Automatic watches keep regular time by automatically winding themselves in response to the movement made by your wrist. Thus, if an automatic watch is left off the wrist long enough for its built-in power reserve to diminish, the watch will stop. For single watch owners, this is a problem rarely encountered since the same watch is kept moving on the wrist most days. Regularly wearing an automatic watch is one way to ensure it keeps accurate time. Storing it in a watch winder, however, is another.

Owners of multiple luxury watches will agree that a watch winder may not be an essential piece of equipment but it can certainly add to the enjoyment and experience of growing a collection of horological instruments. Whilst there are pros and cons to investing in a luxury watch winder, those who have decided to purchase one will find everything they need to know about owning one here.

What is a watch winder?

A watch winder simulates the natural movements of your wrist, rotating your automatic watch for you during those periods where you don’t plan to wear it. The unit can be specifically set to rotate to the requirements of your watch, eliminating the need to manually wind it.

Why do I need a watch winder?

A watch winder can be a practical acquisition for some. It eliminates the need to manually wind and reset your watch when the time comes to wear it, but can also serve as a safe and secure storage holder for your watch, displaying its beauty at the same time. Owning a single or multiple watch winder ensures that your favourite timepieces can be kept in a ready-to-wear state all the time, allowing you to quickly swap and change your preferred wristwatch as and when desired.

What types of watch winders are there?

The saying goes “you get what you pay for” and that’s never been a truer statement where watch winders are concerned. The market offers everything from budget watch winders to beautifully crafted high-end designs that incorporate the best technology and a superior selection of materials to match the level of quality found in a high-end luxury watch. As well as variations in pricing, watch winders also vary in size and features. You can find anything from a single watch winder right up to devices that rotate up to 16 watches at a time. Some reputable luxury watch winder manufacturers include Scatola Del Tempo, SwissKubiK, Wolf, and Buben & Zörweg. Some automatic watch winders serve as a stylish storage box for your watch, others fulfil the role of a safe.

What are general features on a watch winder?

Different watch winders offer slightly different features. An ultra-quiet motor, a high level of precision, a warranty and multiple rotation settings are all considered useful features of a watch winder. The TPD setting refers to the device's winding cycles. Most watch manufacturers provide guidance on how many turns per day a watch requires (usually between 500-800 turn per day) so having the option to select a TPD setting is useful, especially for those who own multiple luxury watches. One key feature of a watch winder is to ensure it winds in both directions since most modern watches do while many vintage watches only rotate in one direction.

When do I need a watch winder?

You don’t have to own a huge collection of watches before investing in an automatic watch winder. A single timepiece used only for special occasions can be kept safely in a watch winder when not being worn. That said, many like to indulge in a luxury watch winder once they have established a larger collection, enabling them to choose a watch quickly without having to prepare it beforehand. A lengthy process is required to reset and date a complication watch like a perpetual calendar, for example, so making sure it keeps ticking over in a winder can be considered a clever option in this instance. 

Can a watch winder hurt my watch?

Although many luxury watch collectors don’t tend to keep their watch off their wrist for long, watch winders won’t directly harm or overwind a watch. This is because the device includes a clutch that will disengage once the spring is fully wound.  Nevertheless, the mainspring in an automatic watch never comes to the end of the spring, so in effect, an automatic watch cannot be overwound in any instance.

How does a watch winder work?

Generally, watch winders are designed to be easy to use. When you don’t plan on wearing your watch, you place it inside the watch winder, adjust the settings to the required TPD and switch the device on (either at the mains supply socket or battery-operated button). The watch winder mimics the natural movements of the wrist by rotating the watch, pausing for a few seconds and resuming. This winds the moving weight inside the watch.

What watch winder should I buy?

MONOCHROME presents a broad range of watch winders. Scatola Del Tempo watch winders offer a sportier aesthetic with cylindrical cases crafted from ABS polymer and grey leather, making them a particularly stylish and compact accessory for single watch owners. SwissKubik watch winders boast a more contemporary edge and offer a wide range of vivid colours crafted from aluminium, wood or leather. Features of the SwissKubic range include a USB and/or Bluetooth interface and bidirectional revolutions. The Wolf watch winder range includes the popular Cub model available in brown, cognac, navy blue and green colours. Differing from many watch winders on the market, the Cub counts the number of options as opposed to estimating it and comes equipped with patented rotation programs, bidirectional rotation and intermittent rotation with pause and sleep phases pre-programmed.

Facts and myths about watch winders

Despite much confusion over the matter, a watch winder won’t wear your watch down any quicker than wearing it on the wrist every day. Some would argue that keeping the oils moving fluidly inside the watch and reaching its recommended TPD regularly is healthier for your timepiece than it being sat inside a drawer. Regularly servicing a mechanical watch is the only way to properly ensure the condition of all gears, pivots and intricate components of an automatic watch are suitably maintained, however.