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10 Best Watch Winders Review for Jan. 2020: To Keep Things Ticking
Well, when you started watch collecting you did not expect that you would also need to invest in a watch winder did you?
To the eyes of the uninitiated, a watch winder is something that might be thoroughly unnecessary. Heck, do you really need to have your automatic watches going 24/7?
Well, the answer is yes, for several reasons which we explain in detail after our summary table below.
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Why You Need a Watch Winder: An Essential Accessory for the Most Demanding Watch Aficionados
Inside every mechanical watch there is a tiny, intricate world made of minuscule pieces which move in unison to achieve a determined goal: to keep good time. And the best way to keep your mechanical watch performing flawlessly is to keep it moving.
When the movement stops the oils contained inside their mechanisms tend to clog. Nothing really significant happens at first, but if left stuck in a drawer for a significant period of time, the watch will need a good cleaning and service, because it has gotten “stuck”.
Modern horology employs synthetic-based oils which clog less than the old natural-based ones but continuous movement is still the key to a healthy mechanical watch.
Just remember that the use of a watch winder is not a good substitute for a regular service and maintenance of your timepieces. Exactly like your car: you need to service them at regular intervals to keep them in good shape. You have been warned!
Other Compelling Arguments for Investing in a Watch Winder
- The most complicated mechanical watches are notoriously difficult to regulate, disassemble and clean, especially when the watch contains a perpetual calendar. These higher level watches can take quite a bit of time to setup, and sometimes even require specialized skills… so you don’t really want them to stop ticking.
- Also, if you own multiple high end watches, you simply cannot wear all of them at one, so chances are some or all of them will stop moving even if they have a hefty power reserve.
- And you are really not supposed to fling your arms around like a mad scarecrow to charge these watches, so another solution is required.
- Finally, a good watch winder is also the preferred way of testing the accuracy of your watch i.e. rather than just wearing it.
So, in the absence of your butler, modern technology has invented mechanical devices to do just that: watch winders, also called time boxes.
What is Inside the Typical Watch Winder?
As you know, your automatic watch winds itself following your movements as there is a revolving weight, called a rotor, mounted inside it. As it spins around, its rotation is transmitted through some gears up to the main spring, which gets wound, thus powering the watch. There is also a safety latch to avoid overcharging, so you cannot hurt the mechanism of your automatic watch.
A watch winder – which in its simplest form is a box containing an oscillating mechanism – essentially replicates this kind of movement through mechanical means.
Not all watch winders are created equal. You can find very good ones for less than $100, and lousy ones at several hundred. So, we felt that there was the need to help you make a good choice and not squander your hard-earned dollars.
One-Slot, Two-Slot or Multi-Slot Watch Winders
If you are just starting out, then, a one-slot time machine is usually the best option. The key advantage of single-slot winders is that they can be personalized for a specific watch. To get personalised winding for individual watches in the double-slot and multi-slot winders you will have to pay more.
They key advantage of two-slot, and multi-slot, watch winders is obviously that they can wind more than one watch.
We start by reviewing single slot watch winders (numbers 1-4), then two-slot watch winders (numbers 5-8), and then finally multi-slot watch winders (9-10).
1. Chiyoda Watch Single-Slot Winder
This product exudes Japanese class in buckets (and spades). First of all, it is imposing and exceptionally well-built. It looks like a jewelry box, with its impressively finished solid wooden frame and clear acrylic glass window.
The watch is housed on a single cushion, like a precious gem.
Inside the box, you can find a Japanese Mabuchi engine, a sturdy and extremely quiet piece of machinery which is among the best in our roundup.
It can be controlled to provide for 12 different recharge programs (yes you have read that right) – three directions (left, right, both) and four different timing programs.
The time box can work either attached to the AC, or through some standard AA batteries. You also get a special cleaning cloth.
2. Cheopz Black USB Single-Slot Watch Winder Box
The Cheopz Watch Winder is a sleek black box that screams “quality”. It is crafted in solid wood and displays quality finishings, with a gloss lacquer exterior and carbon fiber faux leather interior.
The watch is secured in a lock-in adjustable holder that makes charging even the bigger and heavier models a breeze.
The mechanism is of German make, and offers five speeds and three rotation directions, so you can find the perfect charging routine.
The winder works either through USB or 2 AA batteries, so you can easily charge watches while on the go.
3. Fancy Brick Single-Slot Watch Winder
If you like a more industrial effect then consider the Fancy Brick, which, apart from its distinctive looks of a box with curved edges and a “bubble” in the middle housing the watch, offers you an interesting concept: modularity.
Technically the winder, which is powered by an extremely quiet Mabuchi engine, provides 45 different settings to charge your watch, which should be enough for you to find the one that meets your needs.
It is very compact at just 10x10x10 cm, and it can be stacked with others so to obtain a sort of “winder wall” to charge all of your collection.
Furthermore, it is available in different colors apart from the customary black of (almost) every time machine out there, so if has a streak of a wild side as well.
Up to 8 Fancy Bricks can be connected to a single AC adapter.
4. Amoveda Temotus TM-q Single-Slot Watch Winder
This time box rocks!
It is design-driven, offering a modern sculpture with a chromed tube suspended inside a solid plexiglass case. You insert one end of your watch in the tube, at an angle of 90°, on its super-soft cushion, and then the magic happens.
