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Founded in 2022, Chrome Calibre is here to inject some fun into functionality with the Retro-Bot watch winder. While many of us own watch winders to keep our favorite automatic timepieces running while off the wrist, they’re often stored out of sight because, frankly, they’re not always the nicest equipment to look at. However, the Retro-Bot watch winder was designed to be proudly displayed for all to admire.

The Retro-Bot was designed by Dublin native Karl Brown, who drew inspiration from the tin robot toys of the ’50s and ’60s. He created this charming watch winder by combining his industrial design education with his love of fine watches and toys.

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“I’ve always loved watches and toys, so being able to combine the two to create a unique watch winder is a dream come true,” says Brown. “To start with basic sketches and develop and iterate them into a fully-fledged working product has been an amazing education and journey. I’ve developed new skill sets and new relationships along the way. I’ve spent hours tweaking and 3d printing parts to trial and update. Constant problem-solving and trying to work out the best solutions has been a very fulfilling process. At the end of it all I’ve created a functional piece of art and it brings a smile to everyone’s face when I show it to them. It’s only the beginning of the journey and it’s the 1st of a series that I plan to release in the future.”

The Retro-Bot is crafted from aluminum and offered in five colors: Tiffany Blue, Emerald Green, High Risk Red, Monaco Blue, and Cyber Yellow. Depending on the color, the arms, winding key, and antenna can be in silver, gold, or black. Weighing 2.224kg, the Retro-Bot watch winder measures 343mm high, 205mm deep, and 165mm wide. Inside the Retro-Bot is the renowned 100% Swiss-made Swisskubik Master Box winding mechanism, which offers a fully programable watch winding solution. Choices include rotations per day and direction (clockwise, counterclockwise, or bi-directional), all of which can be selected via the Bluetooth-enabled Swisskubik app. Turning on the winder requires a simple flip of a switch located on the chest plate.

Adding to the charm of the old-school robot model are the LED lights, which run independently from the winding mechanism. There are the red LED eyes, yellow LED mouth, and orange LED chest plate, turned on and off by flipping the other switch on Retro-Bot’s chest.

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To create the Retro-Bot, Brown teamed up with a list of partners including award-winning product design and R&D agency, Dolmen. Commenting on the partnership, Brown says, “Finding the right partners and support to help me bring this product to fruition has been a rollercoaster ride. I have been lucky to work with Dolmen Innovation and Design based in Dublin who have helped bring my rudimentary wooden and cardboard early models through various iterations and prototypes to get to this final model. When I first met with them, I was nervous, as they had no idea what a watch winder was or what it could be used for, and the lead designer didn’t even wear a watch. However, they saw the designs and models I brought to the meeting, and, with a bit of explanation, I managed to get them on board to help me.”

As a child, Brown entertained himself for hours creating things with Lego, wood, tools, wires, motors, and batteries. He was constantly sketching and creating. As an adult, he still builds Lego and constructs objects from wood while sketching his ideas on various notepads and 3D design programs. All that tinkering has resulted in the delightfully playful Retro-Bot watch winder, which is truly a first in this field of otherwise boring boxes.

The Retro-Bot watch winder will retail for €2,500 Euros (excluding VAT), however, Chrome Calibre will offer it at a launch price of €1,500 Euros (excluding VAT) during its Kickstarter campaign. To sign up for launch notifications and to learn more about the Chrome Calibre Retro-Bot, please visit the brand’s website.

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