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Published Jun 3, 2022 8:00 AM

Watch winders help keep automatic watches stay powered up. Unlike your favorite cheap watch, automatic watches don’t have a battery. Rather, an internal mechanism helps turn motion into power for the watch. But this usually only powers the watch for about 24 to 48 hours. If you don’t wear the watch often enough, or leave it on your shelf saved up for a special occasion, the watch won’t get the motion it needs and will run out of power, meaning you’ll take it out only to find it dead. To prevent this, watch winders help keep your watch moving by using a small motor that mimics the motion of your wrist. Store your watch in the box, which often also makes a great display case, and it will move every so often to keep the watch ready to wear, displaying the correct time, at a moment’s notice. If you are a budding collector with a rotation of watches, a watch you only wear occasionally, or you just hate having to wind and reset your watch, here are some of the best watch winders to keep you ticking. 

How we chose the best watch winders

This is a relatively specialized market segment with tons of options ranging across a wide pricing spectrum. We started our search with trusted reliable brands that watch collectors generally trust. 

Since watch collections can vary from a single model to multiple options, we chose options that can accommodate various numbers of timepieces. We relied on a combination of personal experience, editorial reviews, user feedback, and feature comparisons to narrow down a list of dozens to these specific picks. Unlike some other consumer electronics segments, these devices don’t get revamped every year, so there’s little worry about your purchase going out of date quickly once you buy. 

Things to consider when shopping for the best watch winders

Before we dig into the specific picks on this list, we’ll outline a few common features and terms that will help you shop smarter no matter which model you choose. 

Do I need a watch winder? 

If your watch has a battery you don’t need a watch winder, though you may appreciate the elegant display it offers. Unless you wear your automatic watch every day, a winder is a great choice because it ensures that your timepiece will be ticking whenever you’re ready to wear it.

What size do I need? 

Watch winders come in a variety of sizes to accommodate the number of watches you have. Do you need a single, double, or multi-watch winder? It’s alright to buy a watch winder with more winders than watches in your growing collection, but this will likely affect your price. Pay attention to the size of the watch that will fit inside, usually measured by the size of the watch case width and thickness in mm.

How much am I willing to spend? 

Watch winders, like watches, come in a wide variety of price points. Do you need a simple machine to keep in your closet or are you looking for a beautiful and impressive machine to show your guests?

Is it right for my watch? 

Check your watch’s manual to see what it needs to get power. Some watches only capture energy when they turn clockwise or counterclockwise, and some watches need different amounts of turns per day (TPD) to keep them wound, but not overwound. A programmable watch winder will help you get exactly what you need, though more robust and customizable programs often come at a higher price. 

The best watch winders: Reviews & Recommendations

With those important considerations out of the way, it’s time to get into our specific picks for best watch winders. While we’ve broken these down into categories, there’s always overlap between the products, so be sure to peruse the entire list before making a purchase. There may be more than one device that meets your needs.

Best overall: Wolf Heritage Double

Why it made the cut: Wolf is a reliable brand that makes great winders and this is no exception. It’s perfect for two watches, even if they are vastly different sizes with vastly different program needs. 

Specs

  • Number of Watches: 2
  • Materials: Faux leather, tempered glass
  • Calibration Settings: 900 or 1800 TPD, 3-direction clockwise, counterclockwise, and bi-directional
  • Power: Plug or 4 D batteries
  • Size: 10.25  x 7.50 x 6.125 inches. 

Pros 

  • Two-year warranty
  • Durable construction 
  • Robust programs

Cons

  • Exterior leather is faux, a surprise at this price
  • Large size isn’t great fit for all

Wolf is a favorite brand among many watch collectors and watch winder users for its reliable products and durable construction. We particularly like the durable materials in this build, including the faux leather exterior (though real leather would have been a nice touch), chrome clasps, and a tempered glass window so that you can see and display your watches while they wind. It’s a handsome winder worthy of display and thanks to the option of D battery power, you can display it anywhere without a cord poking out.

