It’s no secret that owning a Rolex watch is not an inexpensive endeavor. And once you’ve spent the thousands of dollars it costs to own one, you’ll naturally want to take good care of it so you can enjoy it for years.
On the one hand, these are not delicate timepieces (for the most part) to be hidden away in a safe. Rolex watches are built to dive deep into oceans, climb to the highest mountaintops, speed through the fastest races, and fly across continents. So it’s safe to say they can withstand the daily knocks of desk diving, shuttling the kids to school, and vacationing in the Caribbean. However, a little extra care will keep your Rolex watch in tiptop shape. If properly tended to, your future grandkid can happily wear it once you’re long gone. Read on for our recommendations on how to extend the life of your Rolex watch.
1. Wearing Your Rolex
While Rolex watches are famous for their durability and robustness it’s inevitable that your Rolex will gain scratches and dings during wear. In fact, some many Rolex enthusiasts are proud of these scratches since they illustrate a life well lived!
However, damage to the bezel and sapphire crystal will cost you should you need to replace them. Older Rolex watches come with acrylic crystals protecting the dial and older Rolex sports models have aluminum bezels. Conversely, newer Rolex watches have sapphire crystals and the sports watches typically have ceramic bezels. Note that on Rolex watches, sapphire and ceramic is much more expensive to replace than acrylic and aluminum.
It’s vital to ensure that the winding crown is screwed down into the case when you wear your Rolex. This will help keep water, dust, and dirt out of your watch. And don’t forget about the screw-down pushers on the Rolex Daytona too.
Since the majority of Rolex watches run on automatic movements, wearing it literally brings your Rolex watch to life! As long as you wear your Rolex, it’ll continue to run. If you do however store it away for a while, you’ll need to hand-wind by turning your (unscrewed) winding crown a few times it to get the movement going again.
2. Storing Your Rolex
When you’re not wearing your Rolex, it’s a good idea to store it properly. If your Rolex came with a box, that’s a great place to put it away. Alternatively, a watch box with multiple watches works well too. Just make sure that they’re not piled on top of each other because this will most certainly cause some unwanted scratches!
When stashed away, keep your Rolex out of direct sunlight and away from moisture. Think cool dark place—like a safe. Also, it’s better to have your Rolex stored far from electronics to avoid exposing the movement to magnetic fields. You may also consider investing in a watch winder to keep your Rolex watch running even when it’s off your wrist.
3. Cleaning Your Rolex
Depending on how often you wear your Rolex watch, keep it fresh with regular cleaning. For instance, if you wear it every day, we would recommend a weekly wash. Not only will built-up dirt and grime dull the look of your Rolex, it can also cause bracelet stretching over time.
To clean a full metal Rolex watch, simply wash it using warm water and a mild soap (Dr. Bonner’s Castile Soap is a great choice). You can also use a soft brush to clean harder-to-reach areas, particularly around the lugs and in between bracelet links. Once you’ve washed off all the soap, dry your Rolex watch with a soft cloth and you’re ready to go.
Remember these are water-resistant watches so water is completely fine—but again, make sure the winding crown is screwed in properly!
4. Up Keeping your Rolex
If the scratches on your Rolex bracelet, case, and crystal are bothering you and it’s still a while until your next servicing, there are some ways to remove scratches at home.
While there are some Rolex wearers who are adamantly against at-home techniques for restoring the look of a Rolex watch, others are completely fine with using store-bought products and simple methods. There are plenty of products including polishing pastes, clothes, and solutions out there to get the job done at home—just find the one that suits you best if you’re up for it.
5. Servicing Your Rolex
Every couple of years, it’s advisable to send your Rolex in for a service. Some people prefer having an official Rolex service center do the job while others have a relationship with an independent watchmaker they trust. When deciding on which route to take, consider the costs, value, length of time, and dependability of each party.
A full service means that your Rolex will be cleaned, polished, and buffed to look as new as possible. Damaged parts—such as the crystal, bezel, crown, or dial—may be replaced if needed. On the inside, the movement will be removed, disassembled, checked for performance, lubricated for friction, and parts will be replaced as necessary. Lastly, the gasket will be replaced and the watch will also be pressure proofed for water resistance.
There is a caveat to this however. For vintage Rolex models, collectors typically like to have as many original parts as possible on their timepiece, in addition to unpolished condition. Rolex will replace parts, machine polish, and bring the watch up to modern standards as much as possible when servicing. So if this is not what you want for your Rolex, then do not send it in for servicing.
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If you notice any condensation on your Rolex dial underneath the crystal, have it looked at by a certified watchmaker as soon as possible. Water may have gotten into your watch and without immediate attention, it may cause expensive damage to your Rolex.
With a little bit of care, consideration, and maintenance, your Rolex watch will be your trusty companion for a long time to come. But never be scared to wear your watch for fear of damaging it or get too bent out of shape about little scratches—sport your lived-in Rolex watch with pride!