Tutorial: How to Wind and Set Your Automatic Watch

It may seem like an elementary thing if you've been collecting watches for a long time, but at one point, someone showed you how to properly wind and set your Automatic Watch.

With WatchGauge being an online retailer of primarily Micro Brands, most of our clients have owned more than one or two automatic watches in the past, as most of what we sell, are watches that people often seek out (as opposed to just stumble upon).

That said, the occasion does arise where a micro brand is someones first automatic watch.

Such was the case recently when a client wrote an email to me saying, "Hey John, I LOVE my new NTH, but I'm not sure how to wind and set it.  Can you help?".

I thought, instead of typing out directions to him, without much of a visual reference, I'd take the opportunity to make a video showing how I go about winding and setting my automatic watches.

Step by Step:  How to Wind and Set your Automatic Watch (if it has a date complication)

  1. Unscrew your Crown (Skip this step if you don't have a screw down crown).
  2. In crown position A, manually wind your watch by rotating the crown (typically clockwise).  Make sure your second hand is running.
  3. Pull the crown out to position C.  Rotate the hour and minute hand until the hour hand is down in the lower half of the dial (reading between 5 and 7 o'clock)
  4. In crown position B, set your date to the date before the current date.  If Today is July 4th, set your date to the 3rd.
  5. In crown position C, rotate your hour and minute and bring your watch to the current date and time.
  6. Screw your crown back in (again, for watches with a screw down crown)

People often ask why I set the date to the day before the current day.  Simply because that way I am sure whether the watch is in am or pm, and my date is changing at midnight instead of at noon.

Here are a few key things to remember when you Wind and Set your Automatic Watch...

  • If your watch is completely wound down, give it between 20-40 winds of the crown to supply ample power to the barrel spring (spring that holds the wind).
  • NEVER set your date when the time is between 9 pm and 3 am.  The gears that change the date at midnight begin to engage around 10 pm and disengage at around 2 am (this varies depending on the movement).  Move your hour hand to the lower half of the dial and you are in the "safe zone"
  • If your watch has a screw down crown, always be sure to screw it back down once you're done.  You don't have to torque it down too tightly, once it stops, you're set!


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