctly sealed.

How to Wind a Rolex Without a Screw-Down Crown

To wind a Rolex watch without a screw-down crown, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Place your watch on a soft, flat surface

This will prevent any accidental damage while winding the watch.

Step 2: Locate the crown

The crown is typically found on the side of the watch, near the 3 o’clock position.

Step 3: Pull out the crown gently

Unlike watches with screw-down crowns, you don’t need to unscrew it. Instead, simply pull it out to the first position.

Step 4: Wind the crown clockwise

Rotate the crown towards the 12 o’clock position about 20-40 times or until you feel resistance.

Step 5: Push the crown back in

After winding, gently push it back to its original position to ensure water resistance and avoid any potential damage to the movement.

Rolex Daytona ref. 6239

Special Considerations for Vintage and Dress Watches

When winding a vintage or dress Rolex watch, it’s important to take some additional precautions:

  • Always handle with care: Vintage and dress watches may be more delicate than modern models, so be gentle when winding and setting the time.
  • Check for manual winding requirements: Some vintage watches may require manual winding. If you’re unsure whether your watch has an automatic or manual movement, consult a Rolex expert or the watch’s manual.

Avoid over-winding: Over-winding can damage the watch movement. Wind the crown slowly and stop when you feel resistance.

Winding Rolex Watches With Manual-Wind Movements and Screw-Down Crowns

Different Rolex watches have distinct movement types. Some models, like the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, have self-winding or automatic movements that charge the mainspring to a certain level with daily wear (it still may not fully rewind the spring between periods of non-use). 

However, some vintage Rolex watches and select modern models have manual-wind movements. These watches often feature a screw-down crown, such as in the Rolex Submariner, to ensure water resistance and protect against dust.

Proper Winding Technique

To wind a Rolex watch with a manual movement and a screw-down crown, follow these steps:

Step 1: Place your watch on a soft, flat surface to avoid causing accidental damage.

Step 2: Unscrew the crown by gripping it and rotating it towards you counterclockwise.

Step 3: Once the crown is unscrewed, gently pull it out to the first proper winding position (where it will click into place).

Step 4: Wind the crown by turning it clockwise. Generally, 20-40 turns are sufficient for a full wind, but consult your watch’s manual for specific recommendations.

Step 5: After winding, gently push the crown back in and screw it down clockwise until it is secure against the case. This ensures the watch remains water-resistant.

Avoiding Over-Winding and Damage

It’s essential to avoid over-winding your manual Rolex watch, as excessive tension on the mainspring can result in damage to the movement. While modern Rolex watches often have a protective mechanism to prevent over-winding, vintage models may not. 

As a rule of thumb, stop winding when you feel resistance. It is better to under-wind than to over-wind.

rolex oyster perpetual watch

Why Should You Wind a Rolex?

There’s more to winding your Rolex than just keeping it running smoothly. Maintaining the movement is one key reason for regular winding, but it does more than that. 

Learn more about the benefits of taking a few moments to wind your watch by reading further.

1. To Maximize Power Reserve

Most, if not all, Rolex watches have around a 48-hour power reserve but may not fully rewind between wears if not worn daily. Manual winding helps maximize stored energy in the mainspring. 

This ensures accurate timekeeping even with occasional use by pumping fresh power into the self-winding Rolex movement. A few quick turns of the crown each time you pick up your Rolex goes a long way towards preserving its dependable performance.

2. To Keep Timepieces Running Smoothly

While Rolex is designed to wind itself through natural wrist motion, there are occasions when it may not receive enough movement to fully recharge – such as when not worn daily. In these instances, the watch could start to run slower or stop running altogether if the power reserve runs down.

This is where an automatic winding watch tool can be useful. By continuously rotating your Rolex even when not being worn, a winder ensures it stays wound and ticking. However, a watch winder alone may not provide sufficient winding motion over time and may still require manual winding. 

3. To Accurately Read Time

Whether you wear your Rolex watch daily or occasionally, the consistent energy from winding allows the self-winding mechanism to maintain the high level of accuracy that Rolex is known for. 

That said, make winding part of your routine care to keep your Rolex accurately running so you can count on it to tell time precisely.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is It Okay to Manually Wind Rolex?

Yes, it is entirely right to manually wind your Rolex. However, when you wear your Rolex daily, you do not need to wind it. 

The watch’s self-winding perpetual rotor mechanism provides constant energy as you move your wrist throughout the day. If you remove it and set it aside, the watch will typically retain its “charge” for 48 hours or more, depending on the model.

2. How Many Times Do You Wind a Rolex Watch?

There is no definitive number of turns needed to fully wind a Rolex watch, as it can vary depending on the specific Rolex model and age of the movement. However, here are some general guidelines:

  • Most Rolex watches that are modern only require about 25-30 gentle crown turns to reach a full wind. Turning further provides no additional benefit.
  • Automatic winding watches may require slightly fewer turns, around 20-25, since the rotor helps charge the spring regularly. 

    Note: For any automatic watch with a self-winding movement, there is no natural stopping point when the watch winds itself through natural motion – the winding process is continuous as long as the watch is worn.
  • Older or manually wound models could need up to 40 turns to achieve a full reservoir of stored power.

3. Is It Bad to Not Wind Rolex?

No, it is not bad to not wind your Rolex, especially if you wear it daily. The self-winding perpetual rotor mechanism within your Rolex watch provides constant energy as you move your wrist. 

However, if you don’t wear the watch for an extended period, it may stop running. Still, you can simply wind it and adjust the time and date before wearing it again.

Final Word

Proper winding technique is crucial for Rolex watches, as it maintains accuracy, preserves water resistance by keeping gaskets sealed, and enhances the watch’s longevity. Remember to unscrew the crown counterclockwise, then wind clockwise 40 times or until resistance increases.

Also, avoid winding in humid conditions to avoid introducing moisture that could lead to corrosion or condensation damage within the delicate Rolex movement.

Key Takeaways

  • Before manually winding your Rolex, place it on a soft, flat surface to protect it from damage.
  • To start winding, unscrew the crown by rotating it counterclockwise towards 6 o’clock.
  • Once the crown is unscrewed, begin winding by rotating the crown clockwise approximately 40 times, depending on the model and the crown.
  • Remember to always wind your Rolex before setting the time or date.

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