I have a number of analog watches that run on button batteries. The batteries run down, get replaced, and then I have to reset the time and date. I remember the original instructions they all came with about setting the date outside the range of roughly 9:00 PM to 3:00 AM, but I always have a 50:50 chance of the date subsequently changing at noon instead of midnight. I've tried setting the date at all hours of the day, but nothing changes my odds. Is there some trick to ensure that the date changes at midnight after setting it?

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The problem is that you know what time of day it is when you set the watch, but the watch doesn't. The trick is to do it in reverse and let the date be the basis for the time of day. It's a three-step process. In most cases the watch stem has three positions: all the way out to adjust the time, half way out to adjust the date, and all the way in to disengage the stem.

  1. The window of 9:00 PM - 3:00 AM when you aren't supposed to set the date actually has nothing to do with defining the date change trigger. It's to avoid damaging the gears that drive the date change. So the first step is to set the time on the watch to anything outside that range and then push the stem closed. That avoids potential damage when setting the date.

  2. Pull the stem halfway out and set the date to yesterday's date, and push the stem back in.

  3. Pull the stem all the way out and start moving the time forward. As you approach 12:00, the date will start to change, but it might be on the first time you approach 12:00 or the second. When you hit 12:00 and the date changes, the watch is at 12:00 AM, the start of today, with today's date. From that point set today's actual time. If it is past noon, make a full circuit past 12:00 again and then set the time.

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