WATCH TALK FORUMS banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,995 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
REVIEW: The Topper 1940 4.1 Winder System By Wolf Designs>>>>>>>>>

Review of The Topper 1940 4.1 Winder System By Wolf Designs
By: John B. Holbrook, II
4/10/2012​

The fine folks at Toppers Jewelers recently sent me the new Topper 1940 4.1 Winder System By Wolf Designs for review - my first exposure to Wolf watch winders. The Topper 1940 4.1 is essentially a "private label" version of the Wolf 4.1. Here's a photo of the Topper 1940 4.1:



It's nearly identical to the non-private label counterpart Wolf Designs 4.1, but does feature a brushed finished face plate and controls which is a bit darker (I call it more of a gun metal finish) than the standard Wolf 4.1 winder. It also features the Topper Jewelers logo.

While the 4.1 winders may not have the aesthetic appeal of other winders with elaborate wood cases, the design of the 4.1 winders offers something the "pretty boys" don't - expandability. These winders have slots on all four sides which accept a plastic piece that can connect to another winder as you purchase additional unites. They also feature 5.5V AC adapter power cables which can be "daisy chained" together as you add additional winders - up to 12 can be run off a single outlet. By connecting them, they look and function as a single, multi-head winder all operating off of a single wall plug. This ability to expand as you add more watches to your collection is a huge benefit for collectors. Multi-head winders are often very expensive and force you to buy for both your present and future winder needs. With this system, you only buy what you need, when you need it.



The Topper 1940 4.1/Wolf Designs 4.1 winders have several upgraded features over the previous generation Wolf Designs 4.0, the most significant of which being the control system. Here's a photo of the control panel on the Wolf Designs 4.0 system:



The controls here are less than intuitive, and the four enumerated buttons are not labeled as to their function. If you're like me, once you get a winder set up with whatever watch it's going to keep wound, you don't often change those settings. So I personally would never remember what each of these buttons actually do, and would likely be forced to break out the manual to make any changes to the settings in every case. Now compare that to the control panel on the Topper 1940 4.1 winder:



The knobs are clearly marked - the knob on the left controls the direction of winder rotation, while the knob on the right powers the unit on and off. The +/- buttons are also self-explanatory, used in conjunction with the LED display. The 4.1 system provides far more control over the turns per day which the winder can be set to than did the previous 4.0 system. While the 4.0 system had essentially only four settings (300,600, 900 turns per day, or continuous) the 4.1 system can be adjusted in increments of 50 turns anywhere from 300 to 1200 turns per day. It should be noted that from an expandability perspective, the Wolf 4.0 and 4.1 winders are compatible with one another. If you have some 4.0 winders, you can add 4.1 winders and enjoy the same modular expansion and daisy chaining of the power cables.

Here's a photo of the Topper 1940 4.1 with the observation dust cover removed, and the cuff (larger and improved over the 4.0 winder) which holds the watch in place within the winder also removed. I was impressed with how quiet the 4.1 winder ran - even with the dust cover removed, the winder was nearly silent when running. The only question mark in my mind is how do these winders run over the long haul? According to Rob Caplan of Topper Jewelers, they've carried the Wolf 4.0 line since 2009 and don't often seen problems with the winder motors.



In addition to the written photo review, I've prepared a video segment on the Topper 1940 4.1 Winder System:


The Topper 1940 4.1 Winder System By Wolf Designs has a retail price of just $199.00 on the Topper Jewelers website. But members of the WATCH TALK FORUMS community can receive a 10% discount on this winder (and all stackable winders on the Topper website) using the promo code "Holbrook" at checkout. :thumbup1: To be honest, I've never found a quality watch winder at this low of a price point. So for Topper to be able to provide the Topper 1940 4.1 Winder System By Wolf Designs is an unprecedented value which will no doubt be a tremendous boon to the online watch enthusiast community. Perhaps the biggest objection I've seen from watch enthusiasts to using a winder (which I find to be an invaluable convenience) is cost. Thanks to Topper, Call up Rob a Topper Jewelers and give him a big "thank you!"


**Photos & Text Copyright 2012 WATCH TALK FORUMS INC. No part of this report can be reproduced outside of WATCH TALK FORUMS
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
This may literally be the most fortuitous appearance of a review/post in forum history. I was literally just about to complete a transaction for a different winder when this popped up in my email. I will now be buying one of these. :D
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,995 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
This may literally be the most fortuitous appearance of a review/post in forum history. I was literally just about to complete a transaction for a different winder when this popped up in my email. I will now be buying one of these. :D
Glad I could help! Don't forget to use that 10% off code. :thumbup1:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Thanks!

I'm glad you did this one. I too have been pondering on acquiring an additional winder or two!

Great job (as always)!

