CWL Piccolo Winder Review

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Kip
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CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by Kip »

The Piccolo Winder - Image

A couple of years ago I tested 3 different watch winders by Christopher Ward, Tourneau (Wolf) and Steinhausen. The results of that comparison test is here.

Over the past month I have had the opportunity to live with, and test, the Piccolo Modular Winder System by DesignHutte that is currently offered by Christopher Ward.

The Piccolo is available as a starter kit that includes either a US, EU or UK power adapter. Additional winders may be
purchased separately as each adapter will power up to 4 total units. The additional units are powered through induction. CW claims its magic! I was testing 1 primary and one secondary unit. There was no difference in performance between the units. The induction power worked flawlessly.

Each module measures approx 4" (100mm) wide x 5 3/4" (147mm) height x 5" (128mm) deep including the access cover. The weight is a little over 1 lb (500g).

The access cover is a beveled acrylic held in place by 2 hinges and closes by the use of 2 small magnets in the upper posts. It is very easy to open, yet secure enough for its purpose. My only complaint here is that the cover is open around the edges and therefore does not seal off the interior against dust.

The watches are placed on a black fabric covered pillow that accepted any watch I tried easily as well as held any watch I tried, up to 44mm (the largest I own). After the watch is on the pillow you simply push the pillow mounted watch into the winding chamber. The fit is tight enough to secure a C40 and keep it safe. The Piccolo comes with an extra pillow, although I am not sure why. I suppose it is so you can have a watch in waiting if you so desire.

As seems to be typical with winders, the Piccolo comes with basic instructions that gives you the cycles but no turns per day (tpd) information . Nor is there any information or recommendations for any particular movements. The only recommendation in the instructions is mode B. You will need to determine the movement in your watch and then I would recommend the Orbita website for information regarding the turns per day and winding direction for your watch.

Information for CWL watches may be found in the Forum Archives. Look under the Battery TPD tab.
If you don't find what you need for CWL please feel free to contact me.

The programs for the Piccolo are set by two easily used and clearly marked slide switches on the back . One is for the mode A thru D and the other is for direction; CW, CCW, auto (bidirectional) and on/off.

The Piccolo rotates at 6.5 turns per minute. This translates as follows....

Mode A: Auto rotate for 33 seconds, rest for 12 minutes (375 TPD)
Mode B: Auto rotate for 10 minutes, rest for 90 minutes (936 TPD)
Mode C: Auto rotate for 30 minutes, rest for 3 hours (1338 TPD)
Mode D: Auto rotate for 1 hour, rest for 3 hours ( 2340 TPD)

For testing purposes, I selected the same C5 Malvern that I used for the winder comparison 2 years ago. I also selected a C40 Speedhawk. The C5 has a ETA 2824-2 movement that has a recommended setting of 650 tpd in both directions. The C40 has a ETA Valjoux 7750 that is recommended at 850 tpd in a CW direction.

The tests were conducted by starting the watches at a dead stop and just placing them on the winder and letting them run for 24 hours. The winders were then turned off and the watches allowed to run until stopped. The run time was then noted. Results as follows....

Test 1
Mode A3 (375 tpd) - C5 - Run time 2.5 hrs
Mode A1 (375 tpd) - C40 - Run time 4 hrs

Test 2
Mode B3 (936 tpd) - C5 - run time 41.5 hours
Mode B1 (936 tpd)- C40 -run time 39 hours

Test 3
Mode C3 (1338 tpd)- C5 - run time 41.5 hours
Mode C1 (1338 tpd)- C40 - run time 39 hours

Test 4
Mode D3 (2340 tpd)- C5 - run time 41.5 hours
Mode D1 (2340 tpd)- C40 - run time 39 hours

Test 5 - winder ran for 72 hrs
Mode A3 (375 tpd) - C5 - run time -stopped 3 hours before shut off
Mode A1 (375 tpd)- C40 - run time - ran 18 hours

Note that test 5 was run on the lowest setting, the same as test 1.
The watches remained in the same units throughout testing.

Test 6 - pre wound each watch to full wind - winder ran 72 hours
Mode A3 (375 tpd) - C5 - run time 21 hours
Mode A1 (375 tpd) - C40 - run time - 29 hours

Summary

As I have stated before This review is not to discuss the plus/minus merits of owning and using a watch winder. Nor is this a scientific test. I just tested the usage to find out some information in how it may be best to utilize these machines and how they may benefit the user.

I see little use for the high tpd settings except if you are looking for a quick wind and cannot be bothered doing it manually. The 936tpd setting would seem to be the max setting necessary. What I do think is that if you have a couple of watches that you rotate on a regular basis it would seem that the low (375 tpd) setting would be of benefit if the watch is given a full wind to start with. It should maintain power for about a weeks time without issue.

