You might be under the impression that a winder is a winder, that they're all the same. Until you look at some of the prices charged, that is. There is a huge variation in the price of watch winders and for the layperson who just wants his automatic watch wound, it can all get very confusing. So here I'm reviewing two winders that fall into the "bargain basement" category as most people don't want (or need) to spend a fortune to get the job done.
For those that missed it, I've already answered the question, "Do I need a winder?" so having read that you should know if you are ready to buy!
First off the rank is a small single winder from a UK Internet retailer, aptly named Watch Winder, a division of the TMC Ltd company, registered in London, UK.
Now you can't get much cheaper than this little winder. Retailing at around the £21.00 mark, plus postage and handling, it represents the bottom end of the watch winder market. But don't let that put you off. For anyone with no idea what to buy that special person a birthday or other special day present, this little unit could be just the right idea. So, onto the review.
At first glance this is a very compact winder, but that is the general idea; it simply winds your watch, nothing else. Now don't expect winders of this price to do anything else other than wind in one direction and for a set period of time. That is all this unit does. It winds either in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction for one hour, then rests for 3 hours.
The manual states that a timer is recommended for use with this unit, however, this is not really necessary. Automatic watches can't be over wound so that isn't a major problem. Having said that, you don't want your main spring fully wound all the time so if you leave your watch in the winder for any length of time, that's many days at a time, just switch it off for 8 hours or so every other day and it'll be fine.
Aesthetically the winder actually doesn't look too bad at all. I must admit, when I received the winder in the post I was a little apprehensive at what I might find for so little money, but I was pleasantly surprised. If looks are important to you, you can also purchase similar models with imitation wood finishes and leather insides that do look very nice. If you don't like the black option then it is also available in a silver finish too.
Perhaps if I had to be really picky I would say that the plastic lid looks fairly cheap, but then I have to remind myself that this winder is just that - low cost and functional.
I have had winders that cost a lot more than this one that are very noisy. This one you can certainly hear, but I found that I could sleep happily through the night with the unit still working and I am quite a light sleeper. The true test of any winder is how well it copes with sustained use - you will find that most winders will get noticeably louder over time. Some develop a horrible grinding noise which basically makes the unit useless for winding other than during the day, which most of the time is not when you need to use it.
If noise is important to you, try to get some guarantee from the vendor before you buy any winder, but you must take into account the amount you pay too. Don't expect a Rolls Royce for the price of a Morris Minor!
Would I buy this winder? Well, surprisingly I would say yes, it does what it says it should and does it reasonably quietly and without any fuss. If you are looking for a well priced and useful gift then this could be just the job.
This is our rating out of a maximum of 5 pocket watches:
|Ease of Use|
|Value for Money|