6 Best Watch Winders That Will Keep Your Watch Ticking

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by  Dean Stephens | Last Updated: 

Your automatic has gone dead for the last time. Wouldn’t it be nice to pick up your watch and have it already set, just once?

Well, after you find your new favorite watch winder on this list, you’ll never have to worry about setting your fancy timepiece again. 

Best for Rolex
  • Japanese Mabuchi Motor that’s precise and consistent
  • Clockwise, counterclockwise, and bi-directional movement available
  • Runs on battery or AC Power
Best WOLF Watch Winder
  • Six slots available
  • Vintage car aesthetic
  • Fully customizable and controllable, from rotations per day, direction, and even delay start
Best Budget Double
  • Under $100
  • Several turns per day and direction settings
  • Battery power and AC power available
Best Budget Single
  • Japanese Mabuchi motor
  • Four spins per day settings
  • Works for oversized watches (60mm watches, included)
Best Vertical Winder
  • 12 different direction and speed settings
  • Designated rest periods to avoid overwinding
  • Great choice if you’re low on space
Best Blend of Value and Style
  • Comes in various bold and neutral colors
  • Almost entirely silent
  • The LED light is subtle

I still remember the day I saw my first Rolex.

And it just so happens that the reason the memory is so vivid has little to do with the watch itself.

That’s right. The name, the iconic crown logo, the unique style—all a side note.

No, I still remember it to this day because of the winder the Rolex was sitting in.

I can’t remember the make or model, but I remember it in all its spinning, shiny, mahogany glory. Yes, I thought the the watch was cool, but it was the winder that was making the biggest statement.

If you’re looking for the best watch winder, I’ve covered them all, from a Wolf for your Rolex, to a value pick that’ll keep your wallet heavy.

6 Best Watch Winders That Will Get You Spinning

Let’s jump into the best watch winders that I think are worth splashing your hard earned money on in 2021.

Best Watch Winder for a Rolex: WOLF Heritage Single Watch Winder

WOLF have one of the more interesting watch winder company founding stories out there.

All the way back in 1834, Philip Wolf I (why don’t we number people anymore?) created the company after coming to the quite profitable realization that his silver pieces sold a heck of a lot better when he presented them in beautiful boxes.

I’m sure if he were alive today he’d delight in the reception of the

Our Pick for Winding a Rolex
WOLF 270002 Heritage Single

The technical standout to this unit is it's unique intermittent rotations which means it supports pre-programmed sleep and pause phases. This protects your watch from over-winding and makes it a great watch winder for your Rolex.

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because it’s a beautiful box indeed.

It has a stunning faux leather exterior with chrome finishing, a silent motor, and a glass cover.

The technical standout to this unit is it’s unique intermittent rotations which means it supports pre-programmed sleep and pause phases. This protects your watch from over-winding and makes it a great watch winder for your Rolex.

This Wolf watch winder has a Japanese motor that can accommodate both heavier watches and larger watches (up to 53mm for the case).

Pros

  • It’s consistently quiet—the motor is as silent as described when in operation.
  • A lot of storage space, it can comfortably house large sized watches. Watch stays in place.
  • Very reliable, one reviewer reported not on failure after a year of continuous use.
  • Beautifully designed and excellent build quality. The winder is actually a complement to the elegant finish of your luxury watch.
  • 900 turns per day (or 1800 in C setting) makes it suitable for most watches.
  • Simple to use, setup takes five minutes.
  • Nicely packaged.
  • It can run on either wall or battery power.

Cons

  • The LEDs may be too bright for a bedroom. You can solve this by placing a thin layer of electrical tape over them.
Best for Rolex
WOLF 270002 Heritage Single

The technical standout to this unit is it's unique intermittent rotations which means it supports pre-programmed sleep and pause phases. This protects your watch from over-winding and makes it a great watch winder for your Rolex.

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Need a double winder?

You can find WOLF’s highly regarded 270402 on Amazon here:

Best for Two Rolex
WOLF Heritage Double Watch Winder

Double the Rolex winding power...double the fun.

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Best WOLF Watch Winder: WOLF Roadster

If you’re looking for the creme de la creme, this is the best WOLF watch winder. The Roadster is decked out with six compartments and it has a sexy vintage finish that looks just like a classic car dashboard.