The Temotus TM-q has a dazzling array of programs to serve you well: 12 different programs, which you can choose based on the needs of your watch, plus a special fast-charge mode which permits you to charge your watch quickly in just 30 minutes.
The engine propelling it, a Japanese direct-drive specimen, is extremely quiet – and the time box has a special stand-by feature to stop completely at night, if so chosen.
The device works on AC power, and also offers a travel adapter.
5. Jqueen Two-Slot Watch Winder 120S
Among the best options when balancing price and performance, is the Jqueen Watch Winder 120S.
The company is one of the most active in the field of watch winders, offering a whole lineup of models. The Jqueen two-slot 120s comes as a compact and almost unassuming cube but it packs a lot of very interesting features.
First of all, the mechanism is a Japanese Mabuchi, and extremely quiet.
Second, the winding mechanism has a three different movements program so to accommodate the winding needs of every kind of automatic caliber.
Finally, the construction is excellent, in a premium ebony wood finish with a heavy plexiglass lid, and it is extremely competitively priced.
It can work either attached to AC current or unplugged via an internal battery – handy if you need to travel.
Active since 2007, this company makes some nice, no-nonsense watch winders.
The BAM0B1 time machine is a simple and lovely-looking model: here you find a box in polished bamboo wood with an acrylic lid displaying two watches side by side, opening obliquely via a hinge. The case is strong, sturdy and well-made and finished with a decidedly good “feel”.
Nothing is simpler here than using it. You open it, you remove the two small cushions, you put the watches back in their slots and turn the small knob in the left corner. Voila!
It features four programs and that’s it – simplicity in itself. And a very quiet Japanese motor which is double-walled to protect against magnetizing.
It works both attached to the AC and via standard internal batteries.
7. Heiden Monaco HD-20 Double Watch Winder
The Heiden Monaco is designed in California, and has a peculiar aesthetic: it looks like a hip music boom box! This feature makes it somewhat different from the norm and easily mixable with your usual stereo equipment (and also quite space-efficient).
It is made with quality materials such as the cross stitched leather, soft gray linen interior, and offers two slots with soft watch pillows to fit your watches in.
This two-slot watch winder is unique in that you can control the winding program for each watch.
The charging programs are quite extensive, so you will find the best suited one for your watches. There are three alternative charging modes and four different rotation settings. The HD-20 watch winder is very quiet.
It works when attached to the AC plug and has an option of running on two D batteries, so traveling with it is possible.
8. Wolf Designs 270102 Heritage 2-Slot Module 2.1
Forget about inexpensive: Wolf Design is a British company established in 1834, and its time boxes are not that. But they are among the best your money can buy.
Their signature black, sleek shape comes in all sorts of configurations but we think the 270102 model is the pick of the lot. The case is coated by a quality eco-leather padded covering, which helps to absorb noise.
This two-slot watch winder, like the Heiden, allows individual winding program for each watch.
In fact it is so silent that people often think it is not working – except for a lone blinking led light. It is powered by a very silent engine aided with patented nylon gears, featuring one program with three configurations that has a delay option. The watches are held in vertical positions, and slide in their slot with a reassuring “click” when done. Superb!
The time machine operates on 3.3V adapter (included) or D-cell alkaline or lithium batteries.
9. Triple Tree Piano Paint 10-Watch Winder
If you want an affordable, big watch winder, this is a brilliant option.
It is a big, stylish black box, and holds ten different timepieces. It can charge four watches at a time (there is space to store 6 more) at an angle of 45° on its padded velvety cushions in memory foam, visible through the glass window. The lid can be secured with a simple steel lock with a key.
The box is sturdy, made in polished and varnished solid wood, with a very similar effect to what you would get with favorite Steinway.
It hosts a Japanese heavy-duty engine which offers you an array of four different programs with which to wind your watches (three intermittent programs plus one non-intermittent). When in use, it emits a soft blue glow via an array of LED lights (that you can turn off, if so desired).
This winder comes with the AC plug and adapter only.
10. Jins & Vico 8-Slot Winder
If your needs are demanding, this large unit will be a great fit.
It looks like one of the avant-garde HiFi systems with their pricey, understated and sophisticated looks. And, to be honest, this winder is not the most affordable, but it gives you the ultimate control over charging your collection of watches.
First of all, it houses eight watches in individual slots, and each one can be charged with a personalized program.
And the settings for Turn Per Day (TPD) & Rotation are amazingly flexible: 3 rotation modes: Clockwise Mode/ Counter-Clockwise Mode/Clockwise + Counter-Clockwise Mode.
It also has multiple programming options for each individual automatic watch (turnings Per Day): 650/750/850/1000/1950.
The winder is powered by a very quiet, heavy duty Japanese movement, and features a beautiful high gloss wooden finish of the case, while the programming is made through an LCD Touch Screen Display & LED lighting. LCD touch screen control allows you to set each winder to the desired settings for your watch. The Built-in LED light illumination and digital display, means you can see your watches displayed beautifully even in the dark.
This eight-slot winder is powered by AC power only.
About the Author: Franz Rivoira is a Chartered Journalist and Marcomm Professional operating internationally in the world of high-end and luxury products, mainly watches and design objects.
He lives in Italy, but frequently travels the world, especially to Asia. He is a regular contributor to www.ddnblog.it, a reference for everything design-oriented. He is also very active on Quora, the most read Q&A portal in the world, where he has been nominated as one of the Top Writers for 2018.