Why And How To Wind Automatic Watch

why-and-how-to-wind-automatic-watch

How To Wind An Automatic Watch? And Why Do We Need To Do It?

Two questions that I get a lot from people is why do we need to manual wind an automatic watch and how to wind an automatic watch.

As we all know, automatic watch is “automatic” because the there’s a rotor that “automatically” rotates and recharges the power reserve by winding the mainspring with every movement of the watch.

This is an improvement over the mechanical watch that needs to be manual wind (i.e you need to rotate the crown knob) to increase its power reserve.

So do we still need to manual wind an automatic watch then?

The answer is: it depends on how do you want to use your watch.how-to-wind-automatic-watch

I’ve actually written a post on that touches the subject of watch winding but this post is more on the differences between manual winding vs watch winder (You can take a look at that post here ).

Here, I would like to elaborate more on this topic here as I think it is worth to go in detail on this.

But if you want to jump to how to wind automatic watch directly, click this link HERE to go to the second part of this post.

 

Why Do You Need To Wind Your Automatic Watch?

Automatic watches are designed to be self sustaining, that is not needing a manual winding.

Traditional mechanical watches, however, need to be manual wind every one or two days (depending on its power reserve).

But as mechanical watch technology matures, there was a demand for an “automatic” or “self winding” watch. The obvious reason was the nuisance for having to wind it time and again.

The industry responds to this by putting a weighted rotor that rotates as our wrist is moving to wind the mainspring (for more detail explanation, visit my post on how automatic watch works here).

hamilton-khaki-field-officer-h69419363-


Above is Hamilton Khaki King Officer, a one of a kind watch by Hamilton that uses mechanical movement. Advantages of mechanical movement are the cheaper price and generally lighter weight.

 

The invention of automatic watch creates a watch that does not need to be winded manually and releases watch owners from the mundane work of manual winding it everyday. This increases its appeal and soon mechanical watches are becoming almost obsolete nowadays.

But then since our automatic watches are designed to just run forever (assuming we wear it every day), do we still need to manual wind it?

In my opinion, there are two main reasons that anyone should manual wind his/her automatic watch:

 

1 – You Own More Than One Watch

Automatic watches will only self wind if you wear it. So if you got many watches and use only one of them a day, most of your watches will not have much wrist time and subsequently drop dead.

Now automatic watches dropping dead is not a big deal. There is no damage to them at all as newer synthetic lubricants inside most watches won’t coagulate over time, not like mineral oils from older watches.

But practical wise, it is not a convenient thing at all. Just imagine, when you want to pick them up, you have to manual wind it a bit first and then reset the time.

Not to mention if the watch has day and date function, you need to reset those too as well as its am/pm correction. All of this resetting can be a bother, especially on that hectic Monday morning.

The simplest solution to this problem is to keep our watches running over the weekend by manual winding it just to keep it from dead.

The timing to do this shall depend on its remaining power reserve, estimated based on the last time you take it off your wrist).

Sure, we can always get a watch winder that will do the winding for us but it requires a bit of extra monies plus the additional electricity bill.

But if you don’t want to spend further than your watch, manual wind is still the best option.

Now, I don’t recommend that you go and wind your watch everyday as some movement can be sensitive to frequent winding.

Based on my experience (corroborated with other information from the net), Seiko movements such as the 6R15 and 4R36 are quite robust and can be manual wind even everyday without any known issue.

Other Swiss movements, not really so.. So in any case, do check with the manufacturer of the movement if frequent winding is permissible or not just to be on the safe side.

 

2 – To Increase Power Reserve For Accuracy

Contrary to popular belief, just wearing your watch would NOT make it stock up to the full power reserve. You can try this with watches that have exhibition caseback.

Try to move the watch just like how your wrist would move during working or walking and observe the rotor. You will notice that the rotor does not really rotate much.

Fact is our normal movements such as walking, doing office work, hanging out watching TV won’t really rotate the rotor, which means the rotor does not able to fully wind the mainspring.

I believe only rigorous activities where our hands are moving so much such as jogging, swimming etc. will move the rotor a lot.

In addition to that, most automatic watches require at least 600 rotations of their rotor to fully wind.