The glass cover locks so you can keep your best timepieces spinning in peace. Even better, WOLF offers a 2-year warranty, so if one (or many) of the motors burn out, you can send it in (though I haven’t seen that happen to anyone in the reviews).

This WOLF winder runs on universal AC power, though there’s no option to run it off a power reserve.

Pros:

  • Runs absolutely silently, even with all six motors running at once.
  • The glass case is beautiful and locks.
  • Excellent finish: the vintage roadster vibe is super cool.
  • It looks great with empty slots, too.
  • The two year warranty is a nice touch.
  • Fully customizable spin rate, direction, and start delay.

Cons

  • There’s no power reserve on this WOLF winder.
  • Pricey, but one of a kind, too.
Best WOLF Winder
WOLF Roadster 6 Piece Watch Winder

The Roadster is the big kahuna in the WOLF family. Each of the six winders are fully controllable from 300-1200 rotations per day, with the option to go clockwise, counterclockwise, or bi-directional.

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Best Budget Double: JQUEEN Double Watch Winder

We promised a winder for every budget, and the

JQUEEN Double

This puppy runs on an AC adapter or batteries, so you'll be saying YASS QUEEN to JQUEEN.

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is a highly regarded pick in the sub $100 range.

It boasts a motor by Japanese mega-manufacturer, Mabuchi, who just so happen to be the world’s largest manufacturer of small electric motors.

The JQUEEN is 100% handmade with finishes made up of acrylic glass, piano lacquer and the transmission crafted from copper fittings. It features the standard three direction settings and several Turns Per Day or rotation settings.

Power this beauty with either a 100-240v AC Adapter which is included or two x 1.5V batteries which you’ll have to shell out for yourself.

Pros

  • Runs quietly. No issues running it in a bedroom.
  • Secure packaging and the product shows up looking just as nice as the picture.
  • Expensive looking design with a sturdy, heavy feel to it.
  • Interior metal is soft and houses your watches perfectly in place.
  • Great customer service from JQUEEN.
  • The knob on the back of the unit is solid.
  • The four Program Modes are sufficient for almost all watches.
  • AC cord is compact and it’s handy to be able to use batteries as a backup.
  • Excellent as a gift to any watch collector.

Cons

  • The instruction pamphlet is pretty limited.
  • No warranty card included.
  • The winder is quiet but not silent.
  • A digital readout for turn settings would be appreciated.
  • One reviewer had problems getting his larger modern sport watches to fit once the door was closed and the winder turned on (two Breitlings—50mm case and 44mm case).
Best Budget Double
JQUEEN Double

This puppy runs on an AC adapter or batteries, so you'll be saying YASS QUEEN to JQUEEN.

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If you’d like to future proof or hold more watches, their quad version is also excellent:

Best Budget Quad
JQUEEN Automatic Quad Watch Winder

Honestly, this one is straight hypnotic.

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Best Budget Single: Versa Automatic Single Watch Winder

This thing might look like you’d expect to find a “FIRE ZE MISSILES” button inside instead of a watch, but this

Amazon Bestseller

This Versa ay be made of plastic, but it's got a good old Mabuchi Japanese motor just like the best of the best do.

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is a solid and fairly reliable option if you’re on a budget.

The Versa is made of plastic (hey, it’s a sub $100 winder after all) in a black color, and fits a surprisingly large range of watch models.

It houses the reliable Mabuchi motor and has four rotations per day settings (350-650-850-1050) and the standard three direction functions.

Pros

  • Accommodates oversized watches—confirmed to house a 60x70mm case at 14mm thickness.
  • Simple adjustable direction settings which are easy to understand for novice users.
  • Multiple reviewers stated it kept their watch in perfect time.
  • Very quiet when in wind mode.
  • Well working spring holder which will snap close smaller wrist bands.
  • Looks great for the price, and the light effect is a nice touch to illuminate your watch.

Cons

  • Operates on line voltage only, there’s no battery capability.
  • Doesn’t work with Seiko Kinetic watches and doesn’t maintain a wind with a Tag Heuer Carerra.
  • One reviewer claimed that it worked great for the initial 10 months or so, but then it started to have issues winding correctly, and would make loud squeaky noises when it turned.
  • Looks a bit too big for just one watch.
  • A couple of reviewers stated that it is too noisy to be placed beside your bed while in use.
Best Budget Single
Amazon Bestseller

This Versa ay be made of plastic, but it's got a good old Mabuchi Japanese motor just like the best of the best do.

