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Self Winding Watches

Rolex Winder

By Dave Larson,
Director, Fine Watch Department
Fairchild International

There’s considerable confusion over the phrase “self-winding” when it comes to Rolex and other watches. We’ll specifically discuss Rolex watches – our specialty. Rolex watches have a self-winding movement. That means that, if properly wound and worn every day, they should not have to be wound again.

When a Rolex is manually wound, the mainspring tightens and will stay that way until the watch has been motionless for a period of 17-20 hours. At that time, the mainspring will start to “unwind itself” until the watch finally “dies.”

Towards the end of this process, if not wound, the watch will slow down and cease to move.  With a thorough wind (20-30 winds of the crown), the watch should stay operational and on time if worn daily.

We typically tell our customers that if they miss wearing their Rolex for 1-2 days, it’s a good idea to wind the crown approximately 20 times. Fortunately, you cannot over wind a Rolex.

One common misconception is the idea that shaking the watch will help the process. While that may temporarily get the watch to move again, it’s not the proper solution and can actually damage the winder if overdone.

If you have any questions about servicing your Rolex, updating the look with new bezels and faces or buying/selling Rolex and other fine watches, give us a call or email – we’ll be happy to help!


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