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I feel a little silly asking this question but I got thinking about it wearing my speedmaster and my reverso a lot lately. Both are hand wound watches. I find that as I sit on calls or in meetings I start winding my watch. What this ultimately leads to is the watch getting wound after maybe running only a few hours. Obviously I do not force it just wind it till it stops.

My question is is it bad for the spring to not let it completely unwind? I have many watches and they run themselves to the end weekly or so since I am constantly switching out. I am just wondering what the best practice is?
 

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I’m sure others will have good/maybe better info. But I don’t think there’s any harm in winding a manual too often. My dad was in the military and said guys would wind their mechanicals a couple times a day to ensure usage. I don’t believe any harm will come to the watch unless you keep winding past the point where you feel resistance.

Question: you said you wind them on calls, etc. Do you remove the watch from your wrist first? You can damage the watch if you wind it while it’s still on your wrist.


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Stupid question: Why should one take the watch off of your wrist to wind it? Is it so there is no sideways force on the crown/stem?
You can put undue strain on the stem and I was told that winding a watch on your wrist could lead to hairs getting drawn into the works though I don’t know how true this is as I was only a kid at the time I was told about it.
 

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No problem at all. Automatic watches also rewind constantly and this doesn't damage the spring either.
Well, not so fast because that depends. I was under that impression too but I was proven wrong. Constant full wind of an automatic can damage a movement.
In reference to an automatic, unless you have a power reserve meter how would you know at any given time the % of wind?
It appears that unless that your watch is involved in a lot of physical movement you are probably never reaching a full wind, which I now know is the norm.
 
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Well, not so fast because that depends. I was under that impression too but I was proven wrong. Constant full wind of an automatic can damage a movement.
In reference to an automatic, unless you have a power reserve meter how would you know at any given time the % of wind?
It appears that unless that your watch is involved in a lot of physical movement you are probably never reaching a full wind, which I now know is the norm.
When you say constant “full wind” are you talking about manually winding the automatic, or the auto being constantly fully wound due to wrist activity?


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Well, not so fast because that depends. I was under that impression too but I was proven wrong. Constant full wind of an automatic can damage a movement.
In what way?

In reference to an automatic, unless you have a power reserve meter how would you know at any given time the % of wind?
It appears that unless that your watch is involved in a lot of physical movement you are probably never reaching a full wind, which I now know is the norm.
When worn, automatic watches wind the mainspring faster than it unwinds through the gear train. Otherwise it wouldn't work and the watch would even run out of steam while you wear it, let alone when you store it over night. It's completely normal that an automatic watch with ~40h power reserve winds the mainspring fully within 6-10 hours. So while it's on your wrist, it winds 4-5 times faster than it unwinds, even when you're not super active.
 

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No that is not possible to wind it too often. But the problem might occur when you have to unscrew the crown every time for winding and setting.
 

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You know, this isn't that dumb of a question. I've seen a number of watch blogs talking about handwound watches saying about how one should "wind them up once a day, such as before bedtime." It always seemed to imply one could only wind it once a day. The last time I had a handwound watch, I wound it before going to bed and after waking up.
 

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Although I prefer to gently move my autos to get them going instead of winding, I don't believe there is any harm done when winding by hand as long as you are talking about an AUTOMATIC, not a mechanical watch movement.
 

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Although I prefer to gently move my autos to get them going instead of winding, I don't believe there is any harm done when winding by hand as long as you are talking about an AUTOMATIC, not a mechanical watch movement.
Automatic movement with hand winding capability or manually wound movement makes no difference. The function of the basic movement, the springs used, etc. are exactly the same. An automatic movement is just a hand wound movement with an automatic winding function added on top, quite literally. E.g. the Eta 2824 is the automatic workhorse we all know, the Eta 2804 is its hand wound brother that simply lacks the winding rotor, switch gears, etc. The only difference on the mainspring is that its end is connected to the spring barrel wall on the hand wound version so that you feel a stop when the spring is fully wound, while the automatic version has a spring end that can slide along the barrel wall when the rotor keeps on winding.
 

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Although I prefer to gently move my autos to get them going instead of winding, I don't believe there is any harm done when winding by hand as long as you are talking about an AUTOMATIC, not a mechanical watch movement.
An AUTOMATIC is a mechanical movement, it just winds up from movement, instead of manually.
 

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I wind mine all the time, regardless if they might need it or not. So far, so good. No issues whatsoever.
 

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Nope they were meant to be wound!
 
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