The 10 Best Watch Winders
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in March of 2015. If you've spent a considerable amount of money on one or more wristwatches, it makes good sense to protect your investment by keeping them in perfect working order. Unless you wear an automatic timepiece every day, it will soon stop ticking, which can cause long-term problems for the mechanism. Problem solved with one of these winders, some of which are as elegant as any chronograph. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best watch winder on Amazon.
December 12, 2019:
Automatic watches require a delicate balance between winding and resting. Each one is essentially designed to be worn throughout a given day and rested at night, as though it were the only piece in a person's collection. When you own more than one watch, that can get a little more complicated. Keeping your whole collection ticking can have a lot of advantages for the components inside, but overwinding a watch could be even more damaging than letting it stop every now and again.
The best middle ground is a winder that can be programmed to move your watch in a similar pattern it would experience when worn daily on a wrist. The only problem is that different watches have different lengths of mainspring and different abilities when it comes to conserving that spring's energy, resulting in what's commonly referred to as a watch's power reserve.
Because of those differences, we looked for winders that had as much nuance as possible in their rotation patterns, with the ability to rotate in clockwise, counterclockwise, and bi-directional patterns being particularly important depending on the rotor design of a given watch. Both the Wolf Roadster Triple Black and the Rapport London Perpetua III offer a lot of functionality here, with reliable brand names to back them up. We did remove the Wold Heritage Double that had been included on our previous list, however, but that was due to the superiority of some other two-watch cases, the Rapport among them. We also had to get rid of the Versa Double we had before, due to strong magnetic closures on its door that could throw off a fine watch's accuracy.
Lost Time Is Never Found Again
The battery-powered units are particularly convenient for drawer and safe deposit box storage, especially if your watches are valuable.
Let's pretend that you've just been given a beautiful automatic Rolex watch by a family member. Perhaps it was handed down to you as kind of a family heirloom. It looks great, feels great, and even sounds great. You know because you'll actually put your wrist right up against your ear just to hear the quiet clicking and ticking of the watch gears. But maybe you're a little afraid of having to tinker with such a valuable object, especially if you decide to take a few days off from wearing it. After all, you want that watch to continue to last through several more generations, but you don't like the idea of always having to fuss with it, particularly if it has additional functions that require constant winding for accuracy. If this situation describes you, then perhaps a watch winder is in your future.
A watch winder is a device built specifically for automatic (self-winding) watches to keep their gears running when that watch isn't actually in use. Automatic watches typically wind themselves by utilizing an internal weight that rotates when the watch is in motion. When this internal weight swings, it turns the winding mechanism inside the watch. The watch winder takes the place of natural hand and wrist movements that would otherwise wind the watch automatically when being worn. This makes the watch winder a truly useful tool when planning not to wear your timepiece for an extended period of time.
Watch winders can accommodate multiple timepieces at once and will operate by rotating your watches in a circular motion to simulate natural hand movements for activating the self-winding mechanisms.
The style and aesthetics of a watch winder can be just as important as how well it functions. Winders can be very basic and functional in style, whereby the watch is simply held on the exterior of the unit and rotates on a simple tabletop. Since watches are often thought of as pieces of jewelry, some consider their winders to be more like furniture, so designs and construction can more elaborate (i.e. elegant woods, enclosed boxes, fancy watch cushions, even built-in heaters to keep your watches at room temperature).
Watch winders are also available as battery-powered or AC-powered units. The battery-powered units are particularly convenient for drawer and safe deposit box storage, especially if your watches are valuable.
A Personal Choice
Much like the watches you choose to wear and collect, how you choose to store and wind them is also a very personal choice. There are several things to consider when investing in a watch winder, including the space you have available, the price, how large your automatic watch collection is, how much customization you want your winder to have, and what goes best with your room decor. Granted, these qualities are hardly exhaustive.
Winders come in many different shapes and sizes. Consider where you'd like place the winder in your home. Do you prefer to display it as a showpiece for guests when they drop by? If that's the case, then investing a bit more in a winder with enclosed compartments and elegant woods on its exterior might be a good route to take. This can include winders that have a glossy finish and really stand out. Also, some winders have built-in LED lights for display at night. Even if countertop space is limited, you can usually find winders that are still elegant but with a lower capacity to accommodate only one or two watches instead of six to eight.
Many winders also feature clockwise/counterclockwise movements with adjustable motor speeds, so if you have a lot of valuable watches, you may opt for a winder where you can slow down the rotation speed if you're worried about being too hard on the winding mechanism.
Brief History Of The Watch Winder
Watch winders originally had a limited commercial market, as they were primarily used by watch repair shops for short-term applications. Their first exposure to the commercial market appeared in Europe (i.e. London, France, Italy, Germany, and Austria) where most automatic watches were being manufactured. Towards the latter part of the 1990s, there was a high concentration of both engineers and scientists in Japan with a strong interest in automatic watches and winder production. A small Japanese company named Everwell became a part of this niche and started making watch winders for the Japanese market in the late 1990s.
In 1997 at the age of 60, Chuck Agnoff got fed up with having to constantly reset the time and date functions on his Rolex and founded the Orbita Watchwinders corporation in Wilmington, North Carolina where he began both building and selling watch winders in the United States.
Since that time and with the internet explosion at the end of the 20th century, watch winders have made their way into many online businesses (i.e. home shopping networks, storefronts, etc.) where they are still a thriving commodity for both the occasional and die-hard watch collector.
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