Watch Review: Dufrane Bergstrom

image

Company: Dufrane Watches

Website: http://www.dufranewatches.com

Model: Bergstrom

The Bergstom is named after Captain John August Earl Bergstrom. He was stationed in the Philippines at Clark Field during WWII. Captain Bergstrom was killed by the simultaneous bombings of Pearl Harbor and other military areas in the Philippines in December 1941. Tragically, he was the first native Austinite killed during the war. It is our privilege and honor to call our first watch Bergstrom.

Specifications:
Width (no crown) 41.5 mm
Width (with crown) 44.5 mm
Thickness 11 mm
Height 51 mm
Inside lug width 22 mm

316L stainless matte steel  $875

316L Matte bronze PVD $950
Domed sapphire crystal with a/r coating
C3 Superluminova
Push-pull crown
Screw bars
50 meters water resistance

ETA 6498-1 Movement

This watch hobby is very unique and quite unlike any other hobby that I have known. I have learned a lot about watches through personal research, handling many different watches and from other watch enthusiasts. This hobby has connected me with some really awesome people from all over the world. We all come from different countries, backgrounds, beliefs, but we all come together because of our common love of watches. It’s pretty amazing. This is how I met Steven from Dufrane Watches. I would see the Bergstrom pics on Instagram and I was drawn in by it’s vintage style. That’s brings us up to date with today as we look at the Dufrane Bergstrom.

image

Steven was kind enough to send over both case/dial variants so that I can showcase them both for you. There is the 316L stainless steel bead blast finish that comes in at $875  and the 316L stainless steel oil rubbed bronze PVD that comes in at $950. Both cases look good and it really will come down to your personal preference. The rubbed bronze case has more of a vintage look to it. The color of the case is absolutely beautiful, it’s deep and rich with purple hues. It reminds me of old pocket watches that were converted into wrist watches. The bead blasted case has a more modern look. The bead blasting is very well done, extremely even throughout the case.

image

There are two details on the Bergstrom that I immediately like from first site. The coin edged bezel and the lugs. My first real watch love was Chronoswiss watches. The founder of Chronoswiss has such an eye for fine details, and the Bergstrom’s fixed bezel and lugs capture this brilliantly. The drilled lugs have rugged screwed bars that hold the strap in place. The Bergstrom included the tool that will allow you to change the straps. The lugs are curved just right that allows the Berstrom to sit on the wrist with little to no overhang depending on your wrist size. I have 7 1/2″ wrists and there is no over hang whatsoever.

image

The push/pull style crown on the Bergstrom is signed with Dufrane logo. The crown is easy to grip for both setting the time and for winding it. Winding the Bergstrom is an absolute joy. As you turn the crown, the sound of the winding of the ETA 6498-1 movement is heavenly. It reminded me of why I love watches in the first place. Sitting on my grandfather’s knee, watching and listening to him wind his pocket watch. As many of you know by reading my other reviews, I personally don’t prefer exhibition case backs. But in this case it works because of the mechanical movement of the 6498-1. It’s actually a nice looking movement to look at. This movement has been produced since the 1950’s. The Bergstrom has a power reserve of 46 hours, 17 Jewels, 18k vibrations/hour 2.5 Hz, and an Incabloc shock protection. This movement has been trialed and tested for many years. It is very reliable. It was the perfect choice for this vintage pilot themed watch.

image

I can’t ignore this dial any longer. The matte black dial is a wonderful backdrop for everything else that is going on with the dial. The cathedral style hands are a true throwback to the pilot watches of yesteryear. The horizon dial featured gold cathedral hands and the standard dial features silver hands. These hands are very beautiful. A real piece of art. Another difference between to two dials is that the horizon dial indices glow blue while the standard dial glows green. The horizon dial has a more modern look and feel with a nice nod to instrument panels on a real aircraft located at on the sub dial at the 6 o’clock position. The sub dial features a small seconds counter which is a feature of the 6498 movement. Both watches small second hand is a nice shade of orange which makes it easy to read/see. The printed hour indices are coated with lume on both dial versions, and on both versions the number 12 is represented by the Dufrane logo.

image

The straps on the two review samples are both well made and quite different. The Horizon Bergstrom came on a soft and thick blue suede strap. The blue is a great deep, shade of blue. It makes an impactful impression when it’s on the wrist. The strap has a nice matchy matchy buckle. It has that same rubbed oil look that the Horizon case has. Custom designed and hand crafted, the Noah Marion leather strap can transform how your watch looks in minutes! 22mm width and includes two keepers. It is very soft and conforms to the wrist like a champ, it is my personal favorite of the two straps. The brown strap has a brushed finish buckle that also matches it’s case perfectly.

