Setting the date on a mechanical watch
Setting the date depends mainly on one factor: whether or not the watch features a quick date setup or not.
WATCHES WITH QUICK DATE SETUP
Beware that, when a watch is working, even if the date only changes at midnight the mechanical process that allows for this change to happen may have started several hours before and may be complete several hours after. As a consequence, it is essential to set the time outside the 9 p.m. and the 3 a.m. range before any quick date setup. Any quick date set up performed during this time range would damage the date mechanism and would, subsequently, require you to take the watch to a watchmaker and potentially facing substantial repair fees.
In practice, the following method is rather convenient:
1 – pull the crown to the maximum towards the outside and set the date on 6:30 (so that you are out of the “death range”)
2 – put the crown in second position: between the winding position (or initial position) and the time setting position (fully pulled towards the outside). Then, proceed to the quick date setup on the day before the desired date
3 – put the crown back on the time setting position and rotate the hours and minutes hands until you reach the following day. Then simply set the desired time.
WATCHES WITHOUT QUICK DATE SETUP
If a watch does not feature a quick date setup, the process is similar to setting the time : you should set the crown on its third position – fully pulled towards the outside.
When the crown is in this position, you only need to turn the hours and minutes hands to go from one day to the other until the desired date. Then, simply set the time.
Even if these recommendations apply in most cases, do not hesitate to check out your watch user manual or ask your usual watchmaker for further information.