How to Set a Bulova Watch

by Ashley Brown ; Updated September 28, 2017

Use a second time-telling device for guidance.

Watch image by JASON WINTER from

Arriving late for an appointment is a bad time to realize that your watch is not set to the correct time. Having the incorrect time is a personal and professional inconvenience. The primary occasions that require you to set your watch are after an initial purchase and after a battery change. You also must set your watch to account for daylight saving time and leap years, if your watch displays both the date and time.

Watches without Date Displays

Pull out the watch’s crown when the second hand reaches the 60th second mark. All hands on the watch will stop.

Turn the crown clockwise until the hands are set on the correct time.

Push the crown in when the second hand on another time-telling device reaches the 60th second position to restart the watch's hands.

Watches with Day and Date Displays

Pull the crown out to its furthest point when the second hand reaches the 60th second mark. You will hear two small clicks, and the watch’s hands will stop.

Turn the crown clockwise until the day and date change. This sets your watch to midnight. If your watch tells only the date, turn the crown until the date changes.

Turn the crown clockwise so the minute hand reads five minutes ahead of the actual time to set the time to AM.

Turn the crown counter clockwise to the correct time. Initially putting the minute hand five minutes ahead keeps the minute hand from jumping when setting the actual time.

Push in the crown twice when the second hand on the time-telling device you are using to set your watch reaches the 60th second position. The watch's hands will restart.

Pull out the crown once.

Turn the crown clockwise to display the correct date on watches with a date display. Turn the crown counterclockwise to reach the correct day if your watch also displays the day.

Push in the crown.


  • You may skip the first step in Section 1 if the watch does not have a second hand.

    It is best to set your watch according to another time-telling device that also has a second hand to increase the accuracy of your time.

    To set the time to PM on a day/date model watch, turn the crown clockwise past 12 o’clock, and then perform Steps 3 through 8.


Photo Credits

About the Author

Ashley Brown began writing in 2005 for “The Albrightian,” the student newspaper of Albright College. The same year, she began working as a writing tutor and editor for the school's writing center. Brown holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Delaware.