When it comes to winding a watch, you need to consider the type of timepiece you have first. Manually winding a watch isn’t complex, you will feel resistance once it’s fully wound. However, older watches aren’t always designed to prevent the mainspring from being overwound.
Automatic vs. Manual Winding Watches
Both manual and automatic watches have a complete mechanical mechanism that keeps the watch operational. Neither requires a battery – both types rely on the mainspring for power.
Winding a watch is what gives this mainspring its power and this can either be done by hand or automatically.
As the name suggests, a manual watch needs to be wound by hand. By not winding it, eventually, your timepiece will stop working.
An automatic watch has a mechanism that will automatically wind the mainspring for you. The movement of your arm and wrist, as well as the weighted rotor inside the watch, is what powers this process. An automatic watch will give you around 38 hours of power, provided you wear it all day and only take it off at night.
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Winding a Watch – Is It Possible to Over Do It?
If you have an automatic watch, it’s not possible to overwind it. If the watch has full power, the rotor inside the timepiece will simply stop spinning. Automatic watches are designed to stop powering the mainspring when it can’t be wound anymore. It’s not possible to over-wind an automatic timepiece.
If you have a manual timepiece, it’s important to keep your watch fully wound if you want to enjoy maximum power. Fully winding a manual watch won’t damage it – the parts are relatively tough and quite difficult to break. If you won’t be wearing your watch for a few days, keeping it fully wound will retain all the watch settings.
The only time that you can end up breaking a manual watch is if you ignore the watch resistance and keep winding. If your watch was already in a poor condition, it is possible to over-wind it without knowing it.
Winding a Manual Watch: How Often & How Much?
A manual watch needs to be wound every morning or evening. Most manual watches will last for about 40 hours, so if you had to forget to wind it for a day or two, it will stop working. Some high-end watches can last up to 70 hours, so winding won’t be necessary every single day.
Most watches will reach maximum power by winding the crown 30 to 40 times but this can vary. The minute you feel resistance, the watch is fully wound. If your watch is new and you’re feeling unsure, aim to wind the crown 30 times to start with and work your way up from there.
When cared for correctly, your timepieces can last for years to come.