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Watch 101

How Long Does a Rolex Typically Last?

Paul Altieri

How long does a Rolex last?

Every wristwatch produced by Rolex is hand-assembled using the finest materials available. The process is so involved that it takes approximately one year to produce each watch. The result is a high-precision timepiece that if properly maintained, will last a lifetime. In some cases, they can last multiple lifetimes and often become cherished family heirlooms and valued investment pieces.

If you service your Rolex according to the company’s advice, you can expect your watch to last at least one lifetime. However, it should be noted that how you use your watch can also impact the amount of maintenance it will require. Tool watches like the Rolex Submariner are often subjected to harsher conditions and extreme environments due to the nature of their intended purposes, and a watch that sees regular diving use may require maintenance more frequently than a seldom-worn dress watch. If you don’t do anything to maintain your watch, you can expect it to run for several years, offering uninterrupted performance until the lubricants within the movement are gone, and the other components begin to succumb to the ravages of time. So what steps, exactly, can you take to ensure that your Rolex lasts as long as promised?

How Long Does a Rolex Last? Rolex President
How long does a Rolex watch typically last?

How to Take Care of a Rolex Watch

Rolex recommends servicing your watch about every ten years, depending on the age of the timepiece and the nature of its use. Older watches require more frequent servicing and may also require the replacement of some parts. In some cases, the watch will tell you when it’s time to be serviced. For example, it may stop keeping accurate time or even stop working altogether. However, should your Rolex start exhibiting issues, it is recommended to bring it in for servicing sooner than later, as the watch may do additional damage to itself by continuing to run on worn-out components.

How Long Does a Rolex Last? watchmaking maintenance
Rolex recommends servicing your watch about every 10 years.

During service, the watchmaker will take the watch and movement completely apart and clean each individual component. They will then replace the lubricants, calibrate it as needed, and put the watch back together. Some of the original parts might be replaced too, so it’s important to keep that in mind if you wish to retain all of the original parts. The service process is vital to maintaining your watch and will ensure a lifetime of wear if followed properly. There is a complete list of Rolex service centers on the company’s website if you wish to find a center near you and inquire about cost.

Between servicing, there are a few steps that you can take to keep your Rolex in top shape. For starters, consider investing in a watch winder if your Rolex runs on a self-winding movement and it is a watch that you do not wear all that regularly. A watch winder will keep your watch running when it is not in use, which ensures that the lubricants stay in motion and limits the amount of adjustment and manipulation that is needed. Some collectors believe that keeping a Rolex in a watch winder is unnecessary if you wear the watch regularly, and instead, it can be detrimental to the movement and cause the parts to wear down more quickly. Whichever idea you subscribe to, it’s essential to at least wear or moves your watch regularly to keep the components within the movement in suitable working order.

How Long Does a Rolex Last? caliber 3186 gmt-master II
Replacing worn-out or damaged components is part of the service process.

It’s also important to remember to keep the crown completely screwed down anytime you are not adjusting the time or date on your Rolex – even when you are not wearing it. Regardless of whether it’s in a watch winder, a watch box, or a safe, it is imperative to keep the crown properly secured to prevent any dust or moisture from damaging the movement.

As with any investment of a mechanical nature, whether it be a Rolex or a luxury car, there will be some maintenance required as it wears down over time. If you do your part, a Rolex should remain in excellent working order for a lifetime of wear. There are Rolex watches from the early years of the company that have been passed down through many generations and that are still in working order. That speaks volumes as to how long the current generation of watches that Rolex is producing will last. With ever-improving technologies and high-quality materials, one would expect a modern Rolex to last several lifetimes if properly maintained.

How Long Does a vintage Rolex Typically Last? Submariner 1680
If properly maintained, a Rolex watch will last a lifetime.

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Paul Altieri