Your wife will hate it, but it's so cool you won't even care.
We need to take a moment and give a shout out to all the car crazy people in the world who have auto parts either as decorations or a full-on pieces of furniture. Not everyone understands the aesthetics of such things, but there’s a glorious artistic symmetry to be found with mechanical bits that are so often taken for granted. Whether it’s a clock made from transmission gears and disc brakes, a lamp built from suspension components, or abstract art using valve springs, push rods, and spark plugs to make mini metal robot soldiers, we approve.
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As such, we approve of this most unlikely use for a BMW engine block. It’s called the VI52, and yes, its primary function – aside from looking unbelievably cool – is to wind watches. It’s made by a Los Angeles-based company called Vulcan Innova, which repurposes the much-loved BMW M52 inline-six that served the E36 M3 so well. You can probably guess where the name VI52 comes from, but some of you are probably wondering why anyone would turn an engine into a watch winder. Do people even wear watches that need winding?
To answer the second question: absolutely. In fact, there’s a curious connection between fine timepieces and the appreciation of automobiles that we suspect many of you are already aware of. As for the first question, this isn’t a watch winder. It’s a multiple watch winder.
Aside from the obvious clean-up and detail work to the cast iron engine block, Vulcan Innova repurposes the M52’s six pistons as custom watch holders fitted with special cushions and mechanical bits. Each piston has motors that allow them to extend and retract into the cylinders, protecting and displaying the watches. The pistons do the winding, and can be custom-calibrated with eight distinct winding modes. It’s all controlled via buttons at each cylinder; LED lights let you know when the watches are winding, and should additional programming be desired, Vulcan Innova can provide updates to the VI52 via USB connection.
Only 52 (yes, again with the 52) of these special watch winders will be built, and if you still don’t understand why anyone would want such a thing, don’t worry. We suspect VI52 buyers aren’t actually interested in a watch winder. They’re interested in the design, the form, and the mechanically artistic flavor that simply makes this one of the coolest auto-themed items we’ve ever seen.
Source: Vulcan Innova