Automatic watches are cool but collect a couple and you suddenly have the chore of winding and setting them regularly, or you have to maintain a strict schedule of wearing them to keep them running, which is no fun. A watch winder, which simulates the movement of the watch on your wrist, eliminates the annoying need to wind and set your automatic timepiece if you haven’t worn it for a few days, as well as keeping it in top running order. You see, a mechanical watch is designed to run at an optimal and predictable rate when its mainspring is kept at a constant tension. Keeping a watch wound also means you’re not manipulating the crown as often, a practice that can increase wear on the crown, stem, threads, seals and winding mechanism.
A watch winder is not just a luxury gadget for that hedge fund manager with a timepiece collection worth more than most suburban homes. It’s a very practical tool for the guy who has a couple of automatics that he alternates wearing Monday through Friday and then on the weekend. The trouble is, watch winders run the spectrum in terms of quality and design. The ones you order out of the in-flight catalogs, for example, tend to have limited settings, can over- or under-wind a watch, aren’t built well and don’t last very long. Meanwhile, the ones sold in high end watch boutiques often look like a padded banquette in a Vegas lounge and cost more than many watches. But one we’ve found hits the sweet spot of ease of use, affordability and elegant design: the Swiss KubiK ($745).