If you’re a watch enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of a watch winder. But what exactly is it, and is it necessary? In this edition of Counterpoint, we’ll explore the world of watch winders and challenge commonly held ideas about this product.
As a self-proclaimed watch dork, you may have accepted that an automatic mechanical watch is a luxury item. But when it comes to watch winders, you might be wondering if it’s worth the investment. We’ll take a closer look at what a watch winder is, what it does, and whether it’s necessary for your collection. We’ll also explore the convenience factor and share some top picks for automatic watches and watch winders to shop.
What Is a Watch Winder?
A watch winder is a device that gently rotates an automatic winding watch to keep the mainspring wound and the watch running when it is not being worn. While it can offer minor convenience, it is often seen as an overpriced and unnecessary device that masquerades as an essential tool in watch collecting. In fact, at its worst, a watch winder can actually harm your watch. So, before you invest in one, consider whether it is truly necessary for your needs.
What Does a Watch Winder Do?
If you own an automatic watch and don’t wear it regularly, a watch winder can be a useful maintenance tool. The lubricants inside your mechanical watch that reduce friction between its many moving parts will, if left dormant, become dried up or coagulate. This could cause damage to the movement. A watch winder keeps your watch moving and ensures that the lubricating oils are evenly distributed, preventing degradation. By using a watch winder, you can extend the lifespan of your watch and keep it running smoothly.
Don’t Need a Watch Winder: Save Your Money and Time
Understanding Watch Winders
Watch winders are devices that keep automatic watches wound when they are not being worn. They simulate the motion of the wrist to keep the watch’s mainspring wound. However, not all automatic watches require winders. In fact, most automatic watches do not need winders at all.
The need for a watch winder depends on the watch’s movement and how often it is worn. Automatic watches with a power reserve of 40 hours or more do not require winders if they are worn regularly. If an automatic watch is not worn for an extended period, it will stop running, and the time and date will need to be reset. However, simply wearing the watch for a few hours will be enough to wind the mainspring and keep the watch running for another day or two.
If an automatic watch has a power reserve of less than 40 hours, a watch winder may be useful. A watch winder can keep the watch wound when it is not being worn, so it is always ready to wear. However, it is important to note that a watch winder is not a substitute for regular wear. Automatic watches are designed to be worn regularly, and extended periods of inactivity can cause the lubricants to dry out, leading to damage.
It is also important to note that not all automatic watches are compatible with watch winders. Some watches have a bi-directional winding system, while others have a uni-directional system. A watch winder that is not compatible with a particular watch can damage the movement.
In summary, watch winders are useful for automatic watches with a power reserve of less than 40 hours that are not worn regularly. However, they are not a substitute for regular wear, and it is important to ensure that the watch winder is compatible with the watch’s movement.
Watch winders can be quite expensive, and for someone who owns multiple automatic watches, the cost can add up quickly. A good quality watch winder can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 or more, depending on the brand and features. On the other hand, manual winding is free and requires no additional equipment. By choosing to manually wind their watches, watch owners can save a significant amount of money in the long run.
Using a watch winder can actually be harmful to the health of the watch. Watch winders are designed to keep automatic watches wound and running, but this constant motion can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the delicate internal components of the watch. Over time, this can lead to a decrease in accuracy and even damage to the watch. By manually winding their watches, owners can ensure that their watches are only wound when needed, extending the life of the watch.
Manual Winding Option
Most automatic watches come with a manual winding option, which allows the owner to wind the watch by hand. This option is not only more cost-effective but also better for the health of the watch. By manually winding the watch, the owner can control how much tension is placed on the internal components, reducing the risk of damage. Additionally, manual winding allows the owner to connect with their watch on a more personal level, creating a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship and engineering that goes into each timepiece.
In conclusion, while watch winders may seem like a convenient option, they are not necessary for the proper functioning and care of automatic watches. By choosing to manually wind their watches, owners can save money, ensure the health of their watch, and connect with their timepiece on a more personal level.
Alternatives to Watch Winders
If you don’t want to use a watch winder, there are a few alternatives you can consider. Two popular options are manual winding and professional servicing.
Manual winding is the simplest alternative to using a watch winder. All you have to do is wind your watch by hand every day or every few days to keep it running. This method is easy to do and doesn’t require any additional equipment. However, it can be time-consuming and may not be suitable for people with busy schedules.
To manually wind your watch, follow these steps:
- Unscrew the crown of your watch and pull it out to the first position.
