Manual mechanical watches operate using a wound spring to power the gears and internal components, as the user twists the crown to wind up the mainspring and store potential energy. As it slowly unwinds, it distributes power to the gears to keep the watch running. In an automatic mechanical watch, this is done by a rotor inside that spins as the watch is moved. If it is not used on a daily basis, it is recommended to purchase a watch winder to keep the gears in motion when it is not in use.
When winding your watch, be sure to do so when it is not on your wrist. The awkward angle can put undue stress on the stem and connected components. Also, be sure to not over wind it. when you start to feel it tighten slightly, it is time to stop. if you keep going past that point, you can damage it. Most have a one to two day power reserve, but it is good to get into the habit of winding it daily, if it is a daily-wear piece. Be sure to check if your timepiece is water-resistant and do not push it past it’s limits. it is food to have the gaskets and seals changed and checked annually to ensure it’s maintaining its dust and/or moisture resistance. Every 5-6 years, it is good to have the watch cleaned (sometimes referred to as ‘overhauled’) and re-oiled. Over time, the oil inside the mechanisms can get dried and gunky. It is better than letting it run for 10 years to find out that the gears are worn down and parts are starting to fail.