If you own an automatic watch you know that if you don’t wear it every day you run the risk of it winding out and stopping. Resetting the watch and winding it by hand to get it going in such cases is a major inconvenience and exposes the watch to potential damage. The best way to ensure your quality timepiece does not wind out is to get a watch winder. The winder mimics the movement of your arm, turning the watch at set intervals and preventing it from stopping and needing to be reset. With so many winders to choose from we’ve narrowed down the choices for you. Here are the 10 best watch winders on the market today.
The Best Watch Winder
The Barrington Watch Winder Box is both handsome and reliable. It takes a minimalist approach to design and provides a battery power option for those who want to use it on the road. It features a high-quality Mabuchi electric motor with 5 different turns per day (TPD) settings and clockwise, counter-clockwise and bi-directional turning options. It’s quiet, easy to adjust, easy to load and unload and that modern minimalist casing is reinforced to protect against accidental spills. It’s light enough to put in your carry-on bag and will securely accommodate all major watch brands.
This is one of the most durable, dependable winders on the market. It’s also one of the quieter models. Which certainly matters if you’re keeping it in the bedroom. Your timepiece can be loaded or unloaded in about 10 seconds and any necessary adjustments can be performed just as quickly. Its combination of style, dependability, portability, ease of use and durability make it our Best Choice. And it is perfect to store your nice Luminox watch.
Dual power options: cord or battery.
Dependable Mabuchi electric motor.
Multiple speed and direction settings.
Accommodates all major watch brands.
Attractive minimalist design.
Reinforced watch winder case.
The Wolf 270002 features perhaps the most attractive leather case of any of the watch winders we reviewed. It’s the kind of thing you’ll want to keep in the living room or kitchen to show off to people. Beyond just the looks though the 270002 features clockwise, counterclockwise and bi-directional turning options, fast, simple loading and unloading, the ability to accommodate virtually any watch on the market and near-silent operation.
If there’s a downside to the 270002 it’s the fact that the TPD is preset to 900. While that will certainly allow you to recharge most of the automatic watches on the market today it’s not going to cover all of them. So it’s a curious engineering choice. That said we didn’t hear any of the clicking you sometimes hear with big watches in somewhat small winder cases like this. In fact, we didn’t hear much of anything. Which is as it should be. Finally, while the winder can be powered by either cord or battery it’s a little too bulky to be traveling with.
Handsome leather case.
Multiple directional settings.
900 turns per day.
Corded or battery operated watch winder.
Accommodates 1 watch.
- Weight4.6 pounds
The Versa Single Watch Winder is a sleek, exceptionally lightweight device that is perfect for those who want to take their winder with them on business trips. It’s compact, comes with a power adapter (100-240V) and will slip into your bag without pushing other things out. It is plastic though – which is how they get the weight down so radically – so be careful how you handle it.
If features a dependable Mabuchi electric motor which provides 4 TPD settings along with 3 directional settings. All told that’s 12 different potential settings so there’s going to be one for your watch. While the marketing for this automatic watch winder is heavy on name-dropping of luxury watch brands be advised that it is fashioned from plastic. Also, that the 1 year (rather than 2 or 3 year) warranty should tell you something about its long-term prospects. For the money though it’s hard to argue against it. Your Victorinox Swiss Army watch will look lovely in it.
Multiple TPD settings.
Sleek contemporary design.
Clockwise, counterclockwise and bi-directional.
Ideal for large heavy watches.
Reliable Mabuchi motor.
1 year warranty.
- Model 1.7 pounds
- Weight 1.7 pounds
If you’re like most fans of quality timepieces you likely have more than one. This becomes a problem when your watch spinner will only accommodate a single watch. The Triple Tree Watch Winder is a double watch winder (yes, we’re aware of the naming disconnect) that is reliable, well-constructed, handsome and versatile. The Mabuchi motor is dependable, it can be powered either by AC cord or by using 2 AA batteries and the pillows will accommodate virtually any size watch.
