If you’ve checked out our guides to the best men’s watches or the best dive watches of 2020, there’s a decent chance you’ve caught the bug for watch collecting. But how do you manage all those watches and make sure that they’re all ready for you when you need them? That’s where a watch winder comes in. These cool gadgets can store your timepieces while also making sure that they’re always ready when you need them.
If you have no idea where to start, there’s no need to worry. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you by compiling this guide to the best watch winders of 2020. Whether you’re a neophyte or an expert, we’re here to pair you with the perfect model for your lifestyle.
- 10 Best Watch Winders
- 1. CHIYODA Single Wooden Watch Winder
- 2. WOLF 270002 Heritage Single Watch Winder
- 3. Diplomat Single Black Watch Winder
- 4. JQUEEN Double Watch Winder with Quiet Japanese Mabuchi Motor
- 5. Versa Automatic Single Watch Winder
- 6. LN LOVE NEST Single Wooden Watch Winder
- 7. Heiden Battery Powered Single Watch Winder in Cherrywood
- 8. AOKELILY Automatic Single Watch Winder
- 9. Watch Winder Smith Watch Winders for Automatic Watches
- 10. Kalawen Automatic Double Watch Winder
- Watch Winder Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Watch Winders
1. CHIYODA Single Wooden Watch Winder
If you just have one backup watch that you want to keep in top working condition or are willing to go through the effort of rotating out your collection meticulously, this watch winder from Chiyoda is one of the best choices you'll find. It's an ideal starter level watch winder due to its affordable $50 price tag, but it also does just about anything you want it to. It supports clockwise, counterclockwise, and bidirectional modes, and you have the option of adjusting the turns per day to match the exact parameters of your timepiece.
This watch winder uses the best motors in the business - the Mabuchi - and that allows it to wind your watch into perpetuity while running nearly silent, and the fact that it can run on either DC or AC sources (along with its petite size) allows it to double as a travel watch winder.
2. WOLF 270002 Heritage Single Watch Winder
With its smooth faux leather exterior, its elegant silver clasps, and its decadent satin interior lining, the 270002 Heritage from Wolf is one of the best looking watch winders you'll find today, and the front of the Heritage sports a sleek glass face. The fact that you can plug the Heritage into a wall socket or keep it running with batteries means that this watch winder is versatile to all of your travel needs.
There's more to this watch winder than just good looks though. The Heritage is large enough to hold even the chunkiest watches and keep them comfortably secured even if you take it traveling with you, and the Heritage watch winder runs silent at all times thanks to the high-quality motor built in. What's especially cool about this Heritage is that it allows you to customize preset pause and sleep phases to better suit the rhythm of your unique automatic watch.
3. Diplomat Single Black Watch Winder
Many of the best watch winders are designed to be showpieces as much as they are gadgets, but sometimes you just want something small, cheap, and functional, especially if you intend to go traveling with your watches. If that's you, this watch winder from Diplomat will fit you like a tee. Its half egg design feels barely larger than a watch, allowing you to comfortably tuck this watch winder into smaller pockets, and the motor is as quiet as a church mouse.
And perhaps the best part is that you can pick this up for less than $40. That's a rarity in a market that's often exclusively targeted at the high-end luxury crowd. It also makes use of an IC timer to produce more accurate results. Due to its great job of combining portability with frugality, this is one of the best budget watch winders we can recommend.
4. JQUEEN Double Watch Winder with Quiet Japanese Mabuchi Motor
Mabuchi motors are arguably the best option for a watch winder, so it's always nice to see them included in a relatively budget priced model. But the fact that JQueen has managed to produce a handsome watch winder with this Japanese motor for less than $70 and it can also hold two watches is above and beyond what you should expect. And it's not cramped at all. The spacious exterior can comfortably hold two bulky men's watches at the same time.
The dual energy supply on the JQueen double watch winder supports both wall outlets and 1.5 volt batteries, and five distinct program settings allow you to sync up practically any winder watch in your collection. The JQueen double watch winder is a good looking model too: sporting a wide open glass display window that gives you both a frontal and top down view and a smooth and lacquered wood finish with an anti-magnetic surface to prevent damage.
5. Versa Automatic Single Watch Winder
Versa has produced a watch winder that's remarkably similar to the Diplomat model in terms of both size and pricing, and while it may look the same, it's still one of the best choices for travel. This watch winder combines a Mabuchi motor with custom designed gear boxes for some of the quietest noise levels you'll find in a watch winder, and the pillow is both spring loaded and equipped with special accessories for comfortably holding both large and small watches.
Four separate TPD settings allow you to tailor the speed to match just about any watch, and combined with the three directions, that gives you 12 different winding options for your collection. It's also designed to run in roughly five minute increments to avoid causing any long term damage to your time pieces.
