On some premium wristwatches, the narrow second hand remains in continuous motion as it slowly sweeps around the dial. Rather than jumping from second to second, the hand never stops as it smoothly measures the passage of seconds. On a periodic basis, even a luxury wristwatch needs maintenance or repair, especially if it is losing or gaining a noticeable amount of time.

A self-winding watch does not require manual winding on a regular basis, nor does it utilize battery power. Instead, the internal mechanism of the watch is designed to derive power from the motions of your wrist as you go about your daily activities. The power of your motions throughout the day is transferred through internal watch components and stored as energy in a tiny coiled spring.

The parts inside the watchcase and behind the watch face are collectively referred to as the watch movement. The energy stored in the internal coil spring is also used to power your watch throughout the night when the watch is most likely not being worn.

Occasional winding

If the watch is not worn for several days, you may need to follow the instructions in your owner's manual and manually wind the watch. The small wheel on the side of your watch is referred to as the crown. Specific steps are required to use the crown to wind the watch and build stored energy in the internal coiled spring. When you return to wearing the watch daily, it normally becomes self-winding again.

Cleaning and lubrication

If your self-winding watch continues to run slow or fast, it may simply be in need of cleaning. To perform the cleaning, a repair technician removes the movement from the watchcase. The movement is inspected and lubricated as needed. Proper lubrication ensures that the intricate internal components are able to function as designed and store an appropriate amount of energy.

Testing and adjustments

Some of the movement mechanisms can be calibrated. If an adjustment is needed, it is performed in accordance with manufacturer specifications. For a waterproof Rolex watch, the following tests are performed to ensure the integrity of the case:

  • compression test
  • vacuum test
  • condensation test

If manual winding is necessary for your watch, a simple step should be taken first. Whenever you use the crown for winding or to adjust the time, remove the watch from your arm first. Turning the crown with the watch on your wrist may place unnecessary stress on the crown stem. Contact a watch repair specialist for maintenance or repair on a self-winding watch. For additional repairs, contact a jeweler, such as Hayes Jewelers