Do You Need a Watch Winder?

A watch winder is a device used by many automatic watch owners, offering both convenience and prolonged watch life. Yet, the question of whether a watch winder is necessary is not always clear-cut. It’s not a tool required for every watch wearer, but it can prove to be beneficial under certain circumstances.

Deciding if you need a watch winder will largely depend on your personal situation, the type of watch you own, and your daily habits. The primary function of a watch winder is to keep automatic watches, which are powered by the motion of your wrist, running smoothly when not worn for a few days. This might sound trivial, but its implications can be extensive.

In the following sections, we will delve into the world of watch winders. By gaining an understanding of their operation, benefits, and potential drawbacks, you will be better equipped to determine if a watch winder is the right investment for you.

What Is a Watch Winder?

A watch winder is a mechanical device that maintains the power reserve of automatic watches by replicating the natural motion of the wrist. By constantly moving the watch, it keeps the mainspring wound, thus ensuring that the watch remains accurate even when not worn.

Automatic watches are designed to harness the kinetic energy generated by the wearer’s movements. However, when left unworn for a prolonged period, they lose this source of energy, causing them to stop. This is where a watch winder comes in, keeping the watch moving, and therefore running, even when it’s not being worn.

Do You Really Need a Watch Winder?

Whether you need a watch winder or not largely depends on your lifestyle and the kind of timepiece you own. For instance, if you own a single automatic watch that you wear daily, you may not require a watch winder as your natural movement keeps it wound. However, if you own several automatic watches or have an intricate timepiece with complex settings that are cumbersome to reset, a watch winder can be a useful tool.

Benefits of Using a Watch Winder

Extending the Life of Automatic Watches

Watch winders can help prolong the life of your automatic watch. By keeping the watch wound, it ensures that the lubricants within the movement continue to flow and prevent wear and tear on the components.

Convenience Factor

For individuals with a collection of automatic watches, a watch winder offers the convenience of keeping all watches ready to wear without the need to manually wind and reset them.

Preserving Watch Accuracy

If you own a watch with complex complications, like a perpetual calendar or moon phase, resetting these features every time the watch runs down can be a hassle. A watch winder helps maintain these settings.

Are There Any Downsides to Using a Watch Winder?

The primary concern with watch winders is the possibility of over-winding your watch. However, most modern automatic watches come with a mechanism that prevents them from being over-wound. Yet, it is always best to consult with the watch manufacturer or an expert to ensure a watch winder is suitable for your specific model.

Another downside could be the cost, as high-quality watch winders can be a significant investment. However, when weighed against the convenience and potential benefits for your watch collection, it may well be worth it.

Types of Watch Winders: Which One Is Right for You?

Watch winders come in various formats, from single to multiple watch winders, built-in watch winders, and winders with different rotator settings. Your choice will depend on the size of your watch collection, Watch winders come in various formats, from single to multiple watch winders, built-in watch winders, and winders with different rotator settings. Your choice will depend on the size of your watch collection, your budget, and your personal preferences.

Single Watch Winders

Single-watch winders are ideal for those who own only one automatic watch. They provide a compact and cost-effective solution to keep your watch wound when it’s not being worn. Single-watch winders typically feature adjustable settings to accommodate different watch sizes and rotation directions.

Multiple Watch Winders

If you have a collection of automatic watches, a multiple-watch winder might be more suitable. These winders come with multiple slots to house and wind several watches simultaneously. They often offer individual programmable settings for each watch, ensuring that each timepiece receives the appropriate amount of rotation and rest.

Built-In Watch Winders

Built-in watch winders are designed to be integrated into furniture or cabinets, providing an elegant and discreet way to store and wind your timepieces. These winders blend seamlessly with your interior design and offer secure storage for your watches while keeping them wound.

Rotator Settings: Programmable vs. Standard

Watch winders usually offer different rotator settings to cater to various watch models. Programmable winders allow you to customize the number of rotations per day, rotation direction, and rest periods based on your watch’s requirements. On the other hand, standard winders usually have pre-set rotation settings that work well for most automatic watches.

Choosing the Best Watch Winder for Your Needs

When selecting a watch winder, there are a few key factors to consider:

Quality and Construction

Opt for a watch winder made of high-quality materials to ensure durability and protection for your timepieces. Look for features such as sturdy construction, soft cushioning to avoid scratches, and secure locking mechanisms.

Price Range

Watch winders come in a wide range of prices, from affordable options to luxury models. Set a budget that suits your needs and explore options within that range. Remember that investing in a reliable watch winder can safeguard your valuable watches.

Brand Reputation

Choose a reputable brand that specializes in watch winders. Research customer reviews and ratings to gauge their reliability, functionality, and customer support. Well-established brands often offer warranties and comprehensive after-sales services.

Alternatives to Watch Winders

While a watch winder can be a convenient solution, it’s not the only way to keep your automatic watch running. Here are a couple of alternatives to consider:

Manual Winding

If you only have one or two watches and wear them regularly, manual winding might be sufficient. Simply winding your watch by hand when you put it on can ensure it remains operational.

Wearing the Watch Regularly

Regularly wearing your automatic watch is the most natural way to keep it running. The motion of your wrist will provide the necessary kinetic energy to keep the watch wound accurate.

Frequently Asked Questions about Watch Winders

How often should I use a watch winder?

Using a watch winder is recommended if you plan to store your watch for an extended period without wearing it. It is generally advised to use a watch winder when you anticipate not wearing your watch for more than a few days.

Is it bad to leave an automatic watch unwound?

Leaving an automatic watch unwound for an extended period can lead to the lubricants inside the movement thickening and potentially affecting its performance. It is generally recommended to keep your automatic watch wound to prevent any issues related to stagnant lubricants.

Can a watch winder damage my watch?

When used correctly and in accordance with your watch’s specifications, a watch winder should not damage your watch. However, it is important to choose a reputable and reliable watch winder and consult the watch manufacturer or an expert to ensure compatibility.


Deciding whether you need a watch winder ultimately depends on your specific circumstances and preferences as a watch owner. A watch winder can offer convenience, extend the lifespan of your automatic watches, and preserve their accuracy. However, if you only own one watch and wear it regularly, or if the cost of a watch winder is prohibitive, manual winding or wearing the watch regularly might suffice.

Consider the size of your watch collection, your budget, and the features that best suit your needs when selecting a watch winder. Research reputable brands, read customer reviews, and choose a model that provides reliable performance and quality construction.

Remember, a watch winder is not a necessity for every watch wearer. Evaluate your lifestyle, watch collection, and personal preferences to make an informed decision. By understanding the benefits and potential drawbacks of watch winders, you can determine if investing in one aligns with your goals as a watch enthusiast.

Sherry's editorial journey seamlessly merges with her passion for horology at WatchReflect. As a seasoned editor and watch enthusiast, she curates insightful guides that cater to novices and connoisseurs alike. With a penchant for research and a flair for storytelling, Sherry transforms horological complexities into engaging narratives. Her mission is to illuminate the path for those navigating the multifaceted realm of timekeeping.

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