Last updated: August 5, 2021

Welcome to our big watch winder test 2021. Here we present all the watch winders that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best watch winder for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a watch winder.




Summary

  • Good watch winders are distinguished by their low-noise and low-wear operation. A suitable design that goes well with the watches is also a very important feature as well as good performance, so that after using the watch winder, the automatic watches can be used right away.
  • There are different types of watch winders, from single to multiple watch winders that can accommodate numerous watches. The design also varies from simple or particularly modern, to luxurious and elegant.
  • For beginners, rather the inexpensive and less powerful watch winders are designed, which already give a lot of pleasure and benefit. If you are looking for impressive watch winders, you will find them in the higher price range with high-quality materials and motors that offer numerous setting options.

The Best Watch Winder: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a watch winder

In the guidebook you can find more information about automatic watches and watch winders. It is important to inform yourself very well in advance, because this way you can get more interesting information from expert discussions and ask more specific questions.

In addition, this makes it even easier to assess which watch winder model best suits one's own automatic watch models.

What is the purpose of watch winders?

The mechanical movement of automatic watches keeps rotating thanks to slight movements of the wearer's arm. Due to these movements, the spring of the automatic watch is wound in small steps via the rotor.

If these impulses do not occur over a longer period of time, an automatic watch will stop after a few hours due to inertia and gravity. Some automatic watches stand still after just one quiet night.

If an automatic watch is not in motion for a long time, it will stop after a few hours. (Image source: StockSnap / pixabay.com)

If you want to be able to wear the watch after a longer period of rest without further effort, watch winders are ideal for this. The rotation intervals of the watch winders also play a major role, as the automatic watches may get out of sync if the intervals are incorrect. The direction of rotation is also relevant, as explained in the section "Running direction watch winders".

The first automatic watches used ecological materials such as resin. In such cases, the watch winder prevented sticking and kept the collector's item functional.

For whom are watch winders suitable?

  • For practical, convenient people who do not want to constantly wind their automatic watches themselves and want to set the time anew every day.
  • For owners of several automatic watches who like to take turns.
  • For valuable automatic watches that are not worn in everyday life, but are kept safely at home.
  • For displaying private collections
  • For displaying the goods, for example at watch fairs and for sale.

How do watch winders work?

Automatic watches have various axes, such as the rotor axis of the watch. Watch winders generate physical rotational movements of the automatic watch mechanism thanks to precise and slow movements and thus keep the watch mechanism in constant motion.

Watch winders with flexible setting parameters are particularly suitable for watches with calendars and individual moon phases - and therefore a correspondingly complex mode of operation. Such watch winders are, of course, more complicated to handle, which is why the advice of a specialist is ideally advisable.

It is very important to know the required rotation modes of the automatic watches before buying. If this knowledge is not available, the automatic watch may not be wound optimally or, in the worst case, may be damaged if the programme is contrary.

Which running directions and rotation modes exist for watch winders?

There are different running directions for watch winders: left, right and alternating. These running directions can be selected on some watch winder models before use.

Some watches require movements to the left, others to the right and some alternating, i.e. both to the right and to the left. The information is usually available in the operating instructions of the respective watch.

If one is unsure, the alternating mode should be selected, as this is basically suitable for all species. Rotation intervals are usually adjustable in steps, from 650 to 3,600 revolutions per day.

Mains operation or battery operation?

Some watch winders draw power from a mains adapter, others from batteries. The question of which energy source is the most suitable depends on how the watch is stored.

If the automatic watch is in a safe, a mains-operated watch winder should be purchased. If the automatic watch is in the watch winder on a piece of furniture, then a mains-powered watch winder is the best choice.

What makes a good watch winder?

  • Good watch winders are distinguished by their low-noise and low-wear operation.
  • Another aspect is power consumption, which should be as low as possible. This characteristic is not very relevant in mains operation, but in battery operation, a long operating time is a very important product feature.
  • An attractive appearance with high-quality and clean workmanship is also an important purchase criterion. Who wouldn't want to show off their beautiful automatic watches to perfection? An attractive watch winder ideally emphasises the great technology and appearance that make automatic watches look so magnificent.
  • Caution: cheap offers from unknown brands or watch winders that do not fit can disrupt the beat of the watch and, in the worst case, permanently damage the mechanism.

Which watches should be wound with the winder?

