Company: Detroit Watch Company
For the past 11 years, I have been developing and designing original timepieces for various watch brands complementing my career and passion for designing cars over the past 30 years. Together with my wife Amy, also a designer for the past 25 years and a Michigan native whose family is from Detroit, it has been our dream to ultimately create our own timepieces thus the Detroit Watch Company was born.
From original sketch to timeless design, the Detroit Watch Company celebrates the history of Detroit with each timepiece characterizing a time and a place in Detroit and honoring all that is enduring about the city and Detroiters.
Together, Amy and I have partnered to create a watch brand like no other, bringing together our passion for design, love of timepieces, and our esteem for the city of Détroit as founded by a Frenchman, Antoine de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac.
Patrick & Amy Ayoub
The Detroit Watch Company is offering a new 39mm collection aptly named L’Horloge, French for clock.
The L’Horloge design is influenced by nostalgic old world clocks and holds significance for Old City Hall’s clock tower, once the centerpiece of the city of Detroit and now part of Detroit’s forgotten past.
Dedicated in 1871, the clock tower was once the largest clock in the United States and was designed especially for Detroit with its four dials illuminated at night so that thousands of Detroiters could see the time and set their watches.
At ground-level, a floral timepiece display in front of Old City Hall would become a popular Detroit symbol and destination for many getting their photo taken as would be the clock tower, the site of Detroiters ringing in the New Year until the landmark’s demise in 1961.
Likewise, the venerable Union Depot, an ornament to the city that once stood downtown at Third Avenue and Fort Street in 1893, with it’s massive four-clock tower, served as a proud landmark and offered the first views and impressions of Detroit. Union Depot received visitors from all over the country to work at Detroit’s factories, whereas others bid farewell to loved ones on the depot’s train platforms as they headed off to war.
Union Depot served Detroiters for more than 80 years and although it too was destroyed in 1974, L’Horloge commemorates the illustrious history of the old world clocks of Detroit’s past landmarks.
Limited to 50 numbered pieces per model. You may reserve a specific serial number when ordering based on availability.
The 1701 L’Horloge comes in a nice black box set that features an inner box and an outer box. The outer box is hard black cardboard that features a large silver Detroit Watch Company D logo. The inner box is vinyl coated that has a hinged lid that is stamped with Detroit Watch Company and the D logo. The watch inside the vinyl box is attached to a watch pillow and additionally protected by foam padding. The watch includes two booklets, one is the specifications & instructions and the other is the warranty & instructions. Both booklets feature some beautiful pictures and drawings of Detroit Watch Company watches. The last page of the Warranty book features the warranty card, and information when the watch was assembled. I like this information, it adds personality to the watch. When I read the date, I immediately personalized the date because it is very close to my birthday and that is what I think adding the assembly date does. Anyone can immediately personalize an important date that is close to the written date and it also allowed me to visualize the finishing touches being done to the watch on that date. I love it.
The 39mm x 11mm high classic stainless steel case has a nice high polish finish on it, which creates a dressy appearance to the 1701. If I had to classify the 1701 it would be a dress style watch with a classic and regal refined beauty. The entire case has the same high polish finish including the plain rounded bezel. The sapphire crystal is flat and is slightly raised from the case itself. The bezel has some simple lined detailing and rounded edges that really adds a great deal of beauty in a very simplistic manner. I like what they did here very much. I thought for sure that the 39mm case would seem small and lost on my wrist since I have grown accustomed to the 42mm-44mm case size. But I was pleasantly surprised that wasn’t the case here. Case ha ha ha, no pun intended. It really balances on the wrist and I believe is the perfect size for this style of watch. It accomplishes what Detroit Watch company set out to do in my opinion.
The crown is an excellent example of what I am talking about. The signed crown features the Detroit Fleur-de-Lys logo which is quite stunning.The edges of the crown has gear style edging that are larger and further spaced apart. The crown is very easy to operate, extremely smooth when winding and setting the time. Pictures don’t truly give the crown justice until you see it in person. The crown operates as a push/pull style crown and serves as the operating center for winding the watch when it is fully pushed in. Pulling the crown out to the first position allows the wearer to set the date and when the crown is pulled to the last or fullest position it allows the wearer to set the time.
The lugs feature a sharp angle as opposed to a gradual curving. The underneath of the lugs are rounded where the strap pins connect into. In addition to the angling on the lugs it also features some very nice detailing with edging that flows along the entire lug. The photo below shows this beautiful feature.
The solid caseback features an engraved Detroit Fleur-de-Lys logo. The engraving is very well done and is very smooth with no sharp edges whatsoever. The case back is held in place by by 6 flathead screws that encircle the outer edge of the case back. I am happy with the solid casebook for the 1701, it is refreshing sometimes to have a solid case back.
The case back also features some text/info about the watch itself. What Detroit Watch Company did that I really like is that the engraved information is quite small and does not distract from the beautiful engraved center of the case back. The text includes the limited edition number out of 50, swiss automatic movement, sapphire crystal, stainless steel, water resistant 5 atm.
