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Winding and setting your American and Swiss pocket watch

Antique pocket watches come in different operational configurations and designs:

An open faced model - with it's dial readily available to read, or a hunter's model - with the spring loaded covering flap.

Open face and hunters pocket watches were designed and manufactured with two different methods to change the time appearing on their dials: stem set and lever set. Each requires different setting methods.

Wind your watch fully before you conduct any time change.

Stem set pocket watch operation:
Stem set antique American pocket watches only require that their winding crown be pulled out and away from their case - to transition them from the standard winding position into the time setting position, which is most typical in the setting of time on most watches, especially wrist watches. After pulling it's crown into the setting position simply turn it's crown to the desired time, and push the crown in toward the body of the watch thus returning your watch to the winding position. This winding position is the where all mechanical watches want to remain during their normal time keeping operation.

Lever set pocket watch operation:
The alternative method of setting the time on other antique pocket watches doesn't employ this above method, but rather a very different one. In all American Railroad grade watches a setting lever is used.

Hunters model lever set pocket watch time change operation:
Should your vintage American pocket watch be a hunters style watch, you'll find a very small metal lever protruding from near the 4:00 ledge of the bezel (which houses the crystal). Pull this lever out and away from your watch nearly an 1/8 inch, and then simply turn it's winding crown to a desired time. No need to pull a crown out into the, "setting position" on any lever set watch.To return your lever-set pocket watch back to timekeeping service, simply push this small lever back in- flush to it's bezel. Your lever set hunter's pocket watch time change is concluded.

Open face model lever set pocket watch time change operation:
Open face pocket watches are often synonymous with certified Railroad timepieces. Many of these critical timing instruments and were made with a special built-in safety feature that defeats any possibility of accidental time change while in a pocket or otherwise. To adjust the time on your open face lever set pocket watch, special care must be taken. Changing the time on this type of watch requires that you unscrew it's bezel (which houses it's crystal) in a counter clockwise direction and remove it completely from the watch, now exposing it's naked dial and hands. You'll see a small steel lever near the edge of it's exposed dial - either near the 2:00 or 4:30 position -based on the model. With a thumbnail, carefully pull this setting lever out and away from the edge of the dial - where it's located and then simply turn the crown to the desired time. Push the set lever back in after making this time adjustment and carefully screw it's bezel/crystal back onto the top of the watch case. Be careful not to touch the hands of the watch. This is how Railroad men and the companies that made these distinctive watches were assured that only intentional time changes were made to their watches during their use to avoid catastrophic train wrecks caused by such accidental time changes.

Key Wind and Key Set Pocket watch operation:
Early Swiss and American pocket watches weren't designed to allow their owners to simply wind their pocket watch and set their time by use of the crown. These early watches required a key to undertake time setting and mainspring winding - just like clocks of their day. These watches need a properly sized key to complete these operations.

To wind a key wind / key set pocket watch, you'll need to carefully pry it's rear case cover open to reveal a port hole that will accommodate it's winding key. Once open, simply push the key into this port and wind in a clockwise direction. You'll know when you've wound enough, the key will stop winding. To set the time appearing on the dial, you'll need to carefully pry open it's hinged bezel - which contains it's crystal. Once the bezel swings open to reveal it's naked dial, - seat the key onto the hub that it's hour and minute hand are attached to. Turn in either direction to attain the desired time. Naturally close it's hinged bezel so that it snaps tightly - and if it's a hunters case, snap it's covering flap, and you've successfully set your key wind / key set pocket watch for operation.

Early Nail Set pocket watch setting instructions:
Early Swiss pocket watches employed a special feature that you'll need to become familiar with before you can properly set their time. As you see in the photo, a small yet protected button appears on the side of the watches case - most often near the 4:00 position in hunters style pocket watches and at the 1:00 position in open face pocket watches. With a thumbnail, simply depress this button "in" towards the body of the watch - and while keeping this button pushed in - turn it's crown to the desired time. Release this button an your watch will return to it's proper winding position.

I specialize in the restoration and servicing of antique mechanical watches. Please feel free to visit my Pocket Watch Repair services page to learn more about how we can work together to return your antique pocket watch back to it's proper and dependable condition:
http://www.watchrepair.cc/pocketwatches.html



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