It is important to choose appropriate watch winders for heavy watches. The differences in weight are enormous. Automatic watches sometimes have quite high weights. It is not uncommon for a watch to weigh over 200 grams. The weight is usually so high because of the case, glass and strap.

The movement itself weighs only a few grams. Collectors usually like heavy automatic watches because heavy watches are often (wrongly) assumed to have a particularly complex movement. Watch winders are simply not designed for some automatic watches, which is why special watch winder models often have to be chosen for very heavy automatic watches.

Due to the weight and robustness of some watches, special watch winders are suitable. (Image source: pixabay.com / Free-Photos)

Heavy watches are often very bulky and therefore do not always fit on the standard cushions of the watch winder, which is why more special models are needed. Particularly complex automatic watches, for example with calendars or moon phases, are only compatible with correspondingly complex watch winders.

What quality (durability) of the watch winder makes sense?

In the case of high-quality production, such as from Swiss or German workshops, the quality of the watch winders, i.e. the general durability and the noise level, is considerably better compared to foreign, mostly Chinese products.

With inferior products, a new device often has to be bought after a short time, as the wear and tear is simply greater and the noise level is not suitable for operation in the bedroom.

Are there alternatives to watch winders?

Since the entry-level prices of a brand-name watch winder are around 30-40 euros, do-it-yourself devices and arbitrary movement simulators are not sensible alternatives. Among other things, this is because of the unsuitable transmission of the number of motor revolutions and the lack of a rotation direction option.

Therefore, such alternatives are clearly not advisable. Digital watches or watches without a mechanical movement, on the other hand, can be stored in a nice watch box.

In the following video, you can see fascinating watch winders that only really unfold their charm when they are in motion. Of course, you can skip the first 45 seconds if you just want to enjoy the beauty of the watch winders.

Decision: What types of watch winders are there and which one is right for you?

Watch winders are mechanical devices with which automatic watches can be wound and kept in operation, and they are also useful and stylish long-term storage devices. A good watch winder fulfils the personal requirements of the owner both optically and mechanically.

Basically, watch winders (watch shakers) can be divided into four categories:

  • Professional winders
  • Simple devices
  • Products for several automatic watches
  • Products with special sizes

Depending on the intended use and existing automatic watches, a different type of watch winder is ideal. To choose the right watch winder, it is important to know about your own automatic watches.

Such information can usually be found in the operating instructions. Knowledge about the necessary revolutions per day, the direction of rotation, the mass and the weight of the watch are ideally already known in advance - or you can ask the manufacturer.

Professional watch winders

In the case of professional watch winders, such as those found in watchmakers' workshops, the functions of the devices are primarily relevant and not the attractive appearance.

This is an essential difference to models that have been specially designed for collectors and their collections. Rotational movements can be adjusted as desired on such models. This also allows certain functions of automatic watches to be tested.

Advantages
  • Numerous setting and test options
  • Numerous rotation programmes are supported
  • Rate precision is maintained
Disadvantages
  • Simple design
  • Difficult to operate
  • High price

Unfortunately, professional items are only available at a very high price and are therefore not suitable for ordinary watch lovers. In addition, they are complex to operate, which is why such watch winders also require a lot of experience and expertise.

Watch winders for simple needs

Simple watch winders for home use are usually mains-operated and offer standard rotation programmes that have to be specially adjusted to the automatic watch in question. Models for home use vary from very inexpensive entry-level models to enormously expensive individual pieces that make the collector's heart beat faster.

Advantages
  • Various rotation programmes
  • Attractive design
  • General protection of the automatic clock
  • Reasonable price-performance ratio
  • Large selection
Disadvantages
  • Space for only one automatic clock
  • The lighting cannot usually be switched off
  • Not all possible rotation programmes are available
  • Complex purchase decision

Operating volume and durability are always important, which are often poor in cheap models. The glass pane protects the clock from dust, scratches and dirt. If there is also a lock, overzealous visitors can also be reminded of the correct handling and value of the automatic watch, so that the good piece is always handled properly.

Design / Optics

There are various beautifully designed watch winders for the home, most of which show off the fascinating beauty of automatic watches to their best advantage with their noble appearance and artistic look.

Ideally, the look should also be coordinated with the atmosphere of the home. When buying watch winders, you can take into account the visual effect of the device in display cabinets, cupboards or on the bedside table, for example.

It is also important to match the device to the dominant living elements, especially the existing geometric shapes and the lighting mood. The material of the watch winder is also relevant, which can consist of a wooden look or a cool metal look, for example.