--P
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
That is a very nice winder for the money. I am routinely amazed at what some companies charge for similar items... often exceeding the value of the watch being wound. The somewhat retro look of the Wolf is cool despite the absence of a wood finish. I wish the cover was hinged, but you can't always get what you want. One item to point out is the 2-year warranty. Many winders are only covered for 1-year (or less than that if you buy one of the junk brands off Ebay). This looks like a great product by Wolf. If my winder goes out anytime soon, I'll definitely consider a change.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,350 Posts
Great Review

Great Review, very helpful. Thanks,
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,995 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
That is a very nice winder for the money. I am routinely amazed at what some companies charge for similar items... often exceeding the value of the watch being wound. The somewhat retro look of the Wolf is cool despite the absence of a wood finish. I wish the cover was hinged, but you can't always get what you want. One item to point out is the 2-year warranty. Many winders are only covered for 1-year (or less than that if you buy one of the junk brands off Ebay). This looks like a great product by Wolf. If my winder goes out anytime soon, I'll definitely consider a change.
That's indeed a good warranty - glad to hear they stand behind the product.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Watch winder review

I'm so glad that you wrote a review on a watch winder. But I'm confused. What is it about a watch winder that makes one better than another. And, what is it about the Topper 1940 4.1 Winder System by Wolf Designs that garnered your praise.

I ask, because while I have had auto wind watches for almost 30 years, I'm new to the auto winder. My wife bought me a three place auto winder manaufactured or sold under the Rotations name, and is the Toggle Switch model, last Christmas. It has three seperate positions: clock wise, counter clock wise, or clockwise/counter clock wise. And will automaticly rotate the watch everyday, at the same time. But, it doesn't wind my watches.

I have three self winding watches; a rolex Air King, a Bulova stainless steel waterproof, and a Ernest Borel Cocktail. The winder rotates, is beautiful to look at, but will not wind my watches, regardless of the direction or combination of directions that I choose.

I'm very dissapointed, and very hesitant about getting another winder, because I'm afraid the next one won't work either.

What does the Topper 1940 4.1 do that my Rotations winder doesn't, that enables it to wind watches.

So, what are the differences in winders (good and bad), and as consumers, what should we be looking for, and what are considered to be quality brands, and why.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,995 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I'm so glad that you wrote a review on a watch winder. But I'm confused. What is it about a watch winder that makes one better than another. And, what is it about the Topper 1940 4.1 Winder System by Wolf Designs that garnered your praise.

I ask, because while I have had auto wind watches for almost 30 years, I'm new to the auto winder. My wife bought me a three place auto winder manaufactured or sold under the Rotations name, and is the Toggle Switch model, last Christmas. It has three seperate positions: clock wise, counter clock wise, or clockwise/counter clock wise. And will automaticly rotate the watch everyday, at the same time. But, it doesn't wind my watches.

I have three self winding watches; a rolex Air King, a Bulova stainless steel waterproof, and a Ernest Borel Cocktail. The winder rotates, is beautiful to look at, but will not wind my watches, regardless of the direction or combination of directions that I choose.

I'm very dissapointed, and very hesitant about getting another winder, because I'm afraid the next one won't work either.

What does the Topper 1940 4.1 do that my Rotations winder doesn't, that enables it to wind watches.

So, what are the differences in winders (good and bad), and as consumers, what should we be looking for, and what are considered to be quality brands, and why.
Wow...you have a lot of questions here.

First, let me start by saying that a watch winder is a convenience - you don't have to have a watch winder to own and enjoy self-winding watches. But they do help a great deal - I'm a big believer in winders.

Second, let me state that in most cases, a winder must be set to the required number of turns per day required for watch intended to be maintained on the winder, as well as the correct direction of rotation for the self-winding rotor of the intended watch. Orbita maintains a wonderful database that can help you retrieve this information, or you can contact the manufacturer: Orbita Watch winders - Innovative Watch winder Designs | Orbita Watchwinders

What makes a good winder? It holds the watch contained inside it securely (without damaging it) and does the job its intended to do quietly. What makes a great winder? Aesthetic considerations (ornate designs), more programability, more features for storage, etc. What makes a bad winder? One that doesn't hold the watch inside securely, runs loud or gets noisier with age, and has few setting options (for turns per day, direction of rotation, etc.). Many "cheap" winders start out being quiet, but get progressively louder with time as the motors deteriorate.

I know absolutely zilch about the winder you mention so I've not idea if it's a good or bad winder. In my experience, there's surprisingly few good winders out there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
John,

The review sounds promising, especially as I am feeling the need for another winder or two. Does anyone here have personal experience with the Wolf/Topper winders? I mean in terms of reliability, noise levels, etc. I've had really good experiences with Eilux winders, but they have gone up in price recently, and you can't do much to adjust the turns per day. As I mentioned before, my luck wasn't very good with the Orbita Sparta, nor with any of the "no name" brands that you see in malls. So the Topper, especially with the discount available, sounds promising, I'd just like to know of any personal experiences. Thanks in advance!

