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.

For new owners, this may be confusing, but it’s actually much easier than you think. All you need to do is rotate the crown clockwise until you feel resistance.

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.

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

Origin of the Watch
Origin of the Watch
Never Wind a Watch Backwards
Never Wind a Watch Backwards

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

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.

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 also more working pieces than a lot of watches (hence the price tag) so cleaning the watch every now and then would do your piece a lot of good, and getting a full overhaul (servicing your watch) every five years will make sure that your watch will be ticking for years to come.

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!