The winder itself is able to accommodate watches of all sizes, but what really stands out are the winding programs. The winder can do 900 or 1800 TPD (by putting the winder in bi-directional) but also pre-programmed rotations phases that even include sleep and pause phases to prevent your watch from being overwound. The programs are easy to select thanks to the front knobs, and you can set the two watches separately.

Best affordable: Versa Automatic Single Watch Winder

Why it made the cut: This simple option won’t take up a ton of room and will save you some cash to spend on more watches.

Specs

  • Number of Watches: 1
  • Materials: Plastic
  • Calibration Settings: 4 Turns Per Day 650-850-1050-1250, 3-direction clockwise, counterclockwise, and bi-directional. 
  • Power: Plug
  • Size: ‎5.75 x 5.75 x 5.75 inches;

Pros

  • Inexpensive but effective
  • Customizable settings
  • Fits large watches
  • Quiet dependable function

Cons

  • Plastic exterior construction
  • Large for only accomodating a single watch
  • Settings, while easy to adjust, are not robust enough for all watch brands. 

This watch is a favorite of many for its pleasant design, simple use, and perhaps most of all, affordable price. 

Even with all of this in mind, the winder is reliable thanks to the Japanese Mabuchi motor that has a gearbox capable of 12 settings in 350, 650, 850, 1050 as well as clockwise, counterclockwise, and bidirectional winding. This way you can pick the number and direction that best suits your watch. 

One of the best features of this winder is just how quiet it is during operation. You can hardly hear it function as it winds your watch, which makes it a great option for those in small quarters who might need the watch winder on a bedside table. 

The design itself is modern, though the plastic construction might not match every watch owner’s aesthetic, and can look cheap so it’s not the best for displaying a prestige piece. It is relatively large for a single watch winder, but with this size comes the ability to accommodate large and oversized watches, even up to 70mm wide and 14 mm thick.

Best box: Wolf Roadster Triple

Why it made the cut: Enough space for a large or growing collection, and easy quiet operation that will make you smile as much as wearing your favorite watch. 

Specs

  • Number of Watches: 3
  • Programs: 300 to 1800 TPD, 3-direction clockwise, counterclockwise and bi-directional
  • Power: Plug or 4 D batteries
  • Size: 18 x 8  x 9 inches

Pros 

  • Leather exterior and premium finishes
  • Operates quietly
  • Top storage compartment for other accessories 

Cons

  • Premium price for a premium product
  • Wood veneer may not match all home styles

While this winder can wind up to three watches, it also has storage for five additional watches. This is great if you have battery-powered watches as well, or prefer to cycle your automatic watches through the winter. It’s great for the collector with many watches, or the collector who is just starting to add automatic watches to a primarily battery-powered collection

Even with three winders, the Wolf Heritage is impressively quiet. Despite this, it is powerful enough to wind even the heaviest and largest watches. 

The programs are easy to customize to meet the exact needs of your watches and can be adjusted between 300 and 1,200 TPD or doubled if you make the winder bi-directional. A power reserve function will let your watch cycle between winding, and releasing energy so it does not overwind. 

Many will like the handsome design with rich wood veneer and leather exterior, though we would have expected genuine rather than faux leather at this price point. It is a premium look at a premium price. 

Best affordable battery-powered: JQueen Double Watch Winder

JQUEEN

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Why it made the cut: An affordable two-watch option with a classic design, and reliable, though simple, function. 

Specs:

  • Number of Watches: 2
  • Materials: acrylic glass, wood, copper fittings
  • Programs: Clockwise, clockwise, 2 bi-directional
  • Power: Plug or 2 AA batteries
  • Size: 7 x 7 x 7.8 inches

Pros 

  • Available in a variety of finishes
  • Large display window
  • Affordable price
  • 18-month warranty

Cons

  • Lacks quantitative turn per day setting
  • Can look cheap when compared to other more expensive winders

This winder is powered by a Japanese Mabuchi motor which operates supremely quietly. While not silent, it’s impressively unobtrusive for its price point. Similarly, the construction is impressive for less than $100. This JQueen is made by hand with acrylic glass, real wood, high-quality lacquer, and smooth copper components. It’s a handsome design that looks great with most watches, though you may notice that affordability when it is compared to more expensive, and elegant cases. 

