How to Use a Self Winding Watch

How to Use a Self Winding Watch: A Beginner’s Guide

In an era where the elegance of a self-winding watch meets the pinnacle of watchmaking technology, understanding how to properly use and maintain such an automatic timepiece has become more crucial than ever. These watches, celebrated for their craftsmanship and intricate engineering, offer a unique blend of aesthetics and functionality. They eliminate the need for manual winding by harnessing energy from the wearer’s movements, making them a preferred choice for enthusiasts and everyday wearers alike. Their appeal not only lies in the sophisticated mechanics but also in the seamless experience they provide, making it important to grasp their operational nuances.

This guide will cover the essential steps to wind your self-winding watch correctly, alongside providing valuable tips for daily use and maintenance to ensure its longevity. Readers will learn how to maximize the potential of their automatic watch, from the initial winding to the necessary precautions to keep it running smoothly. Additionally, extra care tips will be shared to further enhance the durability and performance of these exquisite timepieces. Whether you’re a novice in the world of automatic watches or looking to refine your knowledge, this article promises to equip you with the insights needed to appreciate and maintain your self-winding watch effectively.

How to Wind Your Self-Winding Watch

Preparation Steps

To begin winding your self-winding watch, first ensure it is off your wrist to avoid unnecessary strain on the watch’s stem. For watches with a screw-down crown, unscrew the crown counter clockwise until it pops out. If your watch has a push-pull crown, simply pull it out to the winding position. On some watches the winding position is the closed position.

Manual Winding Steps

  1. Hold the crown between your thumb and forefinger.
  2. Turn the crown clockwise; you should feel the mainspring tightening. For most watches, 20 to 40 full rotations will suffice.
  3. Continue winding until you feel a resistance. Do not force the crown beyond this point to avoid damaging the mechanism.

Ensuring Accurate Time Setting

After winding, if you need to set the time, pull the crown out to its furthest position. Rotate the crown to set the hour and minute hands to the correct time. It’s important to avoid setting the date between 9 PM and 3 AM as this can damage the date change mechanism. Once set, push the crown back in and, if applicable, screw it down to maintain water resistance.

Tips for Daily Use and Maintenance

Regular Wear and Winding

For optimal performance, self-winding watches should be worn regularly. The natural motion of the wearer’s wrist winds the watch, maintaining its power reserve. When not worn daily, these watches benefit from manual winding. Turn the crown clockwise until resistance is felt but avoid over-winding. Winding in the morning ensures the watch maintains consistent power throughout the day.

Using a Watch Winder

If a self-winding watch is not worn regularly, using a watch winder is advisable to keep it operational. Set the watch winder to the correct Turns Per Day (TPD) as specified by the watch’s manufacturer, usually around 650 for most watches. Ensure the winder’s settings align with the watch’s specifications, including directional settings, to avoid undue wear.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

To prevent damage, never set the time or date between 9 PM and 3 AM as the date-change mechanism could be engaged, risking damage to the gears. Always adjust the time and date settings by moving the crown in a clockwise direction. When setting or winding the watch, remove it from your wrist to avoid lateral stress on the crown, which can lead to damage over time. After adjustments, ensure the crown is securely pushed or screwed back in to maintain the watch’s water resistance.

Extra Care Tips for Longevity

Periodic Servicing

To ensure the longevity of a self-winding watch, regular servicing is crucial. Just like a car, a mechanical watch needs to be serviced every four to seven years depending on its usage and the manufacturer’s recommendations. This involves disassembling the movement, cleaning the components, and replacing any worn parts. New lubricants are applied, and gaskets are replaced to maintain water resistance. This process helps in maintaining the accuracy and extending the life span of the watch.

Cleaning Techniques

Proper cleaning is essential to prevent damage and maintain the aesthetic appeal of the watch. For external cleaning, use a soft cloth with warm, soapy water to gently remove any dirt or grime. Avoid submerging the watch unless it is confirmed waterproof. For internal cleaning, it is advised to take the watch to a professional, as this involves delicate operations such as removing the hands and dial, which can be damaged by harsh chemicals or improper handling.

Storage Recommendations

When not in use, store your self-winding watch in a temperature-controlled environment to avoid damage from moisture and condensation. Using silica gel in the storage area can help absorb moisture and prevent damage to the watch’s internal components. Additionally, if storing for long periods, ensure the watch is wound and running at least once a month to keep the internal parts lubricated and functioning properly.

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