Your timepiece deserves a piece of your time. Watch winders are maintenance devices that upkeep your automatic, self-winding watch moving when you’re not wearing it (more on this later). True gentleman wear excellent timepieces, crafted of the best moving parts on the market, and you can’t let those sit there and rot when you’re not using them. Take a gander at these ten watch winders to upkeep your arsenal of bling when you’re not using them.
The Best Watch Winders
Versa has undergone a massive upgrade in their watch winder systems. A new and improved Japanese motor and gearbox ensure optimal function, allowing you to select four different options for winding at three directions, with smart technology to repeat your preferences after it’s been turned back on.
This tower display saves space while looking brilliant, displaying your watches on top of one another for a unique effect that you’re sparsely see on other double winder models. Additional attachments allow you to hold larger watches, like G-Shock watches, with no trouble, while a one-year warranty directly from Versa gives you the assurance you need.
- Weight3 pounds
This is certain to be the classiest display item on your shelf. WOLF gives us a fabulous-looking watch winder to display a single timepiece on, while promising a precise 900 turns per day. They’re dedicated to running like clockwork, and come with multiple power options. Plug this into the AC adapter or keep it battery-operated; the choice is yours.
Apart from function and versatility, you get a two-year manufacturer-backed warranty, which can be used no matter where you’re purchasing this across the globe. The glass casing and chrome hardware add an elegant touch while keeping your watches ticking in perfect time. This winder weighs just under a pound, and boasts the perfect way to display and maintain your classy IWC watch or fansy Tag Heuer watch.
- Weight4.67 pounds
Much like it’s counterpart, the Heritage also comes in a double version. You still get the same great features, such as a manufacturer-backed, two-year global warranty, as well as 900 precise turns every single day. AC and battery options mimic their single model, but we run into a fantastic shift on the display.
With this model, you also get an all-inclusive compartment along the top to store your watch bands when not in use, keeping them from cracking or fading from sun exposure through a window in your room. For display and ultimate function upkeep, WOLF’s Heritage is the way to go. Whether you are into minimalist watches or sport watches, this winder will be good for both.
- Model14 pounds
In this quadruple winder selection, you get to enjoy the sound of silence – Japanese quiet-operating motors won’t disturb you from the other room, and the price tag won’t kill you. This model utilizes acrylic glass and interior PU leather (while it’s used for demagnetization) aid in the cost, allowing you to wind four watches at once.
JQUeen unit operates off of a dual motor, meaning that one side (holding two watches) will spin to win them up, even if there’s only one watch in the placement mold, and comes with four settings for different winding speeds. You get to choose how much energy and winding is dedicated to your timepiece. Comes with AC adapter or battery operation, and looks brilliant on just about any wood type for your wardrobe or shelf. If you are one of those men who love buying watches for different occasions, then you can place your fansy Diesel and Chronograph watch on one side, Dive and hiking watch on the other.
- Weight4.4 Pounds
Multiple forms of engineering and style blend into one – the CHIYODA case utilizes Japanese silent motors for perfectly quiet operation, as well as ebony grain wood for a classic and regal appearance. This single watch winder is kinder on your wallet, while providing the versatility you need. This unit comes with two forms of power operation, AC and battery, and comes in a compact size for easy storage.
Any timepiece you have will look fantastic in this case. Acrylic glass keeps your favorite Tissot watch safe, while a dual knob option along the back is set to match two different watches. If your current watch needs to be wound, simply trade places with your display watch, and use the second knob to contour to the new watch’s specific needs (after you program it). Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best watch rolls.
- Weight2.35 pounds
If you’re a fan of anything sci-fi, you’ll have a deep appreciation for this fantastic Versa Neo winder. This brilliant display intends to enhance the lassy look of your watch, while ensuring proper function is upkept properly. Japanese motors promise quiet operation, while your winder either turns clockwise, counter, or bidirectional depending on your preference.
