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You Probably Have Questions About Your Mechanical, Automatic, or Quartz Watch. We Have the Answers.

Here are some of the most common questions:

  • How do I wind my watch?
  • How do I manually wind a watch without over winding it?
  • How do I tighten a screw-down crown?
  • Can I leave my chronograph function running all of the time?
  • Is it okay to roll the time backwards when I set my watch?

More questions? Get more troubleshooting tips at our General Wristwatch Troubleshooter page, or see out FAQs page.

How Do I Wind My Watch?

If you have a mechanical watch, wind it by turning the crown (the button on the end of the spindle) clockwise. You can turn the crown counter clockwise on most watches, too, but it’s only a neutral-gear mode that won’t do anything to wind, or harm, the watch.

How Do I Manually Wind a Watch Without Over Winding It?

Mechanical watches usually take 20 to 30 turns to be completely wound. With most manual-wind watches, however, it’s relatively simple to tell when you’ve wound enough. Just start winding, and when you start to feel resistance to the crown, that’s the signal for you to stop. If you over-wind a watch, it can cause severe damage, so pay attention and never continue after you feel resistance.

Automatic watches can wind themselves, and over winding isn’t usually a problem. They are equipped with a gear that disengages when the spring is fully wound, so you’ll never overwind an automatic watch, as long as you don’t mind not having that resistance feedback when you’ve wound your watch enough.

How Do I Tighten a Screw-Down Crown?

The crown is the knob on the side that you use to wind the watch. If your watch is especially water resistant, it might have a screw-down crown. This type of crown screws in like the lid of a jar, essentially sealing out water.

To open the crown, turn it 4 or 5 turns counter-clockwise until it unscrews. This puts the crown in the neutral position, and your watch will operate like any normal watch. To close, turn it clockwise while pushing in. No need to push it in too tightly, just mild pressure will do; it’s the threading that makes it water tight, so over tightening doesn’t increase water resistance and may hurt your watch, making it actually less water resistant.

If you own a diving watch with a helium relief valve, check that it is closed in this same way.

Can I Leave My Chronograph Function Running All of the Time?

Usually, yes. It doesn’t cause any additional wear, cause any significant damage, or even make a difference in the power reserve of a mechanical watch. For example, Omega has reported that their watches lose less than 2% of their power reserve having the chronograph running continuously. It’s perfectly fine on quartz chronographs, too, though some might limit the amount of time the chronograph will run, or disable the chronograph function entirely if the battery is low.

Is it Okay to Roll the Time Backwards When I Set My Watch?

It depends on the kind of watch you own. For quartz watches, yes, with a few exceptions. For mechanical watches, no.

Quartz movement watches are usually safe. If you own a quartz watch where neither the date window nor the hands are moved directly by the crown, then turning the time backwards will not harm the watch. That is usually the case with quartz watches with a digital date display, or in watches where the hands are moved through electronic command. However, rolling the time backwards can harm both quartz or mechanical watches with dates or other complicated functions that are handled by mechanical parts, especially near midnight.

The reason moving the time in reverse is harmful on mechanical watches is because the mechanisms are only designed to move forward, so reversing their movement can cause stress on the parts. Also, once you’ve owned the watch for awhile, reversing the movement rubs against the pattern of wear and can cause additional, unnecessary wear.

That being said, this doesn’t apply to most modern watches. They are generally designed to handle this without problems or wear, but check with your manufacturer first. Here’s a quick way to tell: if your mechanical watch’s second hand does NOT stop when you put the watch in time setting mode, then you should definitely not turn the hands backwards.

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