The 5 Best Watch Winders in 2018

I still remember the day I saw my first Rolex.

And it just so happens that the reason the memory is so vivid has little to do with the watch itself.

That’s right. The name, the iconic crown logo, the unique style—all a sidenote.

No, I still remember it to this day because of the winder the Rolex was sitting in.

I was in high school staying over at a buddy’s place. My friend’s Dad had told us he was going out and that we could do whatever we want while he was away. Except go in his study.

So what do you think a couple of teenage boys did the minute his Dad zoomed off down the driveway?

You guessed it.

And that’s where I saw it. In all its spinning, shiny, mahogany glory. Yes, I thought the the watch was cool, but it was the winder that was making the biggest statement.

I can’t quite pin down the model / make all these years later, but it was a thing of beauty to my impressionable teenage self.

And I knew that one day, when I had a job that paid more than the paper route I was working at the time, I’d have one of my own.


Do you need a watch winder?


First things first, I’m aware it’s unlikely that many of you shared the same level of youthful *ahem* excitement about getting a watch winder as me.

And obviously, if you don’t own (or plan to own) an automatic watch then you’d almost certainly be wasting your money.

But there are several good reasons to get one:

Convenience

A big one is convenience. If you own an automatic watch that you wear often, but not permanently, a watch winder will allow you to have it ready to go at all times. This also reduces the amount of hand winding you’ll do on your watch which causes unnecessary strain on the automatic movement.

If you own multiple automatic watches, the above point is even more relevant because most of us don’t wear more than one watch at a time (yeah, don’t be that guy).

Perpetual calendar

Another excellent reason to get a watch winder is if your piece has a complex perpetual calendar. A winder can bypass the need to go through any commonly elaborate resetting requirements if your watch has been stopped for some time.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the best watch winders that we think are worth splashing your hard earned money on in 2018.

1 WOLF 270002 Heritage Single Watch Winder

WOLF-270002-Heritage-Single-Watch-Winder

(282 Reviews)

Check Price On Amazon

WOLF have one of the more interesting watch winder company founding stories out there.

All the way back in 1834, Philipp Wolf I (why don’t we number people anymore?) created the company after coming to the quite profitable realisation that his silver pieces sold a heck of a lot better when he presented them in beautiful boxes.

I’m sure if he were alive today he’d delight in the reception of the WOLF 270002 Heritage Single  because it’s a beautiful box indeed.

It has a stunning faux leather exterior with chrome finishing and a glass cover.

The technical standout to this unit is it’s unique intermittent rotations which means it supports pre-programmed sleep and pause phases.

Pros

  • It’s consistently quiet—the motor is as silent as described when in operation.
  • A lot of storage space, it can comfortably house large sized watches. Watch stays in place.
  • Very reliable, one reviewer reported not on failure after a year of continuous use.
  • Beautifully designed and excellent build quality. The winder is actually a complement to the elegant finish of your luxury watch.
  • 900 turns per day (or 1800 in C setting) makes it suitable for most watches.
  • Simple to use, setup takes five minutes.
  • Nicely packaged.
  • It can run on either wall or battery power.

Cons

  • Some reviewers reported issues with the 270002 keeping Rolex’s wound on any setting.
  • The LEDs may be too bright for a bedroom. One reviewer solved this by placing a thin layer of electrical tape over them.
  • One reviewer felt that the winder is generally quiet, but it can sometimes becomes noisy, which also means it can’t be in the bedroom if you wish to sleep.
  • One reviewer claimed the winder stopped rotating after 18 months.


Get it:

Last update on 2018-09-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Need a double winder?

You can find WOLF’s highly regarded 270402 on Amazon here:

Last update on 2018-09-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2 JQUEEN Double Watch Winder

JQUEEN Double Watch Winder

(714 Reviews)

Check Price On Amazon

We promised a winder for every budget, and the JQUEEN Double  is a highly regarded pick in the sub $100 range.

It boasts a motor by Japanese mega-manufacturer, Mabuchi, who just so happen to be the world’s largest manufacturer of small electric motors.

The JQUEEN is 100% handmade with finishes made up of acrylic glass, piano lacquer and the transmission crafted from copper fittings. It features the standard three direction settings and several Turns Per Day settings.

Power this beauty with either a 100-240v AC Adapter which is included or two x 1.5V batteries which you’ll have to shell out for yourself.

