Soon after I bought my first automatic watch, I was already drawn to the idea of watch winders. They’re much more interesting than normal watch cases from an aesthetic perspective, and they also serve the practical purpose of keeping your watches wound when you don’t wear them for a few days or more. I started out with the Wolf Designs 270002 Heritage Collection 2.1 Single Watch Winder, which cost me around $200 at the time. This was fine for me until I got my second watch, since at that point I needed one that could hold both of my watches.
I looked at the Wolf double watch winders, but the prices were appalling to me; I couldn’t justify paying half the price of a watch for a watch winder when the purpose of my collection was to collect watches. Then on Amazon, I found the Chiyoda Automatic Double Watch Winder for $120! It seemed to have all of the bells and whistles at a fraction of the price, with the only “sacrifice” being that it lacked the European prestige and history of the Wolf brand. I went for it and after a few days of seeing the Chiyoda work, I sold my old Wolf winder for $100, making this whole transaction nearly free.
The Chiyoda watch winder is nicely made and feels very sturdy. The case is made of solid wood that has a high-gloss lacquer finish, with a transparent glass window to view the two watches inside the winder. It weighs a hefty five pounds and is roughly 10″x7″x6″, so at that size and weight I knew that I wasn’t getting shortchanged on the material.
The felt fabric on the interior of the watch winder also feels high quality; it’s soft but doesn’t seem like it will tear or rip any time soon. The metal clasps in the opening and closing mechanism are brass-plated and are not flimsy at all, which is important given how heavy the case is.
One unique quirk with the Chiyoda watch winder is that it comes with a key and lock mechanism. Now it’s my opinion that this is not meant to be some exceptionally secure feature; if a burglar wanted to steal your watches inside this watch winder, they’d just take the whole box and break it open later. Also, given the cuts on the key (or lack thereof) and how it works, it’s fairly easy to “pick” the lock open with any thin object. I think this was an intentional design so that Chiyoda doesn’t have a large number of customer service complaints regarding lost keys.
However, this does not mean it’s useless. If left unlocked, the Chiyoda watch winder can be opened and closed with no resistance (there’s no clasp or anything to prevent this), which means if someone accidentally knocks it over, it’s likely to open and potentially damage the watches inside. So to prevent this, I keep it locked but keep the key inside the lock (see above pictures) when I’m not using it. This way, I don’t have to worry about finding the key, and I can be confident that the case will stay closed in case of any unexpected forces.
The specs of the Chiyoda double watch winder are what really drew me in at its low price point. Using its LCD screen and the buttons beside it, one can set the two winders independently with different settings. These settings include TPD (turns-per-day) values of 650, 900, 1350, and 1800, which covers the vast majority of automatic watches out there. It’s also capable of clockwise, counter-clockwise, and bidirectional winding for any of these TPD values. Unlike the confusing Wolf winder I owned, bidirectional winding does not double the TPD, which I think is much more intuitive. In other words, 650 at CW, CCW, or bidirectional all still mean 650 TPD. For reference, I use Orbita’s online database to look up what settings are best for each movement.
My personal experience with the Chiyoda in the past 10 months has been a generally positive one. It’s easy to turn off when I take out my watch in the morning and turn back on for that specific watch when I put it back in the evening (meanwhile, the other watch is rotating throughout the day). The rotations happen very rarely throughout the day; since I have my watches set at 650 and it feels like the majority of the time, the watch winder is stationary. When it is spinning, the noise is noticeable but not loud by any means. In other words, if the room is quiet and you’re listening for it, you’ll hear the Chiyoda’s Mabuchi motors, but the sound is not unpleasant by any means.
Both of my watches, a Tag Heuer diver and a Maurice Lacroix dress watch, fit the Chiyoda watch winder snugly. As you can see in the above photos, the fit is tight enough that it somewhat distorts the pillow that the watch is on, but given how I have a small wrist, this means that the pillows can fit watches adjusted for larger wrists with no issue. The tight fit ensures that the watches don’t move around loosely when rotating, which is important since this means that each “rotation” doesn’t include any additional rotations or movements due to the watch wiggling around the pillow.
If I had to name one complaint, it would be that the high gloss finish in combination with the felt interior make the watch winder catch dust easily (as you can see in my photos). It’s hard to tell how much of it is dust and how much of it is the felt surface rubbing off, but as long as you wipe down the wood and glass occasionally, it should be no problem. I’ve never had any issue with the dust or felt getting on my watches.
Overall, the Chiyoda Automatic Double Watch Winder is a steal at its price. While I bought it for $120, it’s actually $100 on Amazon right now! I would recommend this to anyone who has multiple automatic watches, and I know that I will be upgrading to the $170 quad version once I expand my collection further.