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How to Wind and Set a Rolex

How to Wind and Set a Rolex

Rolex watches are distinguishable from all other wristwatches. They have designs and features that fit the exact lifestyle you live. However, investing in a Rolex means you will need to know how to care for and maintain the watch so that you enjoy it for many years.

If it is not worn every day, your Rolex will begin to slow over time, and you will need to wind and set it. Unfortunately, not knowing how to wind and set a Rolex can cause you to stop wearing the watch altogether, so we’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Related: Why You Do Not Want To Buy Directly From Rolex Right Now

How Does a Rolex Work?

Before you learn how to wind and set a Rolex, you need to understand it. There are different components that all work together to make the watch run.

Rolex created the first automatic watch in 1931 and called it the Oyster Perpetual. Perpetual watches can run without being manually wound each time. The watch stays wound through the perpetual motion created as it is worn on the wrist.

When the Rolex isn’t worn, it will slow down and eventually stop. You will need to wind the Rolex so that it continues to run as you wear it. Keep in mind that the less you wear your Rolex, the quicker it will stop running and require winding.

Each Rolex has its own power reserve time. The power reserve time is the amount of time the Rolex will run while it is not being worn. Some Rolex wristwatches may stop running after it has been taken off for just a few hours, while others may slow down over time and then eventually stop. No matter what, your Rolex will require winding if it is not worn.

Modern Rolex watches have a power reserve time between 48 and 72 hours. Older Rolex watches don’t have a substantial power reserve time, so they can quickly stop running after just a few hours. With newer Rolex watches, like the Rolex Submariner Starbucks Kermit Watch, they have substantially longer power reserve times. The Rolex  Submariner has a power reserve of 70 hours.

Many of those who enjoy wearing a Rolex watch like to do so during the week. A Rolex watch with more than a 48-hour power reserve time should still be working on Monday morning after sitting for the weekend. But you shouldn’t let the power reserve time deter you from buying a Rolex watch.

It is very easy to wind and set a Rolex watch after it has stopped running.

How to Wind and Set a Rolex

How to Wind and Set a Rolex

When learning how to wind a Rolex, the star of the show is the crown. Without the crown, the Rolex wouldn’t work.

The crown is the circular screw knob on the right side of the watch. The winding crown is the reason your watch keeps time. It is used to wind the mainspring within the watch to allow it to keep time.

Step One: Unscrew the Crown Counterclockwise

While holding the Rolex in your hand, turn the crown counterclockwise towards you. The winding crown will begin to release from the screws within the watch. Once the winding crown has completely detached from the screws, it will pop out and go into the winding position.

Step Two: Wind the Crown

With the winding crown popped out and into the winding position, you will turn the winding crown clockwise or forward for 35 to 40 rotations. You should begin to feel the tension and hear a light clicking sound. This is how you know the gears inside the watch are winding. 

Step Three: Set the Date

After turning the winding crown for approximately 40 rotations, you can now set the date on your Rolex. To do this, you will use the winding crown once again. (We weren’t lying when we said the turning crown was the star of the show!)

Pull the winding crown gently, and it will pop slightly out. This places the winding crown in the correct position to change the date. Turn the knob of the crown clockwise away from you as many rotations as you need to get to the correct date. 

Step Four: Set the Time

Using the winding crown again, gently pull the winding crown once more, and you will feel it pop out to the position in which you can set the time on your Rolex. Set the time by turning the knob of the crown clockwise away from you. You will see the hands on the clock begin to turn. Keep turning the crown until you have reached the correct time. 

Step Five: Push the Crown Into Its Original Position

Once you have set your time and date for your Rolex, you will need to close the crown. To do this, you will simply push the crown until it clicks back into place. Keeping the crown closed is important because it will prevent dirt, dust, and water from entering your watch. 

Step Six: Screw the Crown Back Into Place

You will need to screw the crown back into place. Just a few turns to the crown clockwise or away from you will screw the crown back into place.

How to Wind a Rolex Without a Screw-Down Crown

Some older Rolex models don’t have a screw-down crown. Instead, the winding crown of the watch is already in position for you to wind.

To wind a watch without a screw-down crown, you will simply begin turning the knob of the crown clockwise away from you. This will begin the winding process of the gears within the watch. You should turn the knob between 30 and 40 times on the watch. This should properly wind the Rolex and cause it to begin working.

Why is it Important to Wind My Rolex?

Winding your Rolex watch is important because it will keep the gears within the watch in good working order. Letting your Rolex watch sit without being worn will cause the watch to stop running. You don’t want to let your Rolex sit without running as it may cause damage to the gears and components within the watch.

You should always wind your Rolex if it has stopped running, and you should try to wear your Rolex as much as possible so that it frequently doesn’t stop running. We also recommend winding your Rolex once a month to ensure that it stays in good working order. This will keep the gears lubricated and prevent them from drying out in between stops.

Although your Rolex works through perpetual motion, you should not shake it to wind it. Shaking your Rolex will not cause it to start working. Instead, you will need to follow our step-by-step instructions for how to wind and set your Rolex.

What to Do if Your Rolex Doesn’t Work After Winding

Any time your Rolex has stopped working, you should be able to wind it to get it to start working again. Typically, winding your Rolex will be exactly what it needs for it to start working again. Unfortunately, your Rolex may not start working even after it has been wound. This may be caused by a broken spring or defective gear within the watch.

If your Rolex does not begin working after it has been wound, you should bring it in to get it serviced or repaired.


If you’ve invested in a Rolex, you should take proper care of it by winding it at least once a month, as well as every time it has stopped working. Older Rolex watches may have a shorter power reserve time than newer ones. Just make sure that you follow our instructions for how to wind and set your Rolex, and never shake your Rolex to try to get it to start running again.

For more information about how to wind and set a Rolex, check out our video tutorial