I read this the other day while discussing mechanical pocket and wrist watches:

Plus it is common practice to pull the stem out and stop the wristwatch at night or when not wearing it. You then have to set everything each time you put it on. That's what the regulator clock on the mantle is for.

Why would anyone "stop the wristwatch at night"? Or ever? "Pull the stem out"? Why deliberately cause more problems for yourself? I can understand forgetting to wind it up for 33+ hours so that it has stopped naturally, but why actively go out of your way to manually stop it instead of just winding it up so that it's ready when you wake up and doesn't have to be set every day?

Don't tell me this is some sort of "wear and tear" thing? Surely they can't be that fragile, as to require a "good night's sleep" like a human?

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    $\begingroup$ @jko Well... Because it's a massive PITA to set the time against some other clock every day as compared to just winding it up? $\endgroup$
    – Kaz
    Jul 1, 2021 at 18:28
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    $\begingroup$ Yes you've reiterated your question and I suggested an answer a person that still wears mechanical watches could make. $\endgroup$
    – jko
    Jul 1, 2021 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ @jko FWIW the only component that was worn out and failed (and done that twice) in the 60 years I have been using the same mechanical watch (24 hours a day, and zero maintenance) was --- the stem. And it's an automatic winding watch, so the stem was only ever used to correct the time occasionally. Who knows how many stems I would have got through if I "pulled it out" every night to stop the watch! (It's a good quality watch, but not in the top price range - the last time a professional put a value on it, his estimate was around £2,000.) $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Jul 1, 2021 at 19:27
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    $\begingroup$ If this is "best practice." I wonder why most owners of expensive mechanical watches use automatic winders to keep them running continuously when not being worn. $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Jul 1, 2021 at 19:36
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    $\begingroup$ This is the first time I've been made aware that some people might pull out a watch stem to stop it over night & then reset the time in the morning using a mantle clock. Firstly, not everyone has a mantle clock. Secondly, doing this is fine if someone has the time to do it every morning. It's easier to let the watch run over night & put on one's wrist in the morning, showing the correct time (assuming the watch keeps time accurately for extended periods). $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Jul 2, 2021 at 8:13

1 Answer 1


Mechanical watches wear out. They have to be rebuilt every 5 years or so. This method prevents wear, and also lets you spread the life amongst several watches daily, versus the wear of multiple watches winding down and the same time.

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    $\begingroup$ By pulling out, you will need to re-wind, readjust time, then push to restart, create more mechanical tears and wear. I guess many of you haven't ever seen a mechanical watch, not to mention owned one. $\endgroup$
    – r13
    Jul 2, 2021 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ @r13 you don't have to be a punk about it. Is this how you talk to people in person? Build your own site since you consider yourself to be the sole arbiter of answers. Your seagull activity here isn't needed. $\endgroup$
    – Tiger Guy
    Jul 2, 2021 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, this is the way I talk to passing the fact. Sorry to offend you unintentionally. $\endgroup$
    – r13
    Jul 2, 2021 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ BTW, your "5 years" remark may be correct in an "overall" sense, but the Swiss watch makes may feel offended, as they pride their product on its accuracy and longevity that has been constantly reflected in the price tag to date. $\endgroup$
    – r13
    Jul 2, 2021 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ BTW, you shouldn't guess when trying to assess "facts" $\endgroup$
    – Tiger Guy
    Jul 3, 2021 at 3:00

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