Some may not like that the winder doesn’t have quantitative TPD settings, but the four programs are easy to choose from with a simple knob and include clockwise, counterclockwise, and two different time periods for bidirectional. 

It’s a great option for the collector just starting their collection who wants a handsome winder that will leave them plenty of cash to invest in new watches rather than their cases.

Best for large collections: Aevitas Watch Winder

Aevitas

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Why it made the cut: A premium option for the premium collector. This winter works well for large collections and collectors with high demands for their accessories. 

Specs

  • Number of Watches: 6
  • Materials: Carbon fiber finish
  • Programs: 650, 750, 850, 1000, or 1950 TPD, clockwise, counterclockwise, bidirectional
  • Power: Plug
  • Size: 13.1 x 7.5 x 12.2 inches

Pros 

  • Large capacity
  • Neat “fast” design
  • Delivered in gift box

Cons

  • No battery-powered option
  • Price is for a premium product
  • Only works for large collections

This winder is best for the collector with a robust collection, as it has room to wind up to six watches, a lot for most when you consider we only have two arms. But if you have different types of watches with different TPD needs.

The carbon fiber design is sleek and modern and has a fun, fast look, but might not match the classical design of some watches, or collectors. Rather than a knob to select the programs, this winder has a touchscreen. While it is convenient and easy to operate, the glow of the screen adds to the modern aesthetic that might not match your style. 

The winder also has a large glass front which makes it great for displaying and protecting your watches, and the storage compartment on top works great for storing your other accessories like cufflinks. 

Best budget: Triple Tree Watch Winder

TRIPLE TREE

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Why it made the cut: The Triple Tree is an affordable, consistent, and compact option that punches above its weight class when it comes to performance and quality. 

Specs

  • Number of Watches: 1
  • Materials: Wood and faux leather
  • Programs: Clockwise, counterclockwise, bi-directional, non-intermittent bi-directional 
  • Power: Plug or 2 AA batteries
  • Size: 5.3 x 5.3 x 6.1Inches

Pros 

  • Solid wood construction with a pleasant aesthetic
  • Affordable price for solid operation
  • Small size

Cons

  • Textured leather not for everyone
  • Branding on front of case

For an affordable device, this Triple Tree works incredibly well and has earned itself many loyal customers. For the single watch owner it is a great, and impressively compact option. The size is great for those who want to keep their watch stored on their desk or bedside table where space can be a premium. 

The Japanese motor works well and is impressively quiet. The motor comes with four winding programs, which may be limiting to some watch owners who want more precise control over TPD rather than just direction and timing. The settings are easy to use thanks to a simple control knob. While setting 3 and 4 are both bi-directional, setting 4 has longer wind periods that can fully wind your watch in 3 hours.

The wood construction makes the box feel solid, though the textured leather exterior may not match all styles and aesthetics. The acrylic window gives a good view of your watch and we liked the velvet interior. The pillow makes it easy to fit your watch, regardless of size. 

FAQs

Q: How much does a watch Winder cost? 

Like the watches you put in them, watch winders can vary greatly in cost. The material the watch winder is made from, level of programming, and even just the brand name can greatly affect the cost of a watch winder. Many options can be found under $100 but for those with a bigger, or unlimited, budget it is possible to spend well into the thousands of dollars.

Q: Can I overcharge an automatic watch? 

Yes, many watch winders have pause or stop functions to keep your watch from being overwound. Overwinding a watch can put excess, and constant, pressure on your main spring that powers the watch, which will eventually damage it. 

Q: How long should I leave my watch on a watch winder? 

Check your watch manual for the correct TPD and if your watch can only be on a watch winder for a certain amount of time. Many watches have programs that pause so that you can leave your watch on the winder long term.

Final thoughts on the best watch winders

Whether you’re just getting into watches or you’re expanding your collection, the best watch winders will keep your timpiece ticking and ready to heat out into the world at a moment’s notice. If you have a high-end watch, it’s worth spending a little extra for a reliable, customizable model that will keep your watch’s internals safe and working perfectly for years to come.

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