A mechanical watch can be one of two types: manual or automatic. A manual mechanical watch must be hand-wound in order to reserve power. On the contrary, an automatic mechanical watch is self-winding.
So, what’s the difference between a hand-wound and self-winding mechanical watch mechanism?
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This type of watch movement has a special fan-shaped rotor swinging on a pivot in response to the motion of the arm of the watch wearer. The assistance of the swinging rotor allows the watch’s mainspring to wind up and continue to keep the watch running.
One of the best aspects of an automatic mechanical movement is that watch owners do not have to regularly wind them. All that is necessary is to wear the watch on the wrist for approximately 12 hours every day. By doing so, the owner provides the self-winding mechanism with enough motion to keep the mainspring fully wound.
If an automatic timepiece is not worn for a couple days, it does stop running. The watch owner must then wind it by means of the crown that is located on the side of the watch case.
Watch winders are available to rotate the watch for several hours at a time, so an owner of the watch does not have to manually wind it.
However, technology today has allowed many watchmakers to develop automatic movements that will keep an unworn watch running for a week or more though.
Another great feature of many self-winding automatic watches today is their transparent case backs. This feature allows the owner of the watch to see the spinning rotor and truly appreciate and admire the automatic movements. The Orient CFT00004B and Orient CFT00004B utilize an automatic mechanical movement (they are self-winding). The visibility available of the Orient CFT00004B gears and weighted rotor make this watch exceptionally appealing and attractive to buyers. It’s invigorating to see the automatic movement; not to mention, it is nice to see what you are actually paying for.
The main difference between a self-winding and a hand-wound mechanical mechanism is that hand-wound mechanisms require the owner to wind them up regularly by the crown whereas with a self-winding mechanism it is unnecessary to wind the crown.
A hand-wound mechanical watch is powered by winding the crown to wind up the mainspring within the movement. Therefore, it is necessary to wind them up regularly using the crown, usually once a day. However, the amount of winding a manual watch needs is dependent upon the make of the watch; some may require winding once a day, while others may only need once every two or three days.
It is important to remember that a hand-wound mechanical watch should be wound while worn. Before winding, take it off.
Also, be careful not to overwind the watch. You should stop winding when you feel resistance. This resistance indicates that the spring has reached its maximum tension. Overwinding will ultimately break the spring.
Many watch collectors and owners believe there is a true beauty in hand-wound mechanical watches because of the required winding. Like many products, personal involvement in their workings or maintenance gives them a unique and private value. While it may take a little more work on the watch wearer’s part, taking time to appreciate the aesthetic beauty and effort of a hand-wound watch is important.
For a traditional hand-wound mechanical watch, consider the Orient CDD00001W, a pocket watch equipped with a wind-up mechanical movement.