A search in the Internet will show many “manufacturer” websites of watch winders. In a broad sense they may call themselves Manufacturers but products may be produced by another company.

They may be Manufacturers, Assemblers, ODMs, OEMs, Authorized Dealers, Distributors, Agents and/or Resellers.

In my opinion, makers of watch winders can probably be divided into four categories:-

Type A

1. Proprietary products with their own R&D;

2. Electronic circuit board assembly either done in-house or out-sourced.

3. Woodwork (housing) is purchased or fabricated within their facility.

4. Final assembly (box-built), testing and packaging definitely done in-house to protect certain proprietary information.

5. Own team of Sales & Marketing

6. A string of AD and Resellers

7. Technical Support & Repairs done in-house.

Type B

1. Probably with own R&D;

2. Signs NDA (Non-disclosure Agreement) with CEM (Contract Electronic Manufacturer) to perform everything from component sourcing, circuit board population, testing right up to packaging

3. Own Brand = Own Product

4. Own team of Sales & Marketing

5. A string of AD and Resellers

6. Repairs done by CEM; focus on R&D; and selling only.

Type C

1. Has no R&D; or proprietary watch winder product.

2. Seeks collaboration with Type1 Company as manufacturing partner.

3. Has no manufacturing done; rely on manufacturing partner.

4. Deal signed with Company; has certain volume commitments with re-branding

5. Own Sales team with AD & Resellers

6. Probably has some training on repair work from manufacturing partner.

Type D

1. Probably a very small company

2. Seeks Type3 Company to do Re-branding with their names

3. No R&D;, no manufacturing, orders per lot quantity

4. Sells products through multi-channels

5. Probably have no repairs done in-house, just swapping with newer units.
Whichever way the wind blows, there are so many “manufacturers” of watch winders now, especially in China. You will see many “sellers” but same models, same designs, same features. Strange, I thought to myself. Shouldn’t they have their own identity if they are the “manufacturers”?
Let’s put that thought aside and look at some manufacturers’ signature design.
So far, I understand that a company called ERS in China makes winders characterized by the molded bakelite “bowl” that holds watches. Picture below shows what I mean. This company holds several patents.

The Taiwanese company, Abest has their signature design as shown below with DIP (dual in-line package) switches for TPD selection and rockers for direction selection. In fact, they have the most number of TPD selections. A quick check shows they have patented their housing design.

Wolf Design has a particular design for their watch pillow and metallic (chromed?)
control panel and switches. Their interior grey silsuede is another point to note.

Underwood watch winders on the other hand, have modular units that may be grouped to form a larger unit. Take a look at the notches on their casing sides. Another signature is their watch holder that has been molded and spring-loaded to hold any watch-band size.

Another company in China is Eilux/Everwell that has their signature molded screw-type expandable watch holder. This company has two patents under their wings.

With this in mind, can you try spotting “signature designs” from winder units made by Orbita, Scatola, Penelop, Elma Motion and Rapport?