This month I decided to look at watch winders instead of at a new watch or the history of a watch brand. A watch winder is a piece of a kit that most watch owners have never heard of, but it’s a device that can be very useful, whether you are a seasoned watch collector or have only a few cherished timepieces.
The concept of a watch winder is actually very simple; it is a device designed to wind up automatic watches when they are not being worn. Inside is an electric motor powered either by electricity or a battery with one or more rotating platforms that mimic movement to power the watch. This is usually done via an angular or circular motion that converts the movement into energy to power the watch. With a watch winder an automatic watch can be prevented from losing power, which means it can be worn at any time. The device also has the added bonus of keeping the watch lubricated by ensuring the lubricating oil inside the watch mechanism is kept evenly distributed when the watch is not worn for a long period of time.
However, a watch winder is not suitable for all timepieces because it only works with automatic or self-winding watches. In a quartz watch a watch winder is useless. But in any automatic watch the device provides the convenience of powering up a watch and wearing it anytime, even at short notice, without rewinding. A watch winder also reduces wear and tear on the timepiece’s crown winding mechanism and thus improves the mechanical life of a watch.
Because automatic watches often have a power reserve of only a few days max, once a watch loses power, it will need to be reset and rewound to get it working again. This process is not difficult if the watch has only a few functions, but if it has more complex features, such as a moon phase or a perpetual calendar, the process may quickly become an arduous task and could eventually harm the watch. Watch winders cannot damage a watch by overwinding because they are designed to stop this from happening; however, a watch winder can cause wear and tear on a watch mechanism if it is left for too long in the winder.
There are various types of watch winders that increase in price. Cost is a factor that should be considered in buying a watch winder. They are very expensive because they are manufactured in very small quantities and the various functions that can be added to a device. For example, functional watch winders tend to be able to wind up more than one watch at a time, which means they are often quite large, whereas extravagant watch winders are the most expensive because they are luxurious and have extra features, such as storage draws and atomic clock displays.
Stephanie Potter is “fascinated by antique pocket watches because of their history and the craftsmanship that went into making them.”