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Old 19 June 2014, 09:52 AM   #1
himmelblau
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Do We Need Watch Winders?

An often asked question is; Should I buy a watch-winder?

The following discussion summarizes the logic of both the pros and cons and also takes a look at technical and other differences concerning some of the automatic watch winders currently on the market;
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As the number of watch owners having one or more automatic watches continues to grow, one of the most frequently asked questions is Do I need an automatic watch winder? To begin, I must point out that, despite the fact that my company has been a pioneer in introducing professional watch winders to consumers, I have publicly stated several times on the watch forums that they are NOT an absolute necessity.

Lets look at some concerns watch owners have about winders:

QUESTION: I'm sure there is a good reason for watch winders. But, Im a little puzzled by their purpose other than for testing. It just seems to me that a given watch only has a certain number of hours of life in it before it must be overhauled and serviced, right? So, why not slow the process down while youre not wearing it? Is there a detrimental effect on the watch? What about new watches at the jeweler? They can sit for months before being sold. Ive never seen a winder in the window keeping that new watch wound and waiting for me to buy it.

ANSWER: Watch winders are beneficial for those who own more than one automatic watch. They are particularly useful for automatic perpetual calendar watches which can be complicated and a nuisance to reset once stopped. More important, all watches should be kept wound and running for their own mechanical health to ensure proper lubrication and cut down on wear. If a watch sits still for a long period of time, the lubricant tends to clump. When that happens, it can have an adverse effect on the timekeeping accuracy of a watch with poor amplitude of the balance wheel. The reason that some, even the finest brand, timepieces do not perform up to par is probably due to the effect on a watch sitting in a jewelry store for long periods of time in a non-running condition.

QUESTION: If an automatic watch is not worn for several days, is it better to wind it in a watch winder, rather than manually turning the crown every morning? Or, does it make no difference which way the watch is wound?

ANSWER: Automatic watches are designed with two interacting sets of winding systems, one is the manual winding mechanism and the other the automatic winding unit. Current typical automatics have a sandwiched double reverser wheel which contain miniature clicks inside. These reverser wheels allow the motion of the user's arm to build power reserve from the oscillating rotor through the winding system indirectly to the mainspring which drives the escapement.

Manually winding an automatic mechanism "on a steady basis" can put unnecessary rapid stress on the sensitive auto reverser wheels possibly damaging the tiny internal clicks. The torque pressure resulting from manual winding of automatic watches is not made for, day-in day-out, manual winding, especially if the watch is not in a pristine new or overhauled condition. Also, most automatic watches today have screw-down crowns. Using such crowns on a steady basis for manual winding will result in a shorter life for these spring-loaded crowns. The daily pressure and tension will break the posts off sooner or later requiring replacement of the crown and also the stretched / worn O-ring tube gasket. You then run a greater risk of allowing moisture to penetrate the case without your awareness and knowledge.

QUESTION: Does the way of mounting of the watch on a winder make a difference or is it enough to have a watch turning regardless of the position its in? Why would it matter if all were out to do is to try to mimick the motions of the wrist?

ANSWER: Winders which do not turn the oscillating weight of an automatic watch, a.k.a. the rotor, with at least one full 360 degree turn in a completed revolution may not provide sufficient power reserve to keep a watch going after removal from the winder. I have found that the Bergeon/Cyclotest winders must be wall-mounted to provide optimum winding for all automatic watches. In a hanging position, the carousel-type winder rotates and revolves simultaneously giving the rotor the best opportunity to make one full 360 degree turn with each complete circle. These same winders laying flat on a table will not give ALL rotors enough power reserve since the rotor does not turn on the oscilating weight post. Winders using a cone-shaped mandrel to mount watches in a profile manner have, in my opinion, a drawback because its principle operates similar to a rocking chair or a pendelum. The watch does not receive the 360 degree turns to guarantee a LONG TERM buildup of
power reserve to keep it running long after removal from that winder.

SINCE THERE IS NO WINDER ON THE MARKET WHICH CAN DUPLICATE THE UNPREDICTABLE MOVEMENTS OF A HUMANS WRISTS, IT IS ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT THAT WE UNDERSTAND THAT A SUITABLE WINDER CONTROL THE DAILY WINDING OF EXPENSIVE TIMEPIECES. A cheap or improperly designed winder may in fact do more bad for a watch than not winding it at all since it predictably stresses the same parts on a continuous daily basis.

QUESTION: The number of different types of winders on the market today have proliferated to many choices in varying price ranges. Arent I better off just getting the cheapest one and sticking the rest of the money into another watch?

