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Help & Advice
How to wind a pocket watch
Crown Wind

To wind your watch simply turn the crown in a clockwise direction until you feel it cannot turn any more. Do not try and force past this point as damage can occur but do not be afraid to wind your watch. Over winding is a term often used in error, watches cannot be "over wound". If a watch is wound tight and not running it has a problem other than the mainspring (in general). If you try and wind a watch and it continues to wind without getting tight then it most likely has a mainspring problem.

The crown of a pocket watch.
Key Wind

As you would expect, you wind with a key. A key of the correct size should come with the watch and you wind by inserting the key into the hole for winding (usually in the dust cover). Winding with a key can be either clockwise or anti-clockwise depending on the model of watch. You will feel it stop as in a crown wind system. As with the crown wind system, over winding does not apply but take care not to force past the end point.

Key wind pocket watch.
How to set the time on a pocket watch.

To set the time on a crown set watch, you pull out the crown, away from the watch until you hear it "click". Sometimes a little force is needed but do not worry this is normal. Once the crown is out, the time can be adjusted by turning the crown. Once you have set the hands to the desired time the crown is pushed back in and all is done.

To set the time on a pin set watch, you push a pin in toward the watch and hold it there, the time can be adjusted by turning the crown. Once you have set the hands to the desired time release the pin and all is done.

Pin set pocket watch.

To set the time on a key set watch you simply insert the key into the hole for adjusting the time (on a watch with key set and key wind access at the rear, through dust cover). Turn the key to adjust the time. Once done close the rear cover. For older type key adjust watches the time is set by opening the front cover with the crystal and place the key over the hands pinion, the time is adjusted by turning they key which in turn moves the hands.

Key wind pocket watch.
How to open a hunter pocket watch.

To open a full or half hunter case simply hold the bow between your middle and index fingers from underneath while holding the crown with your thumb, then press the crown in toward the watch with your thumb. The front cover will open with a very satisfying "pop". To close, press the crown in and close the case, then release the crown. This will prolong the life of the catch on your hunter pocket watch and is best practice.

To open the rear and dust covers you need a tool called a case opener. The two rear covers have a tab at the outer edge usually near the crown. Insert the blade of the opener between the tab and the case, gently pry open the cover taking great care not to slip. Almost all vintage pocket watches show signs of damage from force trauma and scratch marks from slips where incorrect tools have been used.

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