Hand-wound watches are becoming increasingly popular and – just like automatic watches – are a lifetime companion.
This article deals with the special features and advantages of hand-wound watches, how to wind and set a hand-wound watch correctly and what causes there are if the watch stops.
Advantages of a hand-wound watch
The most obvious advantage of a manual wind watch (and of course an automatic watch) is its sustainability. Mechanical watches are usually much more durable than quartz watches and, unlike these, do not require batteries.
In addition, the case of manual wind watches can be made flatter than the case of automatic watches because they do not require a rotor.
Hand-wound watches such as the Circula Heritage often come in a more classic design and are therefore wonderfully suited for chic events.
For many watch lovers, winding up the hand-wound watch in the morning and dealing with the mechanics has become a beloved ritual. Even though most watches have a power reserve of around 40 hours, a hand-wound watch should be wound carefully on the morning of the day it is worn. Unlike automatic watches, manual wind watches are not self-winding over the rotor again and again during the day, but only purely manually via the crown.
Wind up a hand-wound watch – but please, correctly!
To ensure that a hand-wound watch is not damaged when it is wound up, a few points should be observed. In hand-wound watches, the winding crown and the associated connector for tensioning the winding spring is one of the most sensitive parts of the watch. A hand-wound watch should therefore always be removed from your wrist so that you do not accidentally press in a certain direction when turning the crown and damage the watch. A careful and even turning of the crown extends the lifespan.
To wind the watch, the crown is turned clockwise in the normal position. Depending on the model and the status of the winding, a manual wind watch takes approximately 20 to 40 turns. In watches with a exhibition case back, you can see how the winding spring is tightened more and more.
It is important that you stop winding the watch when you feel a slight resistance. If you keep turning despite this mechanical lock, the winding spring can tear and the watch must be repaired.
Set the date and time on a mechanical watch
In mechanical wristwatches without date, the crown is simply pulled out completely and the time is set by turning the crown clockwise or counterclockwise.
It is a bit more complicated with mechanical watches that also have a date display. There are a few things to consider here, so that on the one hand the movement is protected and on the other hand it is prevented that the date changes at 12 noon.
The following procedure has proven itself for the correct setting of a mechanical watch:
- First the crown of the automatic or manual winding watch is pulled out completely, i.e. to the second click position. The hands can be moved in this position. The crown is now turned until the date changes when the hands are at 12 o’clock. It is now midnight on the watch.
- From the midnight position, the clock is then set to around 6 a.m. This is important because the movement can be damaged if the date quickset occurs between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., since the gears are in mesh during this period.
- If the hands then show 6 o’clock, the next step is to put the crown back in the normal position and then pull it out to the first click. The correct date can now be set by turning the crown.
- To set the current time, simply pull the crown out completely and push it back in after setting the time.
The hand-wound watch stops – what now?
If the hand-wound watch simply stops during the day, even though you have wound it in the morning, this can have various causes. To avoid consequential damage, the watch should then no longer be worn and not subjected to unnecessary shocks or shaking. It is best to take the timepiece directly to a watchmaker.
The most common reason why a hand-wound watch stops is that a screw has loosened, which then blocks the movement. This often happens due to strong vibrations, because you wore the watch e.g. doing sports. To ensure that the manual wind watch runs again, it is opened, the loosened screw carefully removed from the movement and put back in its place. On this occasion, you should also have a water resistance test carried out immediately after closing the watch.
It gets more complicated when dirt and dust block the movement. In order to get the watch up and running again, the watch has to be revised. The entire movement is disassembled into its individual parts, the individual parts cleaned, lubricated and reassembled.
Another reason why a hand-wound watch stops moving has already been mentioned above. It is the broken spring. Due to the tension pressure, the winding spring can tear if it is overtightened despite the mechanical lock or if the spring is older and therefore somewhat porous. Especially with older elevator springs, the maximum tension provided is sufficient for this to happen. For hand-wound watches that are already a few years old, a lot of wariness is therefore required when winding.
In order to prevent damage from occurring, a watch should be serviced approximately every three to seven years, depending on the wear frequency.