You get a one-year warranty and 110/220v power adapter, as well as a spacious interior for different sized watches. Your thicker band models with larger watch faces will have no problem fitting, while still looking excellent on display. If you’re planning an extended business trip, one that will require a wardrobe change from professional to black-tie event ready, the Versa Neo will be right there with you – excellent for all types of travel. So put in your favorite compass watch in it and hot the road!
- Weight2.5 pounds
There are two truths to any gentleman’s wardrobe: black goes with anything, leather goes with everything. JQueen utilizes Japanese motors for quiet operation, while textured 45-degree leather lining gives you a unique look. Acrylic glass keeps the dust off your watches, while providing durable protection. Even if a little one were to knock your watch winder off the dresser, you’ll be good to go.
Four program settings put the amount of daily turns in your hand, while also selecting between three directional options. This model includes two power supply options, PU leather lining for demagnetization, and a high-grade look to wind two watches at once. If you like those all-black watches, you will deffinitely like this all-black winder.
- Weight5.82 pounds
Go for a Barrington Watch Winder if you’re looking for a winder with a more modern aesthetic. In an array of colors from Shadow Black to Racing Green, the single watch winders from Barrington feature an ultra-quiet Japanese motor, multiple rotation settings and a ‘jump’ feature which allows you to connect winders together. The ‘box’ style shape means you can keep it tucked into a bookshelf or on your desk whilst powering is easy with AA batteries or AC mains.
The winder can wind your watch from the standard 650 turns per day up to 1,950 and their online database can tell you exactly how you should be winding your watch. 12 months warranty comes as standard.
A choice of 7 colors
Ultra-quiet Japanese motor
Multiple rotation settings: clockwise, counterclockwise or alternating
Multiple Turns Per day (TPD) settings from 650, 750, 850, 1,000 or 1,950 to suit any weight of watch
A fan of the old-school steel sae look? That’s how protected your watch will be in the walls of your Evo Cube. Your virtually silent motor runs like a dream, encasing your watch in black leather for a classic and classy look. The exterior of the cube is made in lacquered wood, and available in eight different colors to match your watch (or your decor).
Rubber clips allow you to accommodate multiple watch sizes, so you won’t have to worry about larger watches fitting properly. Tie it all together with Rapport London’s logo on the bottom corner to showcase your taste, and you’re good to go. It is beautiful and reliable, so put your Pilot watch in there and rest assured it will be protected.
WOLF’s excellent quality of our top two models comes in a quad version. Designed for the classy gentleman and optimized for excellent performance, you get a precise 900 turns per day, while utilizing your choice of two power options.
Backed by WOLF’s patented innovation and two-year manufacturer-backed warranty, you’ll not only get to gaze at your fantastic watches on brilliant display, but you’ll get to take a deep breath knowing that hell or high water could come, and WOLF will take care of you.
- Weight17 pounds
Watch Winder Buying Guide and FAQs
We’ve scoured the four corners of the internet to find you the very best watch winders on the market, but what really goes into them? How did we make our selection, and how should you make yours? These are the factors that should ultimately influence your purchase decision.
Q: What is a Watch Winder?
A: When you wear automatic, self-winding watches, there isn’t a care in the world. It keeps moving, the world keeps spinning - but there’s a catch. It only keeps moving while you’re wearing it. Your motions move parts inside of the watch to keep everything spinning, which keeps up the “self-winding” aspect.
Your watch winder is an automatic device to keep your watches wound-up when they’re not in use. If you have more than one brilliant watch (and, you really should), you may notice from time to time, when you go to pull out the designated special occasion watch, that it stops moving. You have to keep everything spinning to support your watches.
You can wind them up yourself, but when they’ve been sitting there for ages, it can take just as long to get them going again, not to mention the noise behind resetting the time (and synchronising it properly, for that matter). Keep these on your watch while they’re in their cases or in your wardrobe, and they’ll be good as new when you go to pick them up. You just need to brush the dust off.
Q: Do I Need a Watch Winder?
A: You can absolutely wind your watches by yourself, but who has time for that? The sophisticated gentleman is going to have a small army of watches at his disposal, and they’ll all require winding again at some point. Think of the time wasted (ironically), especially when you’re trying to hop out the door in a pinch. Fashionably late is one thing - arriving after the festivities is another.