This number depends on the movement make (you can go to this website to check for how many rotations your watch require) but still it’s quite a huge number.

These two elements combined mean that the automatic watch will has a hard time getting into full power reserve capacity just by wearing it alone.

That’s why I recommend that when your watch is not running to its best accuracy, you can try to manual wind it to full power reserve.

The best accuracy for any automatic watch is when it’s having its full accuracy and that’s where manual winding comes.

By manually winding it, we can keep the power reserve to full and subsequently improve its accuracy.

How To Wind Automatic Watch Correctly

So we have seen that there are actually valid reasons to wind automatic watch.

 

But how do we actually wind automatic watch?

 

It’s very simple guys. Just grip the crown or the knob at the right side of your watch and rotate it upwards (for most watches).

As you rotate, you should feel a slight resistance and some faint noise of steel grinding on each other though this really differs from movement to movement.

That’s the sound of the gears inside the watch, winding up our mainspring. If you had seen those car toys where we had to rotate the knob before it can moves, that’s actually the same concept applied for automatic watches.

By rotating the knob, we are actually winding or tightening the mainspring inside it. This builds up the potential energy in the spring and will be released gradually to run the watch.

By the way, some watches especially diver watches have screw down crown. The crown is “screwed in” to provide extra water resistance protection and need to be unscrewed before we can wind it.

 


Watch the video above on how to manually wind your automatic watch. The Rolex Submariner in the video has a screw down crown so you can see the person has to unscrew the crown first before winding it.

 

2 Tips To Wind Your Automatic Watch Safely

We also need to remember that the crown stem is a fragile part of a watch. It’s just a slender steel bar connected to the inside of the movement.

The winding mechanism of an automatic watch is also not as robust and could break if too much force is used on it. So I would recommend for anyone winding his/her watch to follow these basic rules to avoid damaging your precious automatic watch:

 

1- Wind the watch off your wrist.

Winding your watch on your wrist will cause your finger to be at an awkward angle and put lateral stress on the stem, and possibly damaging it the crown stem.

What I always do is to always wind my watch when I picked it up and before I’m using it. That way, I’m winding it by applying only the rotational force on the crown stem.

Also, be more careful of screw down crown watches as the crown stem is longer and there is higher chance you could be applying the force laterally.

 

2- Be gentle and don’t overwind.

When winding, remember to be gentle and don’t rush yourselves. Normally, a full wind will require more than 20-40 rotations for a watch (this will differ according to movement. Check your watch’s manual for info on this).

Some people might want to rush through it just to get it done asap (I’m guilty of this at times… LOL) but you have to remember the delicate manual winding mechanism might break if you wind it with too much force. It’s also related to how sensitive the parts are to explosive force applied on it.

Over-winding can also happen when you wind your watch past its end point which is why it’s important to feel any abnormal or higher resistance when winding.

That’s the hint that you already fully wind your watch. If you have a watch with power reserve, this will be very easy to tell as the indicator will show that the power reserve is full.

 

screw-down-crown

A look at an unscrewed crown. Notice how far the crown is from the body of the watch. This makes it very easy to applied excessive lateral force on screw down crown while winding. Another good practice is to avoid unscrewing the crown while on your wrist to avoid the same issue.

 

What I normally do is to sit back and relax while winding my watch. I’ll hold the watch in my hands and wind it at a moderate speed, not in hurry because I know it won’t take that much time (less than a minute or so)

I always keep my fingers parallel to the watch to avoid applying lateral force on the stem. I also always be aware of the resistance of the gears while rotating the crown.

When I feel that there is a slightly higher resistance, I stop winding at that time to avoid overwinding.

The key is to not rush and enjoy winding your watch. I feel there is a connection between me and my watches when winding them.

The feedback when my fingers rotate the knob is a special feeling that no other modern watches such as digital, quartz or smartwatches can give.

 

Can I Just Shake My Watch Instead?

There are some people who advise to shake the watch instead of winding it as winding has probability of damaging the internal parts of the watch.

Yes, I do agree that winding has the risk of damaging the watch, but only if you do it recklessly and not following the recommendations above.

Shaking the watch, on the other hand, is akin to wearing the watch and can also achieve the same objective of filling up its power reserve.

