Most automatic watches can be placed on the watch winder if wound at about 80% capacity and correctly set for the current time and date etc. A totally discharged automatic watch will not "restart" with the use of a watch winder. A Watch Winder was originally simply a maintenance tool designed to test a watches performance, and maintain the wind, and was used by watch repairmen. The repairman did not need the watch to have the correct time. He would reset it and rewind it once he confirmed it was working with the winder. The consumer does not want his watches simply working, she wants them working with the correct date and time showing. With the growth in popularity of mechanical automatic watches there was developed a small market niche of consumers who needed/wanted to not have to maintain the wind and correct time on their collection of watches by hand. Problem is the new Watch Winders to be made affordable for a large consumer market can not be made to the engineering levels needed to wind every watch from dead stop quickly. Plus most consumers do not even know the winding requirements of their watches, so watch winders are very mild machines, to protect the watches from damage. A quality Watch Winder will not over wind your watch.
Most automatic watches can be placed on the watch winder if wound at about 80% and correctly set for the current time and date. Before placing the watch on the winder you need to actually set the watches for the correct date and time and you also need to wind the watches a specific way. You may follow the watch manufacturer’s directions for stem winding the watch or you may wind the watch manually with wrist motion. Automatic or Self Winding Automatic Watches wind by taking advantage of gravity and a small half disc of metal inside the watch called a rotor. The rotor needs movement to get it started to swing and it continues to swing and wind the watch.
Automatic Movements wind in one of two ways, either with "rotary movement" (moving in a circle motion) or with inertial movement (sudden stops, aka shaking the watch). Since most consumers do not know or care to research the movement type inside their watch, it is easy to combine both of these movements in order to wind your watch. Simply rotate the watch and then flick it back and forth, so no matter whichever method works on your watch you are covered! (Use small gentle movements, you are not pounding in a nail with a hammer, you are simply causing a small half circle nickle sized device to spin!)
Another simple option. If you are unfamiliar with this, we suggest you take them to your Watch Repairman or Jeweler for routine maintenance and he will show you how to wind the automatic watch by hand if you are not familiar with winding them using the stem. Note: Many watches have a screwdown crown that must be released before winding with the stem. This makes it difficult for people with arthritic fingers and non mechanical types, so here I describe how to wind it without the use of the stem.
Here are directions for winding an automatic watch without bothering with the stem. Just use the motion of your hand.
1) Firmly take hold of the watch, put your fingers through the band and hold both the face of the watch and the band. Your thumb should be on the face of the watch.
2) Make sure to have a good grip. Also in case the watch were to drop sit on the bed or stand facing it, and flick toward the inside of the bed, this way if it flies out of your hand it lands on the bed. (This should not happen, since one does not have to flick this hard, but be careful.)
3) Again your fingers should wrap under the face and through the band, with the thumb on the face of the watch to ensure a firm grip.
4) Make the following circle and flick motion maybe 23 times or 90 seconds. Counting out loud helps. (If you loose count just do it for 2 minutes at least.)
* a) Rotate your wrist while holding the watch, turn the watch around in a circle-3 large looping circles with your wrist.
* b) Then give it two hard flicks of the wrist like you would throw a dart,
but only flick wrist not your entire arm...flick towards the middle of the bed.
* c) Summary: 1, 2, 3, circles, then Flick 1. flick 2, flick 3.....ONE COUNT repeat about 23 times. Repeat counting up to about 23 or at least continue this swirl 3 times - flick 2 times for about 90 seconds
to wind up the watches.
If you are mechanically inclined and of good hearing you will actually be able to hear the watch winding while doing this. Most watches it sounds like a clicking whirring sound. Usually you will hear it when you hit upon the correct directional winding for the watch. On the front flick or the back flick or the rotary movement. Do not worry about hearing the sound, but it is added confirmation you are doing things correctly. When you feel the watch is wound stop, set the time date etc. Place the watch in the watch winder and walk away....Check on the time in a few days, you may not have wound the watch up enough, repeat the process for a longer time and reset it and place on the winder. New Automatic Watches should be worn for a few months to "break them in" before relying on a watch winder. (The same holds for newly serviced watches, it takes use to get them to keep the time accurately, they are designed to be worn.)
Why is this odd motion needed?
Depending on the watch and how it winds, some watches wind with inertia, that is sudden stops, like when you flick your wrist, and some watches wind with the rotary motion of swirling your wrist, this covers both and will not harm the watch at all, as long as you hold it tight and flick toward the middle of the bed, you do not needed to do it