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The Spin on Watch Winders

We’ve tried out a few watch winders, and here’s our take on their performance, build and look.

Swiss Kubik Startbox

The Kubik brings the cute factor into the equation in a big, but delightfully little way. This hardy winder has a decidedly 60s-influenced look and was operationally the simplest of this year’s crop. The small 4 ½ inch x 4 ½ inch plastic cube holds one watch and is powered by two C batteries, claimed to deliver power for three years. It’s operated by a single touch of a rear-located button: press it once and the winder will forward and reverse cycle 1,800 times every 24 hours. The winder is available in thirteen colors and can be stacked to form a colorful watch-winding wall. Upgraded models are USB programmable and feature protective windows and a frame for holding multiple units as a set. The Kubik is a colorful unit that allows for a little fun for serious and not so serious automatic watch collectors.

Swiss Kubik Startbox, displayed in a tower

CONS: For the money we’d like to see a protective window and a little more technology. Cut the price by two thirds and the mainstream consumer market would come running.

PROS: Neat throwback design; robust case.

Price: $460, www.swisskubik.com

TPR Double Winder Macassar

TPR Double Winder Macassar

The Macassar looks like a miniature high-end office shelf unit from some evil geniuses’ Manhattan penthouse lair. It is dark, curvy and sleek, with a lavishly seductive wood-styled case that is reminiscent of a late 90s Bentley dashboard (driven by the same evil genius). The 10 inch x 8 inch x 9 ½ inch unit holds three watches in a recessed storage area under its top deck and two in the winding mechanism. The TPR’s digital controls are intuitive and features six preset winding programs: 650‐800‐900‐1200‐1350‐1500 Rotations Per day. The build quality is solid, with well-anchored, damped hinges holding the top cover, and a spring-loaded accordion hinge securing the winder display gate. One of the neatest features is the winder’s recessed light, which effectively turns the unit into a functional piece of table art. The motor is silent and the watch securing mechanism is spring loaded and tight.

TPR Double Winder Macassar Control Panel close up

CONS: Case picks up prints (just saying!).

PROS: The TPR is our pound-for-pound value pick; for the features, style and money you can’t go wrong.

Price: $329.99, www.tprwinder.com

The Orbita Sparta 1 Deluxe Burl

The Sparta 1 has been a mainstay in the Orbita lineup for well over a decade. This is a well-made winder functions like an electronic jewelry box on the bureau. At 8 inches x 6 inches x 6 inches, the Orbita has a small footprint, a simple movement and no display window. It holds one watch on a free-spinning Rotowind movement. Unlike other winders that constantly control the movement, the Rotowind system creates a series of oscillations, mimicking the natural movement of the wrist, with a single revolution. The action occurs every eight to twelve minutes and is powered by two lithium batteries designed to run the product for five years. What sets the Orbita apart is the attention to detail. It features a thick, lacquered burl wood case, suede lining and closes with a solid “thump.” The entire unit is manufactured and assembled in the United States.

The Orbita Sparta 1 Deluxe Burl

CONS: Not an ideal choice for those who like to look at their collection, however Orbita also offers window models. Thin hinge material does not match robustness of the rest of the case.

PROS: Attractive appearance. Unique, thoughtfully engineered motor represents the legacy of the late founder Chuck Agnoff.

Price: $495, www.orbita.com

The Wolf Viceroy

Unboxing the Wolf is an absolute joy. The commitment to delivering a magnificent reveal rivals the experience of pulling a $20,000-plus Blancpain out of its virgin trappings for a first wear. The Wolf is handsomely sheathed in multiple layers of tight black wrapping, then an embossed fabric glove, which unveils a robust 8 inch x 7 ½ inch x 8 inch pebbled leather-like case with a hinged top for storing three watches, and an exhibition glass-gated front winding bay. The Wolf has a solid, snap-in watch holder that represents an engineering improvement over earlier models. This winder is designed for the purist and tinkerer, affording the ability to select between 300 to 1,200 Turns Per Day, to delayed start and directional settings. The Wolf is a masculine winder with a backlit LCD programming screen that should give the most fastidious collector more than enough settings to experiment with.

Wolf Viceroy opened

CONS: Exhibition gate lacks a proper hinge, looseness doesn’t jibe with solid construction of the rest of the case.

PROS: Great programming capabilities, locking watch holders cure sloppiness of earlier models. Looks great on the desk and packs in a lot of watches for the real estate it consumes.

Price: $499, wolf1834.com

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