I know from talking to people in this amazing hobby of ours, that people (myself included) are often hesitant buying watches from newer companies. A very positive and mind settling fact about the Bergstrom is that Chris W*** from Lum-Tec was involved with the assembling and testing of the Bergstrom. Chris has a ton of experience in this industry and knows his stuff well. I can assure you that the Bergstrom is quality from top to bottom. The classic design is fantastic and the execution delivers. I am glad that Dufrane picked a classic movement like the 6498. A movement with a history and that has been tested for over 60 years. I am also a fan of the exhibition case back on the Bergstrom. It’s refreshing to see a true mechanical movement working away inside of a watch.

The Bergstrom looks and feels great on the wrist. I have 7 1/2″ wrists and the Bergstrom will wear great on both larger and smaller wrists. This watch does get my recommendation. It’s a well constructed watch with a great, well known reliable movement. It’s a watch that can easily transition from the office to the weekend adventure. Both case finishes look great as do both of the dial variations. Dufrane has given you great options. The options offer unique looks, with both modern and classic influences. Removing myself from the reviewer role and putting myself in the place of being just a watch fan I can honestly say that these are some of my personal favorite pilot watches. Dive watches are my personal preference and these watches caught my eye instantly when I saw them on Instagram before knowing anything about Dufrane Watches.

I want to personally thank Steven from Dufrane Watches for this opportunity to spend some time with the Bergstrom.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments please post them below.

***From his Ohio factory, Chris and his precision team of experts handle all production, tuning and testing for DuFrane Watches. Chris has nearly 20 years of experience running his own successful watch brand that is known for high-quality, sporty time pieces, not to mention his unsurpassed lume technology! ***

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Advertisements

Watch Review: Gruppo Gamma Genesis MK III

image

Company: Gruppo Gamma

Website: http://www.gruppogammawatches.com

Model: Genesis G-04 MK III

Specifications:

Class
Mk III Genesis

Functions
Hours, minutes

Case
Stainless steel, polished
Diameter 44 mm excluding crown x 14mm thick excluding crystal

Movement
Seiko Instruments NH35A (4R35)

Weight
140 g with strap

Water Resistance
30 ATM/ 300 m/ 1000 ft

Genesis means “birth”. 4 in Chinese means “death”. The G-04 is the end of the beginning.

A chapter is coming, is coming to a close in the Gruppo Gamma history book. The G-04 is the last model in their Genesis line. The Genesis line began in 2013, with the MK I. The MK I housed a Seagull movement and used a mineral Crystal. In 2014, Gruppo Gamma released the MK II. But Gruppo Gamma wanted to make the MK II into a true tool watch. Using the same case design GG improved the infrastructure of the MK II by using a Japanese self-winding movement and adding a sapphire crystal.

image

Now we have the MK III which now features a redesigned case and features an allusive prototype dial from the 1950’s. The 44mm excluding crown x 52mm L2L, polished stainless steel case stands 14mm tall excluding the sapphire crystal. The 2mm thick crystal is double domed which features underside anti-reflective coating and is bordered by a fixed sterile bezel. The finish on the case is absolutely superb. The MK III case rivals watches well above the $399 asking price. Running your finger across the case is like feeling the curves on an antique car. Smooth and sexy.