ANSWER: To some degree, watch winders can be compared to WATCHES themselves. We all know that a $10 quartz watch can give you the same or more accurate time as a $10,000 luxury timepiece. So, why would anyone spend (100 times more) $9990 additional if he can get the correct time for so much less money. The answer to this question is it may be a combination factor of design aesthetics, long term reliability and an appreciation of superior quality. The same thing can be said not only about watches but about other consumer products which also includes automatic watch winders. One can spend about $80 for the least expensive plug in type MTE winder up to (100 times more) $8000 for a luxury model Scatola del Tempo. There are professional watch winders far in between in the mid-range price points which have become very popular with watch collectors who want affordable quality made products. These are the ones I personally favor most.

QUESTION: Why are watch winders so expensive?

ANSWER: Quality watch winders are sold through channels from the manufacturer to a distributor to the retail shops and finally to the end-user, the consumer. Unlike computers, electronics and other mass-produced consumer goods, watch winders, by comparison, have a limited small niche market. Research and development, warranty service and marketing (advertising and promotion) add up to the final cost leaving each of the sellers in the pipeline with a small profit margin, far less than what a retail shop would earn on the sale of a brand name watch.

To summarize, while watch winders are NOT an absolute necessity, they are not only a great convenience in keeping watches on the correct time and date but also help to extend the general running condition of them.

Re-printed courtesy of;
Jack Freedman
SUPERIOR WATCH SERVICE INC.
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Old 23 June 2014, 08:04 AM   #2
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With a half dozen or more automatic watches in my collection, how do I decide which watch to wind?
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Old 26 June 2014, 01:26 PM   #3
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Brian, thanks for the well written and insightful piece on the utility of winders. Interesting to see how a quality winder can be beneficial to the movement. I've always thought this. One question: Do I read correctly that the MTE and scatola del tempo are your two favorite winders?
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Old 15 April 2015, 06:58 AM   #4
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I respectfully disagree...the best winder is the wrist.

The Pros: Convenience. That's it.

The Cons:
What is beneficial about putting wear and tear on the movement when it is not needed?
The cost. Money spend on one of these "quality" pieces could be used on the next watch purchase. That's a deal breaker for me.
Yet another thing to fix when it breaks down. And it will break down.
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Old 15 April 2015, 09:49 PM   #5
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Winders are not needed with any Rolex watches and several of our own watchmakers on forum would not recommend using one.Watch winders are little more than big boys toys IMHO.
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Old 12 August 2016, 12:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padi56 View Post
Winders are not needed with any Rolex watches and several of our own watchmakers on forum would not recommend using one.Watch winders are little more than big boys toys IMHO.
Peter and I have diametrically opposite views on the value of winders. That doesn't make either of us right or wrong. I have three quad winders from Brookstone (about US$200 each) on which I keep 12 automatics (several are Rolexes), all of which have one or more complications (some are PCs or semi PC's). I hate winding my watches. I just like to strap one on and be good to go.
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Old 12 August 2016, 02:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockrolex View Post
Peter and I have diametrically opposite views on the value of winders. That doesn't make either of us right or wrong. I have three quad winders from Brookstone (about US$200 each) on which I keep 12 automatics (several are Rolexes), all of which have one or more complications (some are PCs or semi PC's). I hate winding my watches. I just like to strap one on and be good to go.
As do I....and the fact they damage watches sounds like none sense!
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Old 28 May 2015, 01:55 AM   #8
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Having, until recently been a one watch person for two or three years, a JLC Reverso DuoTime, manual wind, the question of watch winders really did not enter my consciousness, that was until a couple of weeks ago when I added an Explorer II which of course is an automatic watch. I have read the various comments for and against, above and thank the writers for what they have said. My own opinion on the issue leans towards not using a winder, that way I prolong the need to service my 2 watches and I agree, watches spend months, in fact years in jewellers windows and are not wound. I take the point about accuracy but if you require that level of accurate timekeeping buy a £10.00 Quartz watch. Even the radio controlled clock that we have in the kitchen is adjusted from a location in Rugby on a regular basis so why do I have an issue adjusting the time on my wristwatches?
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Old 9 August 2016, 11:52 PM   #9
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I don't know, there's so much debate regarding should you keep the watch ticking, or not.

If you go to any AD, you will find none of them ticking. When someone buys one, they will eventually wear it, and it will begin to tick, the warranty applies up to day x x x x, whether you wear it or not.

Some would argue if you stop wearing it, and after x hours, it stops ticking, you leave it for long periods of time, the lubricants start to slowly dry out. However I seen Rolex's tick fine for many years, even ones that are overdue for a service.

If you choose to service your Rolex, the procedure they will go through is the same check list whether you wore it a lot or not, they will inspect every part, and replace any part that is required from wear and tear.