Pros

  • Runs quietly. No issues running it in a bedroom.
  • Secure packaging and the product shows up looking just as nice as the picture.
  • Expensive looking design with a sturdy, heavy feel to it.
  • Interior metal is soft and houses your watches perfectly in place.
  • Great customer service from JQUEEN.
  • The knob on the back of the unit is solid.
  • The four Program Modes are sufficient for almost all watches.
  • AC cord is compact and it’s handy to be able to use batteries as a backup.
  • Excellent as a gift to any watch collector.

Cons

  • The instruction pamphlet is pretty limited.
  • No warranty card included.
  • The winder is quiet but not silent.
  • A digital readout for turn settings would be appreciated.
  • One reviewer had problems getting his larger modern sport watches to fit once the door was closed and the winder turned on (two Breitlings—50mm case and 44mm case).


Get it:

Last update on 2018-09-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’d like to future proof or hold more watches, their quad version is also excellent:

Last update on 2018-09-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3 Versa Automatic Single Watch Winder

Versa Automatic Single Watch Winder

(1,431 Reviews)

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This thing might look like you’d expect to find a “FIRE ZE MISSILES” button inside instead of a watch, but this Amazon Bestseller  is a solid and fairly reliable option if you’re on a budget.

The Versa is made of plastic (hey, it’s a sub $100 winder after all) in a black color, and fits a surprisingly large range of watch models.

It houses the reliable Mabuchi motor and has four turns per day settings (350-650-850-1050) and the standard three direction functions.

Pros

  • Accommodates oversized watches—confirmed to house a 60x70mm case at 14mm thickness.
  • Simple direction settings which are easy to understand for novice users.
  • Multiple reviewers stated it kept their watch in perfect time.
  • Very quiet when in wind mode.
  • Well working spring holder which will snap close smaller wrist bands.
  • Looks great for the price, and the light effect is a nice touch to illuminate your watch.

Cons

  • Operates on line voltage only, there’s no battery capability.
  • Doesn’t work with Seiko Kinetic watches and doesn’t maintain a wind with a Tag Heuer Carerra.
  • One reviewer claimed that it worked great for the initial 10 months or so, but then it started to have issues winding correctly, and would make loud squeaky noises when it turned.
  • Looks a bit too big for just one watch.
  • A couple of reviewers stated that it is too noisy to be placed beside your bed while in use.


Get it:

Last update on 2018-09-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4 Heiden Quad Watch Winder

Heiden Quad Watch Winder in Black Leather

(86 Reviews)

Check Price On Amazon

Based in California, Heiden craft their winders by hand and it shows in the finish quality. The Heiden winders have the solid feel you’d expect from a product falling squarely in the entry to mid level bracket.

The Quad comes in a black leather finish as pictured (our favorite), as well as in walnut  or cherry  if you prefer nuts or fruit in your aesthetic diet.

Pros

  • Accommodates oversized watches—confirmed to house a 60x70mm case at 14mm thickness.
  • Simple direction settings which are easy to understand for novice users.
  • Multiple reviewers stated it kept their watch in perfect time.
  • Very quiet when in wind mode.
  • Well working spring holder which will snap close smaller wrist bands.
  • Looks great for the price, and the light effect is a nice touch to illuminate your watch.

Cons

  • No internal light displays when front panel is lifted to display watches.
  • No instructions included for winding suggestions for different watches, however another reviewer mentioned that these are easily found online.
  • One reviewer claimed that the winder stopped working at just under 2 years of use.
  • One reviewer mentioned that one of the winder buttons was non-operational on arrival.


Get it:

Last update on 2018-09-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5 Barrington Single Winder

Last but not least is a watch winder I’ve personally tried. It’s the flagship Single Winder from UK’s own Barrington Watch Winder Company.

I chose the ‘shadow black’ colored winder for neutrality, but they have about eight or so styles to choose from, including ‘electric yellow’ which looks pretty damn sexy indeed.

Who are Barrington?

Founded in 2009 and based in the UK, the Barrington Watch Winder Company state their aim as being to deliver a winder which not only looks as good as the higher end ‘brand names’, but also has the same level of functionality. All at a reasonable price point. And by dandy, at less than $200 a piece, they may just have achieved it.

Features

Also boasting the uber-quiet Mabuchi motor, the winder runs on AC mains or two AA batteries. I tested both methods to work equally as effectively as each other. And oh does it run quiet while winding. And I mean so quiet you really need to get close and concentrate to even know that it’s running.

It has a nice and sturdy feel to it, and while it’s clearly made of hard plastic (hey, it’s a sub $200 winder after all), the curved edges and purposeful design gives it a high end look. In combination with your favorite watch, and the LED light (when winding), the Barrington will be a genuine statement piece in whichever room you choose to showcase it.