image

Speaking of curves, the lugs are nicely curved allowing the watch to hug your wrist without overhang on your wrist depending on your wrist size. My wrist is 7 1/2″ just for your reference as you look at the pictures later in the review. The MK III fits like a glove on my wrist. The lug holes allow you to easy unscrew the strap bars with the provided screwdriver which is always a useful tool to have. The lugs are 24mm spaced. I love how thick the lugs are on this watch. It really gives it a rugged/tool watch feel. Nothing dainty here. On the review piece you will see a strap from the GG Predatore series(available on GG website $49). This one is the blue version. The strap is alligator grain embossed cowhide, which is well padded and comfortable. It is nubuck lined and features painted edges. The strap right out of the box is pretty firm but it will soften with more wear. The strap comes in at 125×75 mm which will fit a 6 1/2″ to 7 1/2″ wrist.

image

The classic lines of this case are not interrupted by crown guards. This gives the MK III a classic and clean look. The screw down crown functions like a champ, smooth and precise. The crown is signed with MK III. A fitting engraving for sure. Since we are on the subject of engraving, the case back on the MK III is absolutely awesome. The screw down case back features the Gruppo Gamma skull and rose logo. It looks killer, quite possibly one of my all time favorite case backs and logo. The simple text on the case back is done in a very nice retro font. It really gives the MK III that vintage feel and that ending of an era embodiment.

image

Classic. Beautiful. Elegance. All describe the MK III’s dial. The elusive 1950’s prototype dial is 2-layers, matte black, and features C3 luminescent markers. Matte black dials are hard to beat in the beauty and looks department. Give me a matte black dial any day of the week and I will drool over it like its the first time seeing one. Adding the white numerals and indexes just makes this dial that much more stunning. There’s such a simplistic thing of beauty that is happening on this dial. You won’t find the dial overcrowded or featuring any unnecessary text. What you will find is Gruppo Gamma printed in white underneath the 12 o’clock hour marker. There is no date feature on the MK III which adds to the harmony of this dial. The traditional 12, 3, 6, 9 hours are represented here, and the other hours are marked by line indexes. The minutes/seconds are marked by small dots. All of indexes are coated with a nice layer of C3 lume and are located in the second layer of the dial.

image

What Gruppo Gamma has done again and again is make balanced dials, with the absolutely perfect proportioned hands to dial size. It is something that I have so much respect for Gruppo Gamma for doing. The know what works and they stick with it. Very commendable. The hands on the MK III are gold and feature lume centers. There is only an hour hand and a minute hand. You won’t find a second hand on this watch. These hands come to life through the power of the Seiko Instruments NH35A (4R35) movement. This reliable power house beats at 21600 bph and features 24 jewels. The NH35A is an automatic bi-directional winding, hand-windable movement. It also features a timesetting with stop-second device. The accuracy rate of this movement is between -25 to +35 s/ day which I always find GG watches to be well under that. Typically I find them to run at -/+ 5 seconds per day. You will get almost 2 days out of a full wind with the MK III’s power reserve of 40 hrs.

image

All great things must come to an end. It’s sad to see such a great and classic series end. The MK III does a fantastic job of closing the series though. It is absolutely breathtaking in person, pictures honestly don’t do this watch it’s due justice. It’s a great example how you can merge classic with tool and the outcome is outstanding and stunning. Noaki is a true master of what he does and this couldn’t be more evident than it is with this last edition of the Genesis line. There’s always something that I can find on a watch that I can suggest a change or something I can not pick about because of personal preference, but there is absolutely nothing and I mean nothing that I can find on this watch. It’s pretty darn perfect.

image

This watch comes with a high recommendation from me. You are getting a piece of Gruppo Gamma history. If you are looking for a tool watch you’ve found it. If you are looking for a dress watch you’ve found it. If you are looking for a 1950’s classic styled dive watch you’ve found it. That is what makes the MK III so incredibly special. It’s the merging of all these worlds into one beautiful watch. This watch can seemlessly transition into any situation and setting. You can drastically change the look of this watch with a simple strap change. The blue Predatore strap is a work of beauty. The blue color is so deep and mesmerizing. You can see the different looks of this watch in the pictures below by the strap changes.

image

I find myself getting lost in this dial. The matte black just seems endless like the night sky. Takes me back to being young and laying in the grass dreaming about the endless space and stars above my head. Like I got lost in the sky many times over, there have been many books that I have found myself lost in. Escaping to that book, emersing myself until the end. Feeling saddened about that good book ending. During this review, I kept thinking how sad that I am that this chapter is ending. But like all good books, you think back to your favorite parts or favorite characters which would bring a smile to your face. This review is no different, it had me remembering early memories, fond memories of the my first experiences with Gruppo Gamma.

