The Benefits of Automatic Watch Winders

Self-winding watches, better known as automatic watches, are powered by human motion rather than a battery. As long as the person wearing one walks and moves for at just under half an hour a day, an automatic watch will keep ticking. As long as the person wearing the watch only owns one watch, there's no problem.

The Role of a Watch Winder

For the person who owns and wears a variety of watches (like someone else might do with shoes), the watches that aren't being worn will need a small amount of external motion each day to avoid winding down; otherwise the time will have to be set each time on the watches is worn again. A automatic watch winder, often just called a watch winder, avoids this annoyance by slowly turning a watch (or set of watches) over the course of a day.

A side benefit of watch winders is their stylish showcasing of the owner's watch collection. Even most of the nicer watch boxes for men are rather bland compared to a good 8-watch winder with a burlwood faceplate, chrome-plated motion controls, a leather bound chassis, and perhaps a pair of drawers for cufflinks.

Functional Features

There are three main features that sell a watch winder: the number of watches it accommodates (e.g. a triple watch winder), the look and feel of the unit, and the number of rotational settings. The latter is the most important feature that distinguishes a quality watch winder from the low-end versions that sell for under $100. Since they only offer clockwise rotation, cheap winders run the run of over-winding a watch by putting too much stress on the mainspring. It's better to err on the side of letting the watch wind down rather than having to repair it.

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Quality watch winders have two additional directional settings: counterclockwise and bidirectional. This variety keeps the mainspring for accumulating excessive stress in one direction, and arguably keeps the oil for coagulating.

Mid-range and high-end watch winders usually have user settings for the number of turns per day. Different watch mechanics have different sensitivities, so some watches can over-wind at a TPD setting that would be recommended for other models. Some watch owners mistakenly think they have to buy a watch winder branded by the manufacturer of the particular watch they favor. You only need the manufacturer's TPD recommendations.

A time delay is a useful feature to look for in a good watch winder. A short delay, often 10 seconds, gives the user time to take of his or her watch and mount it on the cuff. A long delay, often 12 hours, gives the watch's mainspring time to release some of the tension it has accumulated if it was recently worn.

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There are other features that are luxury value adds, such as heater coils to keep the watches warm (supposedly good for the oil), or a digital clock synchronized to the atomic clock. While nice to have if you can afford the premium, it's more practical to pay attention to the functional features of a watch winder. It's definitely a good idea to read a few watch winder reviews to survey the types of features offered by a state-of the art model.

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Posted in: Uncategorized by on June 28, 2012 @ 2:02 am

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