Winding a Mechanical Watch

Mechanical Watch Movement

Setting it Right – The Ins and Outs of Winding

Setting and winding a mechanical watch is one of the delights of owing one. Whether it’s the delicate ratchet-like sound of winding by hand, or knowing that the motion of your body is self-winding an automatic movement, the steps in winding and setting your watch connect you to centuries-old technology that makes owning a mechanical watch so fascinating.

Follow these general handling guidelines to ensure your mechanical watch lasts a lifetime or more.

Winding a Mechanical WatchFirstly, wind your watch by turning the crown clockwise. Avoid setting the watch during the hours of approximately 10 pm to 2 am – adjusting the time or date between these hours may damage the movement. This is especially true for watches with calendar complications. It’s also wise to set the time by moving the hands forward (clockwise) rather than backwards, as moving the hands backwards may also hurt the movement.

When you wind the watch or reset the time, turn the crown carefully using even pressure with the thumb and index finger. Avoid applying unbalanced pressure on the crown, which could damage the winding stem. If your watch has a screw-down crown, always ensure it is screwed closed after having opened it to set the watch.

In the case of a hand-wound mechanical movement, avoid over-winding. When these movements are fully wound the crown will offer resistance to further winding, which indicates the watch is fully wound.

Watch Winders

For anyone who owns multiple automatic watches, especially watches with calendar complications, keeping them wound so the complications remain up to date (day, date, moon phase, etc.) can be a time-consuming challenge.

Steinhausen Watch WinderOne option is to buy a watch winder. Winders rotate a watch (or watches) regularly at set intervals. This allows the watch’s winding rotor to turn and keeps the watch wound, saving the wearer from having to wind the watch manually each time it runs down. Note that winders range in capacity: some hold one watch, others hold two, etc., and up to 50 or more!

While there isn’t much question about the convenience of such devices, there is one important counterargument that asks: which is better for the watch? On one hand, having the watch running keeps the lubricants active and may keep them from breaking down sooner. On the other hand, constant running puts additional wear on the parts and may have its own adverse effect on the lubricants. A happy medium is probably the best bet.

Better still – wear your watches as much as possible. If you have multiple watches and no winder, be sure to fully wind your watches at least once monthly as part of general upkeep.

If you have any difficulty winding your mechanical watch, or experience anything unusual with it, the time may have come to get the watch serviced. Contact Gevril Group Watch Repair Services, which offers a complete suite of services from battery replacement to rebuilding.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

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