image

The Genesis chapter is ending, but like all good books, one chapter ends and the next chapter begins. Gruppo Gamma’s book has a wonderful start and the Genesis chapter was amazing with a fitting ending.  I am eagerly waiting to enter the next chapter as this is one book that I am finding quite impossible to put down and a book that is nowhere close to ending………

I can remember a diving trip in Florida. I was taking a wrist shot and a lady stopped me to question what exactly I was doing. As we talked, she told me what a watch nut her son in law was and we actually talked about watches for a long time. It was a Gruppo Gamma bronze vanguard on my wrist, now her son in law not only follows my blog, but he also started his own Gruppo Gamma  book.

The best way I can compare this to is this: ever hear a song that you haven’t heard in years? Listening to that song I bet you can remember where you were the first time you heard it, or remember that time you made out with that girl and that song was playing in the background. Watches can create that same memory thought process. Just look at your watch collection and reminisce. No watch collection? The MK III would make a great first chapter in your own personal GG story. Creating your own pages in the book, filling the pages with the many adventures that you can have with the MK III.

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” ― Frank Herbert

Thank you Naoki for allowing me the honor to do the farewell review on the Genesis line. I’m forever grateful and humbled.

Quick Q & A with the master of Gruppo Gamma himself Naoki Tsukumo

Is the dial on the G-04 an actual vintage dial or just vintage style?

Naoki: The dial was based on a prototype that was produced presumably in the 50s. t was never put to production. In our version we modified the design very slightly.

What was your inspiration for the G-04?

Naoki: A main reason behind setting up Gruppo Gamma was our desire to realise what could have been but never was.

Favorite memory of the time with the Genesis series?

Naoki: We made many friends. They’re our earliest customers and we share similar passion and values.

What was the origin of the Genesis name?

Naoki: Genesis means “birth”.

Are you sad to see this chapter end?

Naoki: Yes, but I’m happy that we’ve started a new chapter.

Which was your favorite Genesis model?

Naoki: The G-04.

image

imageimage

Strap that comes with the G-04

imageimage

Comic strap from Lion Straps

http://www.etsy.com/de/shop/LionStraps

imageimageimageimage

imageimage

image

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Watch Review: Ballast Trafalgar

image

Company: Ballast

Website: http://www.ballast1903.com

Model: Trafalgar

SPECIFICATION

46.5mm diameter x 14.5mm high (lug tips to crystal zenith)
22mm lug width
Miyota 8215 21 Jewel movement with 21,600bph
Power reserve of over 50 hours when wound fully
Flat mineral with hardness coating
150g (with strap)
10ATM

From Ballast Website:

“WE COME UNSEEN”

The Motto of the Royal Navy’s Submarine Service remarks upon the clandestine nature of the submarines movement under the waves.

For the hundred years of service, the Submarines and submariners of the Royal Navy have evolved from being regarded as renegades “underhanded, unfair, and damned un-English” to being regarded as a crucial part of the countrys Naval Defense.

Today I will be looking at the unique Trafalgar from Ballast. It’s quite a striking piece. The case is pretty awesome from first glance. It reminds me of the U-Boat style watches. The first thing that really caught my eye is the canteen style crown lock. This canteen is made up of 10 individual pieces. Not only is it very easy to grip and unscrew/screw but it’s design is beautiful. I love the machined gear style edges and the textured engraved top of the crown cover. The combination of stainless steel, IP rose gold and black on the canteen looks fantastic. It also matches the case nicely. The majority of the case though is brushed 316L stainless steel.

image

Unscrewing the canteen allows you to see a odd little button. My first instinct was to turn it. But instead of turning it you press it. Pressing it once pops up another odd little button. Then comes what makes the Trafalgar an unique oddity, if you rotate the bezel, you can adjust the date. Yes, it’s true. Ballast’s patented bezel mechanism allows you to adjust the date, time and even wind the Trafalgar. It’s actually really cool and different. Not something I have ever experienced before on a watch. So to recap, press the button under the canteen once to adjust the date, push the button twice allows you to set the time. Before you screw down the canteen you must push the second button at the 3 o’clock position down flush with the side of the case.

