How to use a watch winder?

Whether you have just acquired a watch winder, or have been using one for a long time, it’s worth reading a few tips regarding how to best take care of it and how to use a watch winder.

The first question is how to place the watches in the watch winder, for that, please take a look at our short video with detailed instructions.

You should also consult with your watch manufacturer about the sense of rotation for your watch, and the recommended turns per day. Kunstwinder watch winders come with 24 combinations of speeds and rotation directions that should adapt to any watch needs.

Kunstwinder watch winders are universally compatible with any electricity outlet, 90-260 VAC. We include a European adaptor. If you want to read more about Kunstwinder watch winder specifications, take a look at our specifications pdf.

About the place for a watch winder, we believe that an office desk, living room or bedroom are great places for our watch winders. Whichever place you choose, just make sure it’s indoors and without direct sunlight. To maintain an optimal appearance, carefully clean the dust that may accumulate with a cotton rug, don’t use water or solvents to clean the watch winder or your watches either.

Kunstwinder watch winders are built in robust materials that will last for the years to come, and we only use brushless electric motors. Among other benefits like reduced sound and vibrations, brushless motors don’t wear out, the only rubbing part is the bearings which are engineered to minimize friction and built long lasting materials.

If you plan on not using your watch winder for a long time, it’s preferable to put it back in it’s case and store in a cold and dry place. The same applies not just to your watch winder, but also to your watch. Humidity corrodes metals, and temperature accelerates about any chemical reaction.

Other than that, make sure that you enjoy your watch winder!

What is a Watch Winder?

A watch winder is a device that rotates automatic (also known as self-winding) watches to ensure their power reserve doesn’t deplete. But first, before we go any further, a little bit of history about automatic watches…

The history (and science) of automatic watches

Automatic watches date back to 1776 when Abram Louys Perrelet, the church elder, made the first practical self-winding watch in Le Locle, Swizterland. (If you want to find out more about the history of automatic watch winders, here’s a great document.) Incredibly, the essence of how these marvelous timing machines work hasn’t changed at all in the past few centuries. Basically, a weight underneath the crown rotates with the wearer’s movements. This weight is connected to a rotary spring that only allows it to rotate in one direction from its input and in the opposite direction of its output. The output of the spring feeds into the watch mechanism, which transforms a constant force into a discrete stepping movement.

How does a watch winder work?

Now that we know how automatic watches work, it’s easier to understand how watch winders work. Watch winders vary greatly in forms, capacity, style, and price, but they also have many common elements. Despite their differences, a watch winder will have at least one holder where the watch can be attached. By construction, and almost without exception, automatic watches need to be wound by rotating them around the normal axis of the crown when the watch axis is perpendicular to the force of gravity. So, translated into normal English… the position of the watch holder is always perpendicular to the ground. This perpendicular rotation also minimizes internal friction in the watch.

Watch winders offer several modes of rotation, which include speed, direction, and idle time. All three of them are important. Speed has a direct and quadratic correlation with internal mechanical watch stress — too little and the watch will lose energy faster than it’s harvested; too fast and overwinding and weakening of the mechanism will probably occur. Direction is important because some automatic watches only collect energy in one rotation direction. Finally, idle times are important to avoid overwinding and mechanical stress.

Watch winders are most commonly fed by electricity through a cable and an AC/DC transformer. Magnetic energy transmission (like those cool new induction pads you may have seen for charging phones) is not a possibility since the variable magnetic field would likely disturb, if not completely break, the watch mechanics. Some watch winders offer batteries, but that increases the weight of the watch winder and also requires periodic recharging.

Why are watch winders important?

Watch winders are gaining importance in the horologe industry. Today there are thousands of people with personal collections of at least two automatic watches. Watch winders help the public in at least three ways: Firstly, they ensure their watches are wound and ready to be worn at all times. Secondly, if not worn regularly, watches will suffer; the tiny amounts of lubricant in critical components of the watch tend to solidify, preventing a proper lubrication that would harm the mechanism. Lastly, watch winders have become a compliment to any watch collection as a way to show them off. Whether it’s in an office, a bedroom, or a living room, a watch winder is the perfect way to showcase your time pieces.

Can all watches be wound with a watch winder?

Only automatic watches can be wound with a watch winder. As long as your watch is an automatic one though, the brand doesn’t matter. Your watch could be a Rolex, Omega, Panerai, Ulysses Nardin, Seven Friday or an Hublot, to name a few.

