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Is it Bad to Wind a Watch Backwards?

Mechanical watches need to be wound regularly to keep them ticking, and also to keep the watch in good shape.

Mechanical Watches Must Be Wound By Hand

For new owners, this may be confusing, but it’s actually much easier than you think.

Always Wind The Watch Clockwise

All you need to do is rotate the crown clockwise until you feel resistance.

Do Not Over-Wind The Watch

It’s important to note that once you feel resistance to not force it, as you could damage the mechanism if you over-wind the watch.

What If The Watch Is Wound Counter Clockwise?

Another common question that pops up when talking with new owners of mechanical watches is what will happen if you wind the watch backward.

Never Wind a Watch Backwards
Never Wind a Watch Backwards

Now, if you accidentally do this gently, there should be no problem, just wind it the right way and your watch should be working great.

Winding A Watch Backwards May Cause Damage Over Time

However, the gears and mechanism of the watch are not designed to be wound the other way, so winding it backward won’t do immediate damage, but puts unnecessary stress and wear on the gears that could accumulate over time. Therefore, never wind a watch backwards.

Even if winding your watch backwards does no harm to your watch, it also won’t wind your watch, so you will be wasting time and your watch will be stopping in the near future!

Over-winding Backwards Can Cause Immediate Damage

In general, occasionally winding your watch in the counter clockwise direction won’t damage your watch.

However, if you encounter resistance while winding the watch backwards and you keep forcing the crown in a counter clockwise direction, you may cause immediate damage to the gears and springs in your watch.

This is especially true if your watch already has an issue with its gears or springs.

Mechanical Watches Have A Learning Curve

Getting a mechanical watch for the first time may be confusing for some people, but there’s absolutely no problem with that, as there is a definite learning curve with mechanical watches, especially when maintenance is involved.

For example, if you’ve owned quartz pieces your whole life, you would have to get used to wind the watch on a regular basis as that’s something you’ve never needed to worry about.

In fact, we often get asked “Can you turn a quartz watch backwards?” Of course, you don’t have to turn or wind a quartz watch at all!

Related: Can Quartz Watches Be Repaired?

Mechanical watches have more moving pieces such as gears, pins, and springs than other watch movement designs. This is why they are so expensive. It is also why you should consider getting your mechanical watch cleaned and serviced by a professional watchmaker every 5 years or so.

Proper Watch Winding Demonstration Video

You can skip to the 1:20 mark in this watch winding demonstration video to see the right way to wind a mechanical watch, as well as comments about why it is bad to wind a watch backwards.

Proper Watch Winding Technique Video


There’s no shame in getting used to a new watch, just rest assured that eventually, with some time, you’ll get used to it.

Just remember to always wind your watch forward, and you’ll be used to your mechanical watch in no time!