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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read something some time ago that said you should not stem wind automatic watches.

The jist was that the stem winding mechanisms on many automatics weren't really up to the task and are a significant failure point. The idea was that the watch designers just expected that if you had an automatic you wouldn't be winding it very often and they didn't design the winding systems to be particularly robust. This included the crown O-ring that could wear and allow contaminants into the case

It sounded like a load of crap to me, but it always stuck with me because I have several automatics and no winder so I'm often "Topping up" my watches to keep them ready to wear.

Any opinions or ideas on this?
 

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You'll get answers to support both sides.

One thing is certain....when you use things, wear and tear is the end result. When you wind a watch manually with the crown, you are "using" the winding gears. Wear and tear is the end result.
With this in mind...I try to avoid manually winding an automatic. At the very least, I keep it to a minimum. I start my autos with motion, and set the time after they're running.


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Sounds like a load of crap :)

Yes, hand-winding will put additional wear and stress on the crown, tube, seals, etc...
The question is, do you think that any modern well built watch was not designed to handle that stress?

Wind away. If it is going to fail on you, it will do it regardless if you wind it a hundred times or a thousand.

If it is a vintage watch, or from a brand with questionable quality control or build quality, then sure you might want to baby it a little and avoid using the crown unless necessary, but otherwise I think you'll be fine.

I hand-wind the hell out of my Seiko Marine Master every time I put it on.
 

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I suggest that you READ the manual
I see this recommended a lot these days, even Rolex

Funny how many people have no manuals for their watches.
If your watch has no manual... Google it

Let the power go low, loss of accuracy possible probable)


Swiss Watch Tips, News & Reviews was a site that popped up quickly
Wont share the exact link, so its up to you to do a tad bit of work.
Confirms my take anyway



I have very expensive watches that MFR. recommends a wind every few days
 

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Wind away. Many people do not use winders. They have to wind the watch. They are made to be wound (expect a rare few). Not winding them makes no sense.
 

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I remember someone analyzed the 2824 and that movement has a lot of wear when hand wound. Other movements, go nuts.

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I know all the Sellita's and 2824-2's I have the hand winding is hardly buttery, like a 2892 or Soprod A10 or Seiko 6R14.
 

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Ganson:
I'm in your camp to be sure. Most of my automatics hand wind.
I've read it takes 157 revolutions of the rotor (or counterweight
if you will) to wind the main spring on most watches ONE turn.
I often "top off" the auto wind with a few revolutions of the winding
stem. Have never had a case of watch "running down" yet.

Jus my 2 cents worth

Lou Snutt
 

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It's certainly not a "load of crap". It is an opinion, and since it is very difficult to prove either side on this, it can't be a "load of crap". I think you can wind your autos, but in general, I agree with #four's position that it will ultimately cause more wear, earlier, on the winding mechanism, which may well be the most susceptible to wear. How significant a difference, and how much faster is very hard to determine, but dismissing it entirely seems very short sighted, in my opinion.
 

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Wind away baby. Anything will cause more wear, unless you let it sit in your watch box.
You shake it all the time, guess what, it will wear everything that's connected to the automatic device.
So, six of one, half a dozen of another.
 

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Just a note that some movements need to have the hands in certain positions in order to change the day/date without damaging the mechanism. Nothing to do with winding, but I thought some guys might not know that the Valjoux 7750 and a few other similar movements should never have the date changed when the hands are between 7pm and 3am.

Important fact:
Operation of the quick set must executed slowly and carefully. Do not operate the quick set day and date change during the slow date change engagement time frame between the hours of 7PM to 3AM. Doing so will damage the movements date driving wheels, intermediate setting wheel and double corrector. In order to repair this the date platform and setting bridge will need to be disassembled and the damaged parts replaced. This is not covered under warranty.
 
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I have encountered two new things since this thread came out

DD on a BNIB watch failed on time set. Just moving the quick set to 12 to determine
AM/PM it broke. Lucky I have a warranty ( instead of an "open card"

Yes I was told by a seller last week an open card or grey watch as to some better than an actual warranty.

2. I tried #4s way. Took a 7750 Baume and just shook it until it started, very minimum of course, put it on and now for the last two days has run COSC. Amazes me. That watch was going on the sale thread as it is so darn hard to wind. I thought it was a design flaw.Nope I'm a dope. So good and bad news ... My answer now is depends on the watch quality
I won't wond my watches as before.
 

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I typically read my manual, and if I'm purchasing a watch without one, I google it. I have some watches I'll do a quick manual wind, and some I don't. It also depends how it feels when I wind the watch. My Hamilton Khaki King aviation feels rough ( as I can hear the gears churning). I typically start this by swinging it for about 15 seconds. I also do the same with my Ball Hydro, it doesn't feel rough, but I try not to lift the crown guard excessively so I can ensure it stays nice and tight over the years. My Pan europ suggest a few rotation of the crown, I wear it frequently enough (or I did as it should be sold today) wear I may have only had to rotate the crown 10 times the past year or so. I only do it enough to get the watch going, and my wrist movement takes care of it after that.

My only concern with handwinding an auto is the ability to overcharge. A lot of manuals don't have a good way of telling you when your watch can be overwound. This is not a concern with the watch being wound automatically as the "wound spring" is constantly releasing energy because the watch is ticking. In some cheaper automatic movements, you can overwind your watch and the spring releases all the energy at once and resets to zero, sometimes causing it to become un-aligned with the pin it's on (I don't know the technical name of all these, so please forgive me). I tested this with a Skeleton Invicta Lupah a few years back, and a Zeno Watch-Basel I purchased dirt cheap on ebay. Both these watches had a gear with a screw holding the spring. The spring popped when both watches was overwound. The Invicta was virtually impossible to reset back to its factory conditions, while the zeno was a relatively easy fix. I learned quite a bit about automatic and manual wind watches in this little project. I'm not familiar with either of the movement models in these 2 watches, but I think it highlights some pretty good examples of my overcharging theory that I don't want to run a risk of damaging any important watch parts.

Obviously to each his own, and your watch manufacturer knows best, but I would really careful in applying one type of thinking to all automatic watches as some have already pointed out. I'm a guy that changes watch bands pretty frequently, but outside of that, the least I use any moving part on a watch, the more it keeps its overall health. I don't even rotate my bezels often, I do it once a week just to ensure I haven't built up any "gunk" that would become harder to clean overtime. This is just my opinion.
 
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