Related to the question: Why would anyone “pull the stem out and stop the wristwatch at night or when not wearing it” in the context of mechanical watches?

When the stem of either a mechanical wrist or pocket watch is fully pulled out and the watch appears to stop, what happens inside the watch; are the hands just disengaged, is the watch stopped and what happens to the main spring, does it continue unwinding or is it prevented from unwinding?

  • $\begingroup$ the question is not answerable because it depends on the design of the watch ... please read your own question carefuly ... it is making an unrealistic assumption that all mechanical watches are designed the same way $\endgroup$
    – jsotola
    Jul 3, 2021 at 3:50

2 Answers 2


It disengages the winding wheels and eventually stops the movement after the energy stored in the spring has exhausted.

enter image description here enter image description here



On mine I unlock, or unscrew the stem, nothing happens.

Pull it out to the first detent - no change, all continues to work.

Pull out to the second detent, the hands stop (second, minute & hour) and I can change the time.

There will be manyu answers as there are many different internal mechanisms.

  • $\begingroup$ Realizing my error, I've edited my question to limit it to when the stem is fully pulled out & the watch appears to be stopped. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Jul 2, 2021 at 10:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.