Question of the Week: Is a Watch Winder a necessity?

Question of the Week: Is a Watch Winder a necessity?

4 min read
Sara Philpott


Guides Reviews

Sara Philpott


Guides Reviews

What is the point in a watch winder? 

Having never come across a watch wider before I have to say I was more than intrigued, but honestly, not entirely sure of their purpose. I genuinely wondered if there truly was much point in owning one? Turns out a watch winder is a controversial item in the horology world! Apparently, there’s many of you out there who will sing it’s praises whilst others see it as an entirely unnecessary item. So, which side do you sway towards? Or have you not decided yet? I’m still on the fence and wanted to delve a bit deeper into the purpose of these items and hopefully come to a conclusion as to whether I would find them a useful watch tool or not!  

What is a Watch Winder? 

First things first, what actually is a watch winder? That was my first question when I saw the questionable object sat on my colleagues desk. Ours is currently sat without a watch inside which makes it even more intriguing if you haven’t seen one before. Watch winders are designed with a simple purpose in mind: to keep an automatic watch running when it’s not being worn. They come in all different shapes and sizes, some resembling small jewellery boxes whilst other act as safes keeping your treasured timepiece safe inside.  

WOLF 1834 Axis Single Winder with StorageWOLF 1834 Axis Single Winder with Storage. Image Credit: WatchGecko

Is a Watch Winder essential? 

No, a watch finder is not essential so if your eyeing up a gorgeous automatic timepiece that’s perhaps a little over budget, don’t worry, it’s not essential to own a watch winder as well. However, saying that there are some very good reasons as to why someone may opt to own them. A watch winder does encourage your watch movement longevity. It ensures that the oils are continually dispersed within the movement helping to prevent any clogging or settling. Plus, it prevents you from having to wind your watch manually after a few days of no use. They would come in especially useful for those who collect watches and have a few on rotation. 

How does a watch winder work? 

Firstly, how does an automatic watch work? An automatic watch depends on the movement of the wearer’s wrist to function. It will automatically wind itself using a weight inside which rotates in accordance with movement. So, if a watch is not being worn, it is not being wound.  

Each watch winder will function slightly different for each watch so it’s recommended you refer to the user manual available with your specific winder where it will specify the direction of rotation and how many turns per day your watch will need. It will mimic the movement and motions associated with the human wrist before pausing. These pauses will depend on the specific settings, but most will run for around 30 seconds to a minute before taking a pause.  

AXIS 8PC Watch WinderWOLF Axis 8PC Watch Winder. Image Credit: WatchGecko

How long can I leave a watch on a watch winder? 

The majority of us won’t wear the same watch everyday especially those who consider themselves collectors but still want to keep their timepiece running. It is generally okay to leave your watch on a winder for extended periods of time if your winder is functioning properly. Most automatic watches have a built-in mechanism to prevent them from being overwound. However, I would recommend checking in on your timepiece regularly if you are leaving it on the watch winder to ensure that everything is functioning properly and if any adjustments are needed.  

A manual wind watch, however, should not be left on a winder for extended periods. These watches do not come with a mechanism to stop them over winding, and it may cause damage to the movement.  

What to look for when buying a watch winder: 

Positioning of the watch – Ideally a watch should sit vertically in the winder to ensure the force of gravity is optimized on each rotation.  

Program settings – You’ll want a winder that can rotate clockwise, counter-clockwise or bidirectionally so all potential watch needs are met. Also ensure there are numerous options for turns per day that suit your watch movement type. 

Noise Level – Watch winders have long been known to cause noise and disruption, especially in office or bedroom settings. However, advancements in technology have led to the creation of quieter models by contemporary manufacturers, so you no longer have to endure the annoyance of noisy watch winders.

Aesthetic – You’ll want something to complement your watch collection and to look good as this is an item that is often used for display. 

WOLF 1834 Axis Single Winder with StorageWOLF 1834 Axis Single Winder with Storage. Image Credit: WatchGecko

In conclusion, whilst they are by far a necessary piece of equipment, they do serve a handy function. Whilst it wouldn’t serve any use to some, I believe for watch enthusiasts and collectors alike this would be an extremely functional piece of kit that enabling individuals to keep their watches running. Think you might like one? Check out WatchGeckos selection of Watch Winders here.

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