watch winders

Watch Winders: What Are They And Are They Any Good?

Watch winders; do we need them? It’s a question many automatic watch owners have asked, so we decided to answer it!

Watch winders are advertised as a convenient addition to a watch collection as they save you time winding your timepiece yourself.

But is that the case? Let’s take a closer look at what watch winders do and whether you should add one to your collection.

What Are Watch Winders For?

watch winders

Automatic watches are sophisticated and complex feats of engineering that are better being used than left idle. However, for watch collectors with several automatic timepieces in their collections, it’s not possible to wear every one.

After all, we can only wear one watch at a time. Well, we could wear more than one but there would be little point.

With the potential for automatic watches to be left by the wayside for days, weeks, or even months at a time, the watch winder was created as a solution. Watch winders allow the many cogs, springs and levers inside an automatic watch to get some vital use.

Think of an automatic watch like an expensive car, the longer they sit idly by, the more likely they are to seize up. They are kept lubricated by fine oil that runs through the mechanism and movements when running. If the watch isn’t running, the oil won’t pass through the watch parts.

What Do Watch Winders Do?

Barrington winder

Simply, watch winders for automatic watches keep them moving to simulate being worn on a wrist. To go into more detail, it’s important to understand how automatic watches work a little. Automatic watches have been designed to allow the movement of being worn on a wrist to help keep the inner mechanism moving.

While they do require winding every so often, when worn this power reserve lasts longer. Watch winders can be used to simulate the movements of a wrist to help your watch parts keep moving.

Winders also come in various sizes, depending on how many watches you need winding. Some are small boxes that fit on top of a cabinet while others are large and about the size of a safe. Large winders can hold multiple watches at a time.

Watch winders also offer a level of convenience for those who don’t want to spend the time winding their timepiece. If you leave your watch in a winder you can be confident that it will display the correct time and not need adjustment before wearing.

Are Watch Winders Bad For Your Watch?

gyroscopic watch winder

While convenient, some people question are watch winders good or bad for your timepiece. One of the biggest risks of putting your watch in a winder is leaving it in there too long.

Watches are like any other piece of machinery and will suffer from wear and tear. If your watch gets left in a winder and forgotten about it may put excess strain on the inner workings. This is particularly true if your watch is due for a service soon.

It may be better for your watch if you just leave it in a drawer to stop winding if the parts are getting old. While not bad for your watch, how inconvenient is it to wind your watch for less than a minute every so often?

Considering the cost of a decent watch winder, upwards of £100, how necessary are they? Perhaps if you have a perpetual calendar watch that requires extra retuning if it runs out, but other than that not very. 

That doesn’t mean they aren’t a great tool, however. Watch winders make owning an automatic timepiece more convenient, especially if you have several in your collection.

Popping your watches into a winder on rotation ensures they are all working and on time for when you want them. To ensure a winder doesn’t damage the workings of your watch we recommend only using them for a day or two at a time.

Leaving a watch in a winder for an extended period, or even forgetting about it, can result in repairs being needed. Better watch winders come with a programmable timer that stops the rotation after a certain period. This can be critical in ensuring your watch isn’t overworked while in a winder.

Best Watch Winders


Like many products, there are different levels to watch winders. Some are available for minimal fees, while the more sophisticated winders cost several hundred pounds.

Some of the features that separate the best from the rest are quiet motors, directional settings, warranty and the level of finish. The best watch winders of 2020 and beyond include brands like Wolf, Barrington, Rapport and Leader.

Watch winders for sale can be as low as £20, but a good ballpark figure is around £200. Of course, if you have the money and want something fancier, like a Rapport winder, you can spend over £2,000.

Leader watch winders, for instance, are not only functional but also offer an interesting way to display your watches. The more expensive watch winders can offer additional features like clockwise and anti-clockwise rotation.

Leather is the most common watch winder material as it adds a touch of class to a simple box. Others come in a polished wood outer which adds some elegance to your display.

Uniform Wares

Uniform Wares produces timeless, minimalist watches that look great on your wrist at all times. Our watches have been designed in-house at our London studio and utilise Swiss engineering to ensure you are always on time.

As well as cases made of various metals we also offer you a wide choice of straps to customize your watch’s look. Our straps come in different colours and materials such as rubber, leather, suede and rose gold.

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