How to take care and set your automatic watch

Though watchmakers have been attempting since the late 1700’s to get automatic movements in watches, none were very successful due to inefficient designs or cost of producing parts.

Only from the early 1920’s when wristwatches started becoming popular did automatic movements really take off , saying automatic watches are a relatively new invention would not be so far off. Enormous amounts of time and effort has gone into, and still does, making automatic watches, that taking care of them should be a number one priority. So how do take care of your automatic watch?

 Zenith El Primero Automatic Chronograph Movement

Zenith El Primero Automatic Chronograph Movement. Wikimedia Commons

As soon as you get your automatic watch, you should be winding the crown clockwise between twenty to thirty times to give it the power to continually run with your movement. Most automatic watches have a 24-48 hour power reserve when not being worn. After winding the crown, next step is pulling out the crown to the date setting position, the hands and time will stop. Always and only set the date going forward, going backwards is not healthy for the movements. Bring the hands to the 6:30 position, this is integral as changing the date between 9 PM and 3 AM is not good for the movements, and your date might not change correctly.


Set the date to the day before, and then pull the crown our completely to set the time. Turn the crown clockwise and go past 12 o’clock once, if the date changes that means you have now entered AM time, the date should change to the current date and you can set the time, for PM go past 12 again and this time the date should remain the same. Date set, move the crown to the time changing position. When setting the time, as with setting the date, always go forward. After the date and time have been set correctly, screw the crown back in. Make sure it's properly closed, if not, water and dust can get in and ruin your watch completely. Don't tighten too much as the crown might become too tight and it won't be able to be unscrewed.


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