Are Watch Winders Bad for Your Watch? Complete Guide
There is a lot of discussion about watch winders and whether or not they are safe to use. Do watch winders damage the watch? Or should you not worry?
If you look on the web, you will likely find different answers. Some argue that winders will damage the watch whereas others mean that it will be no problem.
The correct answer to this question is that it depends. With high-quality winders, you don’t have to worry. These are made to simulate the movements of the wrist and keep the movement stored with energy so that it does not stop. The issue is that low-quality watch winders may risk over-winding, damaging, or magnetizing your watch. With that said, you shouldn’t compromise when it comes to watch winders.
Why should you use a watch winder?
An automatic watch is powered by a rotor inside the movement which rotates when you wear it and the gravity and movements cause it to rotate. If you won’t wear an automatic watch, the rotor will not wind the movement. This means that the energy stored in the watch will eventually run out, causing the watch to stop.
A watch winder is a device in which you place your watch, which then rotates, in order to make the rotor spin, and provide energy to the movement.
A watch winder thus keeps automatic watches running when they are not in use, which thus prevents the need of having to set the watch every single time after you have not used it since it has run out of power.
Are watch winders dangerous?
Those who argue that watch winders are dangerous or bad for the watch usually refer to a few theories.
The most common argument is that watch winders wear out the movement due to consistent overwear. Naturally, when the watch is in motion and operating all the time, the parts will wear out quicker due to friction, right? The same theory is that it can be good to let the watch rest in order to reduce friction and increase its life length.
But the fact of the matter is that watches are made to be worn. All the time. And if a watch would be damaged only by wearing it, there are probably bigger issues with the watch.
If you consider a watch winder’s rotations compared to wearing your watch when you are doing something, such as riding a bike, digging, etc., which of these do you think has the most damage and stress to the movement?
Another issue with leaving your watch to stop for a while is that over time, the oils inside the movements can dry out and clog, which thus can have a negative effect on the movement’s accuracy. Therefore, the question is actually if leaving your watch sitting without running isn’t actually worse for your watch than the potential negative effects of consistently letting it run.
With that said, watch winders, in general, are not dangerous for your watch. They simply replicate the movement of a wrist. And watches are of course made to be worn on the wrist.
Have in mind, however, that not all winders are created equal. There are many different winders which operate with many different modes and have different quality, and some winders may actually be negative to your watch.
The key negative points about a watch winder here is:
The difference between low-quality watch winders and higher-quality, well-made watch winders is often that the more qualitative winders have more refined and well-made modes. These running modes ensure that the winder doesn’t wind the watch more than necessary in order to provide it with energy. After all, there is no point in winding a watch that is already full wound. With that said, you cannot overwind automatic watches as they are equipped with a slip-clutch that prevents the mainspring from being overwound. But whilst the mainspring won’t overwind in the form of it snapping, it is never good to continue to wind it when it is full because this means that the slip-clutch will be constantly activated. In other words, it can cause excessive wear and ultimately damage to the slip-clutch if the watch is being improperly wound in a watch winder.
This is especially why it is important to buy a qualitative winder that is made to have winding modes that are kind to the movement. Most qualitative winders allow you to set the winding modes in the settings in order to decide how many turns, and for how long the winder should operate. These winders also have ”rest modes”, which give the watch time to rest when it is fully wound and has no need to be wound.
With these winders, you do not have to worry about damaging your watch due to overwinding. Just note that different watches have different needs, and therefore, it’s important that you choose a running mode on the winder that is suitable for your watch (and that you choose a winder that allows you to do so).
A potential issue that is commonly discussed when it comes to watch winders is magnetization. Some low-quality winders may actually have magnetic fields from the electric motor. It’s no secret that magnetism and mechanical watches do not go together very well, because magnetism can cause the mainspring to stick, thus resulting in loss of accuracy.
Now, any qualitative watch winder will have this under control, but with some cheaper watch winders, there have been reports that they have caused the watch to become magnetized. Again, an issue you won’t have to worry about if you buy a watch winder from a qualitative and reputable manufacturer.
Related: Best watch winders
To conclude, are watch winders safe?
