Antique Pocket Watches and Accessories
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Key wind and set


Before 1900 many of the pocket watches made, were wound and set with a small key.  After the turn of the century keys fell out of use and stem wind and stem set became common.  Railroad watches used lever set. 

Antique pocket watches are wound with a small key accessed by opening the back case of the watch.  There will be a square shaft that the key fits over for winding.  Use a gentle touch, because the mainsprings wind only in one direction. Wind the spring up all the way until it becomes hard to turn.  If, at first, you meet resistance, try going the other way.  If both ways will not gently turn, the mainspring is probably already wound up.  Forcing the shaft to turn the wrong way will cause damage to the watch or key.

Setting the watch is either done from the back using the other square shaft which causes the hands to turn, or if no second shaft is seen, it may set from the front where the hands are mounted.  Some antique pocket watches set from the front using a square shaft at the center of the hands.  A close visual check will reveal a small square shaft at the center of the hands.  Turn the hands either way to set.

 

POCKET WATCH KEY SIZE CONVERSIONS

EURO

SIZE IN MM

ENGLISH

00

2.00

12

0

1.90

11

1

1.80

10

2

1.75

9

3

1.65

8

4

1.60

7

5

1.50

6

6

1.40

5

7

1.30

4

8

1.20

3

9

1.15

2

10

1.05

1

11

1.00

0

12

0.95

00


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