It is sometimes the case that we have automatic watches returned after service as the customer was unaware or had forgotten to wind it up prior to wearing it!
From a dead stop automatic watches should always be wound to give them full power which the automatic mechanism then keeps topped up from then on. It is unrealistic to just put an automatic watch on after it has fully ran down the mainspring and expect the automatic mechanism to fully wind the mainspring back up. You would have to wear the watch constantly for a good number of days and keep moving around (i.e. not sitting still in a chair!) Automatic movements tighten the mainspring in very small increments - enough to keep a wound watch topped up but unrealistic to actually fully wind the mainspring from a 'stop'
The customer probably never had to wind the watch much before because they were wearing it day in/day out from the 1st time it was wound or left the shop it was brought from! Once wound fully they can expect the automatic feature to return to it's previous duty and likely never have to wind it again (assuming they wear it daily from then on)
We also often find that during the time their automatic watch was in for service the customer has used or purchased a quartz watch and/or now that their 'best' watch is back from service will make the automatic their dress watch. Consequently they expect to wear their automatic mechanical watch the same way as they did their battery watch. Please remind them in such instances to wind the watch 20 or so times if they are not wearing it regularly.
You can expect an automatic watch to work if you put it on your wrist and move around for a while - even a day, but if it isn't wound from the start then you're only likely to get 4 or 5 hours out of the watch before it stops - the customer then thinking there is a fault !!
A final word on winding an automatic watch. Unlike a non-automatic watch the watch never winds to a stop i.e. when you can no longer wind. This is because the mainspring is designed to slip right at the top of its power so that it is much less likely to be broken by the automatic mechanism. In some watches this can be felt as a little resistance through the crown when fully wound.
There are some models of Seiko and others that have no wind facility !! In this instance the watch should be shaken about vigorously for 5-10 minutes or until the owner is bored and then worn constantly and maybe shaken from time to time.
Automatic watches are great for reasonably active people - but those that are likely to be sat for long periods i.e. the very elderly can have problems with insufficient movement throughout the day to keep the automatic mechanism operative.
We hope this helps answer most of the questions and faults of automatic watches but feel free to contact us should we be able to assist further.