Rolex stopped working – Here’s what to do

As we all know, Rolex’s are renowned for their durability. If your Rolex watch has stopped working, there could be a variety of reasons for this. The solution could be a quick fix, or the problem may go a little deeper.

In this article we will dive into some troubleshooting for your Rolex to get it working again. 

You can always bring your watch into your nearest Rolex retailer for an official service. However you may be able to solve the problem easily. Keep reading to find out!

Rolex with papers

In this article we will go over the following issues that may have caused your rolex to stop working, and how to fix it.

  • Rolex water damaged
  • Manual winding needed for Rolex
  • Rolex battery faults
  • Rolex mechanical problems
  • Rolex damaged from impact
  • Possible counterfeit Rolex parts
  • Maintenance needed for Rolex
  • Age of your Rolex

Rolex water damaged

Identifying if your Rolex is water damaged

Rolex’s are waterproof, if secured correctly, however accidents can happen. A telltale sign that your Rolex has been water damaged is condensation or fogging on the inside of the glass face. This can happen if the winding crown was not screwed down into the closed position.

You can also inspect your watch for any rust around the hands of the watch. The winding crown may also feel slightly gritty when turned.

How to fix a water damaged Rolex

If you think your Rolex has been water damaged it may need to be taken to a verified Rolex retailer for servicing. Time is very much of the element if your Rolex has water inside it. It is imperative to try and dry your Rolex as fast as you can.

Depending on the damage, you could try putting your Rolex in a bag of rice, to draw out the water. However if damage is severe it would be in your best interests to bring your watch into a Rolex retailer. To prevent this happening, it is very important for you to ensure the winding crown is screwed down into the final position to ensure waterproofness for your Rolex.

Manual winding needed for Rolex

How Rolex’s are powered

Whether you have just bought your Rolex and are wearing it for the first time, or you haven’t worn your Rolex for a while, it will need to be manually wound. When wearing a Rolex day to day, the kinetic movement powers your watch.

The mainspring inside gathers the energy produced when your wrist moves naturally throughout wear, and uses it to keep the watch ticking. When a watch has been inside its packaging, or it has been sitting on your nightstand perhaps, the kinetic energy hasn’t been present to power your watch. Fear not however, as there is a very simple fix for this.

Quick fix to get your Rolex ticking again

After unscrewing the winding crown, the crown needs to be turned clockwise for several rotations. Rolex recommends at least 25 rotations. After you have completed these turns, the winding crown must be secured back down into its final position. This closes the seal and will ensure no water or anything else that may damage your watch, will get inside your Rolex.

Rolex battery faults

Identify if your Rolex is battery powered

As I mentioned above, most rolexes are powered by the kinetic movement of your wrist, however one Rolex model in particular runs on a battery instead. That model is the Rolex Oysterquartz. If this is your model of Rolex and it has stopped working, the manual winding method will not do the trick.

Rolex battery replacement

If you would like to attempt to change the battery yourself, the kind of battery you will need is a Renata 303. However it can be difficult if you do not have the official watch tools so it may be easier to bring your watch into your nearest Rolex retailer for a battery change. The battery life will generally last you about 2-3 years. 

Rolex mechanical problems

Possible noticeable problems with your Rolex

Like with any mechanism, periodically problems may arise with your Rolex. Internal components may get worn down over time. Some issues that you may be able to notice with your Rolex are, the time running slow or fast, scratches on the crystal face, manual winding issues or reduced power reserve.

Next steps to take after problem is identified

If you are noticing any mechanical problems, it would be advisable that your Rolex receives a service to get it back to its former glory. Even if you are not experiencing any issues with your Rolex, it is encouraged that your watch still receives regular services to ensure the longevity of your beautiful timepiece. 

Rolex damaged from impact

Best to avoid impacts

A Rolex is a delicate piece of engineering. If it is not on your wrist, it should be stored in a safe and secure place. As we all know however, accidents can happen. If your Rolex sustains a fall, or some kind of sudden shock, this can damage the intricate internal components.

