How to Make a Watch Winder?

A watch winder is a crucial accessory for any aficionado of automatic timepieces. Automatic watches, those little marvels of engineering, rely on movement to keep ticking. But what happens when they’re not worn for some time? They cease to tell time accurately. That’s where a watch winder comes in. It keeps your automatic watch ticking precisely by mimicking the natural motion of your wrist.

The central theme of our discussion today is building a watch winder yourself. It’s an engaging, fun project that not only offers a handy tool at the end but also saves you the high costs associated with purchasing one off-the-shelf. This article will take you through a detailed process, starting from understanding a watch winder, assembling the necessary tools and materials, and finally, the steps of making your own watch winder.

With a bit of patience, some basic DIY skills, and the information we’ll provide, you can create a functional watch winder at home. You will not only gain a deeper understanding of how automatic watches function but also develop an appreciation for the intricate engineering behind these devices.

What Is a Watch Winder and Why Do You Need One?

A watch winder is a device used to keep automatic, also known as self-winding, watches running when not worn. Automatic watches operate on the principle of winding themselves using a moving weight inside the watch. This weight swings or rotates while the watch is worn and turns the winding mechanism inside the watch. Hence, if the watch is not worn for a while, there is no movement, the watch will “wind down”. A watch winder mimics the motion that the watch experiences when it is worn, thereby keeping the mainspring wound and the watch running accurately.

What Materials Do You Need to Make a Watch Winder?

Making a watch winder requires certain materials and tools. The primary ones include a watch holder, a small electric motor, a box or a case for the assembly, a power source, and a rotation mechanism. Many of these items can be found at your local hardware store, or they can be purchased online. The cost can vary depending on the quality of materials you opt for, but typically, creating your own watch winder should be more cost-effective than buying a pre-made one.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Watch Winder

Here are the general steps to follow when making your watch winder:

Building the Case

Start by choosing a suitable box or case for your watch winder. This could be anything from a custom-made wooden box to a repurposed old box you might have at home. It should be sturdy and large enough to hold the watch holder and the motor comfortably.

Fitting the Motor

Next, install the electric motor inside the case. You can use a small, silent motor like those used in clock mechanisms. The motor should be securely fitted to ensure smooth and steady rotation.

Setting Up the Rotation Mechanism

Once the motor is fitted, set up the rotation mechanism. This is the part of the watch winder that will rotate the watch holder. It could be a simple gear system connected to the motor. It’s important to ensure the rotation mechanism is set to rotate at the right speed.

Assembling the Watch Holder

Next is the watch holder assembly. The holder should be designed to hold your watch securely and also connect to the rotation mechanism. It’s crucial that it is balanced to prevent the watch from shifting during rotation.

Finalizing the Assembly

Once all the components are in place, finalize the assembly by connecting the power source. Check all connections and secure the components in place.

Testing the Watch Winder

Before placing your precious automatic watch inside the newly constructed watch winder, it’s essential to test its functionality to ensure it operates smoothly and meets your requirements.

Connect the power source to the motor and turn it on. Observe the rotation mechanism and check if it rotates at the desired speed. Pay attention to any unusual noises or vibrations that might indicate issues with the assembly. Allow the watch winder to run for a few hours to ensure its reliability.

Once you are satisfied with the performance of the watch winder, it’s time to move on to the next steps.

Safety Measures to Consider When Making a Watch Winder

During the construction process, it’s crucial to prioritize safety to prevent any accidents or damage to yourself or the components. Here are some safety measures to keep in mind:

  1. Wear safety goggles and protective gloves when handling tools or working with materials that may cause injury.
  2. Use proper ventilation or work in a well-ventilated area when applying adhesives, paints, or other potentially harmful substances.
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when working with electrical components to avoid electrical hazards.
  4. Keep your workspace clean and organized to prevent accidents caused by tripping over tools or materials.

By adhering to these safety measures, you can create your watch winder in a safe and secure manner.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making a Watch Winder

As with any DIY project, it’s helpful to be aware of common mistakes that can occur during the construction process. By avoiding these pitfalls, you can save time and ensure the success of your watch winder project. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:

  1. Insufficient research: Failing to conduct thorough research on the materials, tools, and assembly process can lead to costly mistakes and suboptimal results.
  2. Poor planning: Skipping the planning phase or not taking accurate measurements can result in ill-fitting components and an unstable watch winder.
  3. Inadequate balance: Neglecting to ensure proper balance of the watch holder can lead to the watch moving excessively during rotation, potentially causing damage.
  4. Incorrect rotation speed: Setting the rotation speed too high or too low can affect the watch’s accuracy or cause unnecessary wear on the movement.

By learning from these common mistakes and taking the necessary precautions, you can increase the chances of creating a high-quality and functional watch winder.

How to Use and Maintain Your DIY Watch Winder

Once your watch winder is complete and operational, it’s important to understand how to use and maintain it properly. Follow these guidelines for optimal usage and maintenance:

  1. Place your automatic watch securely in the watch holder, ensuring it is seated properly and snugly to prevent any movement or damage.
  2. Select the appropriate rotation mode for your watch. Some watches may require specific rotation directions and intervals. Refer to the watch manufacturer’s instructions or consult a professional if unsure.
  3. Regularly inspect the watch winder for any signs of wear, loose connections, or abnormal noise. Address any issues promptly to avoid further damage.
  4. Clean the watch winder periodically using a soft, lint-free cloth to remove dust or debris that may accumulate over time.
  5. Keep the watch winder away from direct sunlight, excessive heat, and humidity to prevent damage to both the watch and the components.

Following these guidelines will help ensure that your DIY watch winder keeps your automatic timepieces running accurately and extends their lifespan.


Congratulations! You have successfully learned how to make your own watch winder. By understanding the principles behind a watch winder, gathering the necessary materials, and following the step-by-step guide, you’ve embarked on a rewarding journey of creating a functional and personalized accessory for your automatic watches.

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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