- Turn the crown clockwise until you feel resistance.
- Stop turning the crown when you feel a click or resistance. This means the watch is fully wound.
- Push the crown back in and screw it down.
Another alternative to using a watch winder is to have your watch professionally serviced. This involves taking your watch to a qualified watchmaker or jeweler who can clean and lubricate the movement, replace worn parts, and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that it keeps accurate time.
Professional servicing is recommended every three to five years, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations and the condition of your watch. It can be more expensive than using a watch winder or manually winding your watch, but it can also help extend the life of your watch and prevent costly repairs down the road.
When choosing a watchmaker or jeweler to service your watch, look for someone who is experienced and has a good reputation in the industry. You can also ask for recommendations from friends or family members who own watches or do some research online to find reviews and ratings of local watchmakers and jewelers.
Overall, there are several alternatives to using a watch winder that can help keep your watch running smoothly and accurately. Whether you choose to manually wind your watch or have it professionally serviced, it’s important to take good care of your timepiece to ensure that it lasts for many years to come.
Common Misconceptions About Watch Winders
Watch winders are a popular accessory among watch enthusiasts, but there are many misconceptions about them. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions about watch winders:
Misconception #1: Watch Winders are Necessary for All Automatic Watches
One of the most common misconceptions about watch winders is that they are necessary for all automatic watches. While it is true that automatic watches require movement to keep them running, they do not necessarily need a watch winder. In fact, many automatic watches can run for up to 48 hours without any movement.
Misconception #2: Watch Winders Can Damage Watches
Another common misconception about watch winders is that they can damage watches. While it is true that some poorly made watch winders can damage watches, high-quality watch winders are designed to protect and preserve watches. The key is to choose a watch winder that is specifically designed for your watch and to use it properly.
Misconception #3: Watch Winders are Expensive
Many people believe that watch winders are expensive, but this is not necessarily true. While there are some high-end watch winders that can be quite expensive, there are also many affordable options available. It is important to do your research and choose a watch winder that fits your budget and your needs.
Misconception #4: All Watch Winders are the Same
Finally, many people believe that all watch winders are the same. However, this is not true. There are many different types of watch winders available, each with its own unique features and benefits. It is important to choose a watch winder that is designed for your specific watch and that meets your needs and preferences.
In conclusion, there are many misconceptions about watch winders. However, by understanding the facts and doing your research, you can choose a high-quality watch winder that will help you protect and preserve your watch for years to come.
Final Thoughts on Not Needing a Watch Winder
After exploring the various reasons why someone might choose not to use a watch winder, it’s clear that there are many valid arguments for going without one. While some collectors find that a watch winder is necessary to maintain the accuracy of their timepieces, others find that the benefits of not using a winder outweigh any potential downsides.
One of the most compelling reasons to skip the watch winder is the cost savings. A high-quality watch winder can be quite expensive, and for collectors with large collections, the cost can quickly add up. By choosing not to use a watch winder, collectors can save money while still enjoying their watches.
Another advantage of not using a watch winder is the reduced wear and tear on the watch. When a watch is constantly in motion, it can put unnecessary stress on the internal components, leading to premature wear and potential damage. By allowing the watch to rest when not in use, collectors can help extend the lifespan of their timepieces.
Finally, not using a watch winder can be a more environmentally friendly choice. Watch winders require electricity to operate, and while the amount of energy used may be relatively small, it can still contribute to overall energy consumption. By choosing not to use a watch winder, collectors can reduce their environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Overall, while there are certainly benefits to using a watch winder, there are also many reasons why someone might choose not to. Whether it’s to save money, reduce wear and tear on the watch, or make a more environmentally friendly choice, collectors can enjoy their timepieces without the need for a watch winder.
Some of Our Top Automatic Watch Picks
If you’re in the market for a new automatic watch, here are some of our top picks that you won’t want to miss:
- Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto: At $845.00, this classic American dress watch is a throwback to a bygone era, with a timeless design that will never go out of style.
- Seiko Prospex SPB143: This watch strikes the perfect balance between vintage and modern design, with a nod to the classic 62MAS diver. At $1,200.00, it’s a great investment for any watch enthusiast.
- Yema Speedgraf: Yema’s racing chronographs are some of the coolest you’ll find for the price, and the Speedgraf is no exception. At $1,499.00 (44% off), it’s a steal.
- Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight: Tudor’s Black Bay Fifty-Eight is a classic dive watch with a vintage feel, and it’s hard to beat at $3,425.00.
No matter which of these watches you choose, you’re sure to get a high-quality timepiece that will last for years to come.
Is a Watch Winder Necessary?
If you’re a watch enthusiast, you may have heard that a watch winder is necessary to keep your automatic watch running and prevent its lubricants from drying up. However, according to Henry Ly, the Managing Director at Watchmaking Project, this is not true.
Ly explains that a lack of use shouldn’t be a cause for concern as modern synthetic watch oils don’t coagulate like animal-based oils. As long as you keep up with regular service intervals, your watch will be fine whether it’s sitting still on your nightstand or spinning in a winder.
In fact, a watch winder could potentially cause wear and tear on your watch’s gears and pivots if you haven’t kept up with service. If your watch is at the point where it needs service soon, putting it on a winder instead of servicing it could cause excessive wear and tear. On the other hand, if you put it in a drawer or closet, it stops running and stays in a place where the gears and wheels aren’t being excessively worn.
In conclusion, a watch winder is not necessary to keep your automatic watch running smoothly. Regular service intervals are key to maintaining your watch’s longevity. So, don’t worry if your watch is sitting still for a while, it won’t harm your watch.
What About the Convenience Factor?
Watch winder owners often boast about the convenience of owning one. While it’s true that an automatic watch needs to be reset after a few days of not being worn, is it really such a hassle to reset and wind your watch in the morning? After all, watch enthusiasts are supposed to enjoy interacting with their watches.
The best argument in favor of a watch winder is for owners of perpetual calendar watches. These watches take a notoriously long time to reset the date once they stop running, so a winder can alleviate this pain. If you own a perpetual calendar watch, a watch winder may be worth considering.
However, for most watch owners, convenience and maintenance seem like excuses to justify the purchase of a watch winder. In reality, a winder is nothing more than a frivolous luxury item for luxury watches.
Additionally, watch winders are not an attractive watch storage solution. Most are bulky, uninspiring cubes that take up valuable dresser or desk space. Affordable ones are often poorly designed and finished with plastic, faux leather, and over-polished wood. If you want a more luxurious option, you’ll be paying several hundred dollars or more.
If you’re considering buying a watch winder simply because you can’t stand the hassle of resetting your unworn automatic watch, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, don’t purchase one out of a perceived sense of necessity. Instead, consider a nice leather valet tray for under $100. Taking a minute to wind your watch in the morning is a small task that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine.
In conclusion, while a watch winder may be convenient for owners of perpetual calendar watches, it’s not a necessity for most watch owners. It’s important to weigh the cost and benefits before making a purchase.
Some Watch Winders to Shop
Looking for a watch winder? Check out the Watch Winder Smith Double Watch Winder and the Barrington Single Watch Winder from barringtonwatchwinders.com. The Orbita Siena One Burl Watch Winder is also a great option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Really Need a Watch Winder?
If you have an automatic watch that you wear every day, you probably don’t need a watch winder. However, if you have several automatic watches and don’t wear them all regularly, a watch winder can help keep them running smoothly and accurately.
Can I Store My Mechanical Watch Without a Watch Winder?
Yes, you can store your mechanical watch without a watch winder. If you don’t wear your watch every day, you can manually wind it and set the time when you want to wear it. However, if you have several mechanical watches and don’t wear them all regularly, a watch winder can help keep them running smoothly and accurately.
What Are Some Alternatives to Using a Watch Winder?
If you don’t want to use a watch winder, you can manually wind your mechanical watch and set the time when you want to wear it. You can also store your watch in a watch box or case to protect it from dust and moisture.
Is It Safe to Use a Cheap Watch Winder?
Cheap watch winders may not be as reliable as more expensive models, and they may not keep your watch running as accurately. However, if you have a low-value watch and don’t mind the risk, a cheap watch winder may be a good option.
Can a Single Watch Winder Work for All Types of Watches?
No, a single watch winder may not work for all types of watches. Some watches require specific winding directions and rotations, and a single watch winder may not be able to accommodate all of them. It’s important to choose a watch winder that is compatible with your specific watch.
Are Manual Watch Winders Better Than Automatic Ones?
Manual watch winders require you to manually wind the watch, while automatic watch winders use a motor to wind the watch automatically. Both types of watch winders have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them depends on your personal preferences and needs.