Watch winders come in all shapes and sizes. I’m sure, like me, you’ve bought one of those £20 ones off Amazon and were immediately disappointed – firstly when it arrived and it felt cheap and nasty, and secondly when it broke much quicker than you were expecting. With winders, you do get what you pay for – in terms of overall build quality, hardware, and most importantly, the motor and controls. To expect something decent for under £50 is a tall ask; after all, you wouldn’t expect an incredible watch for that money (ok, maybe the Seiko 5 or Casio Duro).
You then go up a level, such as this winder by Barrington. It’s £125, and you can tell the difference in quality. It’s a beautiful and compact winder that feels reassuringly sturdy.
Finally, we have the winders that are much like the Benson Black Series. Another obvious step up in quality, but also a step up in cost. Stunning carbon fibre finishing, lights, durable hardware, two independently controlled winders, and a top area for three extra watches.
But at €479 / ~£430, is it worth it? Let’s check it out.
- Dimensions: 26.5cm width x 24.5cm height x 21cm depth
- Warranty: 2 years
- Price: €479 / ~£430
- Buy here: http://en.benson-watchwinders.com/collection/watchwinders/benson-black-series-216cf
The video review
The winders / control
Why do you even need a watch winder? If you have several mechanical watches and can’t wear them in rotation enough to keep them powered up, then keeping them in a winder will ensure they’re always fully charged and ready to go. It’ll also keep the dates correct – I‘m always leaving watches for a while and not bothering to set the dates again.
I tested how loud it was – it’s certainly not completely silent, but it is very quiet indeed. The normal noise level of my bedroom is 32 dBa, and whilst it was running the noise level went up to 40 dBa right next to it when both winders were running.
One very important thing is that you have complete control over both winders; you can turn each one on or off and have the ability to set the number of rotations / turns per day (TPD), and rotation direction independently from each other. There’s also a “speed winding mode”, which is a supercharge wind – 30 mins clockwise, 30 mins counterclockwise, 15 min break, 6 times before returning to normal programmed setting.
The number of TPD varies based on the movement; for instance, the ETA 2824-2 only requires 650, whilst the ETA 7750 requires 800.
The watch holding pods are easy to use and solid. The backs are spring-loaded, to always ensure a tight fit for the watches, resulting in no wobble. You can clip the backs closed shut at their smallest point, which allows you to easily place the watch around the module. You can then release the spring-loaded rear by pressing the two sides. This is particularly useful for watches on bracelets – watch the video review to see what I mean. The two side buttons also release the module from the winder pods themselves.
The pods have the logo on the padded front, and will be a suitable size for the vast majority watches – they easily handle the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer, which is 43mm in diameter, with loads of extra room to spare.
The size is rather compact, at 26.5cm width x 24.5cm height x 21cm depth. It has a very lovely, luxurious and sporty carbon fibre effect all over.
The lid has a small, thoughtful rounded ingress for your finger – this is the kind of thing that shows great attention to detail, as heaven forbid you’d have to hold either side of the lid to lift it!
The Benson logo is centrally on the front of the winder below the other finishing.
The front door is released by a detailed metal button on the side with the Benson logo very deeply embossed on, and the gentlest of pushes allows it to swing open.
The metal feet have a padded base, so they won’t scratch any tops you place it on.
At the rear is a button to turn the winder off and on, and centrally is a polished metal plaque with the power socket and a USB plug, which would come in handy if you want to change your phone on your bedside table, or even a smartwatch.
The top section has 3 watch slots with the control panel at rear. The cushions are velvety, soft and firm enough when removing / inserting to not flop around (which I see a lot of on smaller cases). I found the size of these cushions were perfect for watches sized to my 7” wrist.
The control panel is touch-activated and is easy enough to use. The left button is the winder selector, whilst the others all control the various settings. Surrounding this panel is a metal surround which borders it nicely.
There’s also the option of a LED light within the front section, so you can gaze lovingly at your timepieces in the dark. Whilst it might be too bright to leave on through the night in your bedroom, it’s certainly a good touch to make the winder a feature and to draw attention to your prized possessions in the dark.
The hardware around the interior is all polished steel, very luxurious looking and seems to be excellently manufactured. There’s certainly a luxurious finish / feel inside and out.
As I eluded to in the introduction, the Benson Black Series watch winder isn’t the cheapest winder you can get. Indeed, at €479 / ~£430, it’s pretty pricey.
But, when you consider all things, you can see where the money is going. Whilst it’s on the pricey side, you are getting a lot for your money. It’s miles ahead of any other winder I’ve ever seen or handled, so to me, the extra price is justified.
The build quality and materials used are top-notch, and the features are excellent too. I’d say that this is aimed at a watch collector who has a handful of more expensive timepieces, as the price is not so shocking to them. To illustrate, if a watch collector has several sub-£250 watches, then this will be expensive when compared to the watches they’re interested in. If a collector has a handful of ~£1000 watches, then the price of the winder is not so out of balance.
It truly is a deliciously crafted accessory, and I particularly enjoy the lights function, independently controlled winders, the sturdy hardware, and the carbon fibre coating. If you’re willing to splash the cash, then it’s a big thumbs up from me.