image

The bezel is bidirectional rotating and it’s very easy to operate when winding the watch or setting the time/date. It’s odd saying that. The top of the bezel is IP rose gold with a brushed finish, and the sides of the bezel where you grip is black. It’s a striking contrast that looks great together. On the non crown side of the case is a little black plate that is screwed onto the case by two rose gold screws. On the plate is printed ‘Trafalgar We Come Unseen’ which of course is the motto of the Royal Navy submarines. I’m not a huge fan of plates or engraving on the non crown side of watches, but it does look really good on the Trafalgar.

image

The movement can be observed through the exhibition case back. I like the detail that Ballast has done here, if you look at the picture above you can see the Ballast logo is actually printed on the inside of the case back crystal. Its definitely cool, but I would have loved to see a solid case back with a vintage submarine engraved on it.

 

image

The dial on the Trafalgar is just as beautiful as the case. The large semi skeletonized hands are awesome. The dial is large, so it makes perfect sense to have appropriately sized hands to match. I commend Ballast for this well thought out design feature. The second hand is the loner that is all black with a red tip.There are some nice layers to the dial of the Trafalgar. The top layer is matte black, there’s an inner layer that is textured black. Most of the date wheel numbers are exposed and at the date window itself (located at the 3 oclock position) is a military style stenciled date window. I love the look of this date window and it quite possibly be my favorite date window to date. The other nice feature of the dial is the machine stamped inner chapter ring.

image

Located at the 9 o’clock position is the Ballast submarine logo. I am a fan of their logo. There are only two numbers represented on the Trafalgar’s dial 12 & 6 which are done in brushed chrome that match the hands. The other hour markers are represented by white indexes that are set below the top layer of the dial, not quite a sandwich style, but similar. The only text on the dial which is printed in white is Ballast, Automatic and 100m/330ft.

image

The strap is very well done on the Trafalgar. It has the look and feel of a quality custom made strap. The strap is genuine Italian buffalo hide leather with cream stitching. It’s 4mm thick and has black piping finish. Located close to the case on each side of the case are precision stitched X’s. Now as nice as this strap is, the real feature that wowed me was the thick stainless steel buckle that features a submarine on it. The buckle is so badass in design and functionally it’s nicely curved for wrist comfort.

image

Wrist is 7 1/2″ for reference.

image

The Trafalgar does wear smaller than the 46mm case size, it wears more like 44mm because of the short lugs. It’s a pretty comfortable watch to wear and has stunning presence on the wrist. There’s no denying the amount of thought that went into the case design on this watch. It looks phenomenal and is not a watch that looks like a watch that you will run into during your everyday travels. You can immediately tell when you first hold and examine the Trafalgar that there was a lot of time spent designing it. I can’t find fault with anything in terms of case design or execution besides nit picky personal preferences.

I can tell you that the case design alone would be enough to give the watch a try. Along with the unique patented bezel that allows you to wind and set the date/time. Especially at the $500 price point. The strap is also extremely well done and awesome, custom made quality. It’s an awesome looking piece and you definitely won’t run into a similar looking watch in your every day life.

Thanks for reading!image

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

imageimageimage

Watch Review: GAVOX Legacy

image

Company: GAVOX

Website: https://gavox.com

Model: Legacy

Specifications:

Sapphire : crystal
Water-resistance : 5 bar (50 m / 199 ft, static)
Accuracy : from -1h15 to +2h30 per year
Autonomy : 38 hours
Calibre : Miyota 8219
Smallest unit displayed : 3 Hz
Jewel count : 21
Measurements : Ø 41.4 x 48.7 x 12.5 mm
Wrist size : 16 to 20 cm
Warranty : 24 mois
Anti-magnetisme : 4.800 A/m
Individual Calibration

Price: $382.07 USD

 

In today’s world we get so caught up in our technology which there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that. Technology makes our lives “easier”. I rely on technology to complete my reviews and without technology I wouldn’t be able to bring these reviews to you. But there is something simple and beautiful about the classics. I still use a notebook and a pen to organize my reviews, keep track of watches, watch companies, etc. Today I will be showing you something very classic, the Gavox Legacy.