For those who own more than one watch, then it becomes more of a time-share management issue of wearing all of their watches. Some may not even wear one or some of them at all, and some will always argue against a watch winder and refuse to acknowledge any argument to the contrary.

At the end of the day it's one of those personal choices. However make no mistake, take note that they are literally 100's of companies out there that make an excellent range of watch winders, many which hold and wind more than 1 watch. I seen expensive ones that can wind 12 watches. So they are out there, I saw a huge stand in Baselworld with an impressive range.

It is at least worth checking them out and asking all the questions you can. If you can go to a shop that sells them, why not take a look? No harm in that. At least you have one perspective about your question, that you have your own eyes, ears, and touch to have your own personal opinion about it.

I seriously doubt if any shop will let you borrow one of theirs.
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Old 10 August 2016, 05:50 AM   #10
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I have a moderately priced watch winder. I found my watches were not as accurate when they spent a long time on the winder. I ended up putting it in my closet and I just wind/set my watches when I go to wear them. I'm glad I didn't spend too much money on it.
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Old 12 August 2016, 12:04 AM   #11
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Well I have heard from multiple sources that the newer (post 2007) Rolex's have a very good winding mechanism already. Meaning you pull out the winder half way, and wind it manually about 25-30 times, before pushing the winder back in and locking it. Wear the watch for it to start it ticking again.

These sources suggest that by doing the above steps regularly there should be no need to put the Rolex in the watch winder.

I know my model has instructions if it loses time, or gains too much time, on how to rectify. It is a matter on which side to lean the Rolex on the side. I am unfamiliar with other models, but I suggest that you check out your own owners manual. If it is capable, the required steps should be in there.
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Old 12 August 2016, 02:18 AM   #12
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I use a winder as a convenience. My rotation is 2 watches per week. I swap between them, so one on the winder, one on the wrist, then back in the safe.
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Old 12 August 2016, 02:20 AM   #13
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Old 13 August 2016, 12:20 AM   #14
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I'd rather wear mine as often as possible. It's been quite a while since I last used my watch winder. Keep in mind, for every thing that you buy, are more dollars away from your next Rolex ;)
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Old 13 August 2016, 02:29 AM   #15
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I have had my date just for 30 years . I remember from the original literature ( long since discarded) that at night the Rolex was supposed to lay in a particular position to help the watch movement not lose a beat so to speak. Over time I had found my Rolex kept terrible time until I recently had it properly serviced and I purchased a winder . There are winders and there are some darn good winders .Wolfe winders wind on set rotations so the watch is not over wound .If your winder is continuous then it is probably over winding your watch(s) . The cycle I use is both counter and clock wise with 450 winds per 90 minute cycle then no rotation of 60 minutes .Ergo in say a 7 hr sleep cycle the watch is wound 525 times and sleeps for about 2 hrs or so
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Old 15 August 2016, 12:16 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by funnyman7915 View Post
I have had my date just for 30 years . I remember from the original literature ( long since discarded) that at night the Rolex was supposed to lay in a particular position to help the watch movement not lose a beat so to speak. Over time I had found my Rolex kept terrible time until I recently had it properly serviced and I purchased a winder . There are winders and there are some darn good winders .Wolfe winders wind on set rotations so the watch is not over wound .If your winder is continuous then it is probably over winding your watch(s) . The cycle I use is both counter and clock wise with 450 winds per 90 minute cycle then no rotation of 60 minutes .Ergo in say a 7 hr sleep cycle the watch is wound 525 times and sleeps for about 2 hrs or so
There is no such thing as over vinding a Rolex.

A DJ needs 650 TPD CW & CCW.


PS. Orbita is probably the best winder for a Rolex.
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Old 17 August 2016, 06:53 AM   #17
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There is no such thing as over winding a Rolex.

A DJ needs 650 TPD CW & CCW.


PS. Orbita is probably the best winter for a Rolex.
According to my watchmaker who has been servicing Rolex's for over 30 years, he disagrees with you . I don't mean any disrespect, I will listen to my watchmaker
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Old 21 August 2016, 09:06 PM   #18
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According to my watchmaker who has been servicing Rolex's for over 30 years, he disagrees with you . I don't mean any disrespect, I will listen to my watchmaker
Yes you do that, I'm sure he knows best.
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Old 14 August 2016, 01:25 AM   #19
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I too hate to wind my daily watches. I like to grab & go. My Rolexes are usually in the safe so those always get wound.
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Old 15 August 2016, 12:12 AM   #20
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Very intriguing and valuable information funnyman, thanks for that.