We were really impressed how quiet the Triple Tree is. Even with 2 heavy watches on board it was hard to hear it unless you were right up against it. While there was a bit of flopping with heavy watches we were able to alleviate the problem by simply being a bit more careful about how we set them in the device. With multiple TPD and directional options it will recharge virtually any automatic watch on the market today and look good doing so.
Accommodates 2 large watches.
AC power or 2 AA batteries.
Faux leather exterior.
Multiple TPD settings.
Clockwise, counterclockwise and bi-directional.
- BrandTRIPLE TREE
- Weight11.75 pounds
At first we weren’t sure what to think of the design of the WWS Winder Box. It’s like one of those 80s postmodern buildings that wrapped an old 3-story facade around a new glass box. Over time though it grew on us. That’s good because from a functional standpoint this is a high-quality winder. There are 4 TPD settings to choose from, 3 directional setting, the metal components undergo an anti-magnetization process that prevents them from damaging your metal watches and the whole thing is nice and quiet.
It’s a plus that each turntable is individually programmable (that’s not always the case with multi-turntable winders). It’s also a plus that the Winder Box is so low and stable as it minimizes the chance of accidentally knocking it over. The bamboo is both damp-proof and mold-proof and contrasts nicely with the glass case. We could live without the exposed screwheads on the sides however. It is great to store both your sports watch and dive watch.
Ultra-quiet Japanese motor.
Bamboo wood housing.
Accommodates 2 large watches.
Individual settings for each winder.
2 year warranty.
- BrandWatch Winder Smith
- Weight4.9 Pounds
The Orbita Sparta Single Watch Winder takes a slightly different design tack. Instead of adopting a kind of modified jewelry box look like most winders have it eschews the glass watch winder case altogether. The result is one of the lightest winders on the market and a great companion for frequent business travelers. It’s a fully battery operated watch winder using 2 D batteries (which undermines the weight savings to some extent and explains the size of the base) and “swings” your watch to and fro rather than rotating it.
Just for the record: from an engineering standpoint there is no particular advantage to swinging a watch instead of rotating it, other than to save a bit of battery life. It’s not going to be more fully charged or anything. That said, the winder is easy to use, holds your watch firmly, is quiet but not as quiet as some and is small enough to easily tuck away in the carry on. You can display your golf GPS watch in it.
Textured aluminum shell.
Accommodates any size watch.
Innovative swinging action.
Minimal battery draw.
- ModelW05521 Bold Black
- Weight1.95 pounds
The second JQueen 4 Winder on our list is perhaps the most beautiful of the lot. With its lacquered wood finish, easy adjustability and ultra-quiet operation it’s a great addition to your dresser or desk top. The 2 Mabuchi electric motors generate less noise than the average whisper, although be sure to secure large heavy watches carefully to avoid them shifting and making a clicking noise as they rotate.
There are multiple Turn Per Day settings as you would expect from any of the best automatic watch winders as well as the standard 3 directional options. The winder can either be plugged in directly or powered via 2 AA batteries. Though truth be told you’ll probably never need the battery option because you’re not taking this on trips. If you want your watches to be presented in their best possible light but don’t want to mortgage the house the JQueen 4 watch rotator is here to answer the call. You can store your tactical watch and field watch on the one side and some nice dress watches on the other.
3 directional settings.
Multiple TPD settings.
Battery powered or corded.
Mabuchi electric motors.
Handsome traditional look.
Individual module settings.
- Weight8.6 pounds
Unlike some other winders that accommodate multiple watches the Roadster features individual control for each watch. So you’re covered regardless of the unique demands of your timepieces. The Roadster is AC only. That’s fine because, as we said, you’re not taking this puppy on the road with you anyway. It’s going to cost you a pretty penny but your high end watches will be in extremely good hands. Now if they could just work on the design a bit….
4 turning modules.
3 directional settings.
Customizable turn rate.
Locking glass cover.
Counts precise number of turns.
