If you’re a long-time collector of mechanical watches, then you may long have wanted to get an automated watch winder, as many have touted such devices as among the best things you can get if you’re into this hobby. In fact, some experts and enthusiasts even go so far as to say that using an automated watch winder is essential to keeping your expensive timepieces in good condition for as long as possible.
But is any of that true? Is it actually worth the purchase, or is it just another doodad designed to bilk collectors of money? More than that, how does a watch winder actually work, and what are the benefits to having one? We’ll cut through the marketing spin and give you the answers you need in this article.
What is an automated watch winder?
Simply put, an automated watch winder is a mechanical device that keeps your automatic mechanical watches wound for you whenever you’re not wearing them.
Just like the very watches they wind, watch winders are available in many different types and looks: from simple yet elegant wooden ones that store and wind only one watch at a time, to more complicated diecast winders that can automatically store and wind an entire collection.
Some of the more expensive models even double as an ornate display case or a vault. This is obviously handy for those who want to showcase their collection while at the same time keeping them wound.
How do automated watch winders work?
In order to discuss how automated watch winders work, we first have to talk about how automatic watches actually function. In a nutshell, automatic watches are mechanical watches that work by drawing energy from a precisely machined clockwork mechanism inside them instead of a battery. This clockwork mechanism requires winding regularly in order to provide that energy. Otherwise, the clockwork mechanism will wind down and stop entirely. The watch stops functioning at this point and will remain “frozen” until the mechanism is wound up again.
Depending on the type of automatic watch, there are usually two ways in which the mechanism is rewound. The first is through manual winding, and this is done by twisting a small knob on the side of the watch. While convenient, this method is generally inadvisable, as it’s known to put undue stress on the clockwork mechanism every time you do it.
The second method is much simpler: by wearing the watch itself! Thanks to a very small and ingenious system of weights inside the mechanical watch, each movement made while wearing the timepiece automatically winds the clockwork mechanism. Also, this system is designed in such a way that any movement translates into the mechanism being wound. Even just shaking your wrist every now and then counts.
A watch winder works by providing that very same motion to the watch while it’s not being worn. This is done through a simple watch winding mechanism involving a miniature motor that rotates a post or storage chamber that the watch is securely strapped onto. This rotating motion ensures that the clockwork mechanism inside the watch gets the winding it needs to function for as long as possible.
What are the benefits to using a watch winder?
There are many benefits to using a watch winder. Here are some of the most notable ones:
- It keeps your watch wound even when you’re not wearing it. This is great for collectors who wish to keep their more precious timepieces safe indoors. It’s also perfect for mechanical watch owners who wish to prolong the looks and functionality of their watch by severely limiting their usage of it.
- It saves you from having to constantly re-adjust your watch to the proper time after a few days in storage. Simply storing your watch in your drawer or closet for long periods of time will inevitably cause your watch to wind down and stop working. While you may not mind having to adjust your watch to the correct time each time you pick it back up, it’s always going to be a time-consuming affair, more so if your watch has certain timekeeping features such as a perpetual calendar or moon phase tracker. Using a watch winder helps you save time by keeping your watch going.
- It stores your watch safely and in an attractive fashion. Watch winders help protect your watch from external damage when you’re not using it. A lot can happen to a watch when left on its own: from children dropping them to the floor to curious pets in the house chewing at your expensive timepiece. By storing your watch in a watch winder, you protect it from damage while at the same time display it in a very attractive way.
- It winds your watch using its kinetic winding function, which is the safest way to wind a watch. As stated earlier, manual winding puts a certain amount of stress on the watch and its delicate inner mechanisms. By using a watch winder, you help protect your watch from unnecessary wear and tear and help prolong its life. It’s also said that a watch winder’s constant rotating motion keeps the lubricants in your watch flowing, preventing them from congealing and clogging up the delicate clockwork.
Watch winders are necessary for keeping your automatic watches in top condition
Is an automated watch winder worth it? We believe so. It does a lot to preserve your watch’s functionality and value. Sure, it may be an added expense, but wouldn’t you want to spend that extra cash to ensure that your big investment is cared for, for as long as possible? Besides, a watch winder does pull double duty in displaying your watch in a very attractive fashion aside from keeping it wound.
As such, no matter if you’re a casual dabbler in mechanical watches or someone who collects them very seriously, you should definitely look into getting an automated watch winder if you haven’t already done so. Your precious collection of expensive wrist candy will definitely thank you for the years to come.