My Automatic Watch is Losing Time. What Do I Do?

Can My Automatic Watch Lose Time?

The movement is the heart of the watch. Like the engine of a car, it’s the mechanism that makes the watch go. It drives the hands to move along the hour markers and powers any complications the watch may have. One of the primary types of movements is called automatic or self-winding. With an automatic watch, the motion of the wrist activates the winding of the watch. This eliminates the need for the hand winding required with manual watches. However, automatic watches also have their downsides. If you don’t wear your automatic watch regularly or keep it in motion with a watch winder, it may lose time or stop entirely.

How to Wind an Automatic Watch

If you find that your watch is low on power, the best idea is to manually wind your watch. Yes, a watch with an automatic movement will need to be manually wound periodically. In fact, even if you wear your automatic watch daily, you should manually wind it about every two weeks. However, if you don’t wear your automatic watch every day, you should manually wind it about twice a week.

Rolex Submariner - Automatic Watch is Losing Time

To wind your automatic watch, start by removing the watch from its box or your wrist. Next, locate the crown and unscrew it until it’s in the first position. Turn the crown clockwise for about 20 to 40 turns or until you feel resistance. However, keep in mind that unlike a manual timepiece, you can’t overwind an automatic timepiece. Once you’ve finished winding, press the crown back in. Then, put the watch on your wrist to keep the movement running by your own natural motion.

Additional Resources

If you still need help with your automatic watch losing time, check out our Watch 101 section. Here, we have an education video that walks you through how to wind a watch. You can also click here to read more tips on how to ensure that your Rolex watch is keeping accurate time.


Editor’s Note – Updated in June of 2019 to include more relevant information

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  • Seiko wrist watch will not keep correct time.

  • Thanks for finally writing about >My Automatic Watch is Losing Time.

    What Do I Do? | Crown & Caliber Blog <Liked it!

  • my gossip watch is losing 20 min. and just noticed it so don’t know how long this has been going on.