Learn How to Change the Time and Date on a Rolex

If you’ve just bought your first Rolex or have even added a new one to your collection, there’s one important thing that you’re going to need to do – set the time and date. This honor, while a simple one that everyone with a Rolex will need to do, is something that will set the course for the watch’s future, providing you with an accurate measurement of time for years to come.

Rolex watches have more than 200 different moving parts, which have all been put together to create the intricate mechanisms that are so beloved. Despite everything that goes into these timepieces, setting a Rolex is actually a simple process.

Winding your watch

Before you can set the time or date, you’ll need to wind your Rolex – and since these are mechanical watches, an owner will need to wind it on a fairly regular basis. Fortunately for those who don’t want to deal with anything too complex, this is easy to do and remember.

All you need to do is unscrew the winding crown (by turning it counterclockwise), pull the crown to its first position (out one notch), and wind it by turning it clockwise.

Setting the time and date

After winding the watch manually, you can pull out the crown further – and if you want to set the date, you’ll need to pull it out to its second position. From here, rotate it clockwise or counterclockwise to the right date.

For the time, you’ll need to pull the crown out to its third position and rotate the hands clockwise until you’re at the correct time. When you’re finished, simply push it back into the base and screw the crown back in (clockwise) until it’s tight.

Not all Rolexes are the same

One last point to remember is that different Rolex watches may have different power reserves and because of this, it’s always best to look into the details of your particular model and what it requires. This way, you should have no trouble when setting and winding your wristwatch. A simple difference for example can be seen in women’s Rolex watches, where the crown needs to be turned counterclockwise instead.

While this is just a simple difference, there are watches that have more complex deviations from the standard date and time timekeeping method. For example, Daytona models use chronographs, which while still simple once you get to know them, do tend to be quite different from the format you may be used to.

These can allow the wearer to measure distance based on speed, or speed based on travel-time. You simply start the chronograph and once the desired distance has been reached, the point on the scale that lines up with the second hand indicates the average speed reached. Generally, you start it by pressing the button at 2 o’clock on the watch and stop it by pressing it again (and to reset it, you can use the button at the 4 o’clock position).

Simon Garnier

Collecting watches started as a hobby for me over twenty years ago. I now own many fine pieces and I'm always in the market for a good deal.

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