Best watch winders 2020: 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

best watch winders

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 Optima Time Capsule, 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 Wolf, in the form of their Cub Single Watch Winder.

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. 

The best watch winders you can buy

1. Wolf Cub Single Watch Winder

A luxury leather single watch winder from Wolf

Best for: All-rounder
Type: Single
Material: Leather
Power: AC or Battery
Reasons to buy
+Leather design+Multiple colours+Great brand
Reasons to avoid
-Only one setting

If you're looking for a single watch winder that is a little more premium that the Barrington, then check out the Cub by Wolf. It's a meticulously engineered piece of kit, with a sharp, faux-leather design. 

It features a fine Saffiano finish, and has a glass cover to keep dust off your pride and joy. The Cub comes in number colour options, but our favourite is this stunning dark-green colourway. The watch winder is finished with chrome hardware and has a single winding setting.

best watch winders: Barrington Single Winder

2. Barrington Single Winder

Sleek and sophisticated watch winder for not very much money

Best for: Short on space
Type: Single
Material: High-gloss engineered wood
Power: AC or Battery
Reasons to buy
+Number of colours+Compact+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Not as luxurious as others

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.

3. Rapport Duo Watch Winder in Carbon Fibre

This double watch winder is clad in carbon fibre

Best for: Modern settings
Type: Double
Material: Carbon Fibre and aluminium
Power: AC
Reasons to buy
+Modern design+Premium +Each rotator can be controlled individually 
Reasons to avoid
-Too modern for some

If you're looking for a modern watch winder, this contemporary design is beautifully created from carbon fibre and brushed aluminium. It features two bevelled glass panels on the upper lid, which is complimented with a luxurious grey velvet interior. 

Each winder can be individually controlled for the watches independent needs.

best watch winders: Rapport London Perpetua II Watch Winder

4. Rapport London Perpetua II Watch Winder

A single watch winder for small collections

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 +Lid stops dust
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't display your watch

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. 

best watch winders: Wolf Heritage Double Watch Winder

5. Wolf Heritage Double Watch Winder

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

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 +Top storage compartment
Reasons to avoid

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. 

best watch winders: Wolf Roadster Triple Watch Winder

6. Wolf Roadster Triple Watch Winder

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

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 +Top compartment
Reasons to avoid
-Wood veneer not for everyone

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. 

7. Rapport London Optima Time Capsule Watch Winder

When the winder is as beautiful as the watches themselves

Best for: Striking design
Type: Single
Material: Crystal glass, chrome-plated aluminium
Power: DC with backup battery
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful mechanical design+Rotation options+See it working
Reasons to avoid
-Rather expensive

Yes, we appreciate that spending over £2,000 on a device purely to keep your watch 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 cylindrical glass.

With stainless steel controls which look like they come from a vintage record player, the Optima Time Capsule offers multiple winding modes for different watches.

best watch winders: Smythson Grosvenor Rotary Watch Box

8. Smythson Grosvenor Rotary Watch Box

The most mysterious box outside of Super Mario

Best for: Extra storage
Type: Double
Material: Calf leather
Power: Battery
Reasons to buy
+Very smart design +Integrated jewellery/valuables storage +Luxurious+Swiss-made rotators

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. 

best watch winders: Dulwich Designs Windsor Watch Winder

9. Dulwich Designs Windsor Watch Winder

Storage for three watches, plus automated winding for a fourth

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+Can be locked
Reasons to avoid

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.

best watch winders: Linley Henley Macassar Watch Tower

10. Linley Henley Macassar Watch Tower

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

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 +Small footprint

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. 

best watch winders: JQUEEN Automatic Wood Watch Winder

11. JQUEEN Automatic Wood Watch Winder

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

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 +Four watches
Reasons to avoid
-Looks tacky compared to more expensive models

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. 

best watch winders: Uten Automatic Watch Winder Box

12. Uten Automatic Watch Winder Box

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

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.

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