Wondering how to wind a pocket watch properly? Pocket watches, just like other mechanical timepieces need some kinetic energy from the mainspring to run. This power comes from winding the mainspring which serves to store power reserve. Winding a pocket watch is part off maintaining and caring for a pocket watch without which it begins to age out so soon.

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Img: winding Waltham P. S. Bartlett key-wind watch in coin-silver case
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Key-winding a pocket Watch

Unlike a stem-wind watch, a key-wind watch does not have a crown or a winding knob. Instead, you will wind the mainspring by turning a key that fits through a hole located in the back inner-lid of the watch case.Only a watch winding key that has a square hole at the end, fits perfectly over a square winding arbor of the pocket watch.By just Turning the key with your hand, it winds up the mainspring of the watch. Unlike the unidirectional stem-wind watches, Key-wind watches can be wound by turning the key in clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.
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Img: Pocket watch winding keysNormally, you should always Start by turning the key carefully in the right-hand(clockwise) direction. If that turns easily against the spring tension and a ratchet clicking noise is heard, that is the proper winding direction.If you feel something like a slipping or counter-resistance, you’re probably not force winding it in the correct direction.You need to have the right key size for your pocket watch which can help wind the watch properly. If you don’t have one, check pocket watch key sizes online. People with pretty big hands cab grab the key easily and turn the watch. 

What if I Lost or Misplace my Pocket Watch Winding Keys?

It is common mistake for people with key wind pocket watches to lose the keys.If you ever lose the winding key of your antique pocket watch, get a key-wind replacement online or from stores selling watch accessories.If you have used one before, you understand that a single key may come is selected sizes, but only one will wind up your pocket watch.Some keys are used to set up the pocket watch, if you are lucky,to have a single key that has the winding square the same size as the the setting arbor.Related: Best watches with internal gear and mechanism showing – open heart watches 

Some possible Winding Problems

There are some issues that may cause a watch not to wind. Check the following problems If you are trying to wind your watch and it doesn’t.

1. No winding resistance

You may attempt turning the winding crown (or key) and it keeps turning forever. If the winder runs continuously and and never builds up any mainspring power reserve, then check your mainspring. A broken mainspring will never hold an tension or mechanical energy.

2. The key or crown does not turn at all

Sometimes, the winding knob Or key refuses to turn in any direction. If that happens, probably, the watch fully wound and gears are broken or hooked against an object. Many people don’t know that you can never over wind a watch. A completely wound timepiece can not be wound again, unless the tension reduces. Offer the watch to a repairman to check if your fully wound watch fails to run.

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3. Winding square position

For key wind watches, The hold in the case must line up with the winding square. If it does, your watch is likely in a wrong case. Or it has a wrong movement.The only option is that you Look for the right movement or the right pocket watch case.

4. The fear of winding

A few people wonder why their pocket watches run only for few hours. There can be other causes but one cause is the fear of breaking the mainspring when hand winding the watch fully.However, that isn’t the case, you can wind the spring all, until it cant wind anymore. People fear that a full wind may just destroy the power spring, but this is not true except you use brute force or a pair of pliers to crank beyond the stopping point.Don’t be reluctant to wind your watch to full potential, you won’t break your mainspring if you do it gradually.Shop : Best hand wind pocket watches 

How much and how often to wind a vintage pocket watch?

How Much should you wind your vintage pocket watch? How often should you wind it?It depends of the watch’s full power reserve.some pocket watches run for 20-28 hours after full winding. This means you can likely be winding such a timepiece every day.While other pocket mechanical watch springs can hold power for 30 hours. most high end luxury pocket watches can hold up to 50 hours after a single winding. Awesomely, others like the Illinois Bunn special motor barrel hold power reserve for about 60 hours.Longer run times in wound pocket watches means you wouldn’t be winding them so frequently. Such watches with high capacity power reserve may have more efficient, low-friction movements. Such high quality movements run on less mainspring power.This offers a possibility of designing a thinner and longer mainspring that could fit into the same size mainspring barrel.If you are regularly using Your vintage pocket watch, it may quickly be running out of mainspring power, so you should probably wind once a day. Some people have developed a good habit to be winding their watches at same time each day.Frequent Winding makes your watch to run consistently in timekeeping, without losing many seconds. Shop ORIENT World Stage Collection Pocket Watch Hand Winding Sapphire Glass WV0031DD 

Pocket watches with winding-indicators

Some luxury pocket watches come with power reserve indicators. You will notice these handy watches because they have a small dial with a scale indicating how much power is left in the wound mainspring.. The wind indicator runs from zero to higher values. When the mainspring is fully wound, the up-down indicator points at zero on the scale. Think of it as the number of hours that have elapsed since the watch was last wound.When winding a wind-indicator watch, it is common practice stop winding when the indicator reads zero. Don’t attempt to wind your pocket watch past the zero mark on the indicator, because that is the manufacturers default spring tension level that can provide the best timekeeping.Winding beyond the zero means over stretching the spring to its elastic limit. Again, you should not allow the power reserve to run down to below the 35 mark before you rewind the watch. Keep you winding regular so that the power reserve never drop outside of the middle of the mainspring.Wind indicators pocket watches are highly valued and sort after by pocket watch collectors. If you have one, even if it is old, you will have a good marketed for it.  

Pocket watch winding factors

How possible or fast a watch winds depends on a number of factors