Do I need a watch winder?

If you are a watch aficionado, you will most likely benefit from having a watch winder. If used properly, a watch winder will probably pay for itself by saving you money in costly repairs. Not only that, it will also give you the ability to switch watches in a heart beat, removing all the necessary hour and date setting along with manual winding.

Watch winders are also great conversation starters. Place a couple of your time pieces on a watch winder in your living room or office desk and you will surely draw attention and curiosity towards your collection… including your winder ;).


Choosing the Perfect Watch Winder

Over the years you’ve built a collection of automatic watches that you love and you want to display them at your home or office for everyone to see your good taste. You would also like to make sure they are ready to be worn at any moment (i.e. they are fully wound and display the right time). Finally, it’s a well known fact that automatic watches suffer if not worn regularly. Without regular use, tiny amounts of lubricant harden inside, resulting in potentially costly repairs.

So, once you have decided that a watch winder is right for you and want to invest in one, the question is which one. The watch winder industry continues to be a niche market, however, in the last few years, there has been an explosion of options in the market: brands, style, watch capacity, security, and, of course, price. In the following sections, we will guide you through a few key points that can help in making your decision.


The first thing that you should be concerned about is the style of the watch winder you want. You have probably already seen a few of them, even if just in photographs to get an idea of what watch winders look like. Not surprisingly, most watch winder makers have opted for the overly simple box style. They are perfectly functional watch winders that offer some room for personalization, in particular, the skin color. They are a very valid option if you are on a budget and you are looking for strictly functionality, aka keeping your watch on time. They fail, however, when it comes to showing off your watch collection and encouraging conversations. They’re not very eye-catching and, even though they can be personalized on the outside, they may fail to convey the idea behind your collection.

Another type of watch winder is the secure box style. Besides the standard functionality, an advantage to these watch winders is that they hold multiple watches at the same time inside a safe box. They are based on the premise that you want to secure your collection at all costs (and they are very effective at doing so). There are two disadvantages to the secure box style watch winder, however. The first one is the price tag: they are by far the most expensive watch winders in the market. The second is the display: because of the 5 cm thick metal walls, your beautiful collection will be hidden from the eyes of friends.

Lastly, there is the unique watch winder category. These are watch winders that break apart from the rest. The craftsman of unique watch winders focus on design, just like watch makers do. These watch winders might also come in a limited production series and they might have patented design and technology. The premise of these watch winders? Your watch collection is beautiful, and your watch winder should be, too. They cover the functional part like the box and safe type winders, but they are a piece of art on their own. A sure eye-catcher for anyone around, a great conversation starter, and overall an ideal way of winding your treasured time pieces.

Watch Capacity

Another important feature to consider is the watch capacity. This will depend largely on your collection size and your usage patterns. If you only have 1-2 time pieces, a single or dual watch winder, with a 1 or 2 watch capacity, respectively, will likely suffice. However, if your collection is larger, you might need to consider buying more than one watch winder. Kunstwinder offers both single and dual watch winders.


Another key feature of a watch winder is its rotation features, which includes speeds, directions, and modes. Most automatic watches are best rotated clockwise (CW). There are, however, exceptions to this rule depending on your watch maker, so you should read the recommendations for your particular watch model in your owners manual. All of the Kunstwinder watch winders offer clockwise, counter-clockwise and mixed modes. Our watch winders also have different resting settings, where the watch is winded and then rested for a variable amount of seconds. Continuous rotation is available for display purposes, too, but note that it might put unnecessary stress on your watch, so ideally a watch winder would include a mode of rotation and rest.

A full explanation of Kunstwinder’s rotation features are available here.


Often overlooked, noise is actually a key feature you should consider when selecting a watch winder. Noise stems from motors that are not equilibrated and produce vibrations that, along with creating noise, put stress on your watch. It’s the audible representation of those vibrations that over continuous use will wear down different pieces of the internal watch mechanics. Noise can also be important if the watch winder will be in a room where silence is required, like an office or a bedroom.

Kunstwinder has done extensive research on optimal motors for our watch winders. Our final choice was a Swiss company that manufactures brushless direct current electrical motors. They are tested to work thousands of hours, keeping vibrations and noise to an industry minimum.


Now you’re ready to buy the perfect watch winder for your automatic watches! Make sure you take into account display style, watch capacity, rotation features, and motor noise before you buy.