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How to Set a Watch in 4 Simple Steps and the Don'ts
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How to Set a Watch in 4 Simple Steps and the Don'ts

Discover the 4 easy steps and the 5 DON'TS in setting or winding a mechanical watch.
Jan 27, 2022

Congratulations, buddy! It's a happy time for you to get your very first mechanical watch, and it's always a joyous moment to get another one. We just can't stop admiring these great beauties, can we? Especially, the fascinating moves from its tiny components inside. For a new lover of watches, you might be wondering how to set a watch. This matter sounds like an easy quest, but there are things to consider in winding a mechanical watch ​in a proper way.

To refresh your knowledge a little, mechanical watch movements consist of two types: manual and automatic. The movement has many inner parts, the springs to keep the watch running. A manual wind watch, as the name suggests, requires you to wind the watch manually on a regular basis for it has no rotor. Meanwhile, an automatic wind watch or a self-winding watch has a rotor attached to the movement. When you move your wrist or shake the watch, the rotor spins. Then, it automatically powers the watch to keep ticking.

There is a tiny crown, the knob on either left or right side, for you to wind the watch, set the time (day, date, moon phase), and use other complications. The reason why I give a little background on these parts is that they are quite fragile. You can't make use of them in a rough way. Else, you might damage the watch by improperly winding it. Now, let's take a look at the never-do list when you set a mechanical watch.

You might also like: Automatic Watch Accuracy: How Precise the Movement is?

How to set a watch: the don’ts

Come on, mate. You can't break the heart and disappoint your watch already. So, avoid doing the following things!

  1. Don't go winding the watch without reading the official guideline from the manufacturer and knowing your watch’s characteristics. I don't need to tell you the reason, right?
  2. Don't set or wind the watch while it's on your wrist. It sounds convenient, but the watch's inconvenient angle puts pressure on the movement. It can harm the inner parts and let the crown loose.
  3. Don't turn the watch's hands in an anti-clockwise direction. This causes undue wear on the wheel train which gradually damages it.
  4. Don't change the day and date between 9 pm to 3 am (the danger zone). The gears are active in those times. In doing so, it causes damage to the movement and breaks the day and date wheel. You can set the time near 6 o'clock with the hands on the lower side of the dial.
  5. If the watch uses a screw-down crown, you have to make sure to tightly, but not too forcefully, screw it back after adjusting the time.

How to set a watch in a proper way?

Knowing how to wind a mechanical watch in an appropriate way makes your watch abstain from danger. Again, the inner elements of the watch are frail. It's better to be cautious about the hands, date, day settings. Keep on reading to know the 4 correct yet easy steps on how to set a watch.

  1. First, you can unscrew the crown if it's a screw-down crown. Then, wind it clockwise for about 20 to 40 turns, until there's a resistance to avoid overwinding and to charge the power.
  2. To effectively set the watch, you can start from the crown 2nd position to set the exact time. Remember to set the hands on the lower side of the dial, 5 or 6 o'clock position outside the danger zone. If, by any chance, you set the time incorrectly, don't turn it back. You must keep on going until it reaches the desired time.
  3. For a day-date complication, click the crown to the 1st position, and you can set the time after midnight: a clockwise turn to change the date and a counterclockwise turn to change the day. It's to avoid a change of date during the daytime.
  4. Last is to push the unscrew crown back and screw it to the original position. Make sure the crown is tightened to steer clear of moisture to get inside.

See also: Watch Collecting: How to Store Watches When Not In Use

How to set a watch with a moonphase complication?

For a moon phase complication, you can set it using the crown. Reminder! The said watch has an even more intricate mechanism. If you turn the crown too harshly or quickly, it can ruin your watch. So, hold your horses, and just do the following steps.

  1. First, avoid the danger zone. Set the hands on the lower side of the watch's dial.
  2. Track or check the current moon phase on the internet. Then, you can pull out the crown to the 2nd position and move the moon disc to the middle position of the window.
  3. Calculate the days after the last Full Moon. You can turn the crown in order to move the disc. The moon disc typically has 59 tooths in which a notch means a day.
  4. Last is to screw the crown to its original position.

There you have it, the easy steps on how to set a watch in a proper way. Don't forget to avoid the never-do things in setting your watch. And, enjoy your time!

See also: Watch 101: A Special Highlight for the Watch Mainspring

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