Watch Winders

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Some degree of debate exists about the use of watch winders. Are they really necessary? Why are some winders so expensive? Is this just a ploy to get unwitting buyers to plunk down even more cash for products they don't need? The answers to these questions depend on just how important your watches are to you, the cost of the watches, and their own internal design.

All automatic watches require some form of winding mechanism if they're to keep accurate time. Even a few hours off its wearer's wrist and a finely tuned instrument can start to slip. Even if a watch only loses a few milliseconds here and there, compounded over time, those discrepancies add up to a significant lag. And if you're spending several thousand dollars for a magnificent hand-tailored machine, the last thing you can afford is inaccuracy.

How Watch Winders Work

Watch winders rely on oscillating weights or rotors to keep accurate time. These weights are what drive a watch's movement by turning its mainspring at just the right speed. As the rotors turn, the mainspring builds up a reserve of power, which is then distributed at a constant rate to govern the movement of the watch hands. If the watch winder isn't properly calibrated, it can overwind the watch or cause stress on the watch's overwind protection system.

All luxury watches are built with an overwind guard to keep the mainspring operating at peak performance. If this part is overtaxed, your watch can not only be rendered inaccurate, it can incur real and lasting damage as well. It may seem like watch winders and other watch accessories amount to little more than bells and whistles, but sometimes those are critical bells and critical whistles.


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