How to set a mechanical watch

Updated February 21, 2017

Mechanical watches are modern marvels that rely on a tightly wound spring within the gears to maintain the time without winding for long periods of time. After you determine how long your mechanical watch will run without winding, create a winding routine. For example, you can try winding the watch each morning at the same time, after your watch has already been set to the correct time. This will ensure that it doesn't run all the way down and have to be reset.

Pull the crown away from the base of the watch to the farthest point when the second hand is in the 12 o'clock position.

Turn the crown clockwise until the hands reach the exact time. Only turn the crown clockwise, as counterclockwise turning can damage the internal workings of your mechanical watch.

Push the crown back into place along the base of the watch.

Set the date on your mechanical watch by pulling the crown to the first position, one click from the base of the watch, and turning the dial clockwise until you reach the correct date. Return the crown to the original position.

Wind your mechanical watch. Turn the crown while it is snug against the base of the watch until you meet slight resistance, and then stop winding.


It is important to set the time and date on your mechanical watch during the day because certain parts of the watch work during the nighttime hours, and setting it during this time could jam the internal mechanics.

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About the Author

Jennifer Hudock is an author, editor and freelancer from Pennsylvania. She has upcoming work appearing in two Library of the Living Dead Press anthologies and has been published in numerous print and online journals, including eMuse, Real TV Addict and Strange Horizons. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing from Bloomsburg University.