6. LN LOVE NEST Single Wooden Watch Winder
Love Nest may be a funny name for a watch winder, but it owes that name to the unique hinged design that makes it look almost like an engagement ring box. Constructed from high-quality wood and coated in a piano finish, this miniature watch winder is one of the best options if you want a winder that's fashionable, and the window on top lets you peek in on your watch and better display it for your guests even as it winds.
The velvet pillow included inside makes use of meticulous cushion stitching to ensure a more durable design while also offering the soft luxury to keep your watches safe. And it looks incredibly good in the process. The control panel is simply laid out to give you access to both the on/off switch and the different modes with a simple click of a button or twist of a lever.
7. Heiden Battery Powered Single Watch Winder in Cherrywood
Heiden has produced an exceedingly compact and efficient watch winder with cover that's best suited to your travel purposes. Its small design means you won't need much storage space in your luggage to take it with you across the countries or overseas, and it can run on either an AC adapter or battery sources. Bi-directional winding is offered on this watch winder in addition to the more traditional clockwise and counterclockwise options.
This isn't the most handsome or the most feature rich watch winders you'll find, but it's highly functional and offers one of the best prices around. If you're not terribly concerned about good lucks and just want a watch winder that will keep your automatic watches ticking along the way they should, then Heiden's watch winder is easily one of the best choices for your needs, and that's doubly true if you find yourself traveling regularly.
8. AOKELILY Automatic Single Watch Winder
AOKELILY's watch winder with cover is a remarkably small model that's barely larger than most watches, and it offers a price to match. You can pick up this model for less than $50, but you can also be confident that it's going to get the job done. By its default settings, this watch winder will alternate between running and stopping in roughly two and six minute increments for better precision and less wear and tear.
It also offers a bi-directional mode and makes use of an incredibly quiet motor that won't keep you up at night. The adjustable pillow that occupies the middle can suit a huge variety of different watch sizes. The cover is made of sturdy and high-quality acrylic glass so you won't need to worry about scrapes and scratches.
9. Watch Winder Smith Watch Winders for Automatic Watches
This expensive watch winder sports what we can comfortably say is the most expensive design for a watch winder on our list. It's not compact by any stretch of the imagination, instead contrasting two bamboo wooden sides with a glass cover that gives you and guests a better view of the two watches that can fit within it. The brushed metal interior protects your watches from magnetization and are elevated for better displaying.
The quiet motor runs at a rate of between 10 and 20 decibels, so you won't even know it's there until you see it, and the four different rotational modes can be controlled easily by the two knobs on the entire of the box. It's a great choice if you really want to showcase the top timepieces in your collection.
10. Kalawen Automatic Double Watch Winder
Kalawen's watch winder positively screams extravagance, so it may come as a shock that it's available for less than $50. The larger frame is similar to the Smith model highlighted above in that it's clearly designed first and foremost as a display case, but it trades in the spartan design for a decadent frame of cherry wood and rich black interior. We'd argue it's the best looking model on our 2020 list.
The motor is imported from Japan for quiet performance, and the spacious interior allows room for two of practically any sized watches. The plexiglass cover may be first and foremost a decorative choice, but it also does a good job protecting your watches from moisture and dust when they're locked up for rotation. It alternates in two and six minute increments for a better sense of balance.
Watch Winder Buyer’s Guide
Maybe you’re looking to buy your first watch winder, or maybe you’re just looking to upgrade from your existing model. In either case, it can never hurt to have a little advice for the best shopping experience. Our watch winder guide is here to fill you in on the most important specs and provide you with the information to make sure that your automatic watches keep ticking along just like they’re intended to.
The most obvious question when looking for the best watch winders is how many automatic watches you need it to hold. If you have a sizeable watch collection, a single watch winder might not be enough to cut it, and you may want to make a move to upgrade to a dual watch winder even if you’re considering expanding your collection. But chances are that you aren’t going to need to keep all of your automatic watches synced up to the right time meticulously. On the other hand, if you just want something that will keep the time on your primary watch when you’re not wearing it (or keep your special occasion watch on the up and up), single watch winders should be all you need.
While there are some watch winders that will only move in one direction, we’ve excluded them from our best of list. That’s because winding the watch in only one direction will create unbalanced wear and tear and degrade even the best watch. The best watch winders come with bidirectional settings. That means that over the course of the winding session, the watch winder automatic process will alternate between clockwise and counterclockwise operations and create a more even and balanced sense of winding.
Turns Per Day
Most quality watches you’ll find at the store will come with recommended settings for a given day. These turns per day will ensure that your watch will keep proper time without receiving damage. The best winder accessories are the ones that can match the demands of your watch, and you should look for watch winder models that offer either the standard pre-programmed settings best matched to your watch or allow you to adjust the watch winder to the demands of your watch.
