Automatic mechanical watches, or those that rely on gears and mechanics to operate, have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years after a boom of quartz watches.
Also known as self-winding or perpetual, automatic watches wind themselves using an internal moving weight that winds or rotates when the wearer moves their arm, transferring energy to a power reserve and keeping the watch working.
These watches require no batteries and can be considered “clean energy,” powered by humans. While they do not require daily winding, it is a good idea to wind an automatic watch every so often to ensure that they keep accurate time and enjoy a long life.
First, Winding your Watch
1. Keep your arm moving.
The automatic watch is built with an oscillating metal weight, or rotor, that tracks movement. The oscillating rotor is attached to gears inside the watch that are in turn attached to the mainspring. When the rotor moves, it moves the gears which, in turn, winds the mainspring. This stores energy in the mainspring so that the watch continues ticking. If the watch is not being moved in regular, everyday motion, the mainspring’s energy winds down. If you wear your watch and keep your arm in regular movement, this should be enough to keep the rotor moving and winding up the mainspring. This doesn’t mean, however, that your arm needs to be in constant motion. Automatic watches are built to respond to average, everyday movement in order to keep them working
2. Take the watch off your wrist.
While an automatic watch is intended to restore its energy by the rotor winding the mainspring through the motion of your arm, it does also require periodic manual winding to keep the mainspring tight. In order to ensure that the crown is not overly strained when you pull it out and wind it, you should take it off your wrist. Then you will be able to have the right leverage and angle to carefully pull the crown out.
3. Locate the crown.
4.Turn the crown clockwise.
5. Always set the time by moving forward.
6. Make sure the crown is pushed all the way in.
7. Compare your watch’s timekeeping with another watch.
Second, Using a Watch Winder
1. Choose which kind of watch winder you need.
A watch winder is a device that keeps automatic watches wound when they are not being worn by moving the watch in a circular pattern to mimic the movement of a human’s arm. These can range in price from $50 to $400, with top-of-the-line models costing up to $8,000. There are functional, elegant and extravagant models of watch winders.
2. Choose how many watches you want to wind at a time.
There are winders for single watches or for multiple watches. If you have a rotation of watches that you wear frequently, you may opt to get a watch winder that can hold several watches at once. If you have just one watch that you wear frequently, a single watch winder might be more useful.
3. Determine the direction of the watch winder rotation.
Many automatic watches rely on clockwise motion, while others rely on counter-clockwise or bi-directional movement. Check with your watch’s manufacturer to figure out which motion your watch needs.
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