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Every professional in the horological industry will agree that the level of care you provide your watch with plays a massive part in how long it’s gonna work. This relates especially to mechanical watch collections.
As you probably know, the first sign of a watch deterioration is its worsening accuracy which can potentially indicate a myriad of issues.
Whilst you can have tens of quartz watches and a quick weekly peek at the performance will give you enough insights on whether everything is working well, it’s not as obvious when it comes to automatic timepieces which require the kinetic movement of your wrist to show the correct time. And the quicker you spot any abnormalities, the better the chance of a full repair.
If you own more than one automatic model, consider getting a watch winder. A reliable winder can not only make sure you always stay up to date with your watch’s performance but also spare you the tedious task of having to wind it manually every time you feel like wearing it. Plus, the product can be a great, stylish addition to your room or office.
By reviewing three best-selling models from three popular brands, I hope to help you pick the best single watch winder for your timepiece.
Things to Know Before Buying a Watch Winder
Before you go ahead with the purchase of your first watch winder, take a couple of minutes to get familiar with the most essential aspects of these excellent gadgets.
Some time ago I wrote quite a detailed article for those who are just dipping their toes into the world of watch winders. If you want as much information on the subject as possible, have a read. That said, the summarized piece you can find below is more than enough to help you pick the right product for your watch.
Now, let me have your focus for a short while.
To begin with, it’s important to understand that the way the winder looks isn’t of the highest importance. After all, even the most stylish model is pretty much useless if they can’t wind your timepiece properly.
There are two crucial metrics you need to be aware of.
First, we have the TPD (Turns Per Day). These are the number of daily rotations the winder makes to keep your watch ticking at its peak accuracy levels. Whether talking about budget or top-shelf brands, the vast majority of automatic models require anywhere between 500 to 1200 turns daily. As long as you find a winder that oscillates in this (or similar) range, you’re pretty much sorted.
The other important metric is the winding directions. We have three: clockwise, counter-clockwise, and bi-directional. Here the mission to find the right product is even easier as most newly-released models offer all three.
Important: remember that a watch winder is useful only if you own automatic watches. For the purpose of simply storing your timepiece in a classy-looking shelter, consider getting a watch box. It’s cheaper and definitely less of a hassle to maintain.
Best Single Watch Winder (Top 3 Reviewed)
Wolf Watch Winder
While we can a never-ending argument about who’s the best watchmaker in the world, there’s little to zero doubt about which brand produces the best quality watch winders.
We open up the list with arguably the most premium single watch winder available at present – the Roadster by Wolf. The UK-based manufacturer has been around since 1834. For the larger part of its history, Wolf was specializing in watch and jewelry boxes. However, as technology kept advancing and the demand for watch winders became obvious, Wolf started delivering top-shelf products in this field as well.
I picked the model from the Roadster collection because it’s one of few that allow for fully controllable Turns Per Day settings. In this case, the rotations range from 300 to 1200. Crucially, the winder supports all three winding directions: clockwise, anti-clockwise and bi-directional.
Looks-wise, it’s definitely up there with the most elegant releases. Like all products in the Roadster line, this model has been inspired by some of the most known British motorcars, ie. Jaguar or Bristol. The aged wood dashboards, chrome-spoked wheels, glove-soft leather… you name it.
The ebony Macassar polished wood and chrome-finished hardware really grab the attention from the get-go. The winding space for your timepiece is in the front. It’s protected by a locking glass cover. All Wolf winders use a patented lock-in cuff that locks the timepiece into a rotator drum for the most secure fit.
Furthermore, the top part of the winder is openable. Inside you can store three additional watches.
The winder is powered by the ultra-silent Mabuchi motor. It can run either on AC or batteries which makes it an excellent solution for frequent travelers.
What differentiates Wolf from other manufacturers is the way it calculates the rotations. Whilst a lion’s share of brands only provide estimations, Wolf models count the exact number.
You can browse for other Wolf designs here.
Barrington Watch Winder
If the Wolf model is asking too much of your budget, Barrington is an excellent alternative available at roughly half the price.
Similar to Wolf, Barrington originates from the United Kingdom. Despite being on the market for just over a decade, the brand has emerged as one of the leading manufacturers in Europe. The last couple of years have also seen it gain popularity amongst watch enthusiasts in the United States.
The white theme you see in the picture above is not the only one available – you can pick from 7 other colors. If we compare the Barrington model to the Wolf product above, it’s clear it has a more minimalistic approach.
Crucially, the WW-207-S model comes in two different cushion sizes:
- Standard – fitting watches with a 19cm-24cm bracelet
- Flex – suitable for smaller-sized models measuring 14cm-20cm
Naturally, the watch winder supports all three winding directions. When it comes to Turns Per Day, the range is 650-1950.
Like many other Barrington models, this one is supplied with the patented “Jump” feature that allows you to connect many watch winders from the brand via one cable. That’s a pretty useful trick if you own a few automatic models and want to store them separately.
Akin to the Wolf’s Roadster model, it can be powered by either AC or batteries and runs on the Mabuchi engine.
You can explore other Barrington products here.
Chiyoda Watch Winder
Even if you’re operating with a super tight budget, not everything is lost. The last few years have seen an influx of low-cost manufacturers – many of which offer surprisingly solid quality. One of the most popular choices amongst the savvy shopper community is Chiyoda.
The US-based manufacturer offers a minimalistic yet classy approach.
The model in question here has a handmade solid wooden frame with an acrylic glass window. Definitely, what adds to the classy look is the high gloss piano lacquer finish. The pillow inside is extremely soft and adjustable, fitting watches even with oversized cases.
This Chiyoda watch winder offers four Turns Per Day programs – 680, 1050, 1400, and 2100. Needless to say, all three winding directions are allowed.
Like the two single watch winders we discussed above, this one also runs on the Japanese-made Mabuchi motor. The winder can be powered by either AC or disposable batteries.
Explore other Chiyoda designs here.
Brand-Specific Watch Winders
The three single watch winder models discussed above are awesome universal options.
That said, if you’re a proud owner of some of the top-end watches from the likes of Rolex or Patek Philippe, you might want to invest in a product that will definitely meet the requirements of your timepiece. During the last year, I’ve published brand-specific watch winder guides for Breitling, Omega, Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Tag Heuer.
If you own a high-end watch brand that’s not mentioned, make sure to let me know in the comment section below. I will do my best to help!