rolex watch accuracy
January 9, 2012 7:53 PM   Subscribe

Rolex watch accuracy

i bought this rolex watch from a retailer in vegas about 5 years ago. it was given to my father-in-law as a birthday gift at that time. a couple of months ago he "re-gifted" it back to me.

it costed me over 7K at the time when i bought it and it's automatic self winding. so far it has worked well on my wist, except that, based on my observation, after i set it according to the standard time, it can run as many as 5 minutes ahead within 30 days. my question is that: is this sort of expected / normal for watches with this mechanism at this price point? should i expect something more accurate.

shall i bring this watch to repair shop? thanks for any suggestion...
posted by kingfish to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A technician can re-calibrate the speed for you. When I first had mine, it ran about 5 min/month slow. Since I get a free cleaning whenever I'm near a certified Rolex dealer, I asked one about it and they calibrated it for free. Now it's about 5 min/month fast. I haven't bothered to ask about it again, since setting the time to my cell phone every couple of weeks is fine with me to have a watch I actually like to wear and look at.
posted by ctmf at 8:07 PM on January 9, 2012

(The good news is, it's been consistently keeping time at the slightly-fast rate for over 10 years, now. So if you can get the speed dialed in, you're probably good to go for a long time.)
posted by ctmf at 8:08 PM on January 9, 2012

No mechanical watch is as accurate as a quartz watch... sorry, not even a Rolex! You can't really expect much better than about 5 sec/day deviation. See here for an explanation of chronometer certification.
posted by drhydro at 8:38 PM on January 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm far from an expert on Rolexes, but I like (much cheaper) mechanical watches. Rolexes are COSC certified, which is -4/+6 seconds per day. So your +10 seconds a day would be out of spec (although more than respectable for a mechanical watch). A watch maker will be able to re-regulate it for you.

A mechanical watch will gain/lose differently for different wearers (even to the point of being different depending on whether you leave it resting on its face or back each night). So even if they get it right in the lab, on your wrist it might still gain say +5, in which case you would return it and tell them it's still gaining +5 for your wear, and they'd set it right for you (but again, right within reason, it isn't quartz and is never going to be dead on).

Also after 5 years your watch is due a service anyway, I think it's about 5 years for Rolex, this would involve it getting regulated plus also re-lubricated and the like, and will cost a shit-ton of money ($350-500+).
posted by markr at 8:40 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a mechanical TAG and it has never been inaccurate (because I don't wear it on weekends, it runs down and so I have to reset the time every Monday). I do have it serviced every 3-5 years when it quits running. I have noticed that the accuracy degrades over time after it has been serviced. Service is usually about $200. Pretty much the price of having a watch that ticks. I love mechanical watches but I think you have to accept that, while accurate, they may not be as accurate as a $20 Timex quartz.
posted by Carbolic at 9:37 PM on January 9, 2012

Sorry to tell you, the Rolex is not a precision timepiece (though the Swiss watchmaker will tell you it is.) I have many, sell many and owned many personally. As they get older they tend to lose or gain more time. You can have it calibrated, but keep in mind it will slowly lose or gain time (the bearings may slowly wear down and will cause a change as well as many other factors as the watch ages.) The way you put the watch down at night (or when you are not wearing it) makes a difference. If you lay it flat, on its side where the stem is or on its side where there is not makes it gain time or slow down. I suggest you invest in a watch winder to keep the watch in.

Good luck!!
posted by Yellow at 6:05 AM on January 10, 2012

Service it. They'll clean, lube, regulate/calibrate and demagnetize it.
Barring that, as Yellow mentions, try keeping it different positions when it's not on your wrist: face down, face up, on its side one way, etc.

I don't know if this, with the part about "face up = speed up / on the side = seconds slide" pertains to every model, but it suggests the same basic concept.

Even after forking the dough to get it serviced and spending time trying to find the best ways of keeping it accurate, you'll have to realize that it's a mechanical device. Learn to live with it, and love it. If it's pretty consistently running ahead 5 minutes every month, you might just find yourself adopting a new ritual when setting it back, or making up a story about time and the future.

I mean, shit. Maybe the watch isn't the problem, but you are and it's the world that's too slow for you. Or make yourself only make adjustments when you find yourself wanting a do-over in life as a break and a breather or have experienced something worth repeating.
posted by herrdoktor at 7:50 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

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