The watch you wear can say a lot about who you are. It's most likely one of the only accessory pieces that you wear every day. More importantly, watches have become the ultimate status symbol. With all the different options available to choose from in regards to the appearance of a watch and extra features (called "complications") it may have, it's also important to pay attention to what type of watch you're choosing. In other words, what makes it tick?
Watch Movements: Mechanical Vs. Quartz
To determine which type of movement a watch has, all you have to do is take a look at the second hand as it moves around the face of the watch. If you can see the second hand making a ticking motion as it marks each passing second, the watch has a quartz movement. This is your basic battery-powered timepiece. Typically, they keep great time and are very accurate, requiring very little maintenance aside from a battery replacement once every few years. If you choose a quartz movement watch, you won't need a watch winder to keep the time ticking away accurately. All of the power that runs a quartz movement watch comes from that little battery, and no extras are needed.
If the second hand of the watch makes more of a smooth - or "sweeping" - type of motion, you're looking at a piece with a mechanical movement. Any watch of this type is going to contain precise engineering with an incredible level of craftsmanship. These watches don't run on batteries; instead, mechanical movement watches fall into one of two additional categories, one of which might mean you'll need a watch winder to keep your timepiece running accurately.
Mechanical Movements: Manual vs. Automatic
If you choose a manual mechanical movement watch, you won't need a winder to keep things ticking. A manual watch requires hand winding in order to run. In these types of watches, a tiny spring stores the energy you create when you wind it by hand, and this energy is transferred to sprigs and gears throughout the watch to power it. Depending on the specific watch, you may need to manually wind it as often as every 24 hours or as little as once a week. Many manual watches can run for 5-10 days before they wind down. With this type of watch, it can be helpful to just get into the habit of winding your watch every morning before putting it on.
So how can you tell if your mechanical watch is a manual? Instead of looking at the face, flip it over and look at the back of the watch. If you have a clear back cover and can see all of the beautiful little gears and tiny precision parts that make this watch tick, you've most likely got a manual. Whether you can see into the back or not, you can also tell that this is a manual wind watch if it lasts more than 40 hours without movement or if it ever stops running while you are wearing it.
If you can see some of the parts on one side while half of the back has a more solid piece of metal covering it, you're likely looking at an automatic mechanical movement watch. Since clear back covers are less common than solid covers, this isn't always the best indicator, so you can also look for a label of "automatic" somewhere on the watch. Another clue is if you shake the watch gently and can feel the rotor moving inside.
This is the technology that most luxury watches use. This type of watch is the finest available and doesn't require a battery or any manual winding on your part to keep it running. Instead, automatic watches run on the energy harnessed by the natural movement of your swinging arm as you wear the watch over the course of a day.
Typically, enough energy can be stored to keep your watch going without a winder overnight. That being said, the best way to keep your watch running at top performance is to keep it running – in other words, you should take measures to ensure that your watch doesn’t stop. A watch winder is needed because this type of watch will only keep time for about 30-40 hours without human movement.
If you own an automatic watch, and especially if you own more than one automatic watch, a watch winder is a must-have accessory to keep all of your timepieces working properly and keeping accurate time. Not only will a watch winder keep your watches running properly; they’re also available in a wide variety of styles and designs. If you only have one automatic watch, you can find the perfect single watch winder to hold that one piece. If you have multiple watches, you can opt for a double or even quad watch winder to beautifully display and protect your entire collection.
For anyone who chooses to wear an automatic watch, a watch winder is a great tool to keep in your arsenal. Watch winders are the only way to keep multiple watches working their best, and they’re also a great way to store and display your timepiece whenever it's not on your wrist. No matter what type of watch you choose, you can be sure to enjoy it for years to come with just a little bit of care and attention.