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How To Operate Your Pocket Watch

Basic Quartz Pocket Watches

These operate just like standard quartz wrist watches. To set the date (if this is a feature on the watch), pull the crown out to the first detent and turn anti-clockwise. To set the time, pull the crown all the way out (or second detent) and wind clockwise. Push the crown all the way back in to start the movement and begin normal time keeping.

Multi-Function Pocket Watches

These pocket watches include many different features and therefore generally come with detailed operating instructions.

Mechanical Watches

These pocket watches depend upon the stored energy in the main spring to power the movement and therefore should be wound daily.

To wind the watch turn the crown in the clockwise direction anywhere from 30-40 half turns until it stops. Push the crown back down into the normal operating position. Winding and setting of the time should be done daily. However, do not over wind, as this can damage the spring mechanism.

How to Open & Close Hunter-Cased Pocket Watches

A hunter case has a latch which catches on the rim of the front cover and keeps the cover closed. To open the watch, you depress the crown (the winding knob) which is connected through a spring to the latch. To close a hunter-case watch, it's important that you don't "snap" the case-lid shut. Doing this will wear out the spot on the case-rim where the latch engages.


Mechanical pocket watches typically have an accuracy +/- 60 seconds within a 24 hour period. This is due to temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure and altitude affecting the movement. For this reason, a mechanical pocket watch should not only be fully wound, but the time should also be reset daily. If the watch is wound only, the time could be off by several minutes within a few days.