Ideally, the actual automatic watch look should also be incorporated into the watch winder design. For example, an automatic watch with a dark leather strap can be combined well with a watch winder that itself has leather parts that match the watch.

Often, there is also an appealing LED lighting, which shows off the automatic watch to its best advantage, especially in less bright rooms.

Watch winders for several automatic watches

Watch winders with multiple capacity are something special. Such watch winders accommodate not just one, but several automatic watches and offer separately adjustable rotation programmes for each watch. These products are technically very complex devices.

The appealing design with fascinating rotation mechanics, together with all the technology of the automatic watches and the watch winders, is a real technical masterpiece that becomes a fascinating exhibition highlight in an appropriate room.

Advantages
  • Several automatic watches remain in motion at the same time
  • Design and effect are more spectacular than with simple watch winders
  • Several rotation programmes per watch
Disadvantages
  • Price is usually quite high
  • Not suitable for every watch model, as some models are too individual.

The price ranges for these models are very wide and the variants are extremely numerous. From simple plastic objects to precious wood objects, there is everything possible to choose from. Watch winders with several automatic watches usually need significantly more space than simple watch winders, which is why the size should also be taken into account when deciding on a purchase.

Watch winders with special sizes

Most automatic watches are relatively large and heavy. However, there is an enormous variety on the market, because not everyone likes the particularly large or small models. In the case of watch winders, especially petite automatic watch models for women are often not ideally suited for placement, so that fixing them inside a watch winder is not possible.

Therefore, you should inform yourself in detail about the compatible sizes before buying. In the case of particularly small or very large automatic watches, you may have to spend a lot of time searching, as the desired models are often not available at the local specialist retailer and therefore have to be ordered first.

Advantages
  • Beautiful design
  • Available for a wide range of sizes
Disadvantages
  • Cushion inside is often not suitable for small ladies' automatic watches
  • For oversized automatic watches, it is often difficult to find suitable examples

Until such a watch winder can actually be put through its paces with the existing watches, further visits to various specialist shops are often necessary. However, if in doubt, it is better to ask a few more questions than to end up with a useless watch, and it is also nice to learn more about the world of automatic watches.

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Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate watch winders

In the following, we would like to show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate watch winders. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is suitable for you or not.

  • Type
  • Manufacturer
  • Weight
  • Dimensions
  • Material
  • Supported directions of rotation
  • Power
  • Energy

In the following sections, you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

With this knowledge, you may be able to quickly rule out a few devices and then concentrate on a few remaining ones, which you will examine more closely. It is also advisable to study the instruction manual for your automatic watch.

Type

When choosing a watch winder, you should always distinguish between different types. A classification was made with the types "simple watch winders", "multiple watch winders". There are also professional watch winders and those with special sizes.

The simple watch winder device model only offers space for one automatic watch and is accordingly not able to keep two or more automatic watches in motion at once.

Such simple watch winders are therefore perfect for owners of a single watch. If you own several automatic watches, devices with two or more places are suitable for storage and for constant function maintenance without having to wind and set the automatic watches again and again.

If you have several automatic watches, it can still make sense to buy watch winders for only one watch. This can be recommended, for example, if you have a favourite automatic watch and would like to use it every day and keep it fully wound overnight.

Some automatic watches are so special that they deserve a separate watch winder purely for reasons of appreciation or because such watch winders go particularly well with the look of the special automatic watch.

Sometimes, however, special sizes are necessary because the watches are extra-small or extra-large and therefore an ordinary watch winder is out of the question. The choice of the watch winder type, whether single or multiple, is on the whole a matter of taste and can also follow an already existing storage system.

Manufacturer

Each manufacturer has certain individual characteristics, such as the design, the materials used, the origin or a long tradition, which also give a watch winder a special aura and are more or less appreciated among watch connoisseurs.

For some automatic watch collectors, only domestic or watch winder manufacturers with a long tradition come into question. Others like to go for an inexpensive manufacturer or try out a different one.

This is basically up to the buyer. However, it makes sense to let the reputation / evaluation of the manufacturer flow into the purchase decision. The warranty and quality can differ considerably.

Weight

The watch winder weight results from the sum of the design materials used and the mechanical parts inside.

Basically, the weight is not particularly relevant. However, some lightweight watch winders may not be able to generate sufficient power if the weight and power of the mechanical parts inside is very low.

