There are a few things you need to know in order to set a pocket watch. First, you need to find the timekeeping mechanism, which is usually located on the back of the watch. Once you've found it, you need to wind the watch by turning the knob or key. Finally, you need to set the time by pulling out the crown and turning it until the correct time is displayed.

Pocket Watch in Sand

Pocket watch types

Generally, pocket watch sets can be:

  1. Key-type
  2. Pendant-type
  3. Stem-type
  4. Lever-type 
  5. Lever-set

Lever-set Pocket Watch

  • If you want to wind and set your lever-set pocket watch, you will first need to open the case and remove the bezel. You can remove the bezel using a small knife with a dull blade. Use the knife to loosen the bezel, and then gently turn it counterclockwise until you hear a clicking sound. Now, you can wind and set the watch. When you are finished, replace the bezel.

  • The lever is typically located near the 2:00 or 4:30 position. Remove it with a small pocket knife or your thumbnail. Then, turn the crown to the correct time. You must make sure that you do not touch the crown while turning the lever. This will ensure that the hands and dial will remain properly aligned.

  • Lever-set pocket watches have a separate setting mechanism that prevents the hands and crown from accidentally moving while you're winding the watch. First, unscrew the crystal and bezel. Once you have done this, you'll be able to see the small lever at the one-o'clock position. This lever will allow you to turn the crown and set the time without accidentally moving the hands.

  • Lever-set pocket watches were first introduced in the 19th century. The railroad industry required a timepiece with more accuracy and safety. To meet this demand, Waltham came up with the lever-set design. The lever is hidden under the bezel and dial, and works only in the clockwise direction.

Problems with Lever-Set Watches

Lever-setting systems are typically very reliable because they depend on proper operation of stems or sleeves. In some cases, pulling the lever shifts the winding mechanism in such a way as to allow setting. 

When the adjustment lever is removed, it can return to its normal position, in which it is connected to the mainspring barrel. The lever can get tangled if pulling it does not turn off or there are signs that it has gotten stuck inside the lock, requiring professional attention.

T-bar Pocket Watch

  • Pocket watches are often set on a T-bar. The T-bar is attached to a chain that fixes to a pocket on a man's waistcoat. Typically, the chain links are fastened to the waistcoat using a buttonhole. The chain is long enough to fit the T-bar pocket watch through the buttonhole. For most pocket watches, the buttonhole is the third from the bottom.

  • A T-bar pocket watch can be set on two different ways. The first method involves pulling the T-bar through the buttonhole on the front. Once the T-bar is through, you can use the other method to set the timepiece. It is advisable to wear the pocket watch on the opposite side of your dominant hand.

  • The second method is to attach the chain to a belt loop. The T-bar can be connected to a belt loop using a lobster-claw-style clip. You can also use a standard belt loop or a buttonhole to attach the chain. You can also use a spring ring to attach the pocket watch chain to itself.

  • Whether you want to set a pocket watch for a date or initials, engraving the watch is a nice way to personalize it. In addition to engraving initials or names, you can also engrave a meaningful message on the pocket watch. These messages can capture a heartfelt sentiment, or inspire someone to take a particular path.

Key-set Pocket Watch

  • A key set pocket watch is a type of watch that uses a key to wind the watch. These watches are typically made of brass or steel and have a round case with a glass front. The key set pocket watch was first invented in the early 1800s and was popular until the mid-1900s. Key set pocket watches are not as common today, but they can still be found in antique stores and online.

Pendant-Set Pocket Watch

  • A portion in a watch case holding a winding crown and stem has an acronym for pendants. The winding crown is inserted into one end of the winding stem while the other side of the stem contacts a winding mechanism for movement. The crown is moved to the watch movement so that the watch has a "winding" position that turns the crown to rotate the mainspring to the desired direction. In case of pulling the crown out of watch movement, the watch is set and the movement of the crown triggers the watch setting mechanism.

