The best watch winders 2018: keep your timepiece ticking away

Keep your Rolex at the ready and your Grand Seiko in the saddle with our pick of the best automatic watch winders

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Collecting watches can be a rewarding pastime, not to mention a great way to stay accessorised to the nines, but every owner of automatic (self-winding) watches soon finds out that if you don’t keep them moving, they'll slow down and stop. 

This is where watch winders come to the rescue. These boxes can act as storage solutions and display cases, but above all else they rotate periodically to keep your watch’s power reserve topped up.

That way, no matter how long it is since you last wore a certain automatic watch, the winder will ensure it is topped up, at the right time, and ready to be worn.

A watch winder should feature a considered design which will serve to highlight your investment and suit your interiors. 

Some watch winders can cost less than £50, while others, in the case of the beautiful Rapport Time Arc, they can be as expensive as the watches they contain.

For the best meeting between form, function and competitive pricing, our top pick comes from Smythson in the form of their Grosvenor Rotary Watch Box.

Elsewhere, there are options for large collections (the 8-capacity Wolf Roadster) small spaces (the diminutive Perpetua II) and more besides to suit all kinds of collectors. 

Smythson Grosvenor Rotary Watch Box

1. Smythson Grosvenor Rotary Watch Box

The most mysterious box outside of Super Mario

Specifications
Best for: Extra storage
Type: Double
Material: Calf leather
Power: Battery
Reasons to buy
+ Very smart design + Integrated jewellery/valuables storage 

From the outside, the Smythson Grosvenor watch box could be near enough anything, and therein lies its charm – it’s subtle, it’s smart, and it’s mysterious, the perfect bedside accessory. 

If you or your better half are partial to shiny things, not just watches, its top compartment comes in handy as a jewellery box or corral for small valuables. Meanwhile the front panel comes down to reveal a double watch winder with removable Swiss-made rotators. To top off, the whole thing’s wrapped in luxe full-grain leather, making this a real investment piece. 

2. BARRINGTON SINGLE WINDER

Sleek and sophisticated watch winder for not very much money

Specifications
Best for: Short on space
Type: Single
Material: High-gloss engineered wood
Power: AC or Battery
Reasons to buy
+Number of colours+Compact+Affordable

Made from MDF but with an incredibly smooth gloss finish, the Barrington Single Winder is perfect if you own one automatic watch or if you're short on space. Inside is a Japanese motor which rotates almost-silently, and is powered by either a mains plug or two AA batteries.

There are settings for the direction of rotation, as well as the number of turns per day. Knowing which setting is incredibly easy thanks to the Barrington Watch Database, which suggests the best setting for your watch model.

There are seven colours to choose from, meaning it shouldn't have a problem fitting into your room, and, at a price of £125, we think it's tremendous value for money.

Check out all the colours available on Barrington's website.

Rapport London Perpetua II Watch Winder

3. Rapport London Perpetua II Watch Winder

A single watch winder for small collections

Specifications
Best for: A small collection
Type: Single
Material: Walnut and velvet
Power: Battery, DC adapter
Reasons to buy
+ Choice of timed or fast-wind modes + Small footprint 

A leather-bound watch winder-meets-jewellery box might be enticing, but if a three grand price tag takes it out of the realms of accessibility, consider this dinky version instead. Testament to the old adage that good things come in small packages, it’s ideal if a single watch winder is all you need, with its practical small footprint and high-end-looking lacquered box made from solid walnut. 

The low-voltage motor keeps things moving constantly and quietly on a choice of timed or fast modes, by DC adapter or batteries, making for a superbly versatile winder. 

The best watch winder

4. Wolf Heritage Double Watch Winder

An automatic juicer for when your watches are hungry – like the wolf

Specifications
Best for: All-rounder
Type: Double
Material: Faux leather
Power: AC, D-Cell batteries
Reasons to buy
+ Suits all sizes of watch + Pre-programmed rotation phases 

Our best watch winder box is one to suit varied collections: not only do its sprung watch holders allow for all types of watch from dinky to oversized, it’s also able to simultaneously wind two watches on different settings – with pre-programmed sleep phases and set intermittent rotation, no less. 

And it’s smart in more ways than one, with its faux leather casing and chrome hardware looking simple and sleek, and a glass front panel that allows you to keep an eye on things while showing off your favourite watches. 

Linley Henley Macassar Watch Tower

5. Linley Henley Macassar Watch Tower

“All along the watch tower, watches keep out of view”

Specifications
Best for: Subtlety
Type: Double
Material: Ebony wood, suede
Power: 1.5V batteries or USB
Reasons to buy
+ Programme and charge by USB + Jewellery storage compartment 

Not unlike our second pick from Smythson, this watch tower’s charm lies in its subtlety, but while the gorgeous-looking Macassar ebony wood box might give off traditional vibes, it packs a surprising amount of tech into that slim profile. 

