How to Properly Wind a Watch: Nicholas Explains

Written by – Updated on April 26, 2024
manual watch movement that needs to be winded decorative

Are you a proud owner of an automatic watch but unsure of how to correctly wind it? Perhaps you are interested in investing in a watch winder but aren't sure if it's the right choice for you. This article provides step-by-step guidance on how to safely wind both manual and automatic watches, answers questions about watch winders, and offers tips and tricks to ensure that your watch is always running.

Whether you’re a novice or experienced horologist, this article will provide essential knowledge to take your watch wearing experience to the next level.

Winding a Manual Watch

It is recommended to remove your watch from your wrist before winding it, as to protect the stem from any lateral pressure which could cause wear. To wind a manual watch, one should securely grasp the crown and rotate it clockwise until a slight resistance is felt, after which the stem should be carefully pressed back in. The number of turns given to the crown of a newly acquired watch should be around 30 and manual watches should generally be wound on a daily basis.

When winding a manual watch, one must exercise caution and avoid any forceful manipulation of the stem and crown. It is also important to ensure that any winding mechanism is fully wound, as this will ensure the optimal performance and longevity of the watch. While winding is not necessarily required for mechanical watches on a daily basis, it is still recommended for optimal performance.

Winding an Automatic Watch

The initial step in winding an automatic watch is to delicately extract the crown. Rotating the crown 20 times will wind the watch, and it is advised to return the crown to its original position upon completion of winding the watch. Automatic watches are designed to self-wind when worn, but it is still essential to manually wind an automatic watch when its movement ceases. It is important to note that the process of winding an automatic watch should not be done too often or too hard, as over winding or over winding can cause damage to the watch's components.

In order to properly wind an automatic watch, one should first find the winding position on the watch face. The winding position is usually marked with an arrow or an "A". Once the winding position is located, the crown needs to be gently pulled out from the watch in order to begin the winding process. After the crown is pulled out, the crown should be turned clockwise a few times until the watch is fully wound. It is important to note that turning the crown clockwise more than 20 times can cause the watch to become over wound.

Once the watch is fully wound, the crown should be pushed back in to its original position. In some cases, a watch winder box may be needed to properly wind an automatic watch. This is especially true for watches with manual movements, as they require more winding than an automatic watch. Additionally, a watch winder box can help keep the watch running longer when not being worn.

When winding an automatic watch, it is essential to pay attention to the amount of force and times you are turning the crown. Too much force or over winding can lead to damage to the watch's components. Additionally, watches should be wound before wearing, as this helps the watch to stay powered and running for longer periods of time. By following these steps, one can ensure that their automatic watch is properly wound and functioning correctly.

Is a Watch Winder Right for Me?

A watch winder is a device designed to keep automatic watches wound when they are not being worn. This offers a number of advantages, such as preserving the accuracy of the watch and extending its lifespan.

There are two varieties of watch winders available: single-watch winders and multi-watch winders. When deciding if a watch winder is suitable for you, it is important to consider the type of watch you have, the frequency of wearing it, and the number of watches in your collection.

If you possess an automatic watch that is worn only occasionally or have multiple watches in your collection, then investing in a watch winder may be beneficial.

Tips and Tricks

Consistently wearing a watch is important in order to keep it wound and operating accurately. It is essential to listen for clicks while winding manually, as this indicates that the watch is fully wound. Additionally, it is important to avoid over-winding, as this can damage the watch’s internal mechanism. To avoid over-winding, gently press the crown until resistance is felt, and then cease winding.

When winding an automatic watch, it is important to wait until the night before setting it, as the movement needs time to develop. Additionally, it is often beneficial to watch a tutorial video on YouTube, in order to accurately set the time and date. When setting the time, the watch should be held in the left hand with the index finger on the crown. The crown should then be gently pulled out and turned carefully until the desired time is set. When setting the date and other settings, the crown should be pulled out until it reaches the first position, and then carefully pulled out further until the desired settings are reached.

It is important to be careful when handling the watch and its parts, as force can break the small, important mechanisms inside. Additionally, it is recommended to take the watch for regular services, in order to ensure that it continues to operate in a normal state.


When winding a watch, it is important to take extra care in securing it and each of the movement's components. Whether winding one manually or an automatic model, there are certain steps to follow in order to ensure that the procedure is completed properly and safely.

Furthermore, investing in a watch winder may be beneficial for those who have multiple watches within their collection and rarely wear them. Ultimately, proper care and maintenance of watches is key in maintaining their accuracy and longevity.

Through attentive winding techniques and understanding the features and functionalities of various types of watches, anyone can become an expert in watch-winding.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many times should you wind a watch?

It is recommended to wind your watch once a day, at approximately the same time, in order to ensure that it remains accurate and runs smoothly.

Wearing the watch for more than 10 hours a day is also recommended to ensure that the mainspring stays sufficiently wound.

Can you overwind a wind up watch?

No, you should not overwind a watch. If the hand-wound watch is wound too far, it can cause the mainspring to break, which can be an expensive repair.

You should always stop winding the watch when you feel resistance in the crown.

Do you wind a watch clockwise or counter clockwise?

In general, it is best to wind a watch clockwise. Turning the crown counterclockwise could cause damage to the internal mechanism of the watch.

Therefore, winding your watch clockwise is the safest option.