Luxury Watches

How To Set The Time On A Rolex

Now that you have purchased an automatic Rolex watch, you are now the proud owner of a new luxury timepiece! No matter if it’s brand new or pre-owned, with your new watch there is an average of 220 individual (yes, 220!) pieces on your wrist.  These precision parts of your Swiss-made Rolex watch range from springs to gears, levels to base plates, all working in perfect harmony to tell you the time and more. An incorrect approach to setting the time can cause expensive damage to your watch, so let’s look at how to set the time and date correctly and prevent that from happening.

How to Set Time on a Rolex – Walk-Through

Steps to Setting Your Watch

These steps apply to all Rolex models that feature the numerical date at the 3 o’clock position on the dial, which is also where you will find the crown just on the outside of the case. The crown is what you will be using to set your watch. All modern Rolexes have screw-down crowns to help prevent water and debris from getting into the watch case and causing damage and wear to the delicate movement.

Wind Your Watch

Why wind your watch when it’s automatic?  The automatic unit in the movement is designed to keep your watch wound only while you are wearing it, not to completely compress your mainspring to a fully wound state. By manually winding your watch you are completely compressing the internal mainspring and making sure your watch is keeping accurate time. First, you must unscrew the crown by turning it counterclockwise two to three turns. The crown is spring-loaded and will automatically move to the zero position once it has been unscrewed all the way. The zero position is the point from which you can manually wind the watch.  To fully wind your watch, you will need to do 40 complete clockwise turns to the crown in the zero position; be sure to wind in the clockwise direction only.

Adjust the Time and Set the Date

We are now ready to start setting your Rolex. This next step is the most important step in setting any automatic watch, so don’t skip it! Pull your crown all the way out to the #2 position, which will allow you to change the time. Adjust the time to 6:30; it does not matter if it’s A.M. or P.M. at this moment. I’m sure you are asking, “why are we doing this before we set the date?” If your watch is automatic, engaging the gears to change the date while manually changing the date can cause the gears to bind up and ultimately require a major repair. The above step ensures your watch remains undamaged during setting.

Now we are ready to set the date. Push your crown back into the zero position. Start by moving the crown to the #1 position, which is right between zero (winding) and #2 (setting) your watch. This is the hardest position to find, so just gently pull the crown out until you feel the #1 position. Once you are in the correct position, turn the crown clockwise until you reach the date before today’s date. This will allow you to easily set your A.M. or P.M. time correctly, since we know the date should change at midnight instead of noon.

There’s one last step and you’re all set to enjoy your watch! Pull your crown back out to the #2 position and turn the hands clockwise until the date changes to show today’s date. You now know this is midnight of the current day. Adjust the hands to the correct time, passing 12 with the hour hand if it is in the afternoon or evening.

Rolex Datejust Watch

Enjoy Your Luxury Watch

Now your date is set correctly, your time is set correctly, and the date will now flip at midnight. Finish the process by pushing in the crown and hand-tightening the crown, screwing it down again. The threads and gaskets help to keep your Rolex watertight when you’re not setting the time and date.

The team at Jewelry-N-Loan is here to help! We are happy to personally show you how to set your Rolex and to take care of all maintenance of your luxury wristwatch, whether it is a routine cleaning or a big repair.  We also have a beautiful selection of fine watches for sale at dealer prices in our showcase.  Call us today at (949) 645-0488 or stop in and see us at 1872 Newport Blvd. in Costa Mesa, CA.


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