But as I’ve mentioned earlier, it will take more than 600 rotations of the rotor to fully wind it. I don’t know about you but to shake the watch 600 times seems a lot to me!

Due to this, a few rotations of manual winding seems to be more practical and less time consuming than shaking the watch itself.

One thing that we need to remember is not to shake our watches aggressively. Internal parts of an automatic is very fragile, with the balance wheel pivot the most susceptible to impact and shock damage.

Aggressively shaking the watch might damage it and costs you hundred of dollars of expensive repair bill.

If you still insist on shaking your watch to wind it, I suggest to move it moderately with large swing of your arm and keep the watch face parallel to the ground.

By doing this you won’t put direct impact on the balance wheel pivot and reduce the risk of damaging it.

 

How Often Should I Wind My Automatic Watch?

We’ve learnt that there are some valid reasons to wind our automatic watches. We also learnt how to manual wind it.

The next question is : how often should we wind automatic watch?

I would say it depends on your watch, how you use it, and who manufactures it. If you only have one watch and use it everyday, then you don’t even need to wind it at all.

But if you have more than one and rotate using them everyday, then you might need to wind the watch that you don’t use, provided you want it to keep on running and the idle time is long enough.

If it’s only a day off the wrist, most watches have the sufficient power reserve to ensure it can keep on running.

A typical automatic watch have at least 40 hours power reserve which means you cannot leave it untouched for more than one day.

But for a 2 days off (such as weekends), then you can wind it on the Sunday once to fill up the juice.

With that, you can ensure it’s ready to be used when you pick it up the next day. No hassle on adjusting the time and day/date at that time.

By the way, if your watch is the Swatch Sistem51 or Tissot PRC 200 Powermatic 80 which have enormous 90 hours and 80 hours power reserve respectively, then you can leave it untouched for up to more than 3 days.

A typical mid-range 6R15 movement by Seiko has 50 hours of power reserve or slightly more than 2 days. And based on my experience and Seiko’s own manual, this movement can be manual wind everyday.

But that’s not exactly the case with other movements. Some ETAs (such as the 2824 and its siblings) are not recommended to be manual wind often.

In the end, it depends on the manufacturer’s recommendation as they are the one who knows the best about the movements.

 

I Don’t Like To Wind My Watches. Any Other Alternatives?

Some people don’t like the hassle of winding their watches while for some, the huge number of his watch collection will be a big task for him to wind all of them manually.

For these guys, the only practical alternative is to use a watch winder. A watch winder uses a motor to rotate your watch, which also rotate the rotor and wind the mainspring. It basically mimics the movement of the watch when we are wearing it.

It is efficient and easy way to charge your watch. Not to mention you can still wind it even when you are on a holiday.

Chiyoda Double Watch Winder With LockChiyoda Double Watch Winder With Lock

Some winders can also be used as a fancy watch box which is very useful to keep your watch from dust.

For example, this Chiyoda watch winder is actually a really good looking box that can also be used to store the watch.

So if you have that couple of pricey Rolexes and Pateks in your arsenal, a watch winder is definitely very useful. Why would you buy many expensive watches if you can’t keep them properly right?

One thing you need to keep in mind is watch winders can be a bit pricey – more than $100 for a good one.

There are cheaper options which are usually made in China but these don’t really last long.

Most of the time, the motor of these cheaper winders will fail after a few months of usage due to lower quality material used. In the end, investing in a good winder might be the more economical choice over the long run =P

Read more on how to find a good watch winder and some popular models at my previous post here.

 


Above is a video showing how a watch winder works. A good thing about it is the angled position of the watch will make sure the rotor rotates fully during operation.

 

Conclusion

To conclude, there are just two simple reasons on why we need to wind our watch: to keep our watches running (for those with many watches in his/her collection) and to keep its timekeeping accurate.

How to wind it is very simple, but there are many ways to never wind your watch with. Fast, aggressive winding is totally prohibited as it could damage the internal parts which is delicate.

Finally, if winding is not your preference, you can always invest in a watch winder which can also double as your watch storage box.

I hope this article will help you guys on the hows and whys of winding a watch. Drop your comments on your preferred method of keeping your watch running and any experience (good or bad).

 

Thanks for reading and till next time.

Cheers!

