About ten years ago, my now wife purchased me a very nice watch box as a gift. It served me well, but I had a few small issues with it. One was that the watch segments were a bit too close together for some of my bigger pieces, and if I wasn't careful, they would bump each other. The other problem was that it only held eight watches. I try to keep my collection at around that size, but it ebbs and flow, and I always thought it would be nice to have a bit more space.
That box was also starting to show its age. I had some Amazon gift cards saved up, so I started searching for something new.
If you've ever tried to buy a watch box, you might have experienced the same thing that I have, which is that most watch boxes fall into one of two categories: cheap and crappy, or very expensive. The other challenge is finding one that stores enough watches, yet also has a storage drawer (critical for a strap addict like myself).
I had searched a few years ago and given, but in my more recent search, one of the first boxes that came up was from a brand called Tawbury. I had never heard of them, but their boxes looked to be of good quality. Most importantly, they had a storage drawer, and had a twelve watch option, which was exactly what I wanted. At $189 for the 12er, they were also reasonably-priced. I decided to take a gamble and give one a try.
The model that I selected was the Bayswater in black (dark brown is also an option). Tawbury also offers an 8 slot model that was too small, and I decided that the 24 slot model might encourage me too buy too many watches (more importantly, it doesn't have a storage drawer). The 12 slot was the Goldilocks size for me.
When I took it out of its shipping box, I was impressed with the quality for under $200. The exterior is vegan rather than real leather, but it is very convincing, and probably more eco-friendly. The stitching of the external panels, and polished steel handles add to the quality feel.
A Tawbury logo is also embossed in the leather on the front surface.
The fit and finish of the drawer is good as well. It has a bit of friction when sliding it out, but it's easier to open and close than it could have been for the price.
Unlike other affordable watch boxes, the window in the lid seems to be made of actual glass, and there is sufficient depth that it doesn't contact even my thicker watches.
The metal hinges are nothing fancy, but they appear to be robust, and include a metal stopper to allow the lid to stay in the open position if desired.
The interior surface is covered in a soft brown velvet material. Unlike my previous watch box, the pillows look like they will be long lasting, and not have the glued sides fall off. The interior pockets also appear to be robust against wear.
The sides of the drawer are finished in what appears to be a textured vinyl material. I imagine this allows the drawer to slide in and out more easily, yet is more resistant to wear than velvet.
After the initial inspection, it was time for the moment of truth: How would my collection fit inside?
The answer: pretty well.
Even my largest 44 to 45.5 mm watches (not including crowns) don't contact either other when placed side by side (I later found out on the brand's website that the pillows are 50mm wide).
The pillows looked rather large in photos, so I was also worried that bracelets sized for my ~7" wrist might not be able to latch. Again, I should have read the website, as they are designed to fit down to 6.5" sizing (although I think that would require quite a bit of compression of the pillows).
The drawer also has just the right amount of space, and the configuration of the compartments work really well for my collection. In the two smaller drawers I store aftermarket (mostly StrapHabit) straps by size. 19 and 20mm straps on the left, and 22mm straps on the right.
In the bigger pocket, I store OEM straps and bracelets, as I prefer to give those a bit more space. The drawer is deep enough to accommodate bracelets without folding them too.
Finally, 19, 20 and 22mm spring bars are stored in each of the three smallest pockets.
The pockets work really well for me to store only watch accessories, but I could see someone without such a Strap Habit also finding good use of the drawer. One could fit a wallet in the big pocket, and keys, pens, knives, etc. in the narrow ones. Cufflinks or tie pins would also fit well in the smallest spaces. If you own fewer than 12 watches, bracelets could also be stored in the upper compartment next to watches.
After not finding the right watch box for a number of years, I am very pleased with the Tawbury Bayswater. It is exactly the right size, and you can tell that good thought went into developing the layout to provide maximum use. It has also made me enjoy looking at my collection in my room even more, as they are better presented.
The sub-$200 price is also quite reasonable. Some of the smaller products on their website seem a bit expensive in comparison to the larger boxes, but I won't pass judgment unless I ever see them in person. If you're looking for a new watchbox, it's worth a look to see if one of their sizes will work for your collection.
Where do you store your watches? We'd love to hear in the comments.
Name: Bayswater 12 Slot Watch Box with Drawer - Blacki)
- 14.6 x 8.7 x 5.7 in
- 50mm/2" wide pillows 165mm/6.5" minimum bracelet size
- 38mm/1.5" clearance between pillows and glass
Exterior: Vegan leather