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How to Set the Time on an Old Mechanical Watch

Updated February 21, 2017

Old-fashioned mechanical watches differ from modern electronic watches, as they are powered by gears and don't require battery replacements to continue working. If properly taken care of, your mechanical watch should be able to be used indefinitely. When you wind a mechanical watch, a wound spring gives it the energy to keep time for 40 hours or more. Whether your mechanical watch is a pocket or wrist watch, you can easily set the time using the same mechanism used to wind your watch. (See References 1 and 2)

Locate the winding dial, or "crown," on your watch. This is almost always located on the top of a pocket watch or the right-hand side of a wrist watch.

Gently pull the dial out. The watch will stop ticking.

Turn the dial clockwise to set the time. You will notice the minute hand moving. The hour hand will move to the next hour after the minute hand completes one full revolution. Continue turning the dial until the current time is represented on your watch.

Push the dial in again and wind it if necessary. It should begin to tick, and you will see the second hand move (if there is a second hand). (See Reference 1)

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About the Author

Christina Sloane has been writing since 1992. Her work has appeared in several national literary magazines.