Problems with Pendant-Set Watches

  • If your pendant-style watch doesn’t lock or "click" at either the rotor position or setting, you could have broken the sleeves. Unlike other watches - the sleeves are small parts that are attached by small screws inside the pendant. During spring bending, these fingers will lose their grip on the cylinder's stem. It’s a simple repair. If the watch can be set between winding positions and setting positions smoothly, but it's hard to put the clock in the correct position.
T-bar Pocket Watch
Key-set Pocket Watch

Winding a mechanical pocket watch

  1. The most basic way to wind a mechanical pocket watch is by rotating the crown, which is typically located at the top of the watch. Some watches have the crown at the 4 o'clock position, while others may be located on the left side. Either way, the watch crown should be held in your hand for a smooth rotation. Depending on the caliber, this winding process can take anywhere from 40 to 80 turns.

  2. First, open the watch's back cover. If it is stuck, you can use a pen knife to pry it open. Next, locate the keyhole in the back cover and insert the watch key into the keyhole. Then, turn the key clockwise until you feel the mainspring winding up.

  3. Ideally, the winding indicator is set to zero. If you wind the watch beyond this point, you're stretching the spring, and you don't want to do this. Also, you should never let the power reserve drop below 35 before rewinding. If you don't wind your pocket watch regularly, you can sell it for a high price.

  4. While many mechanical pocket watches run for 24 to 28 hours on a full wind, some of the higher-grade watches can run up to 60 hours. This is due to the better efficiency of their movements. These movements use less mainspring power and have less friction. As a result, the mainspring can last for a longer time.

  5. When choosing a mechanical pocket watch, make sure it has a warranty. A warranty will allow you to repair or replace the watch in case of malfunction. It's also worth your time to learn more about the watch before you buy one.

Changing the time on a quartz pocket watch

  1. Changing the time on a quartz pocket watch is easy and usually requires just a few steps. First, pull out the crown of the watch. This will release the hands and a set of two detents. Once these have been released, you may then turn the crown back in order to change the date or hour hand.

  2. After you have located the crown, turn it clockwise to adjust the time. Alternatively, you can push the button to wind up the watch. A fully wound watch will operate for about 36 hours. However, if you wear your watch frequently, you probably won't need to wind it up any more than necessary.

  3. A quartz pocket watch has a small movement inside a metal case. The regulator, which has about 12 coils, is what controls the speed. It can be adjusted so that the hairspring length varies. You can also check for time differences by setting the watch for 24 hours.

  4. If you have a Japanese quartz pocket watch, you should check its manual to find out how to set the time on this watch. Most Japanese consumer-level quartz pocket watches come with small v377 batteries. Some models have longer-lasting lithium batteries. The 7C21 is an improved version of this movement. It uses a more reliable lithium battery.

Changing the battery

  1. If you own a pocket watch, changing the battery is an important procedure. Having a dead battery can damage the timepiece and even cause it to stop working. The best way to avoid this is to change the battery before the watch runs out of power. A battery can last anywhere from 12 to 18 months before it needs to be replaced. In some cases, it can even last longer, but it is still a good idea to change the battery every two years.

  2. First, you need to remove the back cover of the pocket watch. This cover is usually made of a plastic material that has a small notch in the center. You should then use a tiny flat head screwdriver to unscrew the white plastic piece that holds the battery. Once you have removed the white plastic piece, you can now carefully remove the old battery from the watch. While each pocket watch has a slightly different arrangement of screws, the process is generally the same.

  3. When changing the battery in a pocket watch, it is important to use the proper type of battery. LiR batteries are the safest option because they can operate at 3.6V. However, you should not use a LiR battery in your watch if you don't know the specific model. This is because the battery size and chemistry differ between batteries. You should also make sure that the type of battery you choose matches the type of watch you own.

  4. If you are unsure of how to replace the battery in a pocket watch, you should take the watch to a watch repair shop. The watch repair shop will be able to diagnose the problem and suggest the proper battery for your watch. It's best to choose the right battery according to the recommendations of the watch manufacturer. If you have no idea, you can use alkaline batteries, but if your watch needs a silver-oxide battery, you should purchase a silver-oxide battery instead.


Generally, to set your pocket watch, you can follow these steps: First, pull out the crown of the watch. Next, rotate the crown clockwise or upward to set the date. When done, push the crown back into its normal position. Then, you can use the same method to set the hour and minute hands.

Thank you for reading! I hope this guide was helpful in teaching you how to set a pocket watch. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out in the comments below.