How to Wind a Watch

Winding an Oris Aquis watch

This handy guide from the watch geeks at CALIBRE covers everything you need to know about winding your watch. 

Whether you’re doing it manually, or you’re wanting to get into the world of watch winders, use this comprehensive watch winding article to help you learn how to wind your watch!

Winding Your Watch: Step-by-Step

Follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to wind your watch correctly, without risking damage:

Remove Your Watch From the Wrist

Firstly, begin by removing your watch from your wrist. Whether you have a strap or bracelet, make sure you safely undo your watch fastening, and slide it off into your other hand slowly and safely.

Hold the Watch in Your Left Hand, Face up

Next, you will need to orient Your Hands. Place your left hand palm-up and extend your fingers comfortably. Then, rest the Watch on Your palm, and Gently position the watch face up on your left palm. Make sure the dial or face of the watch is facing upward and easily visible.

Slowly Pull out the Watch’s Stem

Now, grip the stem using your right hand, and place your thumb and index finger on either side of the crown. Apply gentle pressure to ensure a firm hold. Then, pull out the stem while holding the watch securely in your left hand, and slowly and steadily pull the stem outward. You may feel a slight resistance as it disengages from its normal position. Continue pulling until the stem is fully extended. Be cautious as you pull out the stem, as you need to be careful not to use excessive force or pull it too quickly, as it may damage the watch’s delicate mechanism.

Wind the Watch!

Now, rotate the crown using your right hand. Grip the crown between your thumb and index finger and begin rotating the crown in the designated winding direction. Apply a gentle and steady pressure, avoiding excessive force. You should wind Until Resistance is Felt, and once the hands are moving nicely, push the stem back in!

How to Wind a Watch With a Watch Winder

To wind a watch using a watch winder, follow these steps:

Prepare the Watch Winder

Place the watch winder on a stable surface, ensuring it is securely positioned. Ensure that the winder is plugged into a power source if it requires electricity. If the watch winder has a protective cover or glass display case, open it carefully to access the watch compartment.

Place the Watch

Gently place your watch on the watch winder’s rotating cushion or holder. Ensure that the watch is securely positioned and that the crown is accessible. You should then adjust the settings by setting the winder according to your watch’s specifications. Many watch winders have programmable settings to accommodate various watch models.

Start the Watch Winder

Activate the watch winder according to its operating instructions. Typically, you will need to press a button or switch to start the rotation. The watch winder will begin to move in the programmed direction and turns per day. (Watch winders are designed to mimic the natural movements of a wrist, keeping the watch wound and ready for use).

Remove the Watch

When you’re ready to wear the watch, stop the watch winder and carefully remove the watch from the cushion or holder. Make sure to handle the watch gently and avoid pulling the crown or damaging any components.

Use this handy guide from Hodinkee to help you wind your watch:

How to Wind a Watch: Final Thoughts

In conclusion, whether you opt for a watch winder or prefer to wind your watch manually, it’s essential to understand the specific requirements of your timepiece. 

A watch winder can be a convenient solution, especially if you own multiple automatic watches or don’t wear your watch regularly. By mimicking the natural movements of the wrist, a watch winder ensures that your watch remains wound and ready for use whenever you need it.

On the other hand, manual winding allows for a hands-on experience, connecting you with the intricate mechanics of your timepiece. It can be a satisfying ritual, as you give your watch the attention it deserves and feel the connection between you and this mechanical marvel.

Whichever method you choose, it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and understand your watch’s specific winding needs.


Do you Always Wind a Watch Clockwise?

The vast majority of mechanical watches can only be wound in a clockwise direction. Turning the crown in a counterclockwise direction typically does not engage the winding mechanism and may cause no effect or minimal resistance. It’s important to note that there are some watches with specific movements or complications that may have different winding requirements. However, for most mechanical watches, winding them clockwise is the standard practice.

How Many Times Should you Wind a Watch?

Generally, it is recommended to wind a manual-winding watch until you feel slight resistance or until the second hand starts moving. Avoid overwinding, as it can potentially damage the movement. (It’s worth noting that automatic watches, which wind themselves through the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist, do not require manual winding unless they have completely stopped or have not been worn for an extended period. In such cases, it is often sufficient to give the crown a few clockwise turns to initiate the movement before wearing the watch).

Can you Overwind a Watch up?

No, you cannot overwind a modern mechanical watch. The winding mechanism of a manual-winding watch is designed with a built-in safeguard known as a slipping clutch or a slipping mainspring. However, it is worth noting that over-winding or aggressively winding the watch is not going to be good for its interior workings.

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