Depending on the type of watch you own, how active you are and how much you wear it will determine how often you must wind your timepiece. Getting into good habits and taking excellent care of your watch is advised, not letting your timepiece drain of power completely. Take a look at when your hand wound or automatic watch needs winding and the best ways to do it.
Hand Wound Watches
For non-automatic mechanical watches, the wearer will need to wind daily to keep the timepiece ticking. Most watches have a power reserve of two days yet winding each morning before fastening to your wrist is a good habit to adopt as watches keep the best time when the mainspring is above half tension.
Ensure that you do not overwind the watch as this could cause damage. The watch is fully wound when you feel the crown resist. Don’t be tempted to keep winding. Make sure that you wind the watch when unfastened to the wrist to avoid an awkward angle that could put stress on the winding stem.
However, an automatic watch relies on the movement of the wearer to wind the timepiece. If you are not very active that day you will notice the power reserve start to drain and the watch will eventually stop over time. Very energetic wrists will keep the power reserve at full capacity and a slipping clutch ensures the spring does not become overwound. However, those who do not move much during the day can wind the crown to allow the watch to function again giving a much needed boost. For example, those who sit at a desk are not active enough. Typically, the winding mechanism is less robust so be careful if you do need to wind your automatic watch and try not to do it excessively.
Many people wrongly believe that an automatic watch never needs winding. However, if your watch has reached near the end of its power reserve, it needs more than simply fastening to the wrist as activity will keep the watch running but the mainspring will not be fully wound providing a shorter power reserve once off the wrist. A fully wound automatic watch fastened to an energetic wrist will not need that extra boost even when taken off at night.
Also, when your first purchase an automatic timepiece the mainspring is completely unwound. Wrist movement will allow for the rotor to spin and wind the mainspring but not enough to completely tighten it and allow for the power reserve function to do its job. Therefore, it is advised to wind the crown approximately 30-40 times to fully wind the mainspring.
How to Wind Your Watch
The majority of watches are wound using the crown, typically moving in a clockwise direction. Simply keep the crown pushed in and wind. If you own a watch with a screw-down crown, make sure that you unscrew the crown first.
Collectors with multiple watches will use watch winders to keep their instruments ticking. Storing their timepieces using a watch winder until the next wear is a good idea. It mimics the movement of your wrist keeping your watch fully wound.