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Watch Winders: How Do They Work, and Do I Need One?

Posted by Nicholas Crusie on

Watch Winders: How Do They Work, and Do I Need One?

Watch winders keep your watches wound while you are wearing your watch. Say that sentence three times fast! 

What is a Watch Winder?

A watch winder is an electronic object that is made for keeping your automatic watches fully wound. If you have an extensive watch collection or are a lover of gadgets, a watch winder may be the perfect accessory to add to your collection.

An automatic watch is self-winding. It contains a rotor that spins with the wearer’s movement, and that spin keeps the mainspring wound at all times. Automatic watches include a manual windable crown. If your watch stops working, you must wind your watch before the rotor continues to work to store that natural movement energy for you. However, the natural daily wear creates enough spin in the rotor to keep your watch running between 35 and 45 hours.

If you plan to remove your watch from your wrist for longer than 24 hours, a watch winder could help you keep your watch’s health in check and make sure it stays wound and on time.

How Does a Watch Winder Work?

A watch winder works by slowly rotating your watch within a case or device to remove the process of having to manually wind your watch if you’ve taken your automatic watch out of your daily wear rotation for a few days or weeks. Watch winders are a definite positive if you have multiple watches that you like to rotate through, and you want to keep your watch from totally dying, which can be damaging to your watch over time.

Can a Watch Winder Hurt My Watch?

The short answer is no. Automatic watches have a mechanism in the movement that disengages the winding gears from the mainspring once it has fully wound. However, consider that a watch moving naturally on your wrist does hit resting points throughout the day where the rotor isn’t moving because your hand isn’t moving. Allowing your watch to occasionally rest is healthy for the internal rotor on an automatic watch.

How Do I Know If I Need a Watch Winder?

First of all, owning just one mechanical watch is reason enough to own a watch winder. 

A watch winder can give you the peace of mind you need if you don’t wear your watch every day or are in a situation where you are traveling without your watch. However, investing in a watch winder comes down to preference. Will you be using it every day? Will a watch winder save you time and make it easier to wear the watches you love? 

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then I’d say you should go ahead and begin research on a style that fits all your technical needs and fits in with your dec. Pull that trigger because a watch winder can be a perfect fit for caring for your expanding watch collection.

What Kind of Watch Winder is the Best Option for Me?

You’ll want to take a few different specs into account when purchasing a watch winder. Since the nature of a watch winder is to care for your watch, a watch winder that is intuitive to the actual wear of an automatic watch is best. 

For most watches, you’ll want to look at the following specs when choosing your watch winder:

Rotations Per Minute

Rotations per minute or per 24 hour time period are incredibly important when purchasing your watch winder. Since most automatic watches require minimal movement to stay wound, an adjustable watch winder will wind your watch in the most natural ways and ensure that it keeps ticking away like normal for years to come.

Dual Oscillating Rotation

Not all watch winders are made for all watches. Some watches self-wind under a single rotation, and a Dual Oscillating Rotation could actually be damaging or counterproductive to that style of watch. You will want to look for one that you can either specify the type and direction of rotation or invest in two separate watch winders, one for your Dual Oscillating and one for your Single Oscillating.

Resting Periods

As mentioned above, the natural wear of a mechanical watch includes resting periods. Most affordable watch winders do not come with a smart feature to allow periods of rest for your watch, but some mid-level and luxury watch winders do. The resting period is the most essential factor to consider if you want your watch to be healthy and working for years to come.

Power Source

You are going to want a reliable power source for your watch winder, because if the batteries on the winder go out without you knowing, it absolutely defeats the purpose of storing your watch in a winder. Look for a watch winder that comes with an auxiliary, or plug and play power source. You can be sure that your watch is not merely stored in a beautiful coffin, and instead in a cozy little home that keeps on spinning for as long as your watch is stored.

Design and Style

With the number of beautiful watches out on the market, there is no doubt an unlimited number of options for watch winding storage, with wood, rattan, rose gold, and gunmetal accents abound. Winders that are tailor made to compliment the design of a specific watch style are definitely readily available. You can even purchase tandem watch winders to rotate your multiple watches. There is also an entire watch winding case that can hold up to 24 of your favorite watches and keep them wound simultaneously.

Wrapping It Up

While winders are beautiful and can be just as luxurious as the watch itself, the winder design is only as good as its quality. Buying a cheap winder or simply purchasing a winder based on style alone is the best way to set and forget and watch your watch die in style. 

Watch winders are an optional gadget that need to be considered after you look at your watch-wearing lifestyle and determine if a watch winder will enhance your watch wearing experience. 





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