All watches tell the time... but not all watches operate the same way. Understanding how your timepiece works is a crucial part of ownership and maintenance. If your watch has an automatic movement it will need more care and attention than one which features a quartz movement. Below we've outlined some of the key differences between automatic and quartz operated watches.


For an automatic self-winding watch to function properly the mainspring must build up a sufficient power reserve. Many people are unaware that a self-winding watch needs to be wound first manually before it will run automatically. This is called the initiation process and without this, your timepiece will never operate properly or consistently.

To initiate the watch, turn the winding crown at the 3 o'clock position in a clockwise direction for about 20 revolutions. This start up wind is usually sufficient for most automatic watches. The initiation process will manually tighten the small spring inside of the watch, so that it builds up enough tension for the timepiece to operate. As the spring starts to unfurl itself it will pull along the cogs that, through intricate engineering, in turn, move the hands. Once the spring is completely unfurled then the watch will stop operating.


After the initiation process has been completed the watch will wind itself automatically by means of an oscillation weight that moves every time the watch's position is changed. A self-winding watch should be worn for at least eight hours a day to maximize the power reserve. If this isn't possible, or if the watch has not been worn for more than 15 hours, the initiation process must be repeated.