If you didn’t notice already, we’re big advocates of properly taking care of your watch. And sometimes (read: always), that means making an investment in your investment. So if you’re not the type to wear a watch every day, or you’ve got a nice collection of watches that trade-off quality wrist time, we ask: do you have a good watch winder?
Having a quality watch winder operating at the proper setting is one of the best ways to maintain a watch’s accuracy for a long time. Ideally, you want your watch running at the top 3/4 of its mainspring all the time, whether it’s on your wrist or in the winder in order to prevent wear on the clutch. In an automatic watch, that mainspring requires about 80% to 90% tension to be considered fully wound. Normal activity only winds the mainspring 50% to 60%. A watch winder will keep your watch wound at around 80%.
So when it comes to a winder, how do you separate the good from the average? And what do you do once you have one? Here are some tips and tricks to pick the right watch winder and keep your watches at peak performance:
The Optimal TPD
TPD stands for turns per day, or, how many full revolutions the winder turns in a 24-hour period. For a watch inside the winder, there is a magic number of turns per day that it needs to run best. Too little TPD, and it doesn’t wind fully. Too many, and you risk wearing it out.
A good watch winder will give you options on setting the TPD, but the default setting will generally be around 650 TPD, which is perfect for most watches. But when you set your winder, it would be smart to do some research first.
It’s also important to keep in mind that if your winder is set to the optimal TPD setting, and you put your watch in the winder not fully wound, the winder will not fully wind it for you. So just remember to manually wind the watch up first, then place it in the winder. That way, your watch will come out of the winder at its optimal mainspring tension.
Watches with Power Reserves
A lot of luxury watches have a built-in power reserve that keeps the watch running for a set amount of time when you’re not wearing it. A good watch winder will keep this in mind with its design, allowing you to set a start delay for a watch that you’ve recently worn. The start delay lets the power reserve run down before the winder starts its cycle, making sure the watch is not getting over-wound over time.
It’s self-explanatory enough, but having a bi-directional watch winder means that every time the winder cycles on, it turns in a different direction. While the majority of watches are just fine in a bi-directional winding unit, some watches have different specifications (like clockwise or counter-clockwise). A good watch winder will have all three settings available.
Magnetic interference can make some watches run fast, requiring a demagnetizer to correct them. Opinions vary on the minimum level of magnetic flux density needed to affect watch operation, but informal consensus online suggests the range is 60-70 gausses.
We tell you this because with a watch winder, there’s a very minimal risk that your watch could be magnetized. However, a quality watch winder will have a shielded motor that won’t let its copper spool transfer a magnetic field to your watch when its running.
A good watch winder will generally be quieter when it’s running, which means that the motor won’t be grinding or whining when in operation. Overall, a quality watch winder should last you a while.
But, if you do experience issues in the first few years, many companies will have warranties that cover you. So be sure to protect the purchase that’s meant to take care of your watch.
Not all watch winders are made equal, and they are definitely not all the same quality. So to sum up our advice: buy a good winder now and take care of your watch. Do that—then the winder and your watch should last a long time.