If you have a Sunday afternoon to wind up your watches, more power to you, and we wish you well. If you’re going to actually spend your time instead of waste it, you need a watch winder. Time saved, timepieces savored, money well spent.
Benefits of a Watch Winder
- Upkeep: As mentioned, it keeps your timepieces looking fantastic. While modern watches aren’t going to “clog up” (referring to the oils found within your gears), they’re going to require diligent care. You bring your suit to the dry cleaner, your car to the mechanic, and your watch to the winder (much simpler than the others).
- Multiple WInds (Multi-Dock Versions only): You don’t just have one watch - you have a collection of swagger to compliment every suit and beloved bit of arm candy. Getting a multi-dock winder isn’t just recommended; it’s essential for the avid collector.
- Protection: Watch winders keep your luxury watches safe. In most cases, it can prevent 99% of normal dust accumulation, while keeping your watches on display in fabulous fashion. Keeping your luxury watches safe from scratches and sun bleaching (depending on where you leave it in your home), as well as protecting it from any little ones that may be running around, is a necessary precaution.
Features to Look For
As with any purchase, there are key features to keep an eye out for. Watch winders are fairly straightforward items. Despite that fact, these are still crucial components of any purchase decision.
- Warranty: We’re all aware of warranties. Some of us keep that information close by, some of us don’t. With watch winders, it’s crucial to ensure you get at least a two-year warranty. Depending on the cost and intricacy of the winder, some brands will slide by when they ensure it’s a manufacturer’s warranty, but as a rule of thumb, try to ensure that you have a good warranty.
- Single or Dual: Now that we have the boring part out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff: how many watches you’ll be able to wind with your purchase. Watch winders are definitely for collectors or those who own more than two self-winding watches, so you’ll need to take a hard look at your common use. How often do you switch out watches? How many do you own? If you have some designed for special occasions, some that may not see consistent use, you’ll definitely want to grab a dual (or more) winding unit to keep them in top form.
- Precision: Just like your watch, you want absolute precision. Your watch winder is set to a certain number of winding sessions per day. For instance, our top pick, the WOLF Heritage, comes with a precise 900 winds, better known as turns, per day. That’s the precision you want to keep your timepieces perfectly synchronize
- PU Leather: Depending on your environment, you could suffer magnetization, which will potentially ruin your watch’s battery. PU leather aids in keeping static and other forms of electricity at bay, so you’ll have nothing to worry about.
- Size Attachments: Got a bigger watch? Some models are going to accommodate your larger watches with the use of additional mechanisms that can easily be placed or removed. If you own watches of varying sizes, this is an absolute must.
How to Properly Set and Use Your Watch Winder
It takes a little getting used to, but it’s all going to be worth it, especially when you know your way around the mechanics and motions like the back of your hand. You’ll need to remember TPD, which stands for turns per day, so you can adjust your settings accordingly.
You can individually set each motor (in most models) to work with different TPD settings, allowing you to use multiple different watch types and builds with your winder. A touch bit of math is going to be involved here. Find out how many turns each cycle of your watch winder has. For instance, if each cycle gives you watch six winds, and you need six-hundred TPD for your watch to stay in tip-top shape, here’s what you do:
- Take the minutes in the day, being 1,440, and divide your TPD threshold by it
- In this example, we’re going for 600 TPD; we know that 1,440 divided by 600 is 2.4, or two minutes and forty seconds
- We know your cycle has 6 turns, so we can now determine that you need 100 cycles per day in order to meet the TPD
- Now, we take the minutes in the day, divided by 100, which gives us fourteen minutes and forty seconds
- You’re going to set each cycle exactly 14:40 apart
Setting up each cycle is far more important than it seems. Later on in this guide, we’re going to discuss what happens when you overwind your watch, and how it can potentially cause long-term damages.