In terms of functionality, it will rotate clockwise, counterclockwise or alternating (fairly standard), and it has all the necessary turns per day settings you’d need for nearly any watch.

Before I get bombarded with emails from every scrupulous watch aficionado out there, note that I modeled it below with my Sinn Regulateur because I don’t currently own an automatic watch. I tested the winding capability with my buddy’s Rolex Submariner.

Pros

  • You can adjust the spring behind the cushion to fit different band lengths.
  • Sleek, modern design and of firm build.
  • It’s super quiet—you can only hear a light whir of the motor, and that’s only if you’re listening for it.
  • You can use batteries! I’ve found this to be fairly rare among low-mid range winders.
  • Very simple to use, the two knobs are self explanatory.
  • NEW: You can attach multiple winders together via their Barrington ‘Jump’ feature which allows you to expand your winder capability as your watch collection grows.
  • Tightly packaged in foam, and covered in a mesh bag for extra protection. You can choose your region specific power adapter on purchase (hooray, there’s nothing worse than having to buy your own adapter).
  • 12-month quality guarantee from date of purchase.

Cons

  • While the motor is very quiet (and as quiet as any other good winder I’ve tested), it’s still a motor, so it’s probably not suited for your bedroom, especially if you’re a light sleeper.
  • This final point is more about subjective taste. The Barrington is very minimalist in design. I love the minimalist style, so it suits me. However some may feel the simple plastic finish isn’t up to their aesthetic standards having seen other winders with higher quality finishing touches like leather panels, for example. But again, you need to consider the price point here.


Get it:

Pick it up from here at Barrington Watch Winders’ official site.


FAQs


The following FAQs apply to watch winders generally. Individual products may of course vary.

Can Watch Winders Overheat?

Not unless you’re really trying. If it’s 102 F outside and you’re running a space heater three inches away from it, it’ll still run just fine.

The motor(s) operate so slowly that movement friction isn’t a problem.

How Loud Are Watch Winders?

They produce noise, but nothing that’s going to wake you up at night.

There’s a motor at work, so you’ll definitely hear a sound when it does its job. It’s only noticeable if you have every electronic in the house shut off, nobody’s talking, and you don’t even have a fan or air conditioner working.

If your watch winder gets loud, and you hear clicking, ticking, or anything else that emulates a time-bomb sound, there could be a problem.

We’ll talk about maintenance in a moment, but just know that if replacing the belt doesn’t help, you might need to contact the manufacturer and ship it out for some maintenance.

That’s a seriously uncommon thing to happen (I haven’t had to do it yet), but still something to keep in mind if it gets loud. If you keep your watch winder in the walk-in, you’ll forget it’s even there.

Do I Need to Maintain my Watch Winder?

Watch winders are pretty solid contraptions, but from time to time, you’ll need to give them a quick inspection. I like to pop it open and dust the watch chamber and the motor housing.

That’s basically the entire case; pop it open, clean out any dust, but don’t hit any components that are already greased.

A common thing you may run into is needing a belt replacement. Nothing major, but you should check it out once every six months.

If you’ve ever been under the hood or even changed the belt on a vacuum cleaner, you’ll know how to spot wear and tear. These are insanely inexpensive, and can usually be bought directly from the manufacturer in packs of three or more.

Is It Possible for a Watch Winder to Damage my Watch?

Under rare circumstances, like if you don’t give it a once-over for maintenance issues. Modern watch winders are fantastic at their job, which is primarily keeping your watch running smoothly, and protecting it from environmental harm.

As I mentioned earlier, you’re going to know when something’s wrong with your winder. If your watch isn’t running, if it’s being too loud, etc, take the watch out and inspect the winder. Problems will almost always be audible long before any damage is done.

Will an American-Made Watch Winder Work with an Internationally-Purchased Watch?

There’s a universal way that watches work. For instance, I’m a big fan of Victorinox, and those are authentically made in Switzerland.

Would I throw one of those into my current American-made watch winder? Of course. No matter where you get it from, it will work just fine in your watch winder.


Conclusion


Alright, time to wind this up (come on…how do I possibly resist that one?).

If your watch winder didn’t make the cut and you’re pretty bummed about it, chat with me about it in the comments. We’ll be keeping this list fluid.

If you’ve got a Rolex, you might like to check out AskMen’s awesome guide Choosing a Watch Winder for Your Rolex.

Bob's Watches
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