Watch Winding 101: Ultimate Guide for Auto & Manual Watch Owners

Watch winders play a crucial role in maintaining the longevity and accuracy of your automatic and manual timepieces. As a watch owner, understanding the basics of watch winding can help keep your valuable collection in optimal working condition.

Investing in a quality watch winder not only ensures that your automatic watches have sufficient energy for their clockwork drive but also prevents damage that can occur when a watch is left unwound for extended periods of time. 

For manual-wind watches, understanding how to properly wind your timepiece and recognizing when it needs winding will keep it running consistently and accurately. Equipped with this knowledge, you can maximize the lifespan of your watches and maintain their precision.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about watch winding, from the importance of winding your watch to mastering the technique for both automatic and manual timepieces. Plus, we also curated a list of the best places to buy watch winders in Singapore.

What is Watch Winding?

Watch winding is crucial for keeping automatic and manual timepieces running smoothly and accurately. Automatic watches harness kinetic energy from arm movements to wind the mainspring, while manual watches need the crown to be turned regularly for winding. A watch winder can keep automatic watches wound when not worn, but it’s not necessary for manual or quartz watches.

Proper winding ensures the longevity and precision of your watches. For automatic watches, regular wear is the natural way to keep them wound, while manual watches require routine winding every day or every couple of days, depending on the power reserve. Over-winding should be avoided to prevent damage to the movement. Understanding and maintaining these winding methods will help your watches function optimally and keep accurate time.

How Does It Work?

In the world of watches, you’re likely to come across two main types of movements: manual and automatic. Understanding how these movements work can help you make the most of your beloved timepiece.

Manual Winding Watch

For manual watch winding, you need to wind the watch manually. This is done by turning the watch’s crown, usually located on the right side. As you turn the crown, it provides energy to the mainspring, which powers the watch’s mechanisms.

You should wind your watch daily or every couple of days, depending on the power reserve of your particular timepiece. Be careful not to overwind your watch, as this can cause damage to the mainspring. Wind your watch carefully and stop once you feel resistance.

Automatic Watch Movements

Automatic watch movements work slightly differently. Instead of using manual winding, they rely on the natural motion of your wrist throughout the day. An automatic watch has a rotor, or metal weight, that oscillates with the wearer’s wrist movement. This motion is transferred into energy, which winds the mainspring automatically, providing the power needed for the watch to function.

As long as your watch remains on your wrist and you’re moving throughout the day, it should maintain optimal performance. When you take off your watch for an extended period, you might need to restart and set the time manually and consider a watch winder to keep it running.

How to Wind a Manual Watch

Winding a manual watch is a straightforward process that ensures your timepiece runs accurately. Here’s how to do it:

1. Remove the Watch 

Before winding, remove the watch from your wrist or storage box to avoid putting lateral pressure on the stem, which can cause wear or damage to internal mechanisms.

2. Wind the Crown Clockwise

Hold the watch face up in your left hand and use your right thumb and index finger to carefully pull out the crown. Turn the crown clockwise with a gentle motion. You’ll feel a slight resistance that increases as you wind. 

Typically, 20 to 40 turns should suffice, but be cautious not to over-wind, as this can strain or break the mechanism.

3. Continue Winding Until You Can’t Wind Any Further

Keep winding until the mechanic lock engages, indicating that the spring is fully wound.

4. Return the Watch to Its Normal State

Gently press the crown to return the stem to its original position. Ensure that all components are carefully reassembled without forcing any parts.

Most mechanical watches can run for at least 40 hours with a fully wound spring, but it’s recommended to wind your watch daily for optimal accuracy. If your watch is new, start by winding the crown 30 times and adjust as needed. Some high-end watches can last up to 70 hours on a full wind, so daily winding may not be necessary.

How to Wind an Automatic Watch

Automatic watches harness energy from wrist movements. Simply wearing your watch can wind it. If the watch stops after not being worn for a while, you can manually wind it by turning the crown.

Steps for Wearing

1. Wear the Watch Carefully: Secure the watch on your wrist.

2. Move Your Wrists Gently: Perform natural wrist movements until the watch hands start moving, indicating that the watch is winding.