Now, how do you actually use it? You have to determine which way your watch needs to be wound. Most watch winders are going to come with unidirectional adjustments, so that won’t be a problem (though do be sure to check out your preferred winder; it’s never good to assume).
Ensure that your crown or winding mechanism access is properly situated. You want to set it in place, which is fairly easy to do and explanatory based on your preferred winder, and then close your case. Turn it on, and watch it go. If you’re standing there, waiting for something to go wrong, it’s totally normal on your first use.
How to Maintain Your Watch Winder
There’s a few elements that you need to take a look at in order to identify maintenance issues. First of all, let’s talk about the exterior. There’s multiple types of watch winder builds, but each of them share one fact: they’re boxes. Some have windows, some don’t. Some have legs, some don’t. Let’s use these blanket maintenance solutions regardless of what type of watch winder you have.
- Inside Out: Start from the inside, every single time. If you’re just rocking a single motor watch winder, you have far less interior spots to cover. This includes using a lens cleaning wipe (because Windex and paper towels are going to streak and leave fibers behind), or a single use screen cleaning wipe. Check for any moisture that may get trapped and damage your interior, and if there is none, then good job keeping it in a cool, dry place.
- From the Top, Down: Now it’s time to get the outside looking shiny and out-of-the-box brand new. Regardless of your external material, those single use screen cleaning wipes we mentioned do the trick. If you’re not a fan of single-use items, grab a microfiber rag, hit the exterior dry. Grab the dust off of it, and while you’re at it, check for areas that require a bit more attention. The outside is fairly easy to clean.
- Motor Housing: Now we’re getting into the real maintenance aspect of it all. If you’re not keen on taking things apart and putting them back together, it’s time to learn. Screw tops are most likely going to be covered by another material, keeping the uniform look intact, so you’ll need a lot of light to start taking things apart. Next, you’ll need to carefully disassemble the chassis, and get a good look at the motor housing. This is where the fun begins.
- Check the Belt: Like most motors, there’s going to be a visible belt that’s the blood of the machine, if you will. Check your belts at least once every six months for wear-and-tear. You’ll need to look for splitting or frayed edges along the belt’s edges, and feel it to test out potential weak spots.
- Manufacturer Parts: You’ll be able to perform basic functions, like changing out the belt or checking for damaged wiring in the electrical panel, at which point you can check with the manufacturer to order parts for your watch winder. In many cases, if it’s internal within the motor, you may need to utilize your warranty and send it back. Watch winders usually encounter their first problem within six months to two years, so with most warranties, you’ll get a free tune-up or repair in that time.
Q: What is the Difference Between Automatic and Mechanical Watches?
A: The differences may seem rather small at first, but after we break down the main components of each, you’ll be surprised to find out just how different they really are.
For one, mechanical watches also have a subcategory, called automatic mechanical watches. Yeah, the whole thing gets pretty confusing at times, but stick with us and we’ll be flying right in no time. Mechanical watches need to be wound in order to keep operating, while automatic watches do not. When you get into the hybrid models, which is what we’ll be talking about in a little bit, it gets a little complicated.
These all have a ratchet sitting somewhere in the inside that locks into place, and holds the kinetic energy of the wound movement, mostly. Whether you go automatic, mechanical, or automatic mechanical, they all have the same level of accuracy, so if having a consistent watch is your concern, you have nothing to worry about there.
Automatic mechanical watches come with power reserves, which allow you to keep your watch on for extended periods of time. Some models even allow for up to 72 hours or more, which is plenty of time to switch it out for another watch in your winder, and keep a rotating schedule of watches on your wrists.
Q: How Long Will an Automatic Watch Run When Not in Use?
A: That all depends on the power reserve feature. It sounds fancy, like it’s a lithium-ion battery or something, but in reality, it’s just the mainspring and hairspring in the internal components of the watch, and how much tension they’re able to safely hold, while it gets dispersed throughout your watch. There are far more factors than meets the eye, because we’re willing to bet that most men aren’t clockmakers.