Yes, watch winders are completely safe to use. If you buy a qualitative watch winder, you won’t have to worry about either magnetism or overwinding. These winders have many different modes that allow you to adapt the winding to your watch. And if you are unsure, you can always use the lowest rotations and duration on the winder. This will keep it running, but not activate the winder too often.
As long as you set the winder to an appropriate mode setting, and buy a qualitative winder, then yes, watch winders are safe, and you won’t have to worry about damaging your watch.
Best watch winders
Men’s High Gloss Carbon Fiber Twenty-Four Watch Winder Black Leather Interior
This is an ultra-premium watch winder that can store up to 24 watches. It has a nice carbon fiber finish with a black leather interior, equipped with a LED light that lights the interior. It also allows you to lock the door using a key.
Each winder is powered by an ultra-quiet Japanese Mabuchi motor. These motors have a number of different modes that allow you to set them according to your watches’ needs. This includes options for clockwise settings, counterclockwise settings, or a combination of clockwise and counterclockwise revolutions. The motors are controlled via the LCD screen and buttons. The motors can be set to a speed setting of 650, 900, 1350, or 1800 revolutions.
Wolf Men’s 4 Piece Automatic Watch Winder
This is a qualitative watch winder for 4 watches. It is equipped with a patented rotation program to ensure the perfect winding of your watches.
The winder has a faux leather exterior, tempered glass front cover, allowing you to see the watches inside.
The winder is made by WOLF, one of the most well-known manufacturers of watch accessories and winders. With that said you can be sure that you are getting a watch winder where you won’t have to worry about damaging your watch.
Arcanent 6 + 2 Slot Watch Winder LCD Digital
This 6+2 watch winder is powered by quality Japanese Mabuchi motors that operate ultra silently. The winders are controlled via the LCD screen. The winder can also be controlled via a remote. The winder has a PU leather interior which both looks nice and keeps the watches safe.
The winder motors are highly programmable with different modes and speeds to suit any watch.
The winders 6 motors which means one for each winder. This gives greater control over the settings of each winder.
WOLF 270802 Heritage 8 Piece Watch Winder
This is another winder from Wolf. With that said, expect high quality and reliability. The winder has a black faux leather exterior, as well as chrome clasp closure and control turn knobs with tempered glass cover. The winder has a patented winding program with intermittent rotation with pause and sleep phases pre-programmed. This allows the watches to get the rest they need and prevents unnecessary overwinding. The winder is programmed with 900 turns per day in the directions clockwise, counter-clockwise, or bi-directional, which you set according to your preference.
It has room for 8 watches.
BARRINGTON Automatic Watch Winder for 1 Watch
This single watch winder is compact and easy to use. With its clean design, it also fits well into the home as an interior detail.
The winder is equipped with motors that are made to prevent overwinding. The winders gently rotate the watches wit a consistent movement over a longer period of time.
The winder can be powered either by AA batteries or the AC cable. The motors operate very silently and feature five turns per day settings as well as multi-rotation options.
Watch Winder, Piano Finish with Adjustable [Upgraded] Watch Pillows
This watch winder has a nice high gloss wooden finish and is powered by a Japanese motor. The built-in LCD touch screen allows you to set the motor to different modes.
The winder is also equipped with an LED light illumination so you can see your watches even in low-lit conditions.
The winder holds 8 watches and after 12 hours working, it will stop for 12 hours. This is to prevent overwinding and unnecessary wear and tear to the movement. Furthermore, the winder has 3 rotation modes: Clockwise Mode/ Counter-Clockwise Mode/Clockwise + Counter-Clockwise mode, and programming for different turns per day (650/750/850/1000/1950). The motor is extremely quiet
Cub Single Automatic Watch Winder with Cover by Wolf
This single watch winder from the reputable brand Wolf is small, convenient, and compact.
It has a glass cover and lock-in cuff.
Like all of Wolf’s winders, it counts the precise number of rotations. It is pre-programmed to 900 turns per day with a bi-directional setting. To prevent overwinding, it has intermittent rotation with pause and sleep phases
The winder has a wood frame construction and will look great as a nice interior detail. The winder is encased in pebble faux leather and lined with matching grosgrain satin.
It comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.