8 Common Problems With Automatic Watch And How To Solve It

8 Common Problems with Automatic watch

Problems With Your Automatic Watch? What’s The Cause And How To Solve It?

If you are unlucky, you might encounter some problems with your automatic or mechanical watches.

Depending on the severity, the steps to correct it will differ. Some of them can be severe that require a full service while some of the minor problems can be resolved by yourselves.

Here, I’ve listed some of the common problems with automatic watches, what causes these problems and how to solve them.

 

Table of Content (Click the subtitle to go directly to the section):

  1. Automatic Watch Stopped Working While Wearing It
  2. Automatic Watch Stopped Working After Taking It Off / Power Reserve Problem
  3. Automatic Watch Stopped Working After Dropping It
  4. Automatic Watch Running Slow Or Fast
  5. Fogging Inside Watch
  6. Minute Hand And Second Hand Not Perfectly Aligned
  7. Automatic Watch Not Winding
  8. Date/Day Display Don’t Change At The Right Time

 

Seiko SARB033 worn

As great as they are, automatic watches are not free of problems. By having some knowledge about what we should and shouldn’t do to it, we will be able to avoid costly repairs. (shown above is the gorgeous Seiko SARB033)

 

1- Automatic Watch Stopped Working While Wearing It

Ever having problem with your watch stopped working while wearing it? If its a quartz watch then most probably the battery is dead but automatic watches don’t have any battery and supposed to be powered by your movement right?

Well you are correct but there are some reasons why a watch can go dead. There are 3 common causes of why an automatic watch can stop working:

 

Cause 1 – Not Enough Power Reserve

Something that most people don’t know it the watch might not have enough power reserve even though you are wearing it regularly.

But aren’t automatic watches are recharged by wrist movement?

The reason is because you are not active enough to wind the mainspring fully.

Try this: take a watch with an exhibition caseback and shake it to see whether the self-winding rotor rotates or not. It is easy for the rotor to moves?

Some watches can have a very smooth rotor that rotates lively even with a slight movement. But some watches have rotor that requires more effort for it to rotate.

Due to this, just wearing your automatic watch to office might not be enough to wind it fully. Consider wearing your watch when you are jogging, swimming or going to gym (if your watch is a sports watch.

Don’t do this with a dress watch though. You don’t want to scratch that pretty thing lol).

Another method that I like and personally use is to manually wind your watch once a while. This will make sure the watch has full power reserve as just wearing it might not be able to recharge it fully.

Just be careful to not over-wind it or wind it too often as you might break the delicate parts inside.

 


A video showing how to wind an automatic watch. Shown in the video is the gorgeous Rolex Submariner

Cause 2 – Magnetic fields

Exposing your watch to strong magnets such as in speakers, fridges, etc will magnetized the steels inside your watch.

The result?

The small steel components inside your watch will tend to stick to each other or repelling each other (depending on the pole) and reducing accuracy of the watch (the watch will run slower or faster).

But for extreme case of magnetization, the watch will completely stop. Bring you watch to a watch maker to check for magnetization and then demagnetize the watch.

 

Cause 3 – Serious Problems With The Movement

If your watch still stops even though you wind it everyday and no magnetization is known, then there could be a serious issue with your watch’s movement. Bring the watch to a watch maker and let him check the watch for any problem and servicing.

If the watch is still under warranty, you can bring it to the seller for inspection or replacement. Bear in mind that full servicing can cost some money depending on the watch make and severity.

Popular and affordable movements such as Swatch ETA, Seiko and Orient movements are easier to be serviced by just about any competent watchmaker. Costs of parts are also cheaper for these.

But if you have a unique in-house movement by luxury or independent brands, then the official service center is the most recommended avenue. I certainly won’t trust my $10k Rolex on any normal watch shop…. you get what I mean right? =P

 

(Read also the 10 Best Affordable Automatic Watches Under $200 – who said that automatic watches need to be expensive?)

 

2- Automatic Watch Stopped Working After Taking It Off / Power Reserve Problem

You wear your watch for some time, then put it off and when you want to wear it back, it is dead? How could this happen?

The reasons for this to happen are exactly the same as the first problem above i.e lack of power reserve (you can refer above for its causes and solutions). Another thing to note is the power reserve of you watch.

