Rolex tests their watches to the extremes before leaving the Rolex site. They pass more than 20 drop tests, including chronometric precision, waterproofness, power reserve, ease of maintenance, and efficient self-winding tests. So, you might wonder, “How accurate is a Rolex?”
Undergoing these tests is the cornerstone of their brand. The makers want to ensure the timepieces’ toughness, longevity, and performance.
But what is the right expectation for accuracy when it comes to Rolex? How accurate is it exactly? Keep reading to know the answer, plus top tips to improve your Rolex watch accuracy.
Understanding a Watch’s Accuracy
A watch determines its accuracy (typically expressed in seconds per day) by comparing it to a recognized accurate time standard, such as the atomic clock. Timekeeping accuracy measures how much timekeeping varies from that constant source over 24 hours.
Each type of watch movement (quartz or mechanical) has its accuracy rate expectations. A typical cheap quartz watch houses a quartz crystal, which vibrates at 32,768 times per second frequency.
This movement explains why you see the seconds hand of an analog quartz watch “tick” once per second. It usually gets its power from a battery with some versions that run on kinetic energy or power.
On the other hand, a standard mechanical watch’s accuracy is within +/- 5 seconds a day.
Accurate watches with mechanical movement take the energy stored in the mainspring of a timepiece. Then, they transfer it via a series of gears and other tiny mechanisms at a regulated pace. Such regulated energy powers the hands.
Before the recent inventions of quartz watches and atomic clocks, a mechanical watch was considered one of the most accurate and precise methods of keeping time.
Rolex doesn’t have the most accurate movement since all its watches meet strict standards for precision with minimum accuracy. Yet, its Rolex Datejust14 model is known for being particularly sporty and high-tech that may meet such criteria.
So, How Accurate is a Rolex Watch?
Rolex watches have a minimum accuracy of +/- 2 seconds per day. This accuracy is 99.997% more accurate compared to the highest certification achievable by COSC.
Such accuracy means that each day, a Rolex is gaining or losing only two seconds per day.
In mechanical watches, an acceptable accuracy is a bare minimum of +6/-4 seconds per day. Moreover, anything assembled out of small parts yet maintaining 99% accuracy is considered a top-tiered piece of machinery.
Rolex is the benchmark for excellence in mechanical watches
Rolex prefers to operate its own way, which applies to the movement. It also tests the accuracy of its movement via a Superlative Chronometer. Such certification has tolerances twice as strict as those required for the official COSC certification.
COSC is the official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute responsible for certifying the precision and accuracy of Swiss watches, including Rolex.
Many recent Rolex models now bear the Superlative Chronometer label on the dial. This certification proves that a watch underwent rigorous standards of accuracy. It also reminds wearers what a fantastic timepiece they have on their wrists.
These are why Rolex has become the benchmark for excellence in mechanical watches.
Factors that influence a watch’s accuracy
The accuracy of mechanical movements depends on many factors, including:
The rates of gain or loss of mechanical watches slightly vary, depending on their position when not worn on the wrist. They can either place it horizontally with their back or face turned up. Or they can lay it on its 9:00/6:00/3:00/12:00 side, respectively.
Gravity impacts the operation of the inside movement of the timepiece.
So, experiment with how you store your accurate watch in different positions for seven to eight hours. Also, check the gain or loss for each position.
The environment may likewise have an impact on the watch’s accuracy. Temperature changes can expand and contract many parts of the timepiece, resulting in changes in the shapes and dimensions.
This factor is especially true in the watch’s hairspring and balance wheel. Modern watches’ designs also compensate for the changes.
If you notice your watch suddenly running 10 minutes fast or slow, or it stops entirely, it may be magnetized. Even proximity to a phone is enough to get it magnetized in some watch brands.
Magnetism affects automatic watches, which may lose or gain time. Therefore, it’s important not to leave your timepiece close to magnetic objects for longer. To be specific, avoid putting your watch near the television, magnetic parts of refrigerators, electric razors, PC speakers, hair dryers, and handbag clasps.
The good news is that almost all modern Rolex watches are anti-magnetic to different degrees.
There’s a reason why some watch manufacturers recommend removing the watch before playing any activity that involves a strong impact, like sports. A direct effect on the wrist may affect the small insides of the watch. Dropping the timepiece may likewise cause damage.
