What is the difference between mechanical watches and automatic watches?

At one point in history, all watches were mechanical and required manual winding in order to be powered. These watches were typically wound via the crown, which in turn tightens the mainspring inside the watch. The mainspring is the power source of all mechanical watches. Once wound, the mainspring’s tension is incrementally released which powers the watch.

What makes an automatic watch (self wind watch) different is that it has a weighted rotor mounted to the back of the watch movement. The rotor is shaped in a semi circle and is connected to the mainspring via a series of gears. With the motion of your wrist, the rotor winds the mainspring which powers your watch. 

Automatic watches have a power reserve of around 40 hours. This means that the watch can run for that duration on a full wind.  
When you first get the watch, the spring is almost completely unwound. Moving the watch around will cause the rotor to spin, which in turn will begin winding the mainspring. While this will get the watch running it will not be enough to fully tighten the mainspring which would let you take advantage of the power reserve to its fullest capacity. 
It is therefore important to first wind the crown about 20 times which is enough to completely wind the mainspring. Once the mainspring has been fully wound, and the watch is worn on an active wrist, the rotor will do its job by continuously winding the mainspring thereby topping off the watch’s power reserve.  
A watch is wound via its crown, clockwise. To wind up the watch, keep the crown in its pushed-in position and wind the crown clockwise.  
Once you have manually wound the watch it is now ready for use and if you wear the watch daily for around 8 hours it should be enough to keep the watch fully wound even if you remove the watch overnight. 

Quick set-up guide.

  • Take off your watch. To set your watch and to wind your watch remember to remove the watch from your wrist.
  • If you leave your watch on, you risk winding your watch at an awkward angle and damaging its components. 
  • Set the time. Gently turn the crown clockwise (or away from you) until you set the correct time. If you overshoot your desired time, do not turn the crown counter-clockwise to go back. Turning the crown counter-clockwise will force and damage the watch’s movement. Instead you will have to continue winding clockwise until you come back around to the correct time again.
  • Push the crown back in. 
  • Wind your watch. To wind your watch, unscrew the crown and turn the crown clockwise around 20 times or less if you will feel a resistance. Your watch is adequately wound once you feel resistance and over-winding could cause damage. 

Few things to remember.
Please don’t don’t set your watch counter-clockwise. Turning the crown counter-clockwise will force and damage the watch’s movement. 

Don’t clean your watch with anything else than a gentle cloth, if needed soak the cloth with water or water with a neutral detergent. Avoid shampoo and other cosmetics, alcohol, gasoline and strong chemicals. 

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