Watch Winder Does the Work for You
While most of the watches sold these days are of the electronic variety, a lot of people still own (and buy!) mechanical watches. That’s a matter of personal preference, but many people who are fans and collectors of luxury watches just like the feel and performance of mechanical timepieces.
A popular subset of mechanical watches are automatic watches, which are also known as self-winding watches. They only self-wind if you wear them, which is where a watch winder can come in handy. When you want to wear a watch, you want to put it on and be ready to go. You don’t want to have to wind it, adjust it, or set the time.
Even self-winding watches have a power reserve, which is the set amount of time that it will continue to run without winding. If you’re not wearing it and that time elapses, the watch will stop running. If you only own one automatic watch, you likely won’t encounter that problem very often, as you’ll likely be wearing it pretty much every day.
As is the nature of collecting, a lot of people who buy one automatic watch suddenly find themselves buying a second one, or a third, or a dozen more. By the time you own multiple automatic watches, you’ll find that you can’t be wearing all of them every day and that’s where a watch winder can be a huge help.
Watch Winder Overview
A watch winder is an electrical device that is designed to wind your automatic watches for you. They come in all kinds of sizes and varieties, and a watch winder may be as simple as a small box that holds just one watch. It also might be a piece of furniture that holds 40 watches or more.
Older watch winder designs had a tendency to run all the time and were prone to “overwinding” the watches inside. That’s a problem, as too much winding can damage the movement. Fortunately, many new watch winder models are microprocessor controlled, and leave the user with the ability to control how often, and how, the watch is wound.
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A watch winder is a storage device, and most of them are made to be attractive, so as to fit in with the decore of your home. Many of them look like pieces of fine furniture, with nicely polished and finished wood and glass windows that allow you to see the watches inside.
The watch itself is usually attached to a mount inside, and the mount is able to rotate in a way that simulates the movement of the wrist in order to wind the watch. It is not uncommon for a watch winder to be programmable, so that you can determine whether the movement is clockwise, counterclockwise, or both. Watch winders usually “cycle;” that is, they rotate for a while and then rest for a predetermined period. A good quality watch winder will come with detailed instructions so that you understand exactly how to set it in order to find the winding settings that are best suited to your particular watch.
When shopping for a watch winder, you obviously want to find one that is attractive and which will look good wherever you intend to place it. You also want to find a model that is large enough to accommodate all of the automatic watches that you own, and ideally, one that will have enough room to accommodate any additional watches that you might buy in the near future.
After that, you will want to look at some other features that may be useful. Not every watch winder uses the same source of power. Some are battery operated, and others operate from a wall outlet. A few can work either way, so be sure to buy one with battery power if you need one that is portable.
You should take noise into consideration when buying a watch winder. These are motorized devices, and some are more quiet than others. Most of the models that are particularly quiet will advertise themselves as such. An equally important consideration is to ensure that you are buying a non-magnetic watch winder. Magnetism is a no-no for high end watches, but most electric motors do create a magnetic field while in operation. A good quality watch winder can account for this and will offer shielding to protect your valuable timepieces.
Models that wind a single watch are quite common, as are double watch winders. If you have a large collection, it is not uncommon to find a watch winder that will hold 6, 10, 12, 20, or even 40 watches at a time. If you are looking for a larger watch winder, you will want to be sure that each of the storage spaces can be programmed independently of the others. That way, you can tailor the winding cycle for each watch that you intend to store inside it, as different watches may require different winding schedules.
Some types of watch winder even have a memory that allows them to keep track of multiple winding cycles so that you can use a single winder for multiple watches (though not all at the same time, of course.)
Watch Winder Pricing
The pricing for a watch winder can, like prices for watches, vary quite widely. While these devices used to be quite expensive, there are a number of imported models that are now available at reasonable prices. Many of them advertise that they have high-quality (and quiet) Japanese-made motors.
A watch winder for a single watch with a Japanese motor might sell for as little as $50 or so. You will pay a bit more, but not twice as much, for a model that can wind two to four watches. Watch winder models that can handle 6-10 watches may sell for a few hundred dollars, but models that store more watches than that can get quite expensive. We have seen watch winders priced at $50,000 or more, though these are the models that are intended to store dozens of watches at once.
Watch Winder Summary
If you are one of the thousands of people who own (or intend to own) more than one automatic watch, you should definitely consider buying a watch winder. They’re attractive, they are usually quiet, and the best of them can be programmed to wind your watch in a way that will keep it ready to wear without overwinding it or wearing it out.
A good watch winder is an essential tool for any fan of luxury watches.