image

The Legacy attention to the classics can be immediately noticed from first glance. The polished case gives the Legacy lends to the classic dress style of this watch. The slightly curved, solid lugs are brushed on the top and polished on the sides. What I noticed pretty quickly is the crowns location. The signed crown is located at the 2 o’clock position. It’s an interesting choice and I actually like it. It’s a refreshing change and actually works well.

image

The crown operates as a classic push/pull style crown. The crown could be a bit bigger so operating it would be a little easier. The Legacy features a exhibition crystal case back allowing you to view the Miyota 8219 movement ticking away inside. The movement has a -20/+40 seconds per day accuracy rate. The Legacy in this reviewed was timed at +8 seconds per day. The case back also features information about the Legacy, such as the model name, number, GAVOX name and logo, 21 jewels, and Japan automatic movement. Another nice detail on the Legacy is that the rotor on the movement is engraved with the GAVOX name and logo.

image

The white dial is where the Legacy really shines. The dial is a real work of art. There is a lot going on with the Legacy dial, but it is so well designed and thought out that it’s a work of symmetrical execution. The hands on the Legacy just scream classic design, from the blued color, to the actual shape/design. To achieve the blues hands the metal is heated to approximately 320 degrees Celsius. The hour and minute hands even feature small lumed circles, which is a nice detail. I notice a lot that dress watches don’t usually contain any lume which is always disappointing.

image

The texture on the dial adds so much depth. The subdial at the 8/9 o’clock hour markers represents a 24 hour secondary hour indicator. I like what Gavox did here though. Instead of just a flat, uninteresting secondary dial, Gavox added a sun and moon to indicate day/night. The sun & moon are raised from the dial which adds that beautiful depth I mentioned earlier.

image

The other subdial at the 3/4 o’clock hour marker is a small seconds counter. The two subdial sneer together in the middle but Gavox kept the symmetry by adapting the small seconds with a curving in at the 40/50 seconds mark. I love that these weren’t eliminated but a simple curving allowed the beautiful flow.

image

The hour markers are represented by large Roman numerals and it doesn’t get anymore classic than that. All the numerals are represented here, some were adapted to allow for the subdial and the date window at the 6 o’clock position. Again Gavox stayed consistent with the flow and symmetry. These details clearly show Gavox’s dedication to design and how much thought/planning went into this dials design.

image

The outter track on the Legacy dial adds nicely to the detail of this dial. The inner chapter ring features the minute indices from 5 through 60. Another classic detail is the guiloche that is found throughout this dial. For those of you unfamiliar with guiloche, it’s the process of intricate and precise engraving that dates back to the  1770’s France and supposedly was first used by a mysterious French engineer named Guillot. Gavox kept the text on the Legacy to a minimal, limiting it to “Gavox Watch Co., 21 jewels, Japan Movement.

Wrist is 7 1/2” for reference

image

The Legacy is quite comfortable to wear and has wonderful presence on the wrist. The alligator textured leather strap is beautiful. It is classic and the color is stunning, which is a deep blue which matches the hands on the Legacy. The Legacy is full of these little, but impactful details. The strap attaches via a stainless steel traditional tang style buckle. The Legacy comes in at a great price point, I understand why there isn’t a deployment style buckle, but that detail would have completed this classic look/design.

The Legacy is a beautiful work of horological art. The well thought out design process is quite evident when you hold the Legacy in your hand. Michael prides himself on the attention to detail and it delivers a beautiful watch here with the Legacy. The dial alone is worth picking up this watch as it is full of amazing, small details that come together in symmetrical harmony. This watch has the look and detail of a watch that costs 4 times the Legacy price.

I would have absolutely no reservations about recommending the Legacy to anyone looking for a dress style watch for the office or for that special “dressing up” occasion. This is my third experience with a Gavox watch, so the quality, well thought design process and execution is no fluke. I want to personally thank Michael for the honor and opportunity to review the Legacy. Thanks for reading.

