With today’s smart tech, it’s easy to understand why many folks don’t know how to wind a Rolex, or any watch for that matter. But it’s a skill all watch collectors should master!

how to wind a vintage Rolex

Whether you’re into vintage or new Rolex watches, you should familiarize yourself with how and when to wind them.

When to Wind Your Rolex

All of Rolex’s current watches are self winding instead of battery powered. That being said, there are still two instances in which you may need to manually wind your Rolex:

1. If it stops running from not being worn daily.

A self winding watch features a mechanical movement that stores tension in a coiled spring, winding itself throughout the course of the day with the natural motion of the wearer’s arm.

Should you not wear your automatic winding watch for a day or more, your watch may not be running when you go to pick it up next.

2. If it’s a vintage watch that requires manual winding.

Vintage watches are trending, but it’s still extremely rare to own a manual winding wrist watch.

That would mean your watch dates back to the very early 1900’s, when the first self winding wristwatch was introduced.

How to Wind a Rolex Watch (Instructional Video)

Below you can read the five easy steps for winding your watch.

For visual learners, check out this quick video from Bob’s Watches:

How to Wind a Rolex in 5 Easy Steps

1. Unscrew the crown from the case.

Turn the Rolex crown counter clockwise toward the 6 o’clock position. Do not pull! You will feel it pop out from the watch case, and this is the position you’ll wind it in.

2. Wind the crown clockwise.

Next, rotate the crown clockwise toward the 12 o’clock position.

Note if the date or time changes when you turn the crown. If so, this could mean you are not in the proper position for manual winding. The crown was likely pulled out too far to one of its other positions when it was unscrewed.

If this is the case, lightly press the crown inward towards the watch, and it should return to its proper winding position.

3. Repeat 30-40 times.

Continue rotating the crown clockwise up to 40 turns. Since most Rolex watches are automatic winding watches, there won’t be a natural stopping point.

But don’t worry about ‘over-winding’ your watch. There is a slip gear inside the movement that stops tension on the main spring. Once it’s fully wound,  the crown won’t pick up the mechanical resistance like a manually wound watch would.

4. Set the time and date if needed.

Reference the setting instructions for your specific watch. Directions for setting your watch can vary greatly depending on the Rolex movement and other complications.

Generally (but not always), most watches require pulling out the crown to set the time and date:

  • Pull the crown out gently by one click and turn the crown clockwise to change the date position.
  • Pull the crown out fully to reset the hands. You can do this either clockwise or counterclockwise.

5. Screw the crown back down.

Finally, press the crown inwards (after setting the date and time if applicable) and secure to the case without using excessive pressure.

This is perhaps the most important step! If the crown isn’t properly put back into position, the watch is no longer waterproof.

While you are still applying inward pressure, start rotating the crown clockwise, towards the 12 o’clock location. You will feel the threads engage each other, and the crown will start to screw downwards to the case. 

Keep turning the winding crown until it is fully screwed down to the side of the case. Don’t apply too much pressure, as it can damage the threads on the winding crown and case tube.

That’s it! You officially know how to wind a Rolex watch!

Looking to purchase your own new or vintage Rolex watch? We boast Houston’s largest selection of new and preowned Rolex watches!

Schedule an appointment and drop by our showroom to check out our Rolex inventory. Be sure to follow our Jonathan’s Facebook page and follow the rest of the guys’ personal Instagram accounts here:

Sergio Nuncio

Jay Freedman

Kiefer Nuncio

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