 

Orient Star Retrograde

If you are paranoid about your watch’s power reserve, then get one with a power reserve indicator like this Orient Star Retrograde. As you can see, the top subdial displays its remaining power reserve which is really handy

 

Even though your watch’s movement might have 40 or 50 hours of power reserve, the watch might stop working even before that.

Why is this so?

One thing that we need to know is the power reserve of any automatic is the time for the watch to stop working after it’s been recharged to full capacity.

As I’ve stated above, usually, wearing it for a day (normal 10 to 12 hours on the wrist) will not be enough to charge the watch to full.

Not to mention most watches don’t have power reserve indicator which can be a huge help in telling the power reserve capacity at any moment.

In fact, most experience owners state that the remaining power reserve of the watch is about 2 or 3 times the last duration we wear it.

So for example, if I’m wearing my watch for 12 working hours today, it will tick for 24 to 36 hours after I put it down. 

 

What should we do then?

For me, I’ve always manual/hand-wind my auto watches before I use them. A few turns (15-20) is enough to start the movement and then I just wear it.

The key is to NOT only depend on the self-winding of the movement. As mentioned above, the rotor movement might not be sufficient especially if you’re working a desk job without many wrist movements.

In addition, this will keep the accuracy high as the watch has more juice in it.

What if I’ve tried that but it didn’t work!

Then there could be a bigger problem in the watch. Try to handwind it for 40-50 crown rotations and lay the watch down. This will make the mainspring full of power reserve.

Keep record of what elapsed hour the watch stops. If it’s less than the published power reserve for that movement, there could be a problem with the movement itself.

At this point, we should bring it to a watchmaker for him to have a look at it. Depending on the case, we might only need a servicing, cleaning, or a change of the mainspring.

CHIYODA Double Watch WinderCHIYODA Double Watch Winder

By the way, it might also be a good idea to invest in a  watch winder which is a great alternative for those that don’t want to have to reset or handwind their watches before they use it.

The watch winder functions by rotating the watch via a motor. Just place the watch inside the winder’s slot and plug it in.

It will then rotate the watch, and the self-winding rotor inside it to charge the power reserve.

The watch winder is a great way to ensure the power reserve is still full without us having to do anything. It also prevent from issues due to winding (which can happen to some ETA movements).

By the way, did I mention the watch winders can also be a nice storage box for your watches? =)

 

I like to also add that the Sistem51 movement by Swatch boasts a 90 hours power reserve. For those that don’t want to spend on a winder or just want a watch with great power reserve, you might want to check the Sistem51 watches.

 

3- Automatic Watch Stopped Working After Dropping It

This cause is easier to understand. You drop the watch, it get into a sudden impact and suddenly it goes dead. Well chances are your watch might have some internal damage in it.

The inside of an automatic or mechanical watch is made of hundreds of parts that work seamlessly to run the watch. These parts can be as small as 1 mm in thickness or diameter. Any sudden impact could put these parts out of place or worse, even break them.

The part that are more prone to impact damage is the balance wheel. The pivot/staff of the wheel balance is a very critical part because it holds the weight of the balance wheel which is continuously moving at a high speed.

 

Seiko SARB017 Alpinist Diashock

This Seiko SARB017 (or Alpinist) has a built in shock resistance system developed by Seiko – i.e Diashock – to protect its balance wheel jewel from severe impact damage. All good outdoor or diver’s watches should always have this to protect it from costly repairs

 

Most damages due to impact is because of broken wheel balance pivot and/or its jewel.

If your watch stopped working after dropping it, try hear if there is any sound in the watch to know whether your balance wheel is functioning or not.

If your watch has exhibition caseback, you can just confirm this by looking directly at the balance wheel to spot anything wrong with it. The only solution is to bring the watch to a watch maker for a repair.

Some shock protection system has been designed to protect automatic/mechanical watches from impact damage, specifically the jewel.

Incabloc (from Swiss), Diashock (Seiko) and Parashock (Citizen) are some of the shock protection systems that have been devised by watch companies. All of them have some sort of spring at the jewel pivot of the balance wheel to protect it from impact force.

If you are a rough person that tends to get his watches damaged this way, you might wanna check out those watches with a shock protection system in them.

