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When and how should mechanical watches be wound?
05.14.2022 | San Martin Watch Store | Blog

You've just purchased a new watch and are unsure how or when to wind it. You've come to the correct place for watch advice: we've got you covered.The way you wind up your watch depends on whether it's an automatic, hand-wound, or quartz movement. Let's look at the many activities that are necessary for each movement type.

Manual watches, as you might expect, do not run on their own. You'll have to engage with them, particularly to wind the barrel spring, which will provide power to the entire machine. That is the allure of manual watches: the interactions between the watch collector and his timepiece! Returning to the winding tips, however:

First and foremost, we advise you to remove the watch from your wrist without regard for the caliber type. It will prevent damaging the crown by applying incorrect pressure to the winding mechanism. When you hold the watch in your hand, it's simpler to locate the various crown positions and wind it.

Calibers for manual-winding watches:

First, let's look at manual-winding watches. As the name implies, you must wind up the barrel spring manually by spinning the watch's crown numerous times. At this stage, do not attempt to impose the crown. Simply blow until you feel resistance. It will show that the spring is completely coiled up.

Manual-winding calibers typically have a power reserve of 48 hours (meaning that the barrel spring will take 48 hours to unwind and therefore not giving any power to the watch anymore). However, do not wait for the watch to stop before rewinding it. We recommend that you wind your watch on a daily basis (even if you have a 10-day power reserve). It will supply more energy to the watch, allowing it to perform properly for the following 24 hours.

Automatic calibers:

Winding an automatic mechanical watch is also required for it to function correctly (especially when the watch was stopped from not being worn). If you haven't worn it in a while, wind it several times (20 spins should do) to get it working again before reattaching it on your wrist. When fully wound, unlike a hand wound watch, you will not feel any resistance. To avoid harming parts, a clutch automatically stops winding the watch.

Finally, if you wear your watch every day, you won't have to wind it up again. An oscillating weight (as shown in the photo above) winds the watch automatically in response to your wrist movement. The weight revolves around an axis, winding up the barrel spring. This is why a clutch was installed to keep the weight from braking the spring. Automatic motions have an average power reserve of 48 hours.

If you don't wear it frequently and don't want to adjust the time and date every time you put it on, you may buy a watch winder (our favorite watch winder is hand made and available online). This mechanism will revolve, replicating the movement of your wrist, and wound the watch as if it were truly worn. It's not expensive and may be really handy, especially if you have calendar functions that might be difficult to set up properly!

Observe that the crown's winding position is typically position 0. (no need to pull out the crown from its original position). Of course, you must still unscrew the crown.

A completely wound-up watch, either manual or automatic, will give you with the highest level of accuracy. A watch nearing the end of its power reserve may exhibit some inaccuracy. The most crucial aspect of a watch is its accuracy. 😉