Let’s now turn to five ways to improve your Rolex watch accuracy:
Rolex vs. Other Brands: Which is Most Accurate?
Rolex manufactures its watches with a specified accuracy of +/- 2 seconds per day. It is such an impressive accuracy that only a few watch brands achieved it for their mechanical timepieces.
It’s also uncommon to see a mechanical watch with a minimum accuracy of five or 10 seconds per day.
Compared to some of the most accurate mechanical watches, such as the Omega Planet Ocean (0/+5 Seconds Per Day) and Zenith El Primero (1/100th of a second), Rolex still wins in terms of accuracy.
Top 5 Tips to Improve Rolex Accuracy
1. Keep It Sufficiently Wound
Rolex’s perpetual movement runs by subtle movements, like when you move your wrist as the watch is worn. As the wearer moves, the perpetual rotor of the watch keeps the mainspring running.
However, the lubricants inside may dry out and damage the movement when you do not wear a timepiece for an extended period. To prevent this from happening, keep your Rolex sufficiently wound.
For instance, wear it daily or manually wind it once a week to keep the mainspring wound. Take note of your watch’s power reserve to know how long the watch runs autonomously before becoming fully wounded.
Moreover, Rolex movements have better power reserves than the average 38 hours in other watch brands. The latest GMT-Master II Rolex even operates for 70 hours on one wind.
2. Make Simple Adjustments to Your Watch When at Rest
There are variations to Rolex’s accuracy, but its movements keep them consistent. As a result, a Rolex watch stays consistently slow or fast.
Furthermore, the rate of a Rolex watch differs depending on its position, as discussed earlier. Knowing such gives you the idea to use gravity to your advantage. Make simple adjustments to your Rolex timepiece when it’s at rest.
Lay the watch on its side to lose a few seconds or slow it down. On the other hand, position the watch flat on its bracelet to gain or speed up a few seconds.
3. Avoid Shocks
Rolex watches can withstand shocks, aging, and bangs. They can also handle extreme temperatures, so they built many professional timepieces for expected conditions.
Still, they are mechanical watches that make them delicate machines. You still have to be careful and respect your watch. The materials built on this watch can still be damaged – even a diamond.
4. Store Your Rolex Properly
If your Rolex suddenly gains minutes per day or speeds up, it may have been magnetized or dropped.
So, remember that the components inside your timepiece are tiny and with a balance spring. You can shorten these components by exposing them to magnets, speeding up the time by a few minutes per day.
Store your Rolex away from magnets and electronics to keep its accuracy. Newer Rolex watches feature a Parachrom Hairspring, made from a paramagnetic alloy and resistant to magnetic fields.
5. Service Your Rolex Mechanical Watch Every 5 to 7 Years
Professional maintenance is an essential part of watch ownership to ensure your Rolex’s longevity and keep it accurate for longer periods.
Therefore, service your Rolex every five to seven years so a trained technician can disassemble it, clean its movement, and lubricate the movements whenever necessary.
We hope this guide gave you a general idea of the Rolex watch’s accuracy.
Striving for top-grade accuracy in mechanical watches may be challenging. Still, it is worth doing, especially if you have a collection of luxury watches.
After all, a timepiece with poor accuracy, whether mechanical or quartz, will eventually deviate, and you’ll get the wrong indication of the time when reading it. The good news is that Rolex manufactures one of the most accurate mechanical timepieces on the market today.
If you’re looking for a highly accurate Rolex model with the finest watch movement, Datejust 41 is worth considering. This automatic watch features ultra-efficient Chronergy escapement with a whopping 70-hour power reserve.
Overall, it’s one of the finest offerings from Rolex and something we love because of its understated elegance.
If you like this article, please read our other reviews at EvesWatch.com.
My name is Eve Acosta and I’m the person behind this site. Watches are what get me ticking ;).
No, but seriously, I just love watches, I have over 30 myself. It’s an obsession of mine, which is why my husband recommended me to put my hobby into some good use and build this site – so I did.
My passion for timepieces came from the fact that my parents own a small chain of shops selling timepieces. I’ve worked at the shop since I was 11 and fell in love with the merchandise.