What to Expect at Windup Watch Fair

What to Expect at Windup Watch Fair

Windup Watch Fair New York has come to a close. If you couldn’t make it, don’t worry — the free event happens triannually across the US (New York, San Francisco, Chicago). Windup, hosted by Worn & Wound, showcases 80+ brands, many of which you’re likely familiar with: Christopher Ward, G-Shock, Monta, Oris, etc. It’s a unique opportunity to see, feel, and try on tons of watches in a short amount of time. Furthermore, many brands presenting at Windup are online-only, providing a rare in-person look at their products. Having attended all three days of Windup New York, I’d like to discuss what you should expect from the fair, and finally, what makes it so special.

What to Expect At Windup Watch Fair

Windup Watch Fair Line New York City

First and foremost, if you show up early, expect a line. At least at the New York venue (the Altman Building) there is no lobby to wait in. Doors open at noon, and until then, you’ll be lined up outside with fellow watch nerds. Once inside, you’ll see a plethora of brands all with their own booths. Some booths are bigger and/or more crowded than others, but I highly recommend checking out each one. You’re already there – why not see everything?

Windup Watch Fair Oris Booth

When you approach a booth, expect to talk to very knowledgeable people, oftentimes the owner of the brand themselves. They’ll have their watches spread across the table ready to be picked up and tried on. I found myself asking permission to do so: every single person said something to the effect of “Of course! That’s what they’re here for!”. The people at these booths are excited to share their products. Ask questions about design choices, mechanics, availability – this is your chance to learn and, if you’re in the market for a watch, make an informed buying decision. While not every watch is available for sale on-site, many are. It never hurts to ask.

What Makes Windup Watch Fair Special

Windup Watch Fair Booths

Most of the brands present at Windup, with some exceptions, are relatively young and primarily internet-based. Windup is an opportunity for these brands to create an in-person shopping experience: a first for many of them. Rather than displaying watches between glass and a customer service rep – as with decades-old boutique experiences from legacy brands – Windup encourages hands-on time with watches. This is paramount to finding your perfect timepiece. That said, don’t feel like you need to buy anything; I had a great time simply meeting new people and trying on cool watches. 

Final Thoughts

Vintage Cars Parked Outside of Windup Watch Fair

In contrast with popular watch events like Watches and Wonders or Watchtime, Windup is extremely approachable. The event welcomes hardcore enthusiasts and casual observers alike. You don’t need to dress a certain way or be an expert in horology to attend. It truly feels like a celebration of enthusiasm: the perfect environment to enjoy and learn about watches.

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