What to do if your Rolex is damaged from an impact

The results of this can vary depending on the extent of the damage. If you are lucky, your Rolex may be unscathed. It is also possible that your watch may have stopped working altogether, or perhaps cause the timing to be inaccurate. If this is the case, taking a trip to your nearest verified Rolex retailer would be my best advice.

Possible counterfeit Rolex parts

Beware of fake Rolex parts

There are a few ways to tell if your Rolex has been repaired with low quality or counterfeit parts. A surefire way to tell is the serial numbers. Serial numbers are engraved on most Rolex’s at the six o’clock position on the edge of the watch.

If you have recently had your Rolex serviced by a watchmaker or jeweler, it is a possibility that non authentic Rolex parts have been used.

Trusting your Rolex watch dealer

Unless you bring your watch to an official Rolex retailer for a service, there is no guarantee that the replacement parts will be genuine Rolex. This can cause your watch some problems. It can impact the timekeeping of your Rolex, or perhaps cause it to stop working altogether.

The delicate internal mechanism of a Rolex watch demands the highest quality parts. The best way to avoid false parts being used in your Rolex is to ensure the watch dealer you buy from/ get a service from is a verified Rolex retailer.

Maintenance needed for Rolex

Physical inspection of your Rolex

Like all mechanisms, a Rolex will need to be maintained. You will know your Rolex needs a service if it has any of the following signs. If your watch has a noticeable reduction in battery reserve this is a major indication that a service is due.

You will know this is the case if you find yourself having to manually wind your Rolex more frequently than normal. Your Rolex may also display stiff crown operation. The movement of the crown should be smooth and without resistance.

When winding the crown, you may experience stiffness or difficulty moving it as it should. If this is the case, your watch is certainly due for a service.

Visual inspection of your Rolex

You may also be able to do a visual inspection of your Rolex. If there are visible scratches in the crystal face, watch strap or casing, the watch should be serviced. If there is fogging inside the crystal face, this is another sign that a professional should have a look at your Rolex.

As a general rule of thumb, even without any of the signs mentioned above, your Rolex should be taken for a service every ten years. This ensures the durability and the longevity of your timepiece. 

Age of your Rolex

General wear and tear of Rolex is normal

The average lifespan of a Rolex depends on a few factors. If your Rolex was well looked after during its lifetime, then age should not be an issue. Regular servicing by a verified Rolex retailer is the key to longevity in my opinion.

Just as you and I go for check-ups at the doctor, your Rolex also needs some attention periodically. While there is no lifetime guarantee when purchasing a Rolex, if cared for properly, it can last a lifetime (or maybe two).

Can I wear my Rolex every day?

Yes! Daily wear of your Rolex is how it was designed to be worn. The ‘battery’ and power reserve thrive on the kinetic energy of being on your wrist as you go about your day. A Rolex, that may not have been worn in a while, may not work as it once did. If this occurs, bringing the watch into a verified Rolex retailer for a fix should do the trick. 


It could be argued that Rolex’s are the pinnacle of modern watches. They are intricately designed and do require some maintenance. If your Rolex watch stops working, it can be due to various issues. Water damage can occur if the winding crown isn’t secured, requiring immediate attention.

Manual winding is needed if the watch hasn’t been worn to keep it powered. Rolex Oysterquartz models use batteries that last 2-3 years. Mechanical problems like timing issues or reduced power reserve may arise and require servicing.

Impact damage can harm internal components, affecting accuracy. Be cautious of counterfeit parts in repairs, as they can impact performance. Regular maintenance every ten years and daily wear can extend your Rolex’s lifespan.

In the world of luxury timepieces, understanding the intricacies of Rolex watches and the potential reasons behind their occasional fragility allows enthusiasts to appreciate not only their exceptional craftsmanship but also the importance of proper care and maintenance to ensure they stand the test of time.

You may also be interested to read;

7 signs your Rolex needs a service

Is a Rolex worth it?


John has years of experience buying, selling, and collecting luxury watches. He loves classic cars and motorcycles too, and when not writing articles about watches or cars, he can be found in the workshop refurbishing old motors.

Recent Posts