Clock Winding Keys: What They Are and How to Use Them

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Clock winding keys are small but essential tools used to wind up mechanical clocks. These clocks typically have a coiled spring or weight mechanism that powers the clock’s movement. Without winding, the clock will eventually stop. In this article, we will explore what clock winding keys are, how to use them, and how to care for them.

What are Clock Winding Keys? Clock winding keys are small, usually metal keys that fit into the clock’s winding holes. They are typically made of brass or steel and come in various sizes and shapes, depending on the clock’s winding mechanism. Some keys have a simple design, while others may have decorative handles or be engraved with the manufacturer’s name.

How to Use a Clock Winding Key:

To use a clock winding key, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the winding holes: Look for two or three small holes on the clock’s face or back. These holes are typically labeled with the letters “F” (for “fast”), “M” (for “medium”), and “S” (for “slow”). These labels indicate which hole to use for winding the clock depending on how fast or slow you want it to run.
  2. Choose the right size key: Select a key that fits snugly into the winding hole. Using a key that is too small or too large can damage the clock’s winding mechanism.
  3. Wind the clock: Insert the key into the appropriate winding hole and turn it clockwise. Turn the key until you feel resistance, indicating that the spring or weight is fully wound. Do not over-wind the clock, as this can damage the mechanism.
  4. Repeat as necessary: Depending on the clock’s mechanism, you may need to wind it every day, every week, or every month. Check the clock’s owner’s manual or consult with a professional clock repair technician for guidance.

Tips for Caring for Your Clock Winding Key:

To keep your clock winding key in good condition, follow these tips:

  1. Store the key in a safe place: Keep your clock winding key in a designated location, such as a small box or drawer. Avoid leaving the key lying around, as it can easily be misplaced or lost.
  2. Keep the key clean: Wipe the key with a soft, dry cloth to remove any dirt or debris. Avoid using water or cleaning products, as they can damage the key’s metal finish.
  3. Use the right key for the clock: Make sure you use the correct key for your clock’s winding mechanism. Using the wrong key can damage the mechanism and make it difficult or impossible to wind the clock.
  4. Have a spare key on hand: It’s a good idea to have a spare clock winding key in case the original key is lost or damaged.


Clock winding keys may be small, but they play a crucial role in keeping mechanical clocks running smoothly. By using the right key, following proper winding techniques, and taking care of the key, you can ensure that your clock will keep ticking for years to come. If you have any questions about your clock or its winding mechanism, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional clock repair technician.

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