Is It Ok To Move An Automatic Watch Backwards?

Automatic watches are marvels of engineering and craftsmanship, admired by watch enthusiasts worldwide. These timepieces are self-winding, relying on the movement of the wearer’s wrist to keep them running. However, a common question that arises is whether it’s safe to move an automatic watch backward. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of automatic watch movements, explore the impact of moving them backward, and provide recommendations for proper watch handling.

Set a watch correctly

Understanding Automatic Watch Movements:

Automatic watches operate based on intricate movements within the watch mechanism. They utilize a rotor, which rotates with the motion of the wearer’s wrist, transferring energy to the watch’s mainspring. This stored energy powers the watch’s movement, keeping accurate time.

The Impact of Moving an Automatic Watch Backwards:

Moving an automatic watch backward can have various effects on its movement. While some people believe that it can damage the watch, it is essential to understand the actual risks involved. Contrary to popular misconceptions, moving an automatic watch backward does not inherently cause harm. However, there are considerations to keep in mind.

Factors to Consider When Moving an Automatic Watch Backwards:

Several factors influence whether it is advisable to move an automatic watch backward. The quality of the watch, its age and condition, and the manufacturer’s specifications all play a crucial role. High-quality, robustly constructed automatic watches can generally handle being moved backward without significant issues.

Recommendations for Handling an Automatic Watch:

To ensure the optimal performance and longevity of your automatic watch, it is vital to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Proper winding techniques, such as manually winding the watch or using a watch winder, should be employed. Additionally, regular maintenance and servicing are essential to keep your automatic watch in top condition.

Addressing Frequently Asked Questions:

Can move an automatic watch backward damage it?

In most cases, moving an automatic watch backward does not cause damage. However, it is crucial to consider the watch’s quality, age, and manufacturer’s specifications.

What if an automatic watch is accidentally moved backward?

Accidentally moving an automatic watch backward occasionally is unlikely to cause significant harm. However, it is best to avoid frequent backward movements.

Are there any exceptions to moving an automatic watch backward?

Some specific watch models or vintage watches may be more sensitive to backward movements. In such cases, it is advisable to consult the manufacturer or a professional watchmaker.


In conclusion, moving an automatic watch backward is generally acceptable and does not cause damage, provided certain factors are considered. High-quality watches and those adhering to manufacturer guidelines can handle backward movements without issues. Remember to employ proper winding techniques and prioritize regular maintenance. By understanding the intricacies of automatic watch movements and following recommended practices, you can enjoy the beauty and precision of these timepieces for years to come.

Steve, a dedicated watch aficionado who delves into the intricate world of automatic timekeeping. Drawing from his engineering background, he unravels the technical marvels that power self-winding watches. Steve's fascination was kindled during his travels to Swiss watchmaking hubs, where he gained insights into the synergy of art and mechanics. Through his writing, he brings to light the wonders of these perpetual-motion masterpieces.

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