Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!

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Pocketwatch Over-wound?

For the record, there is no such thing as "over-wound".

A watch is designed to be wound fully.  A watch is fully wound when its mainspring is wound around its arbor to the end of the spring, and there is no more spring to wind.  At that point, the crown (or key) will not turn any further.

Saying a watch will not run because it is over-wound is like saying a car won't start because the fuel tank is over-filled.  The tank is either full or it's not.  You can not add more if its full.  A watch is either fully wound or it's not.  You can not wind it more if it is fully wound.

If a car won't start, there's a reason.  If a watch won't run, there's a reason.  But there's no such thing as "over-wound".

I used to think that this idea of over winding a watch was a modern misunderstanding.  But just the other day I ran into a reference to this persistent myth in an article written in the 1920s.  So it seems to have been with us for awhile...

At any rate, there is no such thing as "over-wound".

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