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Can You Overwind an Automatic Watch? Revealing the Truth
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Can You Overwind an Automatic Watch? Revealing the Truth

Is it possible that you overwind the watch?
Feb 10, 2024

Automatic watches, also known as self-winding watches, have been a symbol of craftsmanship and precision for centuries. But, a common question, like "Can you overwind an automatic watch?" still prevails among watch enthusiasts, sparking curiosity about the possibility of overwinding the watch.

Frankly speaking, many watchmakers say they rarely see a timepiece that is overwound. While overwinding has been addressed, enthusiasts often seek a more comprehensive understanding of how these timepieces operate and the best practices for maintaining their longevity.

Therefore, this article will further discuss how to wind an automatic watch and give a clear answer on "Is it possible to overwind an automatic watch?" Let's get straight into the discussion below!

Can You Overwind an Automatic Watch?

The short answer is no, you cannot technically overwind an automatic watch. Unlike manual watches, which require the wearer to wind the crown to store energy in the mainspring, automatic watches utilize a rotor mechanism that winds the mainspring through the motion of the wearer's wrist.

Automatic watches are designed with a slipping clutch mechanism or a ratchet system that disengages the winding process when the mainspring is fully wound. This ensures that the spring doesn't become overly tense, preventing any potential damage to the watch's internal components.

While the slipping clutch or ratchet system safeguards the watch from overwinding, it is essential to understand that continuous, excessive motion, such as aggressive shaking or rapid movements, may cause unnecessary wear and tear on the watch's delicate components. Although this won't result in overwinding, it could lead to other issues over time.

It's crucial to handle your automatic watch with care and wear it regularly to keep it running smoothly. If you have multiple watches, using a watch winder can also be beneficial. A watch winder mimics the motion of the wrist, keeping the automatic watch wound and ready to wear.

In short, while overwinding an automatic watch is not a concern due to the built-in safety mechanisms, proper care, regular wear, and occasional maintenance by a professional watchmaker are essential to ensure the longevity and accuracy of your prized timepiece.

Read also: Automatic Watch Accuracy: How Accurate Should It Be?

Automatic Watch Maintenance: Do’s and Don’ts

To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your automatic watch, here are some do’s and don’ts in automatic watch maintenance that you should pay attention to:


Below are some do’s that you should know to keep your automatic watch running smoothly:

1. Wear Regularly

Regular wear is beneficial for automatic watches as the motion of your wrist naturally winds the watch. This helps in maintaining the power reserve and ensures the smooth functioning of the internal mechanisms. Watches that are left unworn for extended periods may experience a decrease in accuracy.

2. Store Properly

When not in use, store your automatic watch in a cool, dry place. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures, humidity, or direct sunlight. Storing your watch in a watch box or pouch helps protect it from dust and potential scratches. Proper storage ensures the longevity of the watch's exterior and internal components.

3. Service Periodically

Regular maintenance is crucial for automatic watches. Every 3-5 years, have your watch serviced by a professional watchmaker. This involves disassembling the watch, cleaning and lubricating the components, and making any necessary adjustments. 

Periodic servicing helps prevent potential issues, ensures accurate timekeeping, and extends the watch's lifespan.

4. Water Resistance Checks

If your automatic watch is water-resistant, have its water resistance checked periodically. Gaskets and seals may degrade over time, compromising the watch's ability to resist moisture. 

Regular checks, along with proper care, help maintain the watch's water resistance and prevent water damage to the movement.


There are also some don’ts that you should avoid to maintain the optimal condition and functionality of your automatic watch. Below are some of them:

1. Avoid Excessive Shock

While automatic watches are designed to withstand daily activities, avoid subjecting them to unnecessary shocks or impacts. Excessive shock can damage the delicate internal components, affecting the watch's accuracy and longevity. Remove your watch before engaging in activities that involve heavy vibrations or impacts.

2. Keep Away from Magnets

Magnetic fields can negatively impact the accuracy of an automatic watch. Avoid placing your watch near strong magnets, such as those found in speakers, magnets, or electronic devices. Exposure to magnets can disrupt the balance spring, leading to timekeeping issues.

3. Don't Overwind

Unlike manual watches, automatic watches have mechanisms that prevent overwinding. However, excessive and unnecessary winding can cause wear and tear on the winding mechanism. 

Once the watch reaches its power reserve, the winding mechanism disengages. Avoid unnecessary winding, and let the watch wind naturally through regular wear

4. Avoid Adjusting Time Between 9 PM and 3 AM

During this period, the date-change mechanism is often engaged in many automatic watches. Adjusting the time during this window may interfere with the date-change process, potentially causing damage to the movement. It's advisable to set the time outside this time frame to ensure the smooth operation of the date-change feature.

Final Thought

In the end, have you found the answer to “Can you overwind an automatic watch?” It turns out that overwinding an automatic watch is a misconception. However, it is crucial to handle your watch with care, wear it regularly, and provide the necessary maintenance to ensure its longevity and accuracy. 

By understanding the intricacies of automatic watches and adopting proper care practices, you can enjoy the beauty and functionality of these timeless pieces for years to come.

Read also: How Long Do Automatic Watches Last? A Brief and How to Care

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