What is an Automatic Watch Winder?
A watch winder is a device that winds your automatic watch when you’re not using it. The machine keeps the spring wound so the time and date are always correct and don’t need setting every time you put your automatic watch on.
Why do You Need a watch Winder?
Aside from keeping your automatic watch(es) up to date and ticking to the right time, it also keeps the gears and springs in your watch working which increases the watches longevity. Just like anything, if you leave it alone, overtime it will start to deteriorate and may seize up. Some watch companies claim that this isn’t the case but more frequently worn watches, tend to last longer. Take and tin man from Wizard of Oz for example. If you sit too long you get stiff and immobile, just like the internal components of watch parts.
Can a Watch Winder Overwind Your Automatic Watch?
It is theorized that watches cannot be overwound. Even still, some watch winding companies take precautions as to not damage these expensive timepieces. Since you don’t wear your watch 24 hours a day, or even if you do, you’re not moving constantly. So, why should your watch winder rotate constantly? The goal is to simulate the natural motion of a wrist and wind it so it ticks, nothing more. A good watch winder will have an inbuilt setting to stop the winding at specific intervals throughout the day to mimic reality. Some even stop winding for 12 hours each day.
How Does a Watch Winder Work?
The settings are simple on a watch winder, they have an on off switch that also determines which way the winding will be. Whether it is clockwise, counterclockwise, or alternating, most watch winders will have these three options. The next dial or setting is TPD (Turns Per Day). The watch winder I used is from Barrington Watch Winders and it has TPD options of 650, 750, 850, 1000, and 1950.
What Settings Should My Watch Winder be Set to?
Typically, the heavier the watch the more TPD it needs to be wound. But every automatic watch will have a specific setting. Some watches are counterclockwise with a recommended TPD of 800 like the IWC I used in this unboxing and instructional video. But the IWC website, for example, has a master list of all the watches they have and their watch winding settings. To find the settings for your watch search for the type of watch you have and the model and add “watch winder settings” and it should come up or simply call the manufacturers customer service number on their website.
Are Watch Winders Quiet?
The great think about a high quality watch winder is that they have a motor that is of a higher caliber like the Japanese motor in the Barrington watch winder they sent me. It purrs like a kitten and I personally would have no problem sleeping next to this kind of machine. But, for those of you super light sleepers out there, maybe having a place to put your watch winder in a walk in closet or spare bedroom is good enough.
Do I Need a Watch Winder if I Wear My Automatic Watch Everyday?
You probably don’t if you are active at all and walking enough to wind the main spring in your watch. If you have another watch that you tend to switch it out with then you will likely need a watch winder to keep your automatic ticking and healthy.
How Much Does a Watch Winder Cost?
Like anything they vary, if you get a single watch winder I’ve seen them for quite cheap, but they may be loud and may not last long. The Barrington watch winder is 125 GBP or $150 USD or just over $200 CAD.
My Watch Winder Recommendation
I’ve had this Barrington watch winder for almost three weeks and have used it since I made the video and I highly recommend it. It’s quiet and I really like the design. I would be happy to give or receive this as a gift.
Images and Video by Justin Erickson and Mark St. James.