If you’re an avid watch collector, you’ve probably heard of a watch winder and debated if one was missing from your life. If you’ve never heard of a watch winder, allow us to explain:
A watch winder is a device, usually shaped like a box, used to keep automatic watches running when not being worn.
Automatic vs. Hand-wound
A self-winding (automatic) watch is made with a mechanism that winds the mainspring. The mainspring is the source of power for all watches. Inside the watch is an eccentric weight (the rotor) that turns on a pivot. Moving in a circular motion, rotors wind mainsprings.
On automatic watches, the movement of your wrist spins the rotor and tightens the mainspring. Manually winding watches have no rotor and therefore need to be hand-wound.
When your automatic watch is not on your wrist and not being wound, a watch winder is a valuable device that gently rotates your watches. These devices keep the mainspring wound and your watch running.
Why People Use Watch Winders
The idea behind a watch winder is that it keeps your watch lubricated and ready for action despite being unworn. The same way that leaving your car away in a garage can have it become rusty and worn down, some believe that an unworn watch can face the same fate.
Watch winders are beautiful for their mere respect for the craftsmanship of watches. Watches are intricate and sometimes delicate accessories that require care. For watch winder advocates, a winder is a helpful tool for in-between visits to a service shop.
Why People Don’t Use Watch Winders
Some feel that winders are unnecessary devices, overvalued, and hyped by influencers in the watch collecting community.
Watches shouldn’t break down due to a lack of use. A watch’s lubricants may dry up, but this should only result from age and temperature, not because you don’t use it. In addition, modern watches have evolved to use synthetic watch oils that don’t coagulate.
Some even find watch winders to cause more harm than good. As winders keep your watch continuously running, they can cause wear to your watches’ gears and pivots.
If winding skeptics have put some doubt in your mind, consider the durability positioned at the forefront of watches’ craftsmanship. Craftsmen hope that you’ll adore your watch, wanting to wear it all day, every day.
Whether it’s being wound on your wrist or by a winder, “overworking” your watch is always a possibility.
Can You Wind An Automatic Watch On Your Own?
After leaving our watches unworn for a few days, most of us don’t want to shake our wrists repeatedly until we’ve rewound them. You can undoubtedly wind an automatic watch without insistent shaking.
To rewind an automatic watch, you can turn the crown clockwise until set to the proper time and date. Depending on the watch you’ll need to unscrew the crown in a specific way. Once you’ve set the time, you can screw down the crown and continue to wear your watch.
If you’d rather not worry about winding and are drawn to the handiness of a watch winder, then you may want to consider the different kinds.
What To Look For In A Watch Winder
Watch winders come in a variety of forms, each having its own benefits and aesthetics. Your purchase should depend on your collection and each of your watches’ properties. You should know what to look for in a winder and consider several details throughout your search.
Flexibility in settings may be the most important aspect to consider when shopping for a watch winder. The main setting of a winder is the adjustment of turns per day (TPD) and the direction of rotation.
Between 650 and 1800 daily turns should handle nearly all automatics, but you’ll want to check in with a professional horologist (a person or company that makes or repairs clocks and watches) for their recommendation. You’ll also want a winder that rotates clockwise, counterclockwise, or both, so all your watch's needs are met.
How you place your watch in the winder is vital for its preservation. Inside a winder are cushions and holders meant to protect your watch’s face, case, and bands, but the wrong ones can unforgivably ruin your watch.
Too much cushion can expand your watches’ band, and a lack of tension can let your watches easily slip out of place. Be observant of your watches’ holder and placement overall. You should place your watch vertically to optimize the force of gravity for rotation.
Electronics are often known for being noisy, especially when overheated or running constantly. It’s easy to expect a watch winder to produce a good amount of noise, but manufacturers have found ways to reduce winders’ disruption as technology evolves.
You’ll want to find a winder that fits your home or office aesthetic. To place a luxury watch in a dingy winder is a shame. Some winders resemble vending machines, whereas others are exquisite pieces of decor.
If watches in your collection have accents of wood or your home has wooden ceiling beams, you may want to find a winder to match. The winder should complement the beauty and craftsmanship of your watches.
Keep in mind these four factors when shopping for a watch winder so that you have the one that best fits all of your needs. There are a variety of winders, from single-watch winders to ones that hold up to 12 different watches at once, so take your time as you shop.
Make sure you’re investing in what’s best for you and your watches.
Is A Watch Winder A Good Investment?
You will need to have your watches serviced continuously. While some believe that you can space out the frequency of your watches’ checkups with a winder, others feel they’d be just as frequent without one.
All watches need to be appreciated and taken care of, and if you find that a watch winder allows you to do that further, it’s a good investment.
Find a winder with the proper settings to care for your watches and the right looks to make you feel good about your collection’s beauty and home decor. A watch winder should last you a while and shouldn’t break down anytime soon.
If you invest a great deal of time and care into your watches, you may consider investing in a watch winder.