How an Automatic Watch Winder Works

A winder box is a must-have device if you want to keep an automatic watch running smoothly and accurately when you are not actually wearing it.


This elegant style of watch, which is a popular choice for men and women, requires wrist movement - or another source of movement - to enable it to keep operating.


Automatic watches are able to wind themselves by way of a moving weight or rotor inside which rotates or swings, thereby causing the winding mechanism to function. Everyday wrist action provides the necessary energy to cause the internal weight or rotor to move.

Therefore, when an automatic watch is not being worn by the owner, another method of keeping the internal parts moving is required - and that's where an automatic watch winder offers the perfect solution


It's not a good idea to wind an unworn automatic watch by hand on a regular basis because this is likely to cause detrimental wear and tear to the delicate threading of the crown.


They usually have a glass viewing window to enable you to see your prized watch, or watches, inside the device.


A watch winder has a precision motor and micro-processor inside the main unit which rotates the watch according to the settings designated before powering up. These settings can relate to many things including direction of wind, length of time of winding and the number of turns per day (TPD).


The watch is usually wrapped around an oval shaped cuff pad which then rests on a firm, but delicate, mini pillow, usually made of silk, satin, cotton or soft leather. Winder boxes for multiple timepieces will have several holder cuffs in a row - one for each watch.


When the device is operating the watch will be rotated smoothly and gently in a motorised canister, according to the settings, mimicking human wrist movement. Among other things, the settings can determine whether the watch is rotated clockwise, anti-clockwise or a combination of both.


Watch winder motors are generally very quiet - even completely silent - meaning they won't cause any distraction when operating in an office, bedroom or any other room in your home.


It's important to set the timer on a watch winder so there is no excessive winding which could result in unnecessary wear on the watch winding mechanism. It makes no sense to run a watch winder day and night when, for example, a watch might only require around 30 to 60 minutes of motion a day to keep it fully wound.


A timer also allows you to set the winder box to operate for periods of time, followed by periods of rest - thereby replicating the typical movement pattern of a human arm.


Thankfully there's no risk of overwinding an automatic watch in a watch winder box. This is because automatic watches comprise a safety mechanism which disengages the winding procedure at the point where the watch mainspring becomes wound to its maximum threshold.


Apart from keeping an automatic watch running smoothly, these winder boxes - which often look very similar to jewellery boxes - are also great for protecting watches and keeping them clean and safe.


If you want to ensure your watches are truly protected it's even possible to buy a watch winder which is enclosed in a highly secure mini safe, complete with a combination security lock.


Read about the various types of watch winder and advice for buying a watch winder.