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ROLEX BLOG

Is Your Rolex Running Fast or Slow?

February 4, 2015

BY Paul Altieri

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rolex watches - Bob's Watches

Watch Movement - Bob's Watches

Watch Movement

Though Rolex is known for excellent precision in their timepieces, every mechanical watch will, at some point, slow down or even speed up. Mechanical watches, like those made by Rolex, are regulated by a hair spring. Rolex uses a precision engineered Parachrom hairspring. Their watch movements are also COSC certified which means that the timepiece will deviate no more than -4 to +6 seconds a day.

There are several reasons why your watch might be running fast or slow. The variation in speed is greatly influenced by the amount of activity your watch endures. If you wear your watch on an active day, it is likely to vary from a day when your watch saw little movement, such as sitting on your dresser. Temperature, whether it be too hot or too cold, can also influence a watch’s precision.

One of the biggest impacts on your Rolex’s reliability is how often it is serviced. If your watch is running slow, it could be because it needs a good cleaning. When you have your Rolex serviced, the certified technician will take it apart, clean it, regulate it to ensure its precision, and then put it back together. It is suggested that you have your watch regulated every 2 to 7 years, or when it begins running slow.

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Rolex Watches

If you notice that your watch is running fast, it is likely that the balance spring became magnetized. Powerful magnets can be found in a number of places, such as in some stereos and laptops. When a balance spring becomes magnetized, its coils stick together which shortens the balance spring and speeds up the watch. Though this sounds bad, it is an easy fix for a reputable watch service department. Rolex also attempts to lessen this risk by developing hairsprings that are very difficult to magnetize.

Crown Vintage Datejust 1500 - Bob's Watches

Crown Vintage Datejust 1500

Aside from getting your watch repaired or serviced, there are a few tricks you can try to regulate your watch on your own. Gravity has a big impact on a watch’s precision. If your watch is speeding up, lay the watch vertically with the winding button facing down. If your watch is slowing down, lay it flat with the dial pointing up. The way the watch is positioned will allow it to use gravity to adjust the friction on the balance staff. Though these simple tricks will not precisely regulate your Rolex, they may help you tweak the watch’s precision enough to serve you until you can get it properly serviced.

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10 Responses to “Is Your Rolex Running Fast or Slow?”

  1. Valuation says:

    I’m thinking of changing my Rolex president just date my father purchased it from America about 6 years ago and paid around £4000 for it Comes with nice wood Vanir box and all papers I’d just like to see what it’s value is regards Jason

  2. lee r says:

    hi Paul,
    I recently purchased a Tudor Black Bay Black from Bob’s Watches and continue to love it and plan to add to my collection in the future. i purchased a circa 1987 day/date about a year ago. The watch is beautiful in yellow gold but it’s run about 10 or 11 seconds slow per day since i’ve gotten it. Do you think it needs to be serviced or do you think that’s not that bad and i should wait until it gets worse?

    • Paul Altieri says:

      COSC tolerances permit anywhere between -4 and +6 seconds of timekeeping variance per day (compared to the -2/+2 seconds promised by Rolex’s new in-house chronometer-certification standards). Although your watch is running slightly outside of its specs, it is not all that far off, so it may just need to be regulated, rather than requiring a full-on service.

  3. Nagabushan says:

    Purchased rolex yacht master date just about 10 years back from Singapore. I am experiencing 30 seconds fast per day. Can you guide me pl. thank you

    • Paul Altieri says:

      If you purchased your watch a full ten years ago and it is now running about 30 seconds fast – and you haven’t had it serviced during that time – then your watch is likely due for routine servicing, and that should clear up any timekeeping issues you are having. There is a chance that the issue with timekeeping is due to magnetism, or an impact that has caused something to require adjustment; however Rolex recommends a service every 10 years, so if you have not had your Yacht-Master serviced in that time, then it is simply due for a service anyway.

  4. Sean Dobson says:

    Hi.
    I HAVE A WIND-UP 1954 ROLEX OYSTER PRECISION IN BETTER CONDITION THAN I AM AT 66,IT’S CLEANED AND SERVICED EVERY FIVE YEARS AND WAS LAST CLEANED AND SERVICED IN APRIL 2018 BUT FOR THE LAST FOUR MONTHS,IT HAS BEEN LOOSING ABOUT TWO TO THREE MINUTES A WEEK AND IS KEPT IN MY BEDROOM WITH NOTHING IN IT THAT CAN DEMAGNETIZE IT.
    I TOOK IT BACK TO TIME PIECE,AND THEY HAD IT FOR TWO WEEKS AND SAID IT WAS KEEPING PERFECT TIME,MAYBE IT WAS,BUT NOT IN MY BEDROOM OR ON MY WRIST.
    I DO NOT THINK THAT LOOSING 30 SECONDS A DAY IS GOOD FOR A WELL-LOOKED AFTER MECHANICAL WIND ROLEX THAT IS SERVICED AND CLEANED REGULARLY.,ANY IDEA WHAT THE PROBLEM MIGHT BE.?
    THE ONLY PART THAT HAS EVER BEEN REPLACED WAS THE MAINSPRING IN 2009.
    PS. I AM IN THE UK SO CAN’T BRING IT IN TO YOU,A REPLY VIA EMAIL WOULD HELP.
    THANK YOU.
    SEAN.

    • Paul Altieri says:

      Losing 30 seconds a day is a bit much, even for an older model like your Oyster Precision – especially if it was just serviced a couple years ago. One issue that may be at play is positional variation. If worn components were not replaced at the time of service or if further adjustment is needed after service, there is a possibility that your watch’s timekeeping accuracy may differ depending on its position. Normally this is something that is handled during service but there is always the possibility that something was overlooked when it was last serviced.
      The the place you had it serviced last is still not able to remedy the issue, it may be worth bringing the watch to a different authorized service provider to see if they can recreate the issue and provide you with a service estimate.

  5. Jaeger89 says:

    Hi Paul,

    Came across this post as i had a 2 tone sea-dweller that encountered slowing down approximately 1 min every 4 days. brought it to the rolex service centre and they had it fixed. Was good for awhile and i recently found it to be slow a min after 2 to 3 weeks. Is this normal and what should i do? its a hassle to constantly go back to the service centre and leave it there for 3 weeks 🙁

    Appreciate your advice and insights!

    • Paul Altieri says:

      That is definitely not normal. The two-tone Sea-Dweller was just released in 2019 and it features Rolex’s latest Caliber 3235 movement, which guarantees timekeeping within -2/+2 seconds per day. Given that your watch is (at most) a couple years old, it should still be within Rolex’s factory warranty and as long as you are bringing it to one of Rolex’s service centers, they should cover the cost of any work required to find a lasting resolution.
      While this still doesn’t eliminate the inconvenience of having to drop your watch off again, your best option is still to have Rolex themselves perform the work, as this will ensure that the remainder of your factory warranty remains in place.

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