Sometimes when we get watches sent to us for repair, we naturally assume that the owner knows how to set the time on their watch. This is not the case, as many times someone inherits a fine railroad grade watch from a father or grandfather, and they have no idea how to set the time.
This topic will assist you in setting the hands on your watch.
There are many different ways that watchmakers designed watches and the ways to set them. There are lever set watches, stem set watches, pin or nail set watches and key set watches. We will start with the most used method first and move onto the least common methods.
LEVER SET. These are found mostly on railroad grade pocket watches like the Illinois Bunn Specials and the Hamilton 992's for example. Here is how you set the hands. Remove the bezel that holds the glass crystal. You will then see a small lever on either the right or left hand side of the dial. Pull this lever out. This engages the clutch and allows you to set the hands using the stem as if you were going to wind the watch. Turn the stem until the correct time appears on the watch. When the hands are set, push the lever back into place and replace the bezel. Simple. Right?
PENDANT SET or STEM SET. These setting arraignments are very common. Found on some early railroad grade watches to nice dress watches. Here is what you do. Using the same stem and crown that you wind your watch with, simply pull out on the crown until you notice a click. This engages the clutch and now by turning the stem and crown, you can set the correct time on your watch. When done, push the crown back into place. What could be easier?
KEY SET. Key set watches are some of the oldest types of watches made, dating well over one hundred years. If you have to wind your watch with a key, you probably need to use the same key to set the time. Here is what you do. Either remove the bezel or open the cover over the dial. You will see where the hands attach to the watch. Here you should notice a square shaped arbor. Place the key over this square and turn the hands until the correct time is shown. Remove the key, replace the bezel or cover and the job of setting the time on a key wind, key set watch is done.
PIN or NAIL SET. These are found on very old pocket watches. Located either to the left or right side of the pendant, you will see a small button that is protected with a small sleeve. You can use either a pin or your fingernail to press the small button in. While holding this button in, turn the stem and crown until the correct time is displayed. When done, release the small button. The clutch is then released and the hands begin telling the time.
We hope this helps you with the different methods of setting the time on your pocket watch.
Courtesy of Horologist.com and Timebuilders.com.