 

balance-wheel

Balance wheel is the part inside an automatic watch which is most prone to impact damage

 

4- Automatic Watch Running Slow Or Fast

Automatic and mechanical watches will always run slow or fast after some time. The most accurate watches are the COSC certified chronometers that can have a -4 or +6 seconds per day accuracy.

Other watches can have a lesser accuracy than this and you have to check the official numbers by your watch manufacturer. But generally the accuracy values is within +/-25 seconds a day for a low end range of automatic watches.

If your watch have a lesser accuracy than this then this indicates a problem with your watch. There are 5 reasons why automatic watches will run slower or faster than acceptable accuracy:

 

Cause 1 – Not Enough Power Reserve

Accuracy of a movement is tracked at maximum power reserve, after a watch has been fully wound. If a watch is not fully wound (or power starved), then the accuracy will be slightly lesser than what your watch manufacturer advertised.

Try to at least wind it once a while for it to have a full power reserve. You will notice a difference with the accuracy compared to when the watch just relied on wrist movement.

 

Cause 2 – Temperature

Another important thing that most people don’t know is that your watch have different accuracy in different temperatures.

Too hot (more than 38 degrees Celsius) or too cold (less than 15 degrees Celsius) will affect the metal parts inside the watch. Steel will expand at high temperature while contracting when it’s too cold. Coldness can also affect the lubricants inside the watch.

Most of the times it’s the coldness that affect the accuracy since it will take a very high temperature to make a difference – not all of us live in scorching hot desert.

But coldness especially during winter can change how the watch behave. It will run slower a bit if exposed to cold weather and might have shorten power reserve. But the effect of coldness will not be apparent if you are wearing the watch though as our body temperature will heat the watch up.

 

Cause 3 – Position

Watch movements accuracy is highly affected by the balance wheel and escapement. These systems can be affected by the position of the watch due to gravity. Examples of watch positions is flat with dial/watch face looking up, dial down, vertical positions with different locations of crown.

As you can suggest, the dial up or down is basically when you put the watch on a table/closet after wearing it during the day. The vertical positions are during wearing the watch.

During each of these positions, the effect of gravity will cause the balance wheel to have a slight change in movement causing some inconsistency. Most watches are most accurate at one or two of these positions.

When you put the watch at other positions, the accuracy will suffer. This is the main reason why chronometer is highly sought after – they are designed and adjusted to be accurate for all positions.

My suggestion is to keep track of what position your watch is most accurate and what position it isn’t. You can use apps to help with this. Just search for watch accuracy in appstore/playstore.

Normally these apps will have you set the watch to accurate time in the beginning and then you can record the time at intervals and it will report the accuracy in seconds per day. By doing this, you will know what position your watch is most accurate and use it consciously.

 

Cause 4 – Magnetism

As stated above, magnetism of watch can greatly reduce accuracy. It’s highly recommended to avoid placing your watch next to any digital or electronic devices to avoid magnetism.

 

Case 5 – Due For Service

Just like a car, automatic and mechanical watches also need to be serviced after some time based on manufacturer’s recommendation. This is one of the biggest flaw of automatic watches versus quartz watches.

Because of the high number of moving parts inside it, automatic watches need to be serviced to keep the movement well oiled and also to adjust the balance wheel and escapement. Generally, 3 to 5 years are the normal service interval. Don’t skip this if you want to keep that watch as heirloom for your grandson =)

 

(Read also the 30 Best Automatic Watches Under $1,000)

 

5- Fogging Inside Watch

Some watches especially dive watches has screw down crown for added protection. The dial window and caseback is easily guarded from water ingress by gasket and seals.

Since the crown is used for manual winding and setting the time, it has a staff that is connected to the movement inside the watch. The small gap between the staff and the casing is the perfect place where water can get in.

Screw down crown solves this problem by screwing the crown into the case, and eliminating any possible gaps between them.

 

seiko-skx009-screw-down-crown

Shown above is the Seiko SKX009 with its crown unscrewed. Remember that screw down crowns MUST ALWAYS be screwed properly at all times even when storing the watch – except when using the crown of course.

 

But it has to be reminded that the screw down crown must always be screwed in tightly when you are using the watch for any activity especially swimming or diving. The crown must not be operated while underwater for, well.. the reason is obvious right.