If you can’t find the manufacturer standards listed, you’ll have to undertake a bit more trial and error. Most automatic watches have a reserve of about two days, so we suggest picking a TPD setting, placing the watch in your watch winder, and adjusting after two days until you find the turns per day that best match standard timekeeping. It can be a bit tedious, but once you find the right TPD setting, you should be fine.
A good motor will last you a long time, but the best advantage that high-end watch winder motors offer is the ability to run at a quiet speed. A Japanese motor is the recognized best standard for a watch winder, but even if you pick up a Japanese model, the quality can vary significantly from one watch winder to the next. If you really want the best of the best, you should keep an eye towards watch winders that are powered by Mabuchi motors. These models aren’t just quiet. They’re practically silent and can conceivably last you a lifetime.
A watch winder may offer AC or DC power, or it may offer both. An AC watch winder runs on a battery source and is thus the best choice if you want to travel with your watch winder. Most models can run on some basic AAs. If you plan on keeping your watch winder on your desk or shelf for display most of the time, you should be just fine with a DC source. These can plug right into your wall without worries using a traditional AC adapter, and most models come with their own cord for keeping your automatic watches running as they should. If you want the advantages of both, you won’t have to search around too far. There are a ton of watch winder models that offer both AC and DC options available today.
Size and Weight
Do you want to use your winder to keep your watches accurate while you’re on the go? Then you’ll definitely want a more lightweight and smaller model. Many of these are designed to be as compact as possible so you can fit them more easily in your luggage. But a bigger choice may be the way to go if you want a watch winder with cover for displaying your watches. Consider what you’re using your watch winder for when weighing the advantages of the weight and dimensions of a winder.
There aren’t a whole lot of features that you’ll find in a watch winder, but the one thing you should look for when seeking out the best winder is settings that allow you to automate the winding. The best winder models let you meticulously set the winding cycles for your watches so you can get precisely the results you need. This might not be that big of a deal for less expensive watches, but the highest end luxury watches need a special level of care due to their high price points. Many watch winder models don’t allow that personal level of adjustment but do have pre-designated settings. Examine them closely against your watch’s settings to see how well it suits it.
The other common feature is the presence of LED lights. An LED light allows you to know that your watches are winding properly with just a glance. An LED light can be especially useful for watch winders that wind your watches in designated and scheduled routines.
A watch winder is primarily a gadget focused on functionality, but it’s also one of the best ways to display your watch. After all, the best automatic watches are as much symbols of status as they are timekeeping devices (particularly as our phones offer accurate ways of tracking the time), so you should consider which watch winder is going to look best on your office desk or living room display shelf.
While black is always a popular choice, most watchwinders on the market today maintain a more classical wooden aesthetic. Whether you go with black, wood panel, or more colorful variants will be a matter of personal choice, but the best wooden boxes tend to use a piano finish to provide a sleeker and more elegant luxury design (and many manage to do so while still keeping prices low). Just keep an eye out for watch winder models that use real wood if you want the best.
Also keep in mind what the display window looks like. The size and positioning of the window can vary wildly from one model of watch winder to the next, so consider whether you’re looking to display your watches prominently or you’re looking for a more understated and less display oriented design.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Watch Winder Does Rolex Recommend?
Rolex doesn’t officially endorse any specific watch winder, but these are some of the best watches on the market, so if you own a Rolex, you’ll probably want to invest in the best watch winder that money can buy. We think the Kalawen does a phenomenal job of showcasing your watch while remaining quiet and also providing some of the best winding on our list.
Are Watch Winders Bad For Watches?
Automatic watches, and especially Swiss watches, are some of the best and most meticulously handcrafted gadgets you’ll find, and that means you don’t really need to worry about a watch winder doing them damage. But you may want to look at a bidirectional model since they do the best job of offering consistent wear on your watch.
Should You Use a Watch Winder?
That depends on your watch usage. If you have just one watch that you wear everyday, then a watch winder probably isn’t going to be all that necessary. But if you have a larger collection of watches or you find yourself taking off your watch and leaving it off with some degree of frequency, we consider a watch winder one of the best accessories you can invest in.
Why Are Watch Winders So Expensive?
Swiss watches and other automatic models are inherently complicated devices, so it makes sense that it would take a somewhat sophisticated device to properly wind them. That said, you don’t have to pay a fortune for a good watch winder. Many of the best winder models on our list are available for $50 or less.
A watch winder is one of the best accessories you can invest in if you own watches, and we’ve put together a regular murderer’s row of the finest models available. But a good watch winder isn’t really worth it if you don’t have a good watch. If you’re looking to purchase your first automatic watch or simply round out your collection, you should check out our guide to the best automatic watches of 2020.