John.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Hello John and all!

I am also in the market for a new winder. My current experience is very limited. A friend of mine keeps his Rolex in a unit he paid less than $100 for at the Bombay Company (In Canada). He seems very happy with it and only wears his watch once or twice a month. From what you've said I'm surprised his still works.

I bought a double winder, no brand name from a small watch store for $220! Unfortunately it seems to be crap! It works and does the job but the glass case is loose and I think it is getting louder.

Birks does sell Wolf winders so I'm going to go back and see if this is one of them. The double winder they carry is $700.

I guess my biggest dilemma is should the watch winder cost more than the watch? In my situation I put most of my investment into a manual wind Panerai.

Paul
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,995 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I guess my biggest dilemma is should the watch winder cost more than the watch? In my situation I put most of my investment into a manual wind Panerai.

Paul
Well, that should save you some money on watch winders. :lol::laugh:

I wouldn't let the price of the winder relative to the watch(es) it winds necessarily deter you....just buy a better watch! :laugh: Seriously though, if you want something that looks good as well as functions exceptionally, you'll pay extra. It may be worth the extra dough to have something that looks good in your room...particularly if the significant other is more accepting as a result.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Just bumping this to see if anyone has bought the topper winder and what their experience has been. I live down the street from Topper's so I was going to call them about doing in an store purchase.

I have a steinhausen now (Quad II) that i'm not thrilled with. Thinking of getting 4 of these to replace it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Hi PatrickSF - I bought two from Topper with the WTF discount and (so far) am VERY pleased with the product.

They are very quite and I'm digging the controls. One thing I noticed was that since I use the DC adaptor, the number of rotation settings gets reset to default (600) if the power goes out.

Per it's modular format, I would consider acquiring more of these type units.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Hi PatrickSF - I bought two from Topper with the WTF discount and (so far) am VERY pleased with the product.

They are very quite and I'm digging the controls. One thing I noticed was that since I use the DC adaptor, the number of rotation settings gets reset to default (600) if the power goes out.

Per it's modular format, I would consider acquiring more of these type units.
Thanks for the feedback. I was starting to wonder if anyone on here actually bought one! :laugh:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
One thing that is not mentioned in this review is batteries. For those that wish to put them in a safe, not wish to have cords visible, or use cords, these things chew through batteries, and at $120, this is **NOT** an inexpensive watch winder. Why the price may be 'low' initially, running them on batteries can boost the cost in the stratosphere compared to other vendors. This is a critical aspect that was missed, that those considering purchase should seriously consider. Read the fine print!

From Topper's website: About the External Battery

One can power up to 12 units with an external lithium battery that is sold separately for $120. Assuming you are powering a winder at 600 Turns Per day, the 50 Wh external lithium battery can drive it for 4. 1 winder for about 333 days, 6 55 days or 12 for about 27 days. Higher turns per day and increased use of LED light up display will result in shorter battery life while lower turns per day will result in longer battery life.




source: Topper Jewelers. Authorized Dealers of Omega, Ball, Bremont, Zenith, Glashütte Original, Tacori, Marco Bicego and many more
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
This is my first post here and I would like to take this opportunity to say hello and thank you for a kick butt forum. Now, onto matters at hand. I bought 2 Topper/Wolf 4.1 winders back in May based on this review(Thanks for the discount code BTW). Topper shipped them very quickly and I received them within 3 days if I remember correctly. Unfortunately one of the winders emitted a very audible clicking about half-way through it's rotation. Seeing as this happened in the very same spot, I'm going to assume it was a problem with the gearing. I contacted Topper and received a response immediately. They instructed me to ship the unit back and they would ship a new one once they received the old one. The very next day I shipped out the defective winder and prayed for the best as this was my first time dealing with Topper. Imagine my surprise when I received the replacement winder the very next day. Kudos to Topper and their CS department for sending out the new winder before receiving the old one. Fast forward to two months later.... I am now having the same problem with the other winder I received initially. It is still winding the watch, but the noise is annoying so I'm glad the winding process happens when I'm at work otherwise it would drive me up the wall. Another thing I haven't been able to figure out is the LCD backlight. It has a mind of it's own. I have the units sitting fairly close to each other and both are getting power from the same adapter. The LCD backlight on both winders turns on for no reason at all randomly. Sometimes it seems as the two winders are having some sort of a battle on which one can annoy me more with their disco light show. I will keep a close eye for any more problems and let you guys know how it turns out.

One more thing. If any of you decide to use the battery option instead of the AC adapter, I believe I found the exact same battery for less. I haven't bought one so Caveat Emptor, but it looks to be the same one.

Bat-PM55
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top