Your automatic watch winder is an amazing marriage of beauty and precision, craftsmanship and functionality. It is a beautiful storage box and a prestige piece, while simultaneously working in a very deliberate and exact way to ensure that your automatic watch remains fully wound even when you are not wearing it. In addition, your automatic watch winder will actually pay for itself over time. This is due to the nature of automatic watches themselves. These timepieces must remain wound to function properly. If they stop, their lubricants cease to flow. In the long run, this can lead to a time-consuming and expensive factory overhaul of the timepiece. A much better solution is the one you have chosen: to use an automatic watch winder. Once you understand how this device works, you can make it a regular part of your routine. At that point, you will never experience the annoyance of placing your automatic watch on your wrist, only to find that it has stopped and you need to go through the tedious process of resetting all of its functions.
Chances are, you are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of how an automatic watch winder works. In simple terms, an automatic watch winder is a jewelry box equipped with a motor and a micro-processor that is responsible for rotating the watch in a prescribed way. All winders today are equipped with a security program that ensures that they can never over-wind a timepiece. Some models run only on AC power, while others give you the option of using batteries as well. You can even purchase winders that can accommodate as many as six automatic timepieces at one time, all with their own customized settings. Perhaps the most important concept you need to grasp about automatic watch winders is turns per day (TPD). Whether on your wrist or on the winder, your timepiece needs to be turned numerous times in a day. This happens effortlessly when a person is actively going through his day and more slowly if he is sedentary. The purpose of a watch winder is to simulate the motions of the human wrist by making a set number of TPD. The exact amount your particular timepiece needs will be specified by its manufacturer; therefore, it makes sense to check the user guide. However, as a general rule, most automatic watches need somewhere between 650 and 950 TPD.
Depending on your TPD setting, your watch winder will rest for a prescribed number of minutes between turns. In general, most winders will turn for anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute and then stop. Exactly how long the winder rests is determined by the TPD setting. For example, your watch might need to wind 10 times in 30 seconds. If it needs 650 TPD to function properly, the automatic winder would need to turn on 65 times per day. Since there are 1440 minutes in a day, you would divide 1440 by 65 and arrive at 22. That means the automatic winder will go through its full cycle every 22 minutes.
Another variable is the direction of the turns your watch winder makes. These can be clockwise only, counter clockwise only and bi-directional. Again, your manufacturer’s specifications will be your most accurate guide as to what your timepiece responds to best. If you have several automatic watches and have purchased a winder that accommodates two or four timepieces simultaneously, it probably also contains an “auto-alternating” function that enables the mechanism to rotate in both directions automatically.
If you do not have access to your watch’s user guide for whatever reason or if you would just like to experiment, here are some more detailed tips that will help you set up your timepiece with your new automatic watch winder:
- Because your winder will not wind a watch that has totally stopped, begin by manually winding your watch by turning the crown 20 to 30 times.
- Carefully place your watch in the winder, making sure that it is fully seated in the holder. Then adjust TPD to its lowest setting and select bi-directional rotation mode.
- Turn the winder on. Over the next 48 hours or so, periodically check to see if the watch is still keeping accurate time. In general, automatics have approximately 40 hours of reserve from the time they have been wound. If the time is still correct after two days, this is the right setting for you and you don’t need to do any more experimenting.
- However, if the time is wrong, increase to the next TPD setting and repeat the above process.
- If the time is correct after two days, you have found the right setting.
- If the time is wrong, set the winder to rotate clockwise only and repeat the procedure.
- If the time is still correct after two days, this is your proper setting.
- If the time is incorrect, set it to rotate counter clockwise only and repeat the procedure.
As you can see, the initial procedure of synchronizing your automatic watch with your winder can be a bit tedious. It involves a certain amount of trial and error. However, once you get to know what your timepiece requires and how your winder can provide it with the full winding it needs, you will never have to guess again. If you begin to see that your watch runs better when it is on your wrist than it does on your winder, first make sure your TPD and directional settings have not been accidentally changed. If they are where they need to be, you might need to take your watch in for servicing. This is because the lubricants in a watch that does not work in its winder might be starting to congeal. Taking your watch to a reputable jeweler and potentially sending it back to the manufacturer are recommended in this case.
In general, however, your automatic watch is designed to furnish you with many years of faithful and accurate service. Using your automatic winder to ensure that your timepiece remains in operation at all times can help to maintain this performance. We’re sure you will enjoy the elegance and functionality of your automatic watch winder for a very long time.