Manual winding watches | watch knowledge

Manual winding, Technik, Uhrwerk -

Manual winding watches | watch knowledge

The hand-wound watch continues to enjoy great popularity among watch lovers. In the case of particularly high-quality watches or watches with complex complications, hand-wound watches even outperform automatic watches in terms of appreciation. There are many reasons for this, which we will explain in this post.

A hand-wound watch has some special features compared to other drives. This includes the fact that it has to be wound by hand , as the name suggests, but also that it reveals the full splendor of the movement through a transparent case back, because it is not covered by the rotor of the automatic movement.

How do hand-wound watches work?

A hand-wound watch draws its energy from a spiral-shaped mainspring, which is previously supplied with energy by turning the crown .

This mechanism was invented in 1845 by Patek Philippe. This energy is then transmitted through a complex mechanism of gears, levers and other springs to the hours, minutes and seconds hands, enabling them to tell the time. In a hand-wound chronograph, the stopwatch function is also powered by this spring. This central energy source now slowly releases the stored energy and increasingly relaxes.

ST1901 work of a Seagull 1963

The difference to the automatic watch, however, is that with the hand-wound watch, this spring has to be wound up regularly by hand by turning the crown.

How often do I have to wind my watch?

How long a hand-wound watch runs depends on the so-called power reserve. This describes the maximum energy stored in the spring case in relation to the typical energy consumption of the watch.

As a rule, the power reserve of watches with hand-wound movements is 36 to 48 hours . This means that when the winding is fully wound, the watch runs for 36 or 48 hours. It is therefore advisable for most hand-wound watches to be wound daily. Especially since the accuracy decreases before the watch stops.

Are there hand-wound movements for men and women?

Yes, hand-wound men's watches and hand-wound women's watches are equally common.

In the case of women's watches, it is often even a design reason to choose a hand-wound movement, as the watch then turns out to be a little flatter . Coupled with the smaller diameters of women's watches, the result is a coherent overall picture.

Hand-wound men's watches are also very popular, as they are often used as dress watches . Here, too, the slightly flatter construction is convincing.

9 tips for winding a hand-wound watch

That sounds easy and it is, if you consider a few points:

  1. Take the watch to wind it from your wrist. This ensures that the manual winding stem, which is connected to the crown, is not bent or even broken. Furthermore, it is avoided that the crown seal is damaged by a one-sided pressure and the water resistance is no longer given. Both problems would result in costly repairs.
  2. The rotation of the crown should be smooth and rather gentle. The parts of a mechanical hand extract watch are filigree and can easily be bent or excessively worn out by rough forces.
  3. Make sure the crown is in the normal position (fully pushed in) and slowly rotate the crown back and forth between your thumb and index fingers. Depending on the power reserve and the condition of the winding mechanism, around 20 to 40 turns a day are enough to keep a hand-wound watch running for weeks.
  4. If the watch has a screw-down crown, the normal position is the one immediately after unscrewing it.
  5. Shortly before the mechanical stop, which indicates that the spring is fully wound, you will notice that the resistance increases slightly when you wind it up. This is the point where we recommend stopping the winding.
  6. Watches with a screw-down crown now have to be screwed down again in order to restore the water resistance of your hand-wound watch.
  7. One should never wind the watch past the mechanical stop. The mainspring can break.
  8. A hand-wound mechanical watch should be inspected by a watchmaker every 5 to 8 years to renew the lubricants and check its general condition. The watch will thank you with a long service life and sustainable accuracy.
  9. If your hand-wound wristwatch should stop despite following all the advice, it sometimes helps to pull the crown and push it back in again. If that doesn't help, we recommend taking the watch to a watchmaker. It may be that maintenance is required or there is actually a defect.

When is my hand-wound watch fully wound?

A hand-wound watch has a mechanical stop beyond which it cannot be wound. Just before this point is reached, the resistance to winding increases, giving you a sense of how far you can wind a hand-wound watch over time. It is recommended not to turn to the stop, but to stop a little earlier.

Certain watch models have a power reserve indicator in days or hours so that you can see how much longer the watch will run at any time.

Can I overwind the clock?

A hand-wound watch has a locking mechanism or stop that you cannot use to wind the watch. However, if you exert too much force when this stop is reached, damage may occur inside the watch (e.g. winding stem). So make sure that you wind the watch with little force and a lot of feeling .

What mistakes can happen when raising?

If you avoid the following mistakes with the help of our tips, your hand-wound watch will have a long life:


Explanation & Tips

Pull up against the stop

Although it is not possible to turn past the stop, damage can result if too much force is applied to the stop.

Tip : Pay attention to increasing resistance and stop early

Wind up with too much force

Sensitive shafts and gears rotate in the hand-wound movement when winding, which can be damaged if excessive force is applied.

Tip : Pull up carefully and slowly

winding on the wrist

Due to the unfavorable position, force can be exerted on the winding stem. The torque is transferred to the movement and can damage the manual winding seal and stem.

Tip : take off the watch

winding counter-clockwise

Winding the hand-wound anti-clockwise usually has no consequences, since it is idle. This does not wind up the movement. But: The clock should only be set clockwise.

Tip : wind up & set clockwise

If I put my watch down overnight, do I have to wind it up again?

Since the standard hand-wound movements have a power reserve of 36 to 48 hours, strictly speaking they do not have to be wound up in the morning.

However, since we recommend winding a hand-wound watch daily , it can make sense to add winding to your morning ritual.

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