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Dave Conway

How can I determine if my watch is overwound, and how can I fix it?

Owning a mechanical watch comes with responsibilities - keep the inner workings free of dust, debris, and moisture; have it serviced regularly; and not overwinding it. But accidents happen and it’s not uncommon to overwind your timepiece. Here’s some advice from watch pros about how to identify and deal with overwinding.

Dave Conway

Dave Conway

Co-Founder at .

Wind It Down; Adjust the Regulator

The best way to determine if a watch is overwound is to check the mainspring. The mainspring is the part of the watch that powers the movement. If it is wound too tight, it can cause the watch to run too fast or stop completely. To fix an overwound watch, you should first wind it down to the point where it is running normally. Then, you should adjust the regulator, which is the part of the watch that controls the speed at which the watch runs. Finally, you should make sure the watch is properly lubricated. This will help ensure that the watch runs smoothly and keeps accurate time.

Ray Lauzums

Ray Lauzums

Owner of .

Difficulty Winding the Crown; Consult a Professional Watchmaker

Determining if a watch is overwound can be challenging, but there are a few signs to look for. If you notice the crown becoming difficult to wind or if the watch suddenly stops running despite being fully wound, it could indicate overwinding. To fix it, try a few steps. Gently unscrew the crown if it's a manual watch, and don't force it if resistance is felt.

For automatic watches, simply wearing them should relieve the tension. If these steps don't resolve the issue, it's best to consult a professional watchmaker. They have the knowledge to identify and fix any potential overwinding damage, ensuring that your timepiece is in good working order.

Maz Panayi

Professional watchmaker and co-founder of .

Wait for the Mainspring to Unwind Slowly Back to Normal Level

Determining if your watch is overwound is fairly straightforward. Firstly gently attempt to wind the crown of your watch in a clockwise motion. If you notice resistance or if it feels unusually tight, chances are your watch is already wound to its maximum capacity. This means the mainspring which powers the watch can not be wound any further.

This is not overly healthy for the watch as it will add undue pressure to the mainspring which may reduce its lifespan, especially in vintage watches.

The good news is that it will resolve itself given time, and therefore not require a trip to your watchmaker. As the watch movement is in motion it will slowly unwind the mainspring back to normal levels. Be aware this could take at least an hour, so be patient. I would advise leaving it for a few hours before testing it again.

If you are concerned or the watch is very old and frail then your watchmaker will be able to access a release button inside the watch movement that will instantly unwind the mainspring. I do not recommend trying this yourself unless you have prior knowledge and the relevant tools.

Remember, prevention is key. To avoid overwinding your watch in the future, be mindful of how many turns you give the crown while winding it. Most mechanical watches have a recommended number of turns, typically around 30 to 40, but it's always a good idea to consult your watch's manual or the manufacturer's guidelines for precise instructions.

In addition, if your watch has an automatic movement, i.e., a rotor that spins to self-wind itself then you should only really need to manually wind it for 1-2 turns when first putting the watch on and then the rotor will do the rest.

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