That being said, you basically have to trust whatever the sales page or brand states when it comes to your power reserve time. If you get your watch, and it feels like that reserve is longer or shorter, put it in your winder, and time it to figure out the longevity of your power reserve. Many men prefer this method since it gives actionable results they can rely on, having done the testing themselves.
Q: How Much Winding Does Your Automatic Watch Need?
A: Keep in mind that your watch winder operates with X amount of turns per hour/day, so it’s slowly dispersing energy to the watch’s automatic movement, while it simultaneously runs and loses some of that power. When you factor in so many variables, it gets very fuzzy. We’ve done the best we possibly can to lock-down a certain range to live by.
First, you have to start with your watch and its requirements. If it says it’s supposed to be wound 40-60 times per day, then that’s talking about manually windig the thing. You may notice that some watches don’t come with a manual wind facility, even though it’s an automatic watch. That’s because these have been designed to be used with either specific tools, or even watch winders instead of hand-wound movement.
You can cause stress to the hairspring or mainspring (more on this in our next section) by doing it yourself. When it says it needs 40-60 winds per day (or however long the power reserve cycle has been set to), that means taking it slow, and usually going for 180 degree turns when possible.
Q: Can an Automatic Watch be Overwound?
A: In short, yes, it’s possible. Let’s break down the anatomy of your automatic watch and delve into it. There’s a power reserve, which is basically the way that your watch stores kinetic energy, or power, through a hairspring. When you wind up your watch, energy is transferred into the spring by winding it, where it slowly uncoils, making the watch tick.
Sounds pretty simple, but think of the fact that you’re winding up a little piece of sturdy metal inside of your watch. Your watch is small, and the moving parts inside are even smaller. That means you’re toying with the pressure of each component (mostly the hairspring) when you wind it. When you think of it that way, it adds a whole new element to how you feel when you wind your watch.
Overwinding is possible, which is why watch winders are set to precise movements per hour or day, so your watch stays in prime form even when it hasn’t been used in a little while. When you hand-wind your watch, you’re running the risk of applying too much pressure, and damaging the hairspring. Spoiler alert: that hairspring is the most crucial part of your watch, and depending on the brand you go with, it could be the most expensive to repair or replace.
Earlier in the guide, we discussed the necessary math to set up your watch winder. This is the part where we lay it down on the line: it’s super important to pay attention to properly winding it. You’re in control of the settings, and overwinding your watch to the point of damage while using a watch winder is a rookie mistake that you can’t afford to make.
Q: Are Watch Winders Noisy?
A: There’s a few factors that go into this, but in general, they can produce very small outbursts of sound, without being disrupting to your daily life. Your watch winder quality is going to play into how loud it gets, but it’s also about how heavy your watches are.
Most watch winders don’t display the usual weight they can hold, because one way or another, it’s going to wind up your watch. When it goes over a certain weight, especially watches with sturdy steel bracelets, there’s going to be a light, pitter-patter sounding knocking noise.
This is maybe a faint whisper, but if you live alone, or you go into your walk-in closet where it’s quiet, you might pick up on this sound from time to time. If you do, it won’t take much time before it fades into the background.
These sounds occur from the mechanical movement inside the winder. These are very fine-tuned pieces of equipment, so they’re designed to hold a specific weight range before they start knocking around. It’s best to leave your winder in the walk-in and keep the door closed, or leave it in the guest room while it’s tending to your watch’s movement.
If it’s very, very loud and sounds like someone’s knocking on the door, it’s what the watch collector community calls “Wobbly winder disease,” which can cause you to get it checked out, YouTube how to fix it yourself, or consider getting a new one. Before these issues occur, use our guide to properly maintain and clean your watch winder, and you shouldn’t run into many problems along the way.
Q: Do Watch Winders Work Differently With Internationally-Purchased Watches?
A: There’s sort of a universal code to how watches are made, and it usually consists of very similar or adaptable styles that most countries and independent watchmakers live by. You have to remember, watches are far, far older than America, so the rest of the world had already figured out a way to iron out all the details of what to do, how to build them, and make them accessible to the global community without restricting access based on geographic location.