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Best Vertical Winder: Heiden Quad Watch Winder

Based in California, Heiden craft their winders by hand and it shows in the finish quality. The Heiden winders have the solid feel you’d expect from a product falling squarely in the entry to mid level bracket.

The Quad comes in a black leather finish as pictured (our favorite), as well as in walnut  or cherry  if you prefer nuts or fruit in your aesthetic diet. Hey, whatever gets your watches wound.

Pros

  • Accommodates oversized watches—confirmed to house a 60x70mm case at 14mm thickness.
  • Simple direction settings which are easy to understand for novice users.
  • Multiple reviewers stated it kept their watch in perfect time.
  • Very quiet when in wind mode.
  • Well working spring holder which will snap close smaller wrist bands.
  • Looks great for the price, and the light effect is a nice touch to illuminate your watch.

Cons

  • No internal light displays when front panel is lifted to display watches.
  • No instructions included for winding suggestions for different watches, however another reviewer mentioned that these are easily found online.
  • One reviewer claimed that the winder stopped working at just under 2 years of use.
  • Doesn’t have a power reserve.
Best Vertical
Heiden Monaco Quad Watch Winder

Handsome case, precision Japanese parts: watch winders don't much more bold than the Heiden Monaco.

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Best Blend of Value and Style: Barrington Single Winder

Last but not least is a watch winder I personally own. It’s the flagship Single Winder from UK’s own Barrington Watch Winder Company.

I chose the ‘shadow black’ colored winder for neutrality, but they have about eight or so styles to choose from, including ‘electric yellow’ which looks pretty damn sexy indeed.

Who Are Barrington?

Founded in 2009 and based in the UK, the Barrington Watch Winder Company state their aim as being to deliver a winder which not only looks as good as the higher end ‘brand names’, but also has the same level of functionality.

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All at a reasonable price point. And by dandy, at less than $200 a piece, they may just have achieved it.

Features

Also boasting the uber-quiet Mabuchi motor, the winder runs on AC mains or two AA batteries. I tested both methods to work equally as effectively as each other. And oh does it run quiet while winding. And I mean so quiet you really need to get close and concentrate to even know that it’s running.

It has a nice and sturdy feel to it, and while it’s clearly made of hard plastic (hey, it’s a sub $200 winder after all), the curved edges and purposeful design gives it a high end look. In combination with your favorite watch, and the LED light (when winding), the Barrington will be a genuine statement piece in whichever room you choose to showcase it.

In terms of functionality, it will rotate clockwise, counterclockwise or alternating (fairly standard), and it has all the necessary turns per day settings you’d need for nearly any watch.

Before I get bombarded with emails from every scrupulous watch aficionado out there, note that I modeled it below with my Sinn Regulateur because I don’t currently own an automatic watch. I tested the winding capability with my buddy’s Rolex Submariner.

Pros

  • You can adjust the spring behind the cushion to fit different band lengths.
  • Sleek, modern design and of firm build.
  • It’s super quiet—you can only hear a light whir of the motor, and that’s only if you’re listening for it.
  • You can use batteries! I’ve found this to be fairly rare among low-mid range winders.
  • Very simple to use, the two knobs are self explanatory.
  • Tightly packaged in foam, and covered in a mesh bag for extra protection. You can choose your region specific power adapter on purchase (hooray, there’s nothing worse than having to buy your own adapter).
  • 12-month quality guarantee from date of purchase.
  • New: You can attach multiple winders together via their Barrington ‘Jump’ feature which allows you to expand your winder capability as your watch collection grows.

