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REVIEW: The Avanti 6 Watch Winder>>>>>



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Published on 09-16-2008 10:52 AM

Number of Views: 996

REVIEW OF THE ORBITA AVANTI 6 WATCH WINDER

By: John B. Holbrook, II

September 16th, 2008

Copyright 2008 – All Rights Reserved


I have always had a great deal of respect and admiration for Orbita. I’m amazed at the number of watch winder brands there are on the market, and it seems the list of manufacturers is growing. But what many people don’t understand about Orbita is that they are a luxury watch winder company. Now, in some respects, a watch winder – any watch winder which goes beyond your thumb and forefinger – is a luxury. However, any product that can be made, can be made with higher standards of excellence, sophistication, and quality. There are products, and there are luxury products. The Avanti 6 watch winder is a luxury watch winder, produced by a luxury watch winder manufacturer. The fine folks at Orbita Corporation loaned me an Avanti 6 watch winder and gave me to opportunity to play with it for a few weeks to produce this review.

Orbita winders tend to be, like most true luxury products, at the high end of the price spectrum. One reason for this is that Orbita winders are as much works of art as they are a tool or device to help make owning and using mechanical, self-winding watches more enjoyable. The Avanti 6 winder comes in two different case construction configurations - Ebony/Macassar and the Madronna Burl wood cabinet which I was sent. Both finishes feature carbon fiber accent trim pieces, and have several coats of lacquer applied which gives the winder an attractive high-gloss, and helps prevent surface scratches. As you can see by these photos, the Madronna Burl wood exterior, is a very unique, very rich looking finish. The Avanti 6 also features a beveled piece of glass in the front of the case to view the watches contained within.

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The Avanti 6 is powered by the same tried-and-true programmable Swiss/German motor driven winding heads which go into all their motorized winders. Each individual head can be programmed to the needs of the watch which rests upon. Simply slide the winding cup off the winder, and you’ll see a series of dip switches which controls the winding direction of the head (clockwise, counterclockwise, or both) and the number of turns per day (650, 800, 950, and 1300 turns per day).

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If you’re unsure of exactly what the settings should be for your watch, Orbita has an extremely useful database of watch model/movement requirements for both winding direction and TPD winding requirements at http://www.orbita.net/pages/17100.htm - they are the only watch winder manufacturer that I know of which has gone to the considerable expense of gathering the information and making it publically available.

The “cup” which holds the watch on the winder should also be quite familiar to anyone who has ever used an Orbita – it’s a rather simple, straightforward design but it works and works well. Essentially, you fasten your watch around a piece of foam which works well because A)foam won’t scratch or damage your watch and B)foam automatically contracts/expands to whatever size watch is wrapped around it. Note: The foam holders are available in two sizes. Once you place your watch on the foam holder, you simply slide it in the plastic cup which is mounted to the winder head motor. It’s quick, easy, and holds the watch securely in place – in other words, it does exactly what it’s supposed to do.

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Of course, Orbita makes other six watch winders with gorgeous cabinets which use their patented winding technology. But what really separates the Avanti 6 from other choices in the Orbita catalog is it’s chassis lift mechanism. Simply (with both hands) press on the top of the cabinet, and you’ll feel it “click” – remove your hands, the entire interior of the cabinet will glide upward (think spring loaded). To lower the cabinet, again using both hands, press down on the top of the cabinet until it “clicks” back down in the lowered position. Note – in this photo, you can see that the winder ships with removable stickers which guide the user on the optimal places to press on the cabinet top to both raise and lower the chassis.

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This spring loaded release feature takes the cool factor up by an order of magnitude. It’s completely superfluous and unnecessary, but completely cool. It’s the sort of feature which will draw as much envy from your friends as do the watches inside the winder. One other nice feature about the Avanti 6 cabinet is the inclusion of a lock next to the power button on the side of the case. While a case with a glass front is only so secure, having a locking mechanism on the winder will keep your kids, guests, or the housekeeper out of your watch collection when you’re not in the room.

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The Avanti 6 watch winder from Orbita Corporation carries a retail price of $5,995.00. That’s a stiff price, but you’re talking about a luxury product that’s constructed from exotic materials and has lavish functionality which you simply will not find in other product offerings. If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, you can strap your watch to your dog when you’re not wearing it. If you want a luxurious and innovative way to display your prized horological possessions, then the Avanti 6 may well be an option worth considering. My only critical comment would be the lack of an auxiliary storage drawer on the winder – a feature present on most other Orbita watch winders I’ve tested. While such a storage compartment would no doubt add to size, weight, and cost of the Avanti 6, it is a feature I’ve found more than useful. Outside of this minor nitpick, I think the Avanti 6 is a truly outstanding product that I can proudly say is made in the good old US of A. Nice job Orbita!

 
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