Watch Hacking – A Beginners Guide

Watch Hacking – A Beginners Guide

Movements and mechanical timepiece mechanisms are common topics of conversation amongst watch enthusiasts. If mechanical watches are your preference, you have more than likely heard about winding, but what about hacking?

Here is what you should know.

Watch Hacking Explained

When you have a mechanical watch, one of the standard features is time adjustment. However, it is not always easy to get the seconds right. This changes when you have a watch that can stop the second hand.

In a nutshell, watch hacking is when you have the ability to set a watch’s second hand as well as the hour and minute hands.

This functionality first surfaced in the 20th century in order to improve mechanical watch synchronization.

Watch hacking will not impact the timekeeping element of a timepiece. All that happens is the hands are temporarily detached to allow for accurate time setting.

You should also know that a non-hacking watch isn’t less accurate.

How to Hack a Movement

To hack a movement, you would start by pulling out the crown to the time-setting position. Pulling the crown causes the movement level to touch the balance wheel, bringing the movement to a stop.

You can now use another watch as a reference to accurately set the time of your mechanical timepiece.

Once you are done, push the crown back to resume movement.

Is It Possible to Hack a Non-Hack Watch?

Not all mechanical watches have hacking capabilities, which is perfectly fine. If precise time is critical for you, you may want to consider a quartz movement timepiece instead.

The good news is there are a few mechanical non-hack watches that can be hacked using a trick called back-hacking.

Here are the steps you would take:

  • Pull the crown out to the last click, which is when you can adjust the time. If your timepiece has day or date wheels, make sure the crown position isn’t set to adjust those. ‘
  • Next, you are going to turn the crown counterclockwise very slowly. Basically, you want to make several micro-adjustments. This is how you will back-hack the watch. If you do this too quickly, it won’t work, so take your time.
  • You will know this technique worked when the second hand freezes. If it hasn’t, repeat the above step again until you see the second hand stop.
  • You now have the ability to set your time down to the second.

If you don’t feel comfortable back-hacking a watch yourself, rather contact a watch specialist. If your watch is due for a service, ask for the time to be adjusted at the same time.