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Winding your mechanical watch

All mechanical watches, be they automatic winding or manual winding pieces, possess one – even sometimes several – systems that store energy during winding. This system, called barrel, utilizes a spiral spring which is being compressed during winding and which gradually releases the stored energy, which in turn makes the watch work.

It is important to know that a mechanical watch only works in an optimal way when the movement is fully winded. When this is the case, the parts making up the movement of the watch – also called caliber – are appropriately set in motion and your watch is consequently more accurate.

AUTOMATIC WATCHES

If you wear your watch every day, you do not need to wind it: the automatic winding does that for you using the motions of your wrist.

However, when an automatic watch stopped – or is close to stopping – because it hasn’t been worn, it will have to be manually winded. Indeed, if you only make it start again by shaking it – for several hours – it will not be sufficiently winded and will neither function in an optimal way nor will it offer good accuracy. So, the purpose of automatic winding is not really about winding a watch, but it is rather to maintain the winding level to its maximum – previously reached via manual winding.

To perform this winding, the crown must be in first position – i.e. its normal position or unscrewed in the case of a screw crown. Then, you should hold the crown between your thumb and index and turn it about 30 times… clockwise (turning it in the opposite direction will have no effect whatsoever). It is important to note that the energy storage system usually has a safety mechanism, so you can’t wind your watch too much.

MANUAL WATCHES

For a manual watch – or a manual winding watch – winding is performed in the same way: about 30 turns clockwise.

The main difference is that no mechanism maintains the watch fully winded so this operation must be repeated frequently – this frequency depending on the power reserve. Ideally, this should be done in the morning before putting your watch on.

When starting your watch again and once it is fully winded, you can configure its settings: time, date and moon phases.

 

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.