An automatic or self-winding watch is a mechanical watch that relies on the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist to store energy and keep its mechanisms going. It has a small metal weight – called the rotor – that spins every time the wearer moves his or her arm, automatically winding the mainspring and powering the watch movement.
But unlike a quartz watch, which runs on batteries, an automatic watch will stop working when not worn for a certain number of days due to a non-existent power source. Although you can always manually wind a dormant self-winding watch, it can be a hassle to update the time and date every time you switch to it. And that’s where a watch winder comes in.
A watch winder is a storage that comes with an internal mechanism that sort of copies the wrist movement, moving in a circular motion. When docked in a watch winder, a self-winding watch is automatically wounded, ensuring that it stays accurate and in good condition even when on the shelf for an extended period. A watch winder is essential for collectors, connoisseurs, and anyone who owns more than one automatic watch.
There are different kinds of watch winders on the market. Some models can store just one or two watches and include just a few winding options. Others can store more than 10 and include a lot of winding options and other useful features. When shopping for watch winders, you have to consider certain aspects to ensure you end up with a product that best suits your needs. Going in blind and just picking up the most popular of the bunch is not a wise decision.
The most important aspects you need to consider are the number of winding modules, the physical dimensions, the power source, the motor, and the winding settings. The latter of which is measured in the number of directions of the winding movement and the Turns Per Day (TPD). Certain watches have a TPD preference, so make sure to double-check your watch’s maintenance instructions.
Considering the number of products to choose from, it can be difficult to shop for watch winders, especially for someone not well-versed in the equipment. This guide to the best watch winders addresses that conundrum. Here are 10 outstanding watch winders for a collector that you can check out, from single winders to multi-watch winders:
SINGLE WATCH WINDERS
The Versa Single Winder carries a Japanese Mabuchi motor – which translates to an extremely quiet operation – and is compatible with different watch sizes. It can easily accommodate watch models from Rolex, Omega, Tissot, and Seiko. While easy to carry due to its compact and minimalist design, this single winder is not the most ideal for travel because it relies on AC for power, with no option to switch to a battery operation.
Outfitted with a silent and long-lasting Japanese Mabuchi motor, the Chiyoda Single Winder won’t distract you with its winding mechanism while you sleep. It runs an efficient operation and protects your automatic watch from dust and other elements. Unlike the Versa Single Winder, this single winder offers more than one power option: aside from electricity, it can also run on battery power, which is great for emergencies.
The Barrington Single Winder, which goes for more than triple the price of the Chiyoda Single Winder, has a stylish frame. It has a LED light out front and a pair of knobs at the back. One knob is for the TPD settings while the other is for the direction settings. This charming single winder offers five TPD options and three winding directions. That’s a total of 15 winding configurations. Barrington also offers a choice for the cushion, one of which is for watches with a shorter strap.
A high-end Swiss winder, the Planet has a sandblasted aluminum base. Some models come with a leather-covered aluminum base. The double-axis movement, which is the highlight, also has different options, including black anodized and stainless steel with a chrome finish. The actual price depends on the materials used. The Planet includes different winding configurations or programs and has a glass bell cover for protection and even more fanciness. It relies on a long-lasting rechargeable battery for power.
DOUBLE WATCH WINDERS
Instead of knobs, the Versa Double Winder includes a set of switches for the operation control, one of which is a dedicated power switch. It’s got three direction options and four TPD options, the same number of options found on the Versa Single Winder, and the similarities don’t end there. It lacks a battery compartment as well, which means you’re limited to AC. Although not as fancy as other dual winders on the market, this dual winder can get the job done with minimal issues.
The most notable feature is the touch control inside the frame. The controls allow you to easily turn on/off the device and adjust the direction and the TPD. Moreover, you can also apply different settings for each watch bay. For example, you can set the left dock to a clockwise setting while the right one is set in a bi-directional setting. There’s enough space between the two docks, which means your watches won’t interface with each other despite their different winding settings.
Another feature of this double winder is the locking mechanism, which is not really useful. It’s best to just leave the locking mechanism alone as the small key is easy to misplace. Overall, the Chiyoda Double Winder is an excellent watch winder. It’s easy to use and offers a total of 12 winding configurations.
A double winder with two power options (battery and AC), the Heritage Double Winder has a pre-programmed 900 TPD, with the usual direction options. It runs quietly, fits even large watches, and has an enclosed winding panel, which provides 24/7 protection to your precious watches. If you can afford to spend over $400 on a double winder, the Heritage Double Winder is one of the best options. It’s a silent watch winder that can store five watches in total: two on the winding module, two on the dedicated watch slots, and one in the travel case.
As the model name suggests, the JQueen Quad Winder comes with four winding docks, with each pair housed in a separate platform for a more organized look. It’s equipped with Japanese motors, which translate into a very quiet operation, and offers three direction options, with four winding programs. For power, this relatively affordable quad winder can run on both AC and battery.
The Heiden Quad Winder has a handsome black leather exterior with a clear cover that allows for quick viewing of your timepieces. It has individual on/off buttons for the winding modules, located inside the frame below their respective docks. The direction and TPD controls are located at the back, ensuring that the front of the device is as clutter-free as possible. A perfect gift for a collector, this classy multi-watch winder includes three direction options and four TPD options for each dock and is powered via AC.
The Viceroy Triple Winder can hold more than just three watches. It has a covered storage at the top, with a locking mechanism for additional security, although you might want to ignore the lock as the key is too small and easy to lose. The enclosed storage has five individual watch slots and also includes a small travel case that can hold one more watch. In total, this triple winder can hold up to nine watches: three in the winding panel and six overall in the top storage. That capacity alone is already worth half the price.