I don't know how adequate my watch winder is. However I haven't recently worn it
long enough to notice any time-lose or gain.
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Old 15 August 2016, 12:33 AM   #21
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I use a winder purely for convenience. I bought a four watch winder off Amazon for under $100. It seems to keep my automatic watches wound up enough that I can change out and go and not have to worry.
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Old 18 December 2016, 05:04 PM   #22
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Ter setting the

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdnwatchguy View Post
I use a winder purely for convenience. I bought a four watch winder off Amazon for under $100. It seems to keep my automatic watches wound up enough that I can change out and go and not have to worry.
Interesting post.

I have about a dozen watch winders in stock and could use them if necessary but:
Let's look at scenario 1:
You have automatic watches on a winder, you remove one to wear it, it is not on the correct time, it is a Rolex so you feel it really should be correct, you hack it on 12 and set it to your time source and strap it on.

Scenario 2:
You chose a Rolex from you safe, while you walk to the lounge (holding it in your left hand) you unscrew the crown giving it a few turns to start it and hack it on the 12.
In the lounge you set it to your time source and strap it on.

The difference - a few turns of the crown.
Plus wear and tear on the movement during the previous months on the winder when it was not being used.
As for the clumping of oils when not being used?
It's a Rolex FGS not a old diesel tractor.
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Old 15 August 2016, 02:20 PM   #23
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I have a couple single Wolf v2.7 winders, that are used regularly. I rotate watches in and out of the safe deposit box, and I like to keep them wound when they are home. So they are being wound continuously for only a week or so at a time. I genuinely believe the winders are benificial to my watches. Thanks to the winders ability to be programmed, the watches always stay running without exceeding the watch manufacturers recommended number of rotations per day.
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Old 16 August 2016, 01:35 AM   #24
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My watchwinder, rotates clockwise for a while, then switches to anticlockwise. It has a clockwise only option, and an anticlockwise only option too.
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Old 21 August 2016, 12:51 PM   #25
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I have a pocket watch. Not very cheap, but not a high end one. I ended up overwinding it. When the winding spring is broken, the watch is useless. The cost to repair would be more than the watch itself.

That wouldn't be the case for a Rolex (if overwinding would cause the spring to break), but I have yet to see a post on here where anyone had to take their Rolex to get it repaired because they overwound it and broke the spring.
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Old 21 August 2016, 02:14 PM   #26
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Winders are a convenience - maybe. For those that dislike setting and winding a watch or are always in a hurry to get out the door to work or something a winder might represent a convenience.

The trade off is unnecessary wear and tear - maybe. It depends on your rotation habits. If you have three watches and rotate daily, then a winder might save you the trouble of having to wind the watch that has been sitting in the drawer for the last 48 hours. It probably only stopped within a few hours of grabbing it so a winder would not add that much additional wear and tear. But if you're like me, wear a piece for a week or two before switching to the next, why have the other pieces running needlessly when they spend far more time in the safe than on my wrist?

As far as wear and tear on the crown, I've been told by more than one watchmaker that crown problems arise more often from not using it occasionally rather than overuse.

As far as oils go, I often hear the theory around here that oils will migrate away from where they are needed when a watch sits idle. I haven't heard that from a watchmaker. But what I have heard from experts and don't hear said around here that much, is that just like in a car engine oils being used to lubricate metal parts will break down faster from use and become less effective. Now, obviously there is a big difference between the heat and pressures of the internal combustion engine versus an automatic watch, but then again a Rolex is not using 12 quarts of oil either, but rather mere drops. The concept is still valid, it will eventually break down from lubricating metal against metal.

Whatever works for you is the correct answer - for you. But lets just put the cards on the table rather than conjure up reasons to support one side or the other.

That's my take.
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Old 21 August 2016, 02:20 PM   #27
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Do We Need Watch Winders?

IMHO... No. I bought one and never used it. Just wind them when I switch and let my wrist wind the one I'm wearing.
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Old 21 August 2016, 02:46 PM   #28
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I don't use a watch winder, nor do I leave my cars running in the garage when I'm not driving them.
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Old 21 August 2016, 08:35 PM   #29
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If the oils dry up and stop Rolex's from running so quickly they wouldn't be the brand it is today. You got to give credit to them from all the stories you have heard and read regarding the watches robustness. We are talking about a mechanical watch, not a battery operated one.
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Old 22 August 2016, 05:48 AM   #30
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I use a watch winder w/o any issues. The watch in the winder runs within the specs. IMHO, if you have a watch rotation, a watch winder is worth the price due to convenience. This is especially true if you have complications that are a pain to set. Oh, this is a Rolex forum, never mind :-)
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