Is a watch winder essential for your automatic watch? The short answer is yes, and no.

What is a Watch Winder?

A watch winder rotates an automatic watch to keep it wound when it is not being worn. Watch winders are box-like cases that have one or more cuffs to secure watches for winding. If your automatic watch is not wound, it will stop running after a certain length of time (see Power Reserve).

The Pros of using a Watch Winder

Having a watch on a winder assures that it will continue to keep accurate time whether on or off the wrist. For a person who owns several automatic watches, this can come in handy.  It eliminates the necessity of resetting the time when putting the watch on. Watches with date, calendar, and other complications are even more difficult to reset, and a winder is even more helpful for these timepieces. Many top watch collectors keep all of their automatic watches on winders to ensure that their watches never wind down. For a person who has one automatic watch and wears it consistently, a winder is not necessary.

The Cons of using a Watch Winder

Watch winders take up more space than a regular watch case, and they are powered by either a battery or electricity. It may be more difficult to store your watch securely, unless you have a large safe as winders take up a lot of space. If your watch is very valuable for either sentimental or monetary reasons, this is important to consider if security is a concern.  Some watch collectors avoid watch winders altogether due to fears of stress on the watch bracelet or the pins that connect the watch to the strap.

How Much does a Watch Winder Cost?

Watch winder prices run the gamut from very reasonably-priced single winders to very high-end winders that can accommodate 20 watches or more. At the low end of the scale, you can expect to pay about $60-75 for a single winder, and $75-100 on a double winder from a reputable brand. Some of the most expensive winders for multiple watches double as safes and are priced in the thousands.