As a futuristic twist on the usually mechanical watch winder, its two SwissKubik winding mechanisms are USB-programmable, allowing you to set a personalised number of turns per day from your computer, and can be charged from your desktop too. Add an upper storage unit for cufflinks, earrings and more, and you have a unit that’s really rather clever. 

Dulwich Designs Monaco Double Watch Winder Pads

6. Dulwich Designs Monaco Double Watch Winder Pads

A luxurious winder at a giftable price

Specifications
Best for: Gifting
Type: Double
Material: PU, wool, polyester
Power: Mains or AA batteries
Reasons to buy
+ Affordable double winder + Choice of accent colours 

If you liked the sound of the entry-level price and small footprint of our Rapport London watch winder, but don’t see the sense in shelling out for a single, this double winder offers the best of both worlds. 

Small and sleek, with a luxe-looking dashboard-like design inspired by automotives, it’s affordable but doesn’t look it. Its three rotation settings might not give it the most versatility of any winder on our list, but it’s still very capable, especially for the price, with a pre-programmed sleep phase and two power options for flexibility. 

Wolf Roadster Triple Watch Winder

7. Wolf Roadster Triple Watch Winder

Store up to eight watches (and wind three of them) in this impressive box

Specifications
Best for: Large collections
Type: Triple
Material: Wood, faux leather
Power: AC/DC adapter or D-cell batteries
Reasons to buy
+ Huge capacity + Really quiet operation 

With winders for three watches, and storage for five more, this really is a winder for the watch obsessive. Those of us not blessed with arms like Mr Tickle are never going to be able to wear eight watches at once, so this is a great way to keep a good-sized collection in steady rotation and ready to go. 

Reviewers found it whisper-quiet in operation and really easy to set, with rotation settings to cover all eventualities, a handy protective delay start function to guard against over-winding, and winders considerable enough to handle heavy, oversized and luxury watches. 

8. Rapport London Time Arc Watch Winder

When the winder is as beautiful as the watches themselves

Specifications
Best for: Striking design
Type: Double
Material: Crystal glass, chrome-plated steel and ebony wood
Power: DC with backup battery
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful mechanical design+Three rotation options

Yes, we appreciate that spending over £2,600 on a device purely to keep two watches wound up is a bit excessive. But would you just look at it? This winder by Rapport shares its mechanical design with the luxury watches it will no doubt contain, complete with metal cogs nestled behind a beautiful arch of glass.

With stainless steel controls which look like they come from a vintage record player, the Arc Watch Winder offers multiple winding modes for each holder.

9. Dulwich Designs Windsor Watch Winder

Storage for three watches, plus automated winding for a fourth

Specifications
Best for: Storing non-automatic watches
Type: One winder, plus space for three more
Material: Synthetic
Power: DC or D-size batteries
Reasons to buy
+Storage space for four watches+Relatively compact

If the automatic watch is the pride of your collection, then this storage box and winder is the one for you. There’s space to store three watches in the top compartment covered by a hinged lid, then a powered winding compartment behind a glass front for your treasured automatic timepiece.

A noise suppression system ensures the winding motor won’t keep you awake at night, and there are three rotation settings. This winder can either be powered from the mains, or by installing D-size batteries.

JQUEEN Automatic Wood Watch Winder

10. JQUEEN Automatic Wood Watch Winder

Surprisingly un-spendy, this wooden watch winder box has ‘high-end’ written all over it

Specifications
Best for: Affordability
Type: Double
Material: Glass, lacquer, wood, copper
Power: AC adapter or 1.5V batteries
Reasons to buy
+ High-end wooden design + Very inexpensive 

If you’re the kind of collector for whom presentation is everything, you’ll likely want to go all out when it comes to finding something that your prized watches will be spending a lot of time in. 

Luckily for all of us, that doesn’t always mean going all out on price, and while this wooden watch box looks like it could have been plucked from the window of an upmarket jewellers, it comes in at just shy of £100. With a silent motor, easy operation and an impressive array of settings, reviewers found it superb value. 

11. Uten Automatic Watch Winder Box

Watch winding on a budget, but there’s still space for two

Specifications
Best for: Buyers on a budget
Type: Space-saving double
Material: Wood
Power: DC or batteries (not included), but not both together
Reasons to buy
+Keep two watches wound for less than £50+Compact design

While most people associate automatic watches with the likes of Rolex, there are many self-winding timepieces which cost significantly less. And so, buyers of these watches may want a winding case which is more affordable than something from Rapport.

This wooden winder and display case has a compact design, but offers space for two watches to be wound simultaneously. The winder rotates for two minutes, pauses for six minutes, then rotates in the opposite direction for two minutes.