Scatola del Tempo 30 years, 2% and Dr Strange
Italian design, Swiss Made. It’s not a new recipe but, 30 years ago, Scatola del Tempo invented a product and, along with it, created a market. That product was the watch winder.
There are some small objects that are part of a watch collector’s daily life, but which we scarcely pay any attention to. Today, the watch winder is a well-known, familiar and common accessory... almost as if it had been around forever. In fact, it’s all too easy to forget that it was invented in 1989 by one man: Sandro Colarieti. This discreet aesthete and watch collector was simply looking for a way of keeping his automatic watches wound. Back in 1989, there was no way of doing this. So he invented one: the watch winder.
Sandro Colarieti © Scatola del Tempo
He kept his first creations for himself, but he also gave them to his friends, as gifts. His friends were delighted, and the rest is history. Sandro Colarieti set up his company, Scatola del Tempo (literally: box of time) and created his own market to go with it. It was a genius idea whose time had come.
Although his design was protected by patent for ten years, the competition eventually caught up. Rival designs emerged in Germany, the United States, China and the UK. The idea of a watch winder is easy enough to copy, but Scatola del Tempo has three advantages.
Rotor One Sport Red winder © Scatola del Tempo
Three winning features
The first, obviously, is that it is the original. The brand has a devoted following among collectors: they know the company, and the company knows them. Scatola del Tempo has mastered the mechanical principles of the watch winder, while its competitors have had to start from zero.
The second advantage is its proximity to the brands. Sandro Colarieti was a friend of the Stern family who own Patek Philippe. Indeed, it was the Geneva watchmaker that placed the first order, for 500 winders, that started him off in business. Even today, Scatola del Tempo has a uniquely close relationship with most Swiss watchmakers. At the last Baselworld, for example, TAG Heuer delivered its Nanograph watches with a bespoke watch winder.
7RTChocoMix © Scatola del Tempo
The final advantage is the extent of the company’s expertise. Today, Scatola del Tempo is no longer alone. In 2017, Swiss holding company Elix Holding, which owns Scatola del Tempo, also acquired Swiss Kubik. It was the latter brand chosen by TAG Heuer and which, globally, supplies a more price-conscious sector of the winder market, with a more modern, technological and modular approach. Scatola del Tempo, however, remains master of its original territory: craftsmanship, Italian design, bespoke designs and precious materials.
Two buyers for every 100 collectors
Today, the growth potential for both brands combined remains very high. “Out of 100 buyers of automatic watches priced over CHF 2,500, 30 have even heard of a watch winder, and just two own one,” explains Christophe Hubert, CEO of Scatola del Tempo / Swiss Kubik. “The watch brands have understood that, by promoting a winder that they can supply or sell in parallel, they can extend the customer experience, and enable their clients to better appreciate their timepiece, which is always perfectly adjusted and wound.”
Christophe Hubert © Scatola del Tempo
A very Strange prototype
The future of Scatola del Tempo and Swiss Kubik looks to be wide open. Winders that are connected, secure, customised, portable, with temperature and humidity control... there are many avenues to explore.
But they are proceeding with caution. Scatola del Tempo sells 5,000 winders per year and Swiss Kubik sells three times that, with growth into double digits. Clients are also not short of ideas. Recently, a collector asked the company to make him a watch drawer like the one owned by Dr Strange. The problem is that, in the film, all the watches are laid flat, and they still run! Scatola del Tempo succeeded in designing a watch drawer that was similar, by inclining the watches at an angle of “only” 43.5°, just enough to ensure they wind as they rotate. The idea of a “Dr Strange drawer” has since proved strangely popular among collectors.
Swiss Kubik Travel Box Grey © Scatola del Tempo / Swiss Kubik
In September 2019 the Fine Watch Club will be organising a highly exclusive joint operation with Scatola del Tempo. For more information: www.fine-watch-club.com