How to Start Self Winding Watches

by Marie Mulrooney ; Updated September 28, 2017

Self-winding or self-winding automatic watches may need a little help to get started. Once their gears are in motion, however, they use the kinetic motion of your body to stay wound. As long as you wear the watch regularly, you won't have to perform any extra maintenance or winding to get it moving. Although starting a self-winding watch is as simple as just putting it on and moving, you can use a little trick to get it started faster.

Grasp the watch by its strap. It doesn't matter if the strap is open or closed; you could even do the next step with the watch on your wrist if you so desire.

Swing the watch in a circular motion for about 30 seconds.

Check to make sure the watch is running. The 30 seconds or so of "winding" were enough to get it started, but you should keep your watch on throughout the day so the motion of your body continues to "wind" it up; when fully wound, the watch will keep regular time for dozens of hours.

Set your watch to the correct time, just as you would with any other mechanical watch, by pulling the crown (small knob) out a little bit and twisting it until the watch reads the correct time. When the watch is set, push the crown back in.

Wear your watch every couple of days to keep it running. If you let it wind down too far, you'll need to set the time again when you restart it.


  • Some self-winding watches still feature a manual winding feature. If yours does, you can help keep the winding mechanism lubricated by winding it every week or so. Just twist the crown of the watch forward until you feel increased resistance.

Photo Credits

  • Diane Shear/Demand Media