Cons

  • While the motor is very quiet (and as quiet as any other good winder I’ve tested), it’s still a motor, so it’s probably not suited for your bedroom, especially if you’re a light sleeper.
  • This final point is more about subjective taste. The Barrington is very minimalist in design. I love the minimalist style, so it suits me. However some may feel the simple plastic finish isn’t up to their aesthetic standards having seen other winders with higher quality finishing touches like leather panels, for example. But again, you need to consider the price point here.
Best Blend of Style and Value
Barrington Single Watch Winder

The Barrington Single Watch Winder has a nice and sturdy feel to it, and while it’s clearly made of hard plastic (hey, it’s a sub $200 winder after all), the curved edges and purposeful design gives it a high end look. In combination with your favorite watch, and the LED light (when winding), it'll be a genuine statement piece in whichever room you choose to showcase it.

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Do You Need a Watch Winder?

I’m aware it’s unlikely that many of you shared the same level of youthful *ahem* excitement about getting a watch winder as me.

And obviously, if you don’t own (or plan to own) an automatic watch then you’d almost certainly be wasting your money.

But there are several good reasons to get one:

Convenience

A big one is convenience. If you own an automatic watch that you wear often, but not permanently, a watch winder will allow you to have it ready to go at all times. This also reduces the amount of hand winding you’ll do on your watch which causes unnecessary strain on the automatic movement.

If you own multiple automatic watches, the above point is even more relevant because most of us don’t wear more than one watch at a time (yeah, don’t be that guy).

Perpetual calendar

Another excellent reason to get a watch winder is if your piece has a complex perpetual calendar. A winder can bypass the need to go through any commonly elaborate resetting requirements if your watch has been stopped for some time.

Conclusion

Alright, time to wind this up (come on…how do I possibly resist that one?).

If you’re in the market for a Rolex, be sure to take a look at Bob’s Watches. It’s a certified pre-owned Rolex exchange and their prices are reasonable.

FAQs

The following FAQs apply to watch winders generally. Individual products may of course vary.

What watch winder does Rolex recommend?

Modern Rolex watches are self-winding, so you can use a watch winder to keep them working. While we couldn’t find an official recommendation from Rolex, we recommend the WOLF 270002 Heritage Single Watch Winder for your Rolex. It has variable ‘turns per day’ settings and many customers have reviewed it to work well with their Rolex.

Can watch winders overheat?

Not unless you’re really trying. If it’s 102 F outside and you’re running a space heater three inches away from it, it’ll still run just fine.
The motor(s) operate so slowly that movement friction isn’t a problem.

How loud are watch winders?

They produce noise, but nothing that’s going to wake you up at night.

There’s a motor at work, so you’ll definitely hear a sound when it does its job.

It’s only noticeable if you have every electronic in the house shut off, nobody’s talking, and you don’t even have a fan or air conditioner working.

If your watch winder gets loud, and you hear clicking, ticking, or anything else that emulates a time-bomb sound, there could be a problem.

We’ll talk about maintenance in a moment, but just know that if replacing the belt doesn’t help, you might need to contact the manufacturer and ship it out for some maintenance.

That’s a seriously uncommon thing to happen (I haven’t had to do it yet), but still something to keep in mind if it gets loud. If you keep your watch winder in the walk-in, you’ll forget it’s even there.

Do I need to maintain my watch winder?

Watch winders are pretty solid contraptions, but from time to time, you’ll need to give them a quick inspection. I like to pop it open and dust the watch chamber and the motor housing.

That’s basically the entire case; pop it open, clean out any dust, but don’t hit any components that are already greased.

A common thing you may run into is needing a belt replacement. Nothing major, but you should check it out once every six months.

If you’ve ever been under the hood or even changed the belt on a vacuum cleaner, you’ll know how to spot wear and tear. These are insanely inexpensive, and can usually be bought directly from the manufacturer in packs of three or more.

Is it possible for a watch winder to damage my watch?

Under rare circumstances, like if you don’t give it a once-over for maintenance issues. Modern watch winders are fantastic at their job, which is primarily keeping your watch running smoothly, and protecting it from environmental harm.

As I mentioned earlier, you’re going to know when something’s wrong with your winder. If your watch isn’t running, if it’s being too loud, etc, take the watch out and inspect the winder. Problems will almost always be audible long before any damage is done.

Will an American-made watch winder work with an internationally purchased watch?

There’s a universal way that watches work. For instance, I’m a big fan of Victorinox, and those are authentically made in Switzerland.

Would I throw one of those into my current American-made watch winder? Of course. No matter where you get it from, it will work just fine in your watch winder.

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