Wed 28 Mar 2007
I have reposted this from a forum.. but it is my writing:
I own several watchwinders, and have owned yet more others in the past. Currently I am running 2 Orbita Sparta Deluxe single winders, and 2 Rapport Cherry Duo winders. I’ve also had different incarnations of the Sparta, the Orbita Geneva, Steinhausen/Cheap Chinese Winders, and also seen several in action such as the Wolf Designs and Orbita Bellino.
Not all winders are created equal.
You need to decide a few things when buying a winder… How quiet does it need to be? How many watches does it need to wind? Does it need to be Battery or AC Operated or both? and How much control over the directionality do I need? The watches that you use in it, whether they are Rolex, Omega, Breitling or whatever.. will determine the answers to your questions.
Some of the more popular brands out there right now are Orbita, Wolf Designs, Scatola del Tempo, Eilux, and Rapport. On ebay however, there has been a large number of chinese made cheap watch winders available. I have bought some of these… and in my experience, there has always been problems with them. They all have cheap wood… very thin, and poorly finished on the inside, and lighter than you’d expect. Some are very noisy (however expensive winders aren’t always quiet either!) and some have inferior pillow/mounts for the watches.. one of the chinese units I purchased couldn’t fit my watches on them because my wrists are too small!
I really do like the Orbita watchwinders out there, but I’ve encountered many noisy models. A lot of sellers are selling outdated old stock of Orbita winders that generate a lot of noise… the Geneva range and the older Spartas can be noisy. They Spartas aren’t so bad since they only make noise for about 5 seconds every 10-15 minutes, however the Genevas can grind on for 10-15 minutes at a time!
The Wolf Designs winders are among my favourites. They are programmable, and they are quiet. They even store settings! They are however expensive. If you want a good, quiet winder on a budget, I would recommend Eilux or Rapport. They don’t have quite as many programmable options, but the are very well made, and they are quiet, and they are of good quality. Eilux in particular is extremely quiet.
Make sure that you check what direction your watch winds in. If it is a Breitling that is listed on the Breitling Source site, going to the watch model page will tell you which direction the watch needs to be wound in on a watch winder. The Breitling Caliber 13 that is in the Breitling Chronomat Evolution and Super Avengers in particular on winds one direction, and it is very common. It needs to be wound a bit more than bi-directional winding movements in order to stay fully wound, so keep that in mind. Orbita’s website also has information on just about all watches and the direction of winding: http://www.orbita.net/pages/17100.htm
Look for some upcoming reviews of watch winders such as the Rapport and Orbita Sparta winders.