Vintage timepieces are equipped with mechanical movements that require daily winding. For manual winding, the crown should be wound gently in one direction until you feel slight resistance. Never force the movement. Some pieces can be rocked gently while being worn and be wound. Consult with your jewelry professional when buying to be sure you understand your watch’s mechanics.
To set the time, the crown should be pulled out gently and turned to set the hands to the correct hour and minute.
Keep in mind that water-resistant timepieces are a 20th century phenomenon. The Rolex Oyster being the first truly water-resistant watch, was introduced in 1927. Water resistant does not mean water-proof and most timepieces have a level of water pressure they can handle. Be sure to consult with your jewelry professional to understand these boundaries.
It’s a good idea to have your vintage timepiece cleaned every two years. If you notice your watch is gaining or losing more than a few minutes over the course of 24 hours, it’s time for a check-up.