By Jason Heaton
on 10.11.11
Photo by Gishani

Automatic watches are cool but collect a couple and you suddenly have the chore of winding and setting them regularly, or you have to maintain a strict schedule of wearing them to keep them running, which is no fun. A watch winder, which simulates the movement of the watch on your wrist, eliminates the annoying need to wind and set your automatic timepiece if you haven’t worn it for a few days, as well as keeping it in top running order. You see, a mechanical watch is designed to run at an optimal and predictable rate when its mainspring is kept at a constant tension. Keeping a watch wound also means you’re not manipulating the crown as often, a practice that can increase wear on the crown, stem, threads, seals and winding mechanism.

A watch winder is not just a luxury gadget for that hedge fund manager with a timepiece collection worth more than most suburban homes. It’s a very practical tool for the guy who has a couple of automatics that he alternates wearing Monday through Friday and then on the weekend. The trouble is, watch winders run the spectrum in terms of quality and design. The ones you order out of the in-flight catalogs, for example, tend to have limited settings, can over- or under-wind a watch, aren’t built well and don’t last very long. Meanwhile, the ones sold in high end watch boutiques often look like a padded banquette in a Vegas lounge and cost more than many watches. But one we’ve found hits the sweet spot of ease of use, affordability and elegant design: the Swiss KubiK ($745).

At ten centimeters cubed, the entirely Swiss-made KubiK is just the right size to fit unobtrusively on a bookshelf or dresser and operates so silently, it won’t keep you awake at night or scare the cats when it’s winding. Powered by two C batteries that last for three years, there are no cords to deal with either, which makes the Swiss KubiK very portable. Operation couldn’t be simpler: pull out the spring-loaded carrier, strap your watch in, insert it into the winder and switch it on. Tip the KubiK up and it goes into standby mode, allowing you to swap watches without having to restart the program.

The factory setting for the Swiss KubiK slowly rotates the watch 1,900 revolutions per day, 950 in each direction, at set intervals. This setting works for pretty much any automatic from Switzerland, Japan or beyond, but if you want to fiddle with the program, connect the KubiK to your computer with the provided USB cable and download the setting program, where you can change direction of winding and number of revolutions. We say don’t bother.

Design-wise, the 10×10 cube is available in a variety of materials, including wood, leather, granite, carbon fiber or just basic anodized aluminum, which can be had in a number of colors or funky designs. You can add on a clear hinged acrylic window or leave it naked. We like the basic black aluminum, thank you very much. It provides a perfect frame for your favorite timepiece, which will look so perfect spinning silently on your bookcase that you might find yourself preferring not to wear the watch at all.

Buy Now: $745

Photos by Gishani for Gear Patrol