The dial is what immediately caught my eye when I first opened up the box to see the 1701 L’Horloge. The ivory white dial is quite exquisite. There is some 3D texturing to the dial that makes it really stand out and it is packed full of details that make it an instant classic. There is a date window at the 3 o’clock hour marker that is printed in black on a white wheel. It is very easy to read and I like that the 3 o’clock hour marker itself wasn’t removed to include the date window.
The hour markers are roman numerals that are printed in black on raised white applied markers. This small detail really creates something special on the dial of the 1701. The dial is where the magic truly happens on this watch. The raised applied markers creates a channeling system on the dial in two different ways. The inner circle channel features small hash markers with bold printed markers at each of the hours. The outer circle channel features hash marks and at each hour marker is printed minute markers that count by increments of 5.
The hands on the 1701 are amazing to say the least. The hour and minute hands are silver and the second hand is blued. The hour and minute hands are tapered which at the base they start quite wide and gradually taper to the point. The center of the hands are cut out in two separate cut outs. The cut out at the base of the hour and minute hands is a complete cut out that you can see the dial through which is really cool when the hands get to the D of the applied Detroit logo under the 12 o’clock hour marker. More about the logo in a bit. The top cut out of the hour and minute hand isn’t really a cut out at all though it appears this way at first glance. Upon closer examination you can see that there is small white lume applied in the cutouts. The white perfectly matches the dial of the 1701, so that what gives the illusion that its cut out completely. I love this little detail, as it had me tricked for awhile until I was doing macro pictures of the dial is when I realized this.
The blued second hand is quite amazing in itself. Not only does it fully extend to the extreme edges of the dial, but it also features a beautiful Detroit Watch Company D logo on the end of it that is a great match to the applied silver D logo under the 12 o’clock marker.
The dial features subtle text that is not in the least bit obtrusive to the dial itself. At the 9 o’clock hour marker printed is 1701, just above the 6 o’clock hour marker is L’HORLOGE Automatic. Printed very small at the very top of the dial is Detroit Watch Company and at the very bottom is Detroit Michigan where the watch is manufactured. I really like how they managed to get this information included on the dial without it being in your face or obstructing the flow of the dial by overcrowding it. The dial is really the highlight of this watch, it is absolutely beautiful.
The smooth black leather strap is very soft and is a perfect addition to add to this classic style of this watch. The strap features white stitching that holds the double layer of leather together. Each stitch is perfectly spaced and is straight as can be. The leather is soft from the get go and forms nice to the wrist when its strapped on. The strap is connected by a butterfly deployment buckle. Deployment buckles are nice because they add longevity to the strap itself because you fit the strap to your wrist size once and then when you put the strap on it slides over your hand and then clasps into place. The buckle itself is polished and is unsigned. The stainless steel buckle operates as it should without any problems. The underneath of the strap is stamped with Detroit Watch Company and the D logo.
Inside the 1701 L’Horloge watch is ticking Swiss Sellita SW200 which is basically the ETA 2824-2 movement. Since ETA tightened the reigns on who can use their movements, etc.. companies now have to look for alternatives to these movements and the Sellita SW200 is an affordable alternative. The movement is an automatic movement that features a rotor to wind or you can manually wind it via the crown. It also features a full date wheel. It has a 38 hour power reserve, frequency of 28,800 A/h(4Hz) and 28 rubies. It is a very reliable movement and I think it is a suitable alternative to the ETA 2824-2. During my time with the 1701 it was running at a +/- 8 seconds per day.
The 1701 L’Horloge is an example of classic beauty in the world and history of watch making. This watch is packed full of details that give nod to the roots of watchmaking of yesteryear. I really enjoy and respect companies that still respect where the modern watch came from and that is what the Detroit Watch Company has done with the 1701 L’Horloge watch. The dial is absolutely remarkable and quite beautiful, from the detailing of the hands, to the rasised markers with the choice of using Roman numerals. It all works in perfect harmony. This is a truly classically designed watch. I would recommend this watch for sure and especially if you are looking for a dress style watch. What I found refreshing about this watch is that is it a dress style watch. I gravitate towards dive watches because those are what I typically wear and I like. The 1701 L’Horloge really took me by surprise. Pleasantly surprised.
Every detail of the 1701 L’Horloge watch was thoughtfully planned out and you can immediately see this when you first open the box. When I first open the lid to the box, I was pulled in. My eyes where drawn to this dial and I couldn’t look away. I am not being dramatic, I am being 110% honest with you all. The dial is that stunning and it took my mind to a place where it hasn’t been in awhile. I am talking about the history and roots of watch making, John Harrison is one name that immediately popped into my head when I first laid my eyes on this watch. Its something wonderful to always look back to where the modern watch came from. Watch making has a great and deep history.
I want to personally thank Patrick and Michael for the excellent communication and for allowing me the honor of doing this review for a company assembling watches right here in the United States. I have respect for all the countries of the world and each offer their own beautiful interpretation of watch making. As many of you can relate, there is something special when a watch is assembled in your country of origin. This doesn’t make one country better than another by any means, but it just adds something special and personal. What I truly love about this hobby is that it has allowed me to connect with people all over this world and it is truly remarkable that we are all a world apart, but we connect over our love of watches.
Thanks for reading!
[…] at Time to Blog, they have a hands-on review of the Detroit Watch Co 1701 L’Horloge. Matt wrote about this watch back in 2015, and I had […]