Are Watch Winders Bad? Fully Explained for 2019 (Yes & No)

A watch winder is a device that is used to keep an automatic (self-winding) watch running when it’s not being worn.

Despite their growing popularity, some say watch winders are only useful if you want to damage your watch.

I’ve owned several watch winders before, and I’ve had both positive and negative experiences with them.

Here’s the thing:

You get what you pay for. Only poorly designed (and cheap) watch winders will damage a watch. If you purchase a high-quality watch winder, you won’t be disappointed. When used properly, a quality watch winder is a useful tool.

Do Watch Winders Damage Watches?

This is how a watch winder works:

A watch is placed into a special compartment which makes a specific number of rotations within a certain amount of time, slowly spinning in both directions.

As a result, your watch will never stop ticking, as lubricating oil is evenly spread throughout the watch movement.

example of what a watch winder looks like

This method is completely safe for automatic watches as they have a defense mechanism to protect against overwinding.

It all comes down to the quality of the winder. A well-designed watch winder might be costly, but at least you won’t risk damaging your watch.

They are helpful for watches that are very complicated to set. Think of continuous calendars or astrological timepieces — you will save yourself a headache by using a winder for these type of watches.

How a Watch Winder Can Damage a Watch

There are many reasons why a watch will stop working, and a poor quality watch winder is one of them.

If a magnet comes in contact with a watch, the internals can become magnetized (which will break them).

Your watch consists of many small metals which can easily be magnetized. The magnetic field makes the internals stick together, so it cannot effectively keep time.

damaged watch

Most cheap Chinese watch winders – due to the way they’re made – will magnetize a watch. When your watch is magnetized, it doesn’t run as it’s supposed to.

Luckily, this isn’t something that can’t be fixed. Just take it to your local watchmaker and they will know how to restore your watch.

Faulty winders may also overwind your watch (if it’s not automatic), which quickly wears down the internals.

Watches are built to withstand constant motion, but there is no benefit to wind a watch that is already wound.

For example, if a watch needs 500 turns per day and you put it on a winder that is set for 1000 turns per day, then you risk getting extra wear and tear on the winding gears.

However, if your watch requires 500 turns per day and you put it on the same winder, it would be no problem.

It’s advised to buy a winder that can be programmed to suit the requirements of your watch.

Are Watch Winders Necessary?

After doing some research (and based on my own experience) I can tell you that in general, watch winders are not necessary.

However, they are convenient as they make it possible for you to wear your watch after a few days – or weeks – of not wearing it (or winding it).

A watch winder can be helpful if you are not a daily wearer. Letting your watch(es) sit for a long time without any movement can cause the oils within to settle and clot.

winding a watch

Putting them on a watch winder – on the other hand – will prevent the oils from settling.

But as I said, they are more of a convenience than a necessity.

Types of Watch Winders

There are several types of watch winders, including:

Functional Watch Winders

functional watch winder

They are simple and usually wind up one or more watches. Rather basic, they can usually wind several watches at once.

Functional winders solely concentrate on practicality and performance per dollar.

The Heiden Quad Watch winder. It has multi-watch rotating holders and the watches are nicely sealed off in a leather box with glass protection.

Stylish Watch Winders

stylish watch winder

These winders do a great job as well, but they do it in style.

Stylish watch winders are slightly more expensive as they look more sophisticated.

Generally, they are completely sealed off in a box that is hand crafted with finished wood or covered in leather.

They are suitable for display on a desk, but they also fit inside a drawer or safety box.

A good example would be the Orbita Sparta Bold Black Watchwinder 2.

High-end Watch Winders

high-end watch winder

If you want to take it a step further, you can buy yourself a luxurious watch winder.

These winders contain built-in storage cabinets, tiny-clock-harmonized time displays and even warmers to keep the watch near body temperature.

These are the most expensive winders you can get.

One of the fanciest winders on the market has to be the BRABUS SV12 watch safe. It has 12 watch winders and a design similar to BRABUS supercars.

The drawers are lined with red Alcantara leather and the interior cabinetry is produced from wood, carbon fiber, and leather.

The BRABUS SV12 is a device made for storage and security.