3. Adjust the Date and Time if Needed: If your watch has stopped, you may need to set the correct date and time.

Steps for Manual Winding

1. Manual Winding: Hold the watch securely and position the crown at 0 (the normal position). Gently rotate the crown clockwise approximately 30-40 times or until you feel the second hand starting to move, indicating that the watch is fully wound.

2. Date Adjustment: If your watch has a date function, pull the crown out to Position 1. Rotate the crown counterclockwise to set the desired date.

3. Time Adjustment: For setting the time, pull the crown out further to Position 2. Rotate the crown either clockwise or counterclockwise to set the correct time.

Using Watch Winder

A watch winder mimics the movements of a human arm to keep automatic watches wound when not in use.

When using a watch winder, consider the following:

  • Choose the type of winder box you need.
  • If you’re a collector, determine how many watches you need to wind.
  • Decide on the winder’s rotation direction.

Watch Winder Shops In Singapore

These one-stop shops cater to both new enthusiasts and seasoned collectors alike, offering solutions to preserve and exhibit your valued watch collection.

Note: The recommendations and opinions expressed in this guide are based on independent analysis and research. We are not affiliated with any of the stores mentioned, nor do we receive any compensation for featuring them in this article.

1. Nomad Watch Works

Nomad Watch Works

Nomad Watch Works is a one-stop solution for watch enthusiasts, offering a wide array of accessories including watch winders, straps, and storage boxes. Known for quality craftsmanship and durability, their products cater to a wide range of watch brands and styles.

2. SgWatchwinder


SgWatchwinder is a specialist store offering a diverse selection of watch winders, from compact single-watch winders to elaborate multiple-watch models. Known for its high-quality products and exceptional customer service, it is a popular choice for Singaporean watch collectors.

3. Sincere Fine Watches

Sincere Fine Watches

Sincere Fine Watches is a leading retailer of top-tier timepieces and associated accessories, including watch winders. They are committed to providing a luxury shopping experience to their clientele.

4. Orient Crown

Orient Crown

Orient Crown is a leading retailer in Singapore offering luxury watch winders, watch boxes, and accessories. With a focus on superior quality and innovative design, their winders are engineered to cater to all automatic watches, ensuring optimal winding and reliability.

5. The Hour Glass

The Hour Glass

The Hour Glass is one of the world’s leading specialty luxury watch retail groups, offering not just luxury timepieces but also essential accessories like watch winders. Their selection showcases the perfect blend of style, elegance, and function.


1. How often should I wind my watch?

The frequency of winding depends on the type of watch you own. Manual watches should ideally be wound daily, while automatic watches with mechanical movements only need winding when they’re not worn for a certain period. Typically, if an automatic mechanical watch is left unworn for 48 hours or more, you may need to wind it to get it running again.

2. What happens if you don’t wind a watch?

If a manual wind watch is not wound, it will stop running, leading to inaccurate timekeeping. An automatic watch will also stop if it’s not worn for a while or wound manually, as its mechanism relies on wrist movement to keep it wound. Consistently not winding your watch can lead to it becoming sluggish and less accurate over time.

3. Can you overwind a watch?

Modern watches are typically designed with a protection over wind mechanism to prevent overwinding, but vintage or antique watches might not have this feature. Overwinding can lead to excessive tension in the mainspring, potentially causing it to break or damage the movement. If you feel resistance while winding, it’s best to stop to avoid overwinding.

Final Word

Navigating the world of horology can be a complex endeavor, but with the right guidance, you can master the art of watch winding, ensuring the longevity and precision of your timepiece. With our “Watch Winding 101” guide, we hope you’re now feeling more confident and informed about taking care of your prized possession, be it an automatic or manual watch.

Key Takeaways

  • Locating and correctly using the crown of your watch is the first step to proper winding.
  • For manual watches, gentle, daily clockwise winding is advised to avoid overwinding.
  • Automatic watches rely on regular wrist motion for winding, with occasional manual winding being beneficial.
  • Understanding the different winding techniques for different types of watches is crucial.
  • Recognizing when your watch is fully wound is vital to prevent potential damage.

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