How to Change the Time and Date on Rolex Watches

Whether you have just landed in a new time zone, transitioned into daylight savings time or simply find yourself at the end of a month with an even number of days, you might need to change the time and date on your Rolex. Depending on the watch model you could have a day display too, such as on the Rolex Day-Date and some other watches.

All adjustments will be made using the Rolex crown, see below for a brief overview of how the crown works and the main setting positions:

Rolex Datejust parts diagram

Most Rolex watches have four setting positions for the crown, which include the following:

  • Zero – The crown is completely screwed into place.
  • One – The crown is unscrewed but in the same position as zero, such as when winding
  • Two – The crown is in the date setting position
  • Three – The crown is in the time setting position

A model such as the GMT Master and Master II has an extra setting position, as this watch includes a second hour hand or day display that can be set independently.

Rolex Time and Date Setting Instructions

 Close up macro view from Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust

The instructions that follow should work for virtually all Rolex models, but we will provide some instructions specifically for the Day-Date too, as this is the model with the most features to adjust. 

To set the time, day and date of a Rolex watch simply do the following:

  1. Unscrew the crown: First off, unscrew the fastened crown. With the watch facing you, turn the crown towards you, which is counter-clockwise or backwards. When it is unscrewed far enough, you will feel the crown pop out into the winding position.
  2. Pull the crown out: Before you can change the watch to the correct time or adjust the date, gently pull out the crown. It should pop open again gently with a small click, and the second hand on the watch will stop sweeping.
  3. Put the crown in the time setting position: If you do not have a date function the crown will already be in the time setting position. If you do have a date feature, pull the crown out one more click to get the watch into the time setting position.
  4. Screw the crown clockwise: Winding the crown clockwise will move the hands forward, simply adjust the hands into the correct position. If you are only setting the time you can push the crown back in at this point and the second hand will start.
  5. Put the crown in the date setting position: For the date, push the crown in one more stop. Moving it clockwise will now change the date. On a Day-Date, unscrewing the crown by turning it counter-clockwise moves the day that sits in the 12 o’clock space. 
  6. Push the crown back to the normal position: With the time, date and day name now all correct you can fully push the crown back to the normal position. It should pop back in with a satisfying click, and the second hand will start sweeping again.

If you move the hour hands past 12 the date will change too, so make sure you set the date for one day back if you are making a big adjustment to the time. If you move the hands past 12 and the date does not change then the watch is indicating midday.

Whether you have a manual winding or automatic chronometer pulling out and turning the crown clockwise will allow you to set the time and date. Many automatic and mechanical watches will use a similar principle, with slight variations depending on the brand.

Tips for Maintaining a Rolex Crown

Sideview shot of Rolex Datejust

The crown is extremely important to the mechanism of your watch, so you should care for it accordingly. The following are some professional tips to maintain a properly-functioning crown:

  • Do not overwind: You will have to wind the crown when you first get the watch, or if it has stopped, but be careful not to wind it too much. Turn it clockwise a minimum of 25 times and it will start working, Rolexes will then self-wind so there is no need to wind the crown further. Overwinding puts a lot of extra tension on the mechanism.
  • Put the crown fully back into the zero position: Always screw the crown back in! The main problem is that even a slightly protruding crown will leave your Rolex watch case exposed to the elements. As a result, moisture and vapour can penetrate the watch mechanism, which will make it work much less accurately and precisely.
  • Wear your watch daily: The perpetual movement of many Rolex watches will fare better with regular use. Constantly stopping and starting it puts a strain on the crown and Rolex watches are designed to be worn regularly, even though many people keep them in a case as an investment. If you do not plan to wear it, there is no need to set it!

Knowing how to wind the crown properly will give your watch the best chance of working as it should for the longest possible time without having to take it for servicing.

Looking to Sell a Rolex Watch? Get a Top Price with Our Service

When you adjust the time or set the date on Rolexes and luxury watches of many kinds you will need to pull out the crown into the time setting or date setting position, and turn it clockwise. The crown is the small dial on the side of the watch, the same place where you wind your watch.

Setting the time and date correctly and maintaining the crown properly will ensure the condition of your watch is better when you sell it, which means you can sell it for a higher price. 

When you choose us to sell your Rolex you will get the following advantages of our unique service:

  • Private valuations
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As leading buyers and sellers of a wide range of Rolex watches and many other luxury items, with no auction fees, we are a reliable source of information and a superb option when you want to sell. Please feel free to get in touch with us and book a private valuation today.

August 3, 2022

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