In addition, some watches are so heavy that certain watch winders are already lighter than the automatic watch itself, which somehow doesn't quite fit and also raises the question of excessive wear.

In case of doubt, it is advisable to go for heavier watch winders. The suitability of a watch winder for a particular type of automatic watch can easily be clarified with the manufacturer before purchase.

Dimensions

The dimensions of a watch winder are relevant for the storage space of the watch winder and thus depend on the space of the automatic watch owner.

Certain minimum dimensions must of course be given for large automatic watches, otherwise the watch will either not fit in at all or it will appear so dominant that the watch winder will not be able to develop its visual or even functional effect properly and the owner of the automatic watch should therefore rather go for a bulkier part.

Material

The materials range from high-quality solid wood to cheap plastic products. It is essential that the material matches the automatic watches and the surroundings, otherwise the watch winders will not be able to unfold their spatial effect or will even look like foreign objects.

It is better to use high-quality materials than to destroy the aura of a high-quality automatic watch with a cheap plastic device.

In the case of so-called skeleton automatic watches, for example, watch winders that also offer an insight into the mechanics are recommended, or in the case of automatic watches with leather straps, watch winders that also have leather parts and thus sensibly complement the look of the automatic watch.

Supported directions of rotation

Automatic watches often support many different rotation modes that vary significantly in their speed and direction of rotation. Depending on the automatic watch, a different direction of rotation is suitable.

It is important to determine the necessary direction of rotation before purchase, as a watch winder can damage the mechanism of the automatic watch if operated in the wrong direction of rotation.

In case of doubt, the alternating mode remains as an option, which often also leads to the least wear and tear, since here the same direction of rotation does not constantly affect the mechanism of the automatic watch.

However, it must be clear to the user of a watch winder that in most cases wear and tear is caused by watch winders as with any other mechanical product and therefore the gentlest storage method for most automatic watches is quite simply standing still.

However, this is not usually in the interests of automatic watch collectors who like to see their watches in motion and present them in this way to visitors and other interested parties.

Performance

The performance of the watch winder is determined by the number of revolutions per day. The watch winders usually have different function modes that ultimately make the automatic watch mechanism move more or less.

Some watches need an enormous number of revolutions per day for the watch to be fully charged. The necessary revolutions can also be clarified with the manufacturer or found out by studying the operating instructions. Especially for older watches with a risk of resin build-up, a certain minimum power is required.

Caution: Some watches need very high numbers of revolutions, so you should be especially careful when buying such watches and rather ask for too much than owning an item with insufficient power.

Energy

The energy supply is not only a practical question, but also, like everything else, a question of appearance. Some fans of automatic watches only like watch winders that are battery-powered and can thus be ideally stored in locked display cases.

This is also an advantage if you like to take your automatic watches to trade fairs and don't always want to have to search for and use a power source.

On the other hand, batteries can of course also be cumbersome, as they have to be replaced at some point - in contrast to mains adapters, which run for a few years without any problems and are therefore very uncomplicated to use.

Watch winders that offer both battery and mains operation are also ideal. Here you don't have to decide, but can simply choose depending on the situation.

Another criterion that is basically relevant through testing or through subjective experience reports concerns the operating volume, as this can have a negative impact on sleep or room acoustics. For this criterion, the lowest possible operating volume is of course better.

The operating volume is usually significantly lower with more expensive products than with inexpensive devices, as the mechanics are definitely more refined. The reputation of the manufacturer can also be taken into account here.

After taking all the purchase criteria into account, there is of course still the question of the weighting of the individual criteria. There is usually no such thing as an absolutely ideal product. But most brand-name watch winders are of good quality and can be easily replaced if they are defective.

Facts worth knowing about watch winders

What are watch winders made of?

Watch winders are often made of wood, some also have a high proportion of plastic, aluminium, carbon, glass, velvet or even imitation leather.

History of watch winders

Watch winders were invented in Germany more than 50 years ago. Originally used to check repaired automatic watches, complex watch winders are still used by workshops today.

Interesting facts and tricks Watch winders

  • Some watch winders are even designed for up to 200 watches.
  • Automatic watches are mechanical and therefore, like all mechanical machines, require maintenance from time to time.
  • Watches that are constantly in motion naturally have more wear and tear. One possibility is to place the watch on the winder in a not fully wound state before the sleep phase or generally to set the watch winder in such a way that full winding is never achieved, but the watch still runs for a very long time.

Picture source: Stocksnap / pixabay.com

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