Watch Winder Buying Guide

Choosing an Automatic, Basic Watch Winder

What is the Best Watch Winder?

The simple answer is of course very easy however there is an exacting science behind a device to which you entrust the care of a beautiful and often expensive watch. A winder for an automatic watch is sometimes known as a watch rotator box and is in fact a watch which is designed to maintain the automatic movement of an automatic watch while it is being stored. They come in lots of sizes and styles so that sometimes it can be a little difficult to know what to look for when you go to buy one. Increasingly, there are many cheap versions making their way into the marketplace so knowing what to look for can actually save you some money by learning what to avoid.Best Watch Winder - Quad Case

Who Needs a Watch Winder?

In short, anyone who has an automatic watch which isn’t worn daily should have one. If you wear an automatic watch each day, your arm movements throughout the day will keep your watch wound. If you don’t, the watch will gradually lose power as it unwinds until one day when you go to wear it, it no longer works. This is more likely to happen if you have several automatic watches because you will only wear one watch at a time, allowing the performance of the others to decrease. There are some watches which will let you know when they need rewinding and moving them about will generally get them going again, however they will require resetting each time it happens. A winder will solve this problem for you.

How Does a Winder Work?

Basically, it rotates the watch on a turntable inside a watch box. It will rotate at five turns each minute, although more complex winders can be pre-set and some will run until you switch it off. Some turntables gently swing while others rotate in a circular motion and some will move in a clockwise direction and others will turn the opposite way. Some will even have the capability to be set at a particular number of turns each day. Yet others will have a daily repeat setting which you can select as part of a pre-set schedule and some might have more than one turntable. Knowing and understanding these features can help you to make an informed buying decision.

Always Avoid Cheap Winders

Cheap winders are flooding the market, however they can easily damage an expensive watch. They are cheap, low quality, are made of cheap wood, metal or plastic and have a very basic motor attached. There is no electronic circuitry to control the motor and the effect of this over time produces unregulated stress to the watch which will cause damage to the movement of the watch, as well as unnecessary wear on the moving mechanism.

Instead of a regulated turning, cheap winders will just spin the watch in one direction causing the watch mechanism to become stressed, worn and it will ultimately damage the watch. Professionals in the industry dismiss these boxes with contempt, concerned that if they are referred to as watch winders, reputable devices will be tarred with the same brush.

Winder Buying Tips

If you are a connoisseur of watches and think your watch collection might expand, make sure to purchase a large watch box which can accommodate many watches or is expandable. It will look great as well as fulfill a functional purpose.

  1. For travelers, a slim yet sturdy watch box made from leather which can hold two to four special watches will fit into cabin luggage and protect them from damage.
  2. Make sure to purchase a timepiece winder with a quality motor. These will generally cost around $100 or more and will not damage your watches.
  3. You need a winder with more than one motion setting so as to minimize stressing one part of the watch mechanism more than others. It should move in both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions so that wear is evenly spread through all system parts. You should be able to set the direction yourself, or have the capability for it to automatically change direction.
  4. It’s also good to purchase a watch winder which comes with a built in timer so as to avoid the stress of overwinding on your watch. You want to make sure it remains correctly wound but without stressing the internal mechanism.

Watch Box Tips

  1. Make sure to check the quality of the wood of the watch box before purchasing. It should be aged to ensure that moisture inside the wood is non-existent via the process of kiln drying. This prevents warping and cracking of the box as well as ensuring that the lid and hinges are perfectly aligned. Cheap winders are often made from untreated casing and particle board which will buckle and warp, or result in air bubbles in the casing.
  2. Check for the coating on the wood to see if it has been hand polished, particularly with up to fifteen separate layers of polyurethane coating. This will ensure the winder effectively has the capability to resist temperature changes, is heat resistant as well as scratch resistant. It should be a maintenance free purchase.
  3. A suitable watch box should always prevent your watches from becoming scratched and dented so it should always be completely lined with a very soft fabric. It should also have a padded bottom so as to avoid scratching or damaging the top of your dresser or nightstand.

The functionality of a quality winder should never compromise the functionality of your watch or watches, but rather ensure that it is protected and suitably wound while it is being stored. The watch winder and the watch box which houses the winder should be considered as a necessary investment in the ongoing maintenance of your automatic watches, particularly if the watches are expensive. You will want to ensure they remain operational by being wound and ready for you to wear, any time, any place.

Ultimate Watch Winder Guide

# of Watches

Brookstone Single Watch Winder
Single9.9 x 8.2 x 6.2Clockwise, counter-clockwise, bi-directional$4.1
Tech Swiss

Tech Swiss Double Watch Winder
Double8 x 10.75 x 8.75Clockwise, counter-clockwise, bi-directional$$4.0
Wolf Designs Module 2.7 Roadster

Wolf Designs Roadster
Double7.5 x 17.7 x 9Clockwise, counter-clockwise, bi-directional$$$$$4.0
Heiden Quad Winder

Heiden Quad Watch Winder
Quad22.8 x 16.4 x 11.3Clockwise, counter-clockwise, bi-directional$$4.4
Kendal Wood Winder

Kendal Dual Watch Winder
Double9.2 x 8 x 7Fuzzy Logic$4.0
Orbita Tourbillion One

Orbita Tourbillion One Watch Winder
SingleClockwise, counter-clockwise, bi-directional, swinging$$$$$3.7
Heiden Prestige Winder

Heiden Prestige Watch Winder
Single7.5 x 7.5 x 4.5Clockwise, counter-clockwise, bi-directional$4.1
Wolf Designs Single Watch Winder

Single8 x 5.2 x 6.5Clockwise, counter-clockwise, bi-directional$$4.9
Diplomat Mahogany Wood

Double7 x 7 x 8Clockwise, counter-clockwise, bi-directional$$4.8
Heiden Double Watch Winder

Heiden Double Watch Winder
Double8.5 x 6.5 x 7.5Clockwise, counter-clockwise, bi-directional$$3.9
Wolf Designs Meridian Triple Watch Winder

Wolf Meridian
Triple6.2 x 15.5 x 8Clockwise, counter-clockwise, bi-directional$$$$$5.0
Heiden Vantage Double Winder with LCD - Black Leather

Heiden Vantage Dual Watch Winder
Double7.2 x 7.5 x 9.8Clockwise, counter clockwise, bi-directional$$4.0
Wolf Designs Heritage Module 2.1 Single Winder

Wolf Designs Heritage 2.1 Single Watch Winder
Single5.375 x 8.875 x 6.75Clockwise, counter-clockwise, or bi-directional$$4.7
Wolf Designs Cub Series Module 1.8 Single Winder

Wolf Cub Watch Winder
Single5 x 5.25 x 5.75Clockwise, counter-clockwise, or bi-directional$$5.0
Heiden Prestige Quad Winder

Heiden Prestige Quad
Quad16.5 x 7.5 x 6.5Clockwise, counter-clockwise, or bi-directional$$5.0
Panagea S400 E Battery Powered Automatic Single Winder

Pangaea S400-E
Single6 x 6.3 x 6Clockwise, counter-clockwise, or bi-directional$4.5


Included in the table are 6 columns:

  • Photos
  • Brand name/model – (click to view more details or to purchase)
  • Dimensions
  • Winding functions
  • Price – These are approximate prices on  These change frequently based on availability, special promotions, and more.  But generally speaking: $ = under $100, $$ = $100 to $250, $$$ = $250 to $400, $$$$ = $400-550, $$$$$ = $550+
  • Rating – Average user rating on (0 to 5 stars).  This can be very helpful to decide which winder to purchase.

*Click on any of the columns to sort the data to help make your decision easier

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