By Walt Odets

Can we talk?  Is there anything about this automatic watch winder (right) that reminds you of a cube?  Are there eight
days in the week?  Sixteen months in the year?  One hundred and two years until that extra leap year that your $25,000 perpetual can’t account for? I don’t think so.

The Time Cube is definitely a
rectangle–a rectangular parallelpiped, to be exact.  But it’s a good one if you want to keep a pair of automatic watches properly wound.  After almost fifteen years with four utterly reliable Cyclomatics, I
have been using a Time X for about six months.  I have tried several others in the meanwhile, including three from Scatola.  All in all, the Time X is  quite clearly the best winding box I’ve used.

The Time X offers extremely robust mechanical construction, an elegant and impeccable leather and chrome finish (for those who keep a box on the
dresser rather than in a safe), and something that I have never seen before on a winder.  The number of turns per day is completely adjustable.  Although the instructions with the unit are not completely clear
on the actual rotations represented by the dial markings (1 through 10), I would estimate that they correspond to between 100 and 1200 turns per day.  Position 1 turns the watch for 30 seconds every 35
minutes.   Every additional increment on the dial (2 through 10) adds 30 seconds to the wind period.

Ideally, we would want to place a watch on a winder in a partially wound condition (e.g. after sitting
over night) and then keep it at a partial
state of wind.  Full wind offers no running advantage and a winder that keeps a watch fully wound unnecessarily wears the mainspring barrel wall and mainspring bridle, and keeps the wheel train under maximum load.  I
like the Time X.  Most of my watches keep running at setting 4.

The Time X holds one watch in the front chamber, a second in the back.  Direction of rotation can be switched. The panel switch markings (above, left) read for the front chamber. The watch in the back can be made to rotate either direction by inserting it facing in or facing out.

The–ahem–”watch attachment mechanism” is a foam ball (right), which lacks je ne sais quoi. It just doesn’t feel up to the standards of the rest of the unit. In practice, however, it is the most convenient method I’ve used in a winding box, is perfectly secure, and allows no possibility of scratching the back or bracelet of a watch. Get used to it. It may look funky, but you’ll actually like it.

There is one detail of the Time X’s design and construction that I particularly like. The micro motor drives a massive tube (that holds the watches on their foam inserts) by means of a rubber belt.  The mass of the tube and the isolation of the motor by the belt prevent the watches from being subjected to high frequency vibration. I suspect this will prevent a lot of loose screws that might otherwise occur with a higher vibration design. 

There are a lot of other details. The unit runs on two “D” cells or AC, and several units can be attached together to form a single physical unit and run on a single AC adapter. The manufacturer cites a one year life for the batteries, but this would depend on the number of daily rotations. The watches are magnetically shielded from the motor, and the heat of the motor keeps the interior of the box dry, but not warm. The unit is completely silent in operation.

If I have a single complaint about the Time X, it is that it is a rather large and heavy unit to wind only two watches, and it must be turned around to insert or remove the second watch. It has the heft of a piece of equipment that might do something more than wind a watch–something like hoist the family sedan for a tire rotation.  Three or four of these bolted together would be a back doctor’s dream come true. But it’s a small complaint, and one that pays off in the really good physical construction of the unit.

I encouraged Richard Paige to offer the Time X in the TimeZone Store because of the excellent construction, relatively good value, and adjustability. If you get a Time X, adjust the rotation dial down until the watches run down in two or three days. Then simply go up one increment on the rotation dial. You’ll do your watches a favor.

© 2012 Bourne In Time Inc.