This video will explain how to set the time and date on different types of analog watches. Before we get started, it is important to be aware of the so-called “danger zone” when setting the date on your watch. You should never change the date when your watch is showing 9pm to 3am. This is the time when the date gear inside the movement engages to switch to the next date. Therefore, manually adjusting the date during the “danger zone” time can damage the date mechanism of the watch. We will offset this by changing the time to a “safe zone” before changing the date.
Watches with a date function can either be non-quickset or quickset. In non-quickset watches, the date function is coupled to the timekeeping hands. So, to change the date, the hands must be moved around the dial repeatedly past midnight until the correct date shows up. With quickset watches, the date can be set independently from the timekeeping hands. Most modern watches have a quickset date feature while vintage watches are typically non-quickset.
Always make sure to remove the watch from your wrist before setting it. Adjusting the time and date on a watch while it is still on your wrist can apply too much pressure to the winding stem, which can cause it to bend or snap.
To change the time and date on a non-quickset mechanical watch, you should first fully wind the watch to ensure the movement has full power. If you have a manually-wound watch, turn the winding crown clockwise until you feel tension to indicate the movement is wound. If you have an automatic watch, pull or unscrew the winding crown to the first notch and turn it clockwise 20 to 40 times to fully wind the movement. Once the movement is wound, pull the crown to the next notch. Turn the winding crown to move the hands on the dial forward to cycle through as many 24-hour periods as needed until the correct date shows up in the window. This can take a while. Once the correct date is showing, adjust the hands to display the correct time, making sure to account for AM or PM time. Once you have set the date and time, push or screw the winding crown back into place.
To change the time and date on a quickset mechanical watch, you should first fully wind the movement. If you have a manual watch, turn the winding crown clockwise until you feel tension to indicate the movement is wound. If you have an automatic watch, pull or unscrew the winding crown to the first notch and turn it clockwise 20 to 40 times to fully wind the movement. Once the movement is wound, pull the crown to the last notch so that you are in the time-setting mode. Now turn the winding crown to move the hands to show 6:30. The watch is now in the “safe zone”. Next push the winding crown one notch in so that you are in the date-setting mode. Turn the crown to set the number to yesterday’s date. Then, pull the crown out again to the time-setting mode and turn it to move the hands forward. Once you past midnight, you’ll see the date change to today’s date and you can now adjust the time accordingly taking into consideration AM or PM hours. Once you have set the date and time, push or screw the winding crown back into place.
Whenever possible, always refer to the official manufacturer’s instruction manual for more details on how to set the time and date on your specific watch model.