Barrington Watch Winder Review by TimeCaptain
First of all, here are my thoughts on watch winders in general. I like winders. I have winders. I use winders. I wrote a blog called Find ‘Em and Wind ‘Em on this very topic. Although I really love the idea of watch winders, I have had some bad experiences with winders in the past. My first winder magnetized my TAG Monaco and I had to send it back to TAG — twice. That was a pain and a hassle. So I was a little hesitant to test a winder that I had never heard of on my own timepieces. But it sounded like good fun…
I was quite surprised when I received the box because it is so light. I was a little suspicious at this point because my “good winder” is very heavy. Before even unwrapping the box, I read the instruction manual. And I started to smile. Simple. Easy. Straightforward. And the best part — unlike many winders, the Barrington uses either readily available AA batteries (brilliant) or AC adapter. Fantastic. I have another winder that only runs on special batteries that are impossible to find and prohibitively expensive. So right away, the Barrington scores major points.
Then I opened the packaging. The winder is a simple white rectangular box with a carbon fiber style cushion to hold a watch. I love the look — so modern and functional. Now, the switches are on the back and this is my first criticism. Every time you turn the winder on or off or change speeds, you must lift it up, turn it around, use the switches and then put it back down. This is a flaw. I think this was done for aesthetics and it does look nice, but I’d prefer switches on the front. But there is good news. The switches that adjust the speed and direction of the winder are easily accessible (albeit on the back). Other winders have these controls hidden behind panels that must be screwed off and may even require tools to adjust the settings. The Barrington makes it so easy to adjust everything. As you may know, different movements require different numbers of rotations per day to maintain their state of wind (i.e. power). Some movements must be wound in one direction and some can be wound in both directions. You can look up your movement to determine its requirements — all of mine are fine with 650 turns in clockwise direction. A good winder should allow you to adjust these settings and the Barrington scores big points in making its switches so accessible.
The next thing we want to look at is the adjustable cushion. It looks cool, but it is more cumbersome to use than a real pillow cushion. Nevertheless, it holds a watch nice and securely into position. I decided to try the Barrington with my Breitling SuperOcean 44. This is a big, heavy watch and I thought it would be a good test. To place the Breitling on the cushion, I have to open up the steel bracelet and then close it again once on the cushion. As I said, this is very cumbersome and the Barrington really loses points here. Once in place, the watch remains securely in place, though.
Now, the Barrington is supposed to have a very quiet Japanese motor. I found the motor to be at least as noisy, if not noisier, than my two other winders. It’s not a real problem — I have had the Barrington and two other winders running together in my bedroom and it has not bothered me. But one should not expect their new Barrington winder to be any quieter than other winders.
As I said earlier, I was nervous about putting a nice piece like my Breitling on an unknown (to me) winder for fear of magnetizing the watch and really screwing up its movement. I had estimated my Breitling to be gaining about 5 seconds per day since I bought it and I have measured its power reserve at up to 48 hours. So now, I decided to leave the Breitling on the winder for a few days before testing its accuracy and power reserve after the experiment. So how did the Breitling run after being on the winder?
Well, after a couple of days, my Breitling was actually gaining 7.5 seconds per day. After another day, I wore the watch and then let it sit still in my box for another day. While sitting still, the Breitling slowed down to its COSC-worthy +5 seconds per day and the power reserve seemed fine. I must conclude that my Breitling runs a bit faster when in a vertical position and runs at +5 seconds when sitting down in a face-up position. I am happy to report this because it means that, after a week of use, there has been no adverse effect on the performance of my watch. I should also mention that the Barrington has a rest mode. This means that it winds your watch a few times and then rests for quite a while. This prevents over-winding of your watch movement and allows you to leave your watch on the winder for days at a time without any worries.
And now, I can reflect on the Barrington watch winder and provide my overall view. In short, I want one. And I intend to own one. I believe this particular Barrington model can be purchased for just over $200 CAD (£99.00 + shipping), which is exceptional value. This single winder is one beautiful little piece of equipment. It is so easy to use — I have been running this one on batteries, which avoids the clutter of power cords and allows me to move it around as I please. The winder has performed well and has not affected the movement of my watch. Although not quieter than other winders, the Barrington can run at night without bothering you at all. I recommend a winder to anyone with more than one automatic watch. If you have several watches ticking, synchronized and ready to go on any given morning, it allows you to choose and alternate your timepiece every day without constantly re-setting your watches (which probably creates excess wear and tear over time). Take a look at this, or any other Barrington. I think you will be pleased…
Check out the other colours offered by Barrington, as well as their double and multi watch winders at www.barringtonwatchwinders.com