The winder seemed to be more effective when starting the watch with at least a partial wind as opposed to just starting from a wound down position. Starting from a dead stop really defeats the purpose anyway as the time would never be correct.

I attribute the run time differences between the C5 and C40 due to the free wheeling rotor of the 7750 movement.
Having a low tpd setting on the Piccolo winders is a great advantage in my view.

Conclusion

The Piccolo winders come well boxed and with a one page instruction sheet that is clear and concise. It has all the necessary information relative to mode functions and possible setups for more than one unit. The induction system was flawless, regardless of configuration.

As stated above the only info missing is relative to your own watch movements and I have given you links to find the appropriate information.

The Piccolo winders are very quiet and should not be disturbing to any but the most sensitive to noise. I found these as quiet as the previous winders sold by CWL that were built by Wolf. The quality, fit and finish is as good as anything I have come across in the winder category.

I would highly recommend the Piccolo winder as it should easily serve the needs of most people and is easily expandable as well as afforable. To add on you just take the additional Piccolo winder from its box and put it next to your other one(s), up to four total. It just doesn't get any easier than that.

Many, many thanks to Christopher Ward and Wera for making the winders available for testing.

I hope you find this review helpful.

The Piccolo Winders are available from Christopher Ward London :thumbup:

Christopher Ward UK

Christopher Ward USA
Kip

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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by Mr Rick »

Excellent review Kip. I use mine exactly as you describe using mode 2.

I choose the watch I'm going to wear tomorrow, set it, and place it in the winder. The next morning my watch is ready to go when I am.

My winder had a slight grinding when new, but became completely silent after three days.

My recommendation ....two thumbs up. :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by mabotham »

Excellent review, thanks.
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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by scooter »

Interesting post Kip

Well worth the read.

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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

An excellent review, Kip - well done, and :thumbup: to CW for making it available.
I only have 2 automatics (no. 3 probably due tomorrow in monstrous orange form!). Up until now I've just let them run down, set them in the morning on days when I want to wear them, given them a few winds and away we go. From what I've read, leaving them fallow for a few days is no bad thing, as it gives the movements a rest (I usually wind up all the manuals as part of the Sunday morning ritual!) I will give this some thought, however.
Thank you! :D
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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by Jape »

What others said. :) Thanks for the review. I've got two autos so far, but I imagine the number will at some point grow. So, these reviews are great for a novice.
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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by 28800bph »

Nice review! Too bad the power induction doesn't work across a few hundred units -- you could make good use of that capability for your collection! 8)
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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by Aifo »

Brilliant review! Thanks Kip for the introduction.
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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by mickarthur »

I currently have 4 automatics and it is certainly challenging giving them all wrist time each week. I have tried to keep them all going with wrist movement and a little bit of hand winding here and there, but I just can't seem to keep 4 going by myself. I think I am going to go back to not worrying so much about trying to keep them all going, or I may get a winder or two. Great write up by the way.
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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by KAW »

Kip wrote:The Piccolo comes with an extra pillow, although I am not sure why. I suppose it is so you can have a watch in waiting if you so desire.
The pillows aren't the same size in my unit although I've found that my watches don't sit as securely in the chamber when using the smaller pillow. It may be necessary to use the smaller pillow with watches that have thick straps but so far haven't needed it.
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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by Kip »

The pillows that came with the tested units were the same size.

I had no issues testing any size watch as the pillows had plenty of compression for fit.
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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by JonRB »

Thanks for the informative review, and the link to the previous tests :)
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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by Leem »

Interesting review Kip,

I did order one, but when it arrived and fired it up I found it to be quite noisy and something rattling around inside.

I sent mine back straight away,with no hassle from CW of course. :thumbup:
Think I just got a dodgy one though. :thumbdown:
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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by KAW »

Kip wrote:The pillows that came with the tested units were the same size.

I had no issues testing any size watch as the pillows had plenty of compression for fit.
That's odd. I can securely fit any of my watches to the pillows but when on the smaller pillow they just don't fit securely in the winding chamber. I'd assumed this was for thicker than usual straps/bracelets, e.g. something like the C700 silicone rubber strap. Maybe I just received a unit with the wrong spare pillow?
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Re: CWL Piccolo Winder Review

Post by Peteo »

Kip wrote:The pillows that came with the tested units were the same size.

I had no issues testing any size watch as the pillows had plenty of compression for fit.
My question about the pillows:

What about for watches with particularly small bands or bracelets? Do the pillows have any collapse to them to allow for a smaller band to fit securely? And if they do, does this affect how the pillow sits in the winder?

My Kingfisher has had links removed, and my Nav B Chrono has extra holes punched in the strap. Want to get two winders for these pieces. Obviously, any potential pillow issues would be a much bigger deal for a bracelet than a strap, but would still like to know if possible before I place an order.
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