What’s a Watch Winder and Do I Need One?

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If you’re not a watch aficionado then you can be forgiven for not knowing what a watch winder is or why it’s useful.

After all, modern automatic watches wind themselves up just from the movement that we give them when we wear them, right? Yes, that’s correct, but a watch winder can still be a useful and versatile tool for a number of reasons.

So, if you’ve recently started using an automatic watch or if you own more than one of them, here’s why you might need a watch winder.

What’s A Watch Winder?

As its name suggests, a watch winder is a device that helps wind your automatic or self-winding watches and keep them running when they’re not being worn. It includes a motor and it uses to simulate the movement of hand winding which helps to keep your timepieces running smoothly. And that’s basically it!

Double Watch Winder
Stylish watch winder doubling as a storage unit. See this watch winder.

A good watch winder will usually double as a storage unit – as the place where you’ll keep your watches most of the time when you’re not using them. Therefore, as a display device, the watch winder should offer a safe and secure method for holding the watch.

Of course, if it’s meant to be on display then the watch winder itself should look good too. It should give off a certain feeling of sophistication and style, and it should match your watches’ style.

How Does A Watch Winder Work?

The principle behind the typical watch winder is very simple – watch winders just gently move your watch as your hand would, and in doing so, they help keep the internal components running smoothly.

In this way, a watch winder can be crucial for prolonging the life of your watch or watches, as well as for making sure that they are always running when you need them.

Do Watch Winders Damage Watches?

It’s a commonly asked question whether watch winders can damage a watch. The short answer is “Yes” but this largely depends on the watch winder’s quality and on how you use it.

There are two basic ways a watch winder can damage a watch:

  1. By causing extra wear and tear on the watch for no reason.
  2. By damaging the watch’s mechanisms through excessive and repetitive movement.
Automatic Watch Winder Display Box
Automatic watch winder display box. See it here.

The first of these problems are easily solved by programming your watch winder to a certain number of movements per day, while the second problem is nonexistent with good, commercial watch winders. But let’s break them down in detail.

Most modern watches need a certain number of turns per day to remain wound up – let’s say ~650 turns per day, on average. When that’s the case, putting such a watch on a watch winder that will turn it 1800 times per day is a bad idea.

People sometimes think that this will overwind the watch, but this isn’t possible. This is a myth because once a watch is fully wound, the winding gears of the watch (its crown and rotor) are designed to disengage from the movement. However, this extra movement will still cause unnecessary wear on the watch as a whole. This is a common problem in a lot of watch shops where watches are kept on display for a long time.

To avoid this, you can just use the watch winder’s programming. Most good, modern watch winders come with a plethora of programs and features – adjustable turns per day (TPD), on and off times, directional options and phases, and so on.

The second problem of damaging the watch’s internal mechanisms only happens with sub-par or homemade watch winders. Good watch winders are designed to offer diverse and well-calculated movements that simulate the diverse movements our hands make and that are intended to wind up watches. However, a poor-quality watch winder or a homemade one crafted from, say, an electric drill, doesn’t do that and instead can damage the watch with its excessively repetitive movement.

This video shows how to use a watch winder properly.

Do I Need A Watch Winder?

If you own just one watch and if you’re using it daily, then getting a watch winder probably isn’t worth it for you – you’ll probably keep your watch in good shape at all times by wearing it. If, however, you use your watch infrequently, then a watch winder is a great tool to help you always keep your watch running accurately and in a good condition.

Another good reason to own a watch winder is if you own more than one watch. A lot of people view watches as a type of jewelry and rightly so – they can be beautiful, they can speak volumes about the person’s taste, style, and status, and they can match quite well with one’s clothing to create a great look.

Automatic Watch Winder
Watch winders are perfect for people who have more than one watch. See it here.

For such people, owning multiple watches is no different from owning multiple rings, earring sets, or other types of jewelry. The problem, however, is that owning multiple watches means that most of them will sit idly for the majority of the time. That’s when a watch winder comes in handy – it can help you keep your entire collection of watches running smoothly and accurately at all times without much effort.

Best Watch Winders

The best watch winders are the ones with the following features:

  • Multiple programmable rotation settings and start and stop timers.
  • They look good as display settings and they match the style of your watches and the room they’ll be placed in.
  • They offer good, effective, and non-repetitive motions to keep your watches in great condition.
  • They are silent – a watch winder is a low-power machine so you really shouldn’t hear its motor unless you’re trying to.

To give you some examples, here are some of the best watch winders we could find on the market right now:

  1. The Versa automatic double watch winder. A great choice for people with two or three watches, this Versa device is affordable, quiet, and effective.
  2. The Chiyoda single wooden watch winder. This cool-looking watch winder for single-watch owners or for people who like to swap between two watches has 12 different rotation modes.
  3. The JQueen quiet motors watch winder. This item can house up to 4 watches and is exceptionally quiet.
  4. The Wolf Heritage single watch winder. It has a chrome finish, a glass cover, and multiple settings to choose from.
  5. The Barrington single-watch winder box. Another great option for single watches, this winder has 5 TBD settings and is very quiet.

Where To Buy A Watch Winder?

As we demonstrated above, good watch winders can be found anywhere, including on large sites such as Amazon.

However, if we had to recommend certain places, we’d advise you to look at the dedicated watch and watch winder shops and as most of these retailers offer their products via sites like Amazon, taking your search there is a great way to get started.

You can easily compare and contrast the quality of watch winders and most importantly, go through genuine customer reviews.

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years in the jewelry niche. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education. She has always been interested in expression through fashion and accessories, and her extensive experience in the field has made her a respected voice in jewelry trends and education. As the chief editor of Jewelry Shopping Guide, she not only leads the content strategy but also shares her insights through engaging articles. Her passion for storytelling is reflected in every piece she curates, exploring the intricate relationship between jewelry and personal identity.

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