It is also recommended to get your dive watch to be tested for water resistance after a few years. It is worried that the gasket and seals of the watch has already worn out.

If you are a serious diver, then it is very important to ensure your watch is always in perfect water resistance condition to avoid any unwanted problems.

 

6- Minute Hand And Second Hand Not Perfectly Aligned

A common issue with automatic watches is the minute hand and second hand are not perfectly aligned.

For example, when the second hand is at the 12 o’clock position, the minute hand is not perfectly on top of any minute marker.

 

Sumo SBDC003 hands not aligned

An example of how not setting the time correctly can cause the minute hand not sitting directly on the minute marker when the second hand is at 12 o’clock. By the way, there’s no problem with the watch and this can be fixed easily.

 

This is caused by improper setting of the time when first bringing the watch from stop.

To be honest, this does not mean there’s any problem with the watch. The watch is running fine but to people with a keen eye for detail, this is not acceptable.

Personally, I also don’t like this, but not because it doesn’t look nice. For me, a watch need to be easy to tell and having a non-perfectly aligned minute hand makes the time telling unusual and weird.

So what do I do to avoid this problem?

I’ll stop the second hand exactly at the 12 o’clock position and then move the minute hand to be perfectly on top of the minute marker.

While this is easy to do with a hacking movement, it’s a bit more difficult with a non-hacking movement (such as the 7S26 inside Seiko’s SKX watches).

For those movements, we need to be more precise as the second hand does not stop. So the moving of the minute hand need to be on-point when the second hand passes the 12 o’clock.

 

7- Automatic Watch Not Winding

If you feel there’s a problem with the hand-winding function, try to let the watch stop on its own.

Then pick it up and give it some hand-winding. The watch should start after a few turn of winding the crown. If it isn’t, this means there’s a problem with the movement and a visit to your watchmaker is need to resolve it.

 

8- Date/Day Display Don’t Change At The Right Time

A common issue that I’ve personally faced is the date and day indicator don’t change correctly.

I’m sure those using analog watches with either one of this feature will experience the date/day suddenly change around noon.

The only reason for this is incorrect setting of the day/date.

We need to remember that automatic watch is not like an electronic watch. It does not know the current time (i.e am or pm). Which is why the day/date will simply change once the hour hand completes 2 rotations (or 24 hours).

So what’s the correct way of setting the day and date display?

Below is the step by step guide on how I change my date/day display on my watches:

  1. When first picking up the watch, move the time until the hour hand is at 12:00. See if the day/date change or not.
  2. If the day/date change – means the watch just enters AM mode
  3. If the day/date does not change – means the watch just enters PM mode
  4. From there, you can set the time according to your current time.
  5. For example: if you move the hour hand to 12:00 > day/date change means the watch just enters AM mode > but you’re in the afternoon > move the hour hand a full rotation (12 hours) to enter PM mode > then set time and day/date.

 

[UPDATE]

Currently I don’t use the method above when setting my watches and prefer another method. Below are the steps of this method:

  1. Change the date and day to ONE day before the current day. E.g if today is May 15 Sunday, then we need to change the date to 14 and the day to Saturday.
  2. Move the time needle to 12:00 and notice the change in date/day window.
  3. If there is no change, that means the watch’s internal time is in PM mode. Another rotation of the watch will change it into AM time of the current day. We can adjust accordingly from here.
  4. If the day/date change, it means the watch just enter today’s time in AM mode. Again, we need to adjust the watch accordingly.


Watch the video about for the summary of the common problems with automatic watch

 

End Thoughts

Automatic/mechanical watches are a delicate piece of engineering and should always be treated delicately. Not to mention they cost way more than normal quartz watches. So I’d put them as the fancy sports car – expensive but have to be properly taken care off lol!

Thus, it is important for all automatic watch owners to know what can be done and what cannot be done to prevent from any unwanted and costly problems to their prized watches.

Do let me know if you need any assistance with the problems above. I’ll try my best to help you out.

 

 

I hope that you guys will find this post beneficial to you. Let me know if you have any comments or thoughts on this matter.

Don’t forget to share this article if you like it =)

Till next time. Cheers!

Isaac