- Weight13.23 pounds
Watch Winder Buying Guide And FAQ
How We Choose Our Selection Of Watch Winders
When judging a watch winder we apply a variety of criteria that tend to focus on a combination of dry, prosaic concerns like size, noise and materials combined with a more subjective overview of the design. Things that don’t play such a big role in our decision making are:
Price - Most watch winders are not cheap. If you are looking for one for your quality timepiece you simply have to accept this fact. Are there a few good values out there? Sure. And we’ve done our best to bring them to you. But for the most part winders are a luxury item and so we didn’t embark on our search for the best winders with price being a major consideration. They’re expensive. That’s life.
Brand - Ask your buddies to name two different brands of watch winder. See that blank stare that you get in response? That’s because the number of people who are actually aware of top-quality watch spinner brand names is smaller than the number of people who wear MAGA hats to class at Berkeley. Watch winders are the epitome of the niche product so even the best are very likely to be produced under brand names virtually no one has ever heard of.
Reviews - Our product review experts are pretty sharp. They’re also hands on types. That means that, while they’ll certainly spend some time perusing reviews to get a taste for what others are saying about a particular product, at the end of the day they like to make up their own minds.
Features To Look For In Watch Winder
Design - Design considerations fall into the subjective category in that one person’s trash is another person’s masterpiece. From a strictly objective point of view however, all of the watch winders on our list have been designed by highly-trained, experienced industrial designers. Each and every one is thoughtfully considered and embodies tasteful design motifs that may be different from one another but nonetheless occupy the leading edge of contemporary style. If one does not appeal to you simply keep looking until you find one that does.
Materials - Many of the best automatic watch winders are fashioned out of wood. There are a number of reasons for this but most of them tend to be aesthetic. Being a real material wood has a timeless quality to it that speaks to the value of your timepiece. Wood is also durable and will last for centuries, literally, if properly cared for. Wood is also attractive and versatile. There are many types of wood and they can be lacquered painted or otherwise treated in a way that gives each watch winder a unique aura. Some manufacturers will sheath the wood box in leather to give it a more luxurious look. However, if the watch rotator is inexpensive and sheathed in leather the leather is likely there to hide cheap wood, like particle board.
Motor Quality - Perhaps the most important factor in determining the quality of a watch winder is the quality of its motor. With watch winders, as with most everything in life, you pretty much get what you pay for when it comes to motors. More expensive winders tend to have higher quality, nearly silent motors. While less expensive winders tend to be cheaper because they use a less reliable motor and things like particle board in their construction, as we mentioned above.
Power Source - Today’s watch winders draw power from one of two sources: batteries or an AC power cable. Since most people tend to have the watch winder set up on their nightstand or dresser, the plug in variety is very popular. However, if you travel a lot on business or pleasure and you want to take your winder with you it’s smart to purchase one that is either battery powered or powered by a combination of AC power cord and batteries.
Size - The self-winding watch box is typically about the size of the box the watch came in when it was first purchased. Some retain the boxy feel, while others reach for a softer look with rounded corners or a completely ball-like shape. But even these are very modest in scale. Where size really starts to become an issue is when a watch winder is designed to wind more than one watch at a time. Some, in fact, can handle 9 or 12 or even 24 watches simultaneously. The odds you will ever need something like that however are remote at best. So don’t worry. The auto watch winder won’t be gobbling up precious real estate on the dresser.
Noise Level - Most high quality watch winders go about their business in quiet anonymity. While others will make a barely audible purr like sound. Some people will complain about a gentle knocking sound as the watch is winding in the box. If you should experience this it is likely the result of the watch not being set properly. This can happen on occasion. Especially with heavy watches. Simply remove the watch and set it back in again. This should alleviate the problem.
Extra Features - High end watch winders often provide a range of extra features that you may or may not feel are necessary. These include an integrated timer and other mechanisms like sleep mode that protect the watch from overwinding. Many have extra nodules that can accommodate more than one watch at a time, as we mentioned above. While others have integrated jewelry storage or high impact casings to protect the winder and the watch in the event it should be dropped. Still others offer USB recharging and/or several different winding modes.
