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How To Wind A Manual Watch

How To Wind A Manual Watch

A manual watch movement is a hand wound movement which, in most cases, requires daily winding. The movement in a manual watch is extremely intricate - the central component is the mainspring, which is wound up manually and then gradually unwinds, providing the energy needed to power the rest of the movement. 

To wind a manual watch:

  1. Remove the watch from your wrist or box 
  2. Wind the crown clockwise 
  3. Continue until you can't wind any further
  4. Return the watch to its normal state.

1. Remove the watch from your wrist or box 

When winding your watch, always make sure you have removed it from your wrist or storage box. If you wind it while still on your wrist, you’re likely to put lateral pressure on the stem, causing undue wear. The stem is connected to several important mechanisms inside your watch that you don't want to break.


2. Wind the crown clockwise 

Hold your watch face up in your left hand and use your right thumb and index finger to carefully pull out the crown. Turn the crown clockwise. As you’re winding your watch, you will feel a slight resistance which increases as the tension mounts.

Depending on the size of the watch, 20 to 40 forward turns should lead to resistance; but be careful as over-winding will strain or break the mechanism


3. Continue winding until you can't wind any further

Continue winding until you can't wind any further. When the mechanic lock engages, it indicates that the spring is wound completely. 


4. Return the watch to its normal state.

Gently press the crown to return the stem to its normal place. Be careful to put the watch’s components back exactly as you started. Never shove or force parts when handling the stem and crown of a watch.

Most mechanical watches can run for at least 40 hours with a fully wound spring, however it is recommended to wind your watch once a day as low tension in the spring may compromise the accuracy of the time. If your watch is new and you’re feeling unsure, aim to wind the crown 30 times to start with and work your way up from there. Some high-end watches can last up to 70 hours, so winding won’t be necessary every single day. 

Our Top Manual Watches

OMEGA Speedmaster Professional 42mm Moonwatch

OMEGA has always been the official watch of NASA, and the Speedmaster

 is one of their most iconic timepieces. 

This OMEGA Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch” features a black dial covered by a hesalite crystal and graced by a small seconds sub-dial, 30-minute recorder and 12-hour recorder along with a central chronograph hand. OMEGA’s manual-winding mechanical calibre 1861 sits at the heart of this chronograph, and the black tachymetric scale is mounted on a 42mm stainless steel case and presented on a matching bracelet.


OMEGA Speedmaster Tokyo Olympics 2020 42mm Manual Watch

In celebration of the 2-year countdown to the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020, the event’s Official Timekeeper produced this special edition Speedmaster model, limited to 2,020 pieces.

The Speedmaster’s famous tachymeter scale is shown on a blue anodized aluminium bezel ring. On the caseback, OMEGA has embossed the Tokyo 2020 logo, while inside, the famous OMEGA Calibre 1861 is included.

The bracelet and casing are all wrought from high-grade stainless steel, while the brushed blue dial is contrasted with stark white markers, ensuring maximal legibility in a variety of lighting conditions while evoking 2006's much-lauded Gemini IV special edition timepiece.


Do you need to wind an automatic watch?

Automatic watch movements are identical to manual movements, however they operate by a self-winding movement which is powered by the motions of the wearer during use. This means you will not need to wind it if you are wearing it daily or before the power reserve runs out. An automatic watch will give you around 38 hours of power, provided you wear it all day and only take it off at night. 

However, if your automatic watch is not worn for a period of time (letting it run low), you can either wind it by the crown or gently shake the watch while on your wrist a few times to get the oscillating rotor spinning. You may also decide to store it on a watch winder to keep the movement ticking. Learn more about watch winders here. 

To wind an automatic watch, hold it in your left hand and unscrew the crown in your right, until it’s into the first position. Give it 20 to 40 winds until you feel the resistance. When you can’t wind any further, it’s fully wound. It is not possible to overwind an automatic watch. Lastly, screw the crown back in and you’re all set!

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Written by Kate, for Watch Obsession.