To wind your watch, open the back cover with a thin-blade pocket knife. You will see 1 or 2 key holes, depending on the model of your watch. If you see a hole directly in the center of the dust cover, that will be used to set the time (see below). The post to wind the watch will be the one that is off-set from the center. Each watch varies on the location of this. Take your key, and gently turn the post counter-clockwise. You should hear a repeating "click" sound as the key turns. Continue to wind the watch until you begin to feel some resistance. You can over wind and damage the watch if you try to force the post to turn, so take it slow for the first few days you have your watch until you get a feel for how much you can wind it.
To set the time, for the set-from-back model watches, settle your key over the post in the dead center of the dust cover. As a rule, you should be able to turn this post both clockwise and counter-clockwise. If you feel strong resistance in the counterclockwise direction, you may need to take the hands all the way around clockwise.
If your watch only has one hole for winding on the dust cover, you need to close the back cover and flip the watch so you can see the front. You will notice that the center post (where the hour and minute hands are attached to the watch) has a square finish. Gently open the front bezel using a thin-blade pocket knife, and using your key, set the time by turning the post.
For proper maintenance of your vintage mechanical watch, we suggest that if you are carrying/wearing the watch daily, you have it cleaned and serviced by a professional watchmaker annually. If the watch is used sparingly or for display, we suggest this be done once every 3-5 years. We also recommend that if you do not already carry your watch regularly you wind it at least 2-3 times a month to help keep the movement works active. Think of your watch like you do your car; preventative service on a regular schedule can save wear and tear on the parts and extend the life of your watch! Please feel free to contact us any time you have questions about this.
When not in use, we suggest storing the watch in a dry covered location, try to avoid places where excessive moisture or dust will accumulate or where the watch would be in direct sunlight. We suggest glass domed displays or cloth lined storage boxes (such as a jewelry box). Although not necessary to the working condition of your watch, we also suggest purchasing a polishing cloth to help maintain the luster of your case. We do carry a basic selection of these items on our web site under the "Supplies" section.
Vintage Key-Wind Pocket Watches
➔ Return to the main Winding & Setting Instructions page
➔ View a PDF version of this page for easy printing or downloading