How To Set Up A Watch Winder
Setting up an automatic watch winder is actually pretty easy. Simply check the owner’s guide for your timepiece to find the recommended TPD (turns per day) settings and also to see if it specifies which direction the watch should be turned when using a watch winder. Once you have that information adjust the watch winder accordingly and you should be good to go. Just keep in mind that a winder will not work on a timepiece that has completely stopped. If this is your watch you’ll need to turn the crown 20 - 25 times before putting the watch in the winder. Also, if you have lost your owner’s guide it would be best to contact either the seller of the manufacturer to find out the TPD and directional settings before you put your watch in the winder.
How To Maintain A Watch Winder
Most of the best watch winders come with a warranty that is good for 1, 2 or more years. As such any issues with your winder should be handled through the mechanism of the warranty. Other than simply dusting the watch rotator occasionally, making sure you always close it after removing your watch and perhaps cleaning the glass now and then you should not attempt to engage in any mechanical maintenance. Doing so will almost certainly result in your warranty being voided.
Watch Winder FAQ
Q: What is a watch winder?
A: A watch winder is a mechanical device that mimics the motion of your arm in such a way as to automatically rewind the mainspring of your self-winding watch. The advantage of the watch winder is that, if you don’t wear your timepiece every day, the watch winder will ensure it doesn’t wind out and have to be reset. By preventing the watch from winding out it helps ensure smooth operation and prevent mechanical issues. While they are no doubt a luxury item of sorts they nonetheless have a bona fide, real world application.
Q: How does a watch winder work?
A: As we mentioned the watch winder works by mimicking the motion of your arm to rewind the mainspring on your self-winding or automatic watch. If there is a mistake people make with watch winders it is attempting to use them on watches that are not self-winding. They put their manual wind watch in the winder and when it doesn’t wind they assume the winder is defective. Always make sure you have a self-winding watch before purchasing an auto watch winder.
Q: What are the benefits of using a watch winder?
A: When not in use self-winding watches can wind out and stop just like manual winding watches. The more times this happens the greater the chance that mechanical issues will arise with the watch. Remember that the winder will not work on a watch that has wound out. In that case the watch will need to be manually reset and wound by hand 20-25 times before being set in the winder. Every time this happens however you increase the odds of something going wrong. Therefore, the primary benefits of the watch spinner are ensuring the watch always displays accurate time, no matter how long it’s been since you last wore it, and preventing mechanical issues that may arise from constantly resetting the watch manually.
Q: How often should I wind an automatic watch?
A: The fact is, if you wear your watch all day there is no reason it should not be fully wound if you want to use it again the next morning. So putting it in the winder would be pointless. As a general rule you should consider putting your watch into the winder whenever you believe you will not be wearing it again the next day. Doing this will allow you to rest easy knowing it will be ready to go when you next call on it.
Q: Which way do you wind an automatic watch?
A: This depends on the watch itself. Some watches are designed to be wound clockwise, others to be wound counter-clockwise. Many of today’s best self-winding watches however can be wound either way. Make sure you check the owner’s manual for the proper winding direction before placing your Qwatch in the winder.
Q: Can you over wind an automatic watch?
A: Antique automatic watches (any over 25 years old) may not have a way to limit winding of the mainspring. Putting these watches in a winder then could end up with the watch being overwound. That said, virtually every automatic watch produced in the last few years has a built in mechanism to protect the watch from overwinding. So this should not be an issue.
Q: How long can an automatic watch run without being worn?
A: On average a self-winding automatic watch will have about 30 - 50 hours of reserve runtime if you set it down fully charged. Some will provide up to 3 days of reserve. These numbers are predicated on the notion that you wear the watch all day and have an average amount of movement in your arms. If you just sleep all day wearing the watch it won’t have a full charge when you take it off.
Q: Are watch winders noisy?
A: Watch winders are mechanical devices and as such they are going to make some noise. There is simply no way around it. That said, many of today’s best watch winders feature nearly silent operation. So you should be able to keep it on your night stand, or certainly on the dresser across the room and not be bothered by the sound. As we mentioned earlier however, large heavy watches may shift in the winder as they are turned. This can often be fixed by removing the watch and re-setting it into the winder in a more secure fashion. If the sound emanating from your automatic watch winder box is bothering you simply put it in another room.