Is It Bad To Wind A Watch Backwards?

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Have you wound your watch backwards and are now wondering if you did the right thing or not? Do you want to know if it is ok to wind a watch backwards?

If yes then you are reading the right article. I will tell you whether it is bad to wind your watch backwards and if it is ok to set a watch backwards in this article. Not only this but I will also tell you if you can wind a watch too much or not.

So keep reading!

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What Happens When You Wind A Watch?


To know whether it is bad to wind a watch backwards or not, let us first understand what happens when you wind a watch.

There are majorly two kinds of watches:

  1. Quartz watches that are powered by quartz movements
  2. Mechanical watches that are powered by mechanical movements

Winding is needed only in Mechanical watches. And these watches are further divided into automatic and manual winding watches. These kinds of watches require winding to keep running. But the question is why do they need winding and what happens when we wind them?

Mechanical movements have a mainspring (an internal watch part) that is responsible to keep the movement running. When you wind the watch, this mainspring gets folded over and over again. And when it unfolds, it results in the motion of the whole watch movement, which further causes the watch to run. Therefore mechanical watches need winding to keep running.

Is It Bad To Wind A Watch Backwards?

Is It bad To Wind A Watch

The answer to this is both a Yes and a No. Winding a watch backwards can and cannot be bad for your watch, depending on the make and model of the watch.

The watch’s movement is designed in such a way that the mainspring gets wounded in a particular direction and it gets unwounded in the other direction. So when you wind the watch in the wrong way then it will result in the mainspring getting unfolded.

This is obviously not good because the watch will run out of juice sooner. And if the watch is completely unwounded at the time when you are rotating the crown in a counter-clockwise direction then this could result in the mainspring getting broken. Also, the wear and tear among the watch parts will increase if they move in the opposite direction they are built to operate.

However, modern watches come with an inbuilt mechanism that auto cuts the connection between the movement and the crown when a watch is wound in the anti-clockwise direction. So even if you rotate the crown the wrong way, nothing will happen to your watch. But if you own a vintage watch then it is probably a bad idea to wind it backwards.

Is It Ok To Wind An Automatic Watch Backwards?

Automatic watch

Yes, it is ok to wind an automatic watch in an anti-clock direction. Because all the automatic mechanical watches these days come with a disengagement system. The work of this system is to disengage the rotation of the crown from the watch’s movement to prevent any damage to the watch. The watch movement will only get activated when the crown is rotated in the right direction.

If you want you can make use of a watch winder box. It will keep your automatic watch winded properly and you’ll never have to worry about the right or wrong way to wind your automatic watch.

Can You Wind A Quartz Watch Backwards?

Quartz watches are powered by cells or batteries and they do not require any winding to keep ticking. Therefore it does not matter whether you rotate the crown in the right way or the wrong way, nothing happens to them.

Can You Wind A Watch Too Much?

Yes, you can wind a watch too much and it can get damaged if you do so. Since the mainspring gets folded whenever you rotate the crown, so it can get damaged if you keep winding it when it is fully folded.

Now the question that must be arising in your mind is: How to know when to stop winding a watch?

If you start feeling some resistance in the crown movement while rotating then it means the watch is fully wounded and should stop.

However, watches these days come with an auto-cut mechanism that keeps the watches from getting over wounded. So if you own a modern-day watch then you do not have to worry about winding the watch too much. But if you own a vintage watch then you should be careful in winding it.

Can You Set A Watch Backwards?

So winding a watch in a backward direction is probably not a good idea but can you set a watch backwards?

Some say that setting the time backwards will damage the watch parts and some say that it will not. But no one has a solid ground to stand on.

However, like winding the watch backwards, we think that setting the time backwards is probably not a good idea too. Because of one simple reason, watch parts keep moving in one direction only for days, months and even years. So the parts get rubbed against each other causing wear and tear and they get adjusted accordingly. But when you start moving them in the opposite direction then they will again get adjusted which will increase the wear and tear of the watch. This will not damage your watch in the short term but will surely have a negative impact over a period of time.

You might also like: What Is Hacking Watch Movement?


What Happens If You Wind A Watch The Wrong Way?

Nothing happens to modern watches if you wind them in the wrong way. However, vintage watches can get damaged if you wind them in the anti-clockwise direction.

Do You Wind A Watch Clockwise Or Counterclockwise?

The watch gets wounded when you turn the crown in the clockwise direction.

Do Quartz Watches Need Winding?

No, quartz watches do not need winding.

Tom Nielson

Tom's love for watches started when his grandfather gifted him his Rolex watch when he turned 18! Being a teenager it was a big deal for him. Later when he got his first job he bought Fossil Palm Pilot back in 2003 which was a smartwatch. Since then smartwatches have come a long way and so is Tom's love for them. His experience with watches inspired him to start Wearholic and share his knowledge of wearables including watches, smartwatches, smart glasses, & smart clothing.

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