 

imageimageimageimageimageimage

imageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Watch Review: McDowell DelRay

image

Company: McDowell

Model: DelRay

Link: https://www.mcdowelltime.com

SPECS:
Case – 316L Stainless Steel in Polished or PVD Black
Case Width – 44MM
Lug Width – 22MM
Thickness – 11MM
Crystal – Sapphire Crystal with Anti-Reflective Coating
Movement – Seiko Epson YT57 Auto-Quartz (Kinetic)
Hands – Classic Styling with C3 Super-LumiNova
Water Resistance – 10ATM
Warranty – 24 Months

Price: $295

hy·brid
ˈhīˌbrid/
noun
1.
BIOLOGY
the offspring of two plants or animals of different species or varieties, such as a mule (a hybrid of a donkey and a horse).
“a hybrid of wheat and rye”
synonyms: cross, cross-breed, mixed breed, half-breed, half-blood; More
2.
a thing made by combining two different elements; a mixture.
“the final text is a hybrid of the stage play and the film”

image

The word hybrid is heard so often nowadays it has become part of our popular culture. Over the past few years there has been a big push in the automotive industry for hybrid vehicles. This is when hybrid really became used quite a bit. When I first heard McDowell Watches and how they used a hybrid movement it got me very intrigued. How can a watch use a hybrid movement? And what exactly is the way it is achieved? Well let’s explore the DelRay and find out together.

image

When I first opened up the DelRay packaging the word classic immediately came to mind. The style of this watch is classic. The 44mm polished stainless steel case is so classic. One of the first thing I did notice about the case is the welded/wire lug style which reminds me of the classic trench watches from WW1, which is what McDowell Watches was going for with the DelRay. A throwback to the iconic trench watches of WW1. The lugs allow the watch to wear much smaller than 44mm. McDowell took the classic trench watch and streamlined it with modern touches for the DelRay. In fact, the straps are removable because there are actual spring bars holding the black leather strap in place. The original trench watches either had a strap sown right to the lugs or the strap had snaps that you could unsnap to remove the strap. The black leather strap on the DelRay is nice and padded with some white stitched accents. There’s a traditional tang buckle done in polished stainless steel.

image

The rounded edges of the case and bezel just has that classic watch styling to it. Typically I’m not a big fan of polished cases, but it really works well on the DelRay. The signed crown operates by pulling and pushing it. It’s easy to grip for two reasons, it’s size and it’s nice edges. The case back features an exhibition crystal so you can see the unique movement inside of the DelRay. The first thing I noticed on the movement is the conducting coil, but also a rotor. This is where the hybrid movement comes into play.

image

The movement is the Seiko YT57 Auto-Quartz. The automatic movement is the typical rotating counter weight/rotor but instead of the rotor winding a spring, the YT57 stores energy in a small capacitor. “This electrical energy is then used to power the quartz operation of the watch; which provides extremely reliable time keeping. This combination of rotation mass converting to electrical energy is a true hybrid approach.” McDowell’s website.  It’s a pretty cool feature if you ask me. It merges two watch worlds into one. You either love quartz watches or hate them, just as watches with automatic movements, the DelRay manages to bring both sides of the fence together. Maybe our politicians can take a cue from this watch. It’s actually awesome to see both movements merged into one via the crystal case back. I’m not much into exhibition case backs, but this is one movement I don’t mind looking at.

image

The dial on the DelRay is very classic. I love the matte black dial with the white Arabic numerals. The classic railroad style minute track printed in white with red accents just looks so crisp and clean. The red accents can be found at each hour marker. The hands on the DelRay are just as classic as the case and also match the case nicely because of the polished edges of the hour/minute hand. The second hand is completely polished without lume. The white center of the hands are coated with C3 Superlumi-Nova. The numerals on the DelRay also received some nice and even lume treatment as well. The McDowell logo is printed in red on the dial and is located just under the 12 o’clock hour marker. The other text on the dial is printed in white above the 6 o’clock hour marker and features the model name and ‘AUTOMATIC’.

image

The DelRay is a really nice offering from McDowell. It’s hard not to like the classic design. I’ve always liked trench watches. There’s a certain coolness factor about them. What also makes the DelRay cool is this the Auto-Quartz movement. This is my first experience with it. I had a WW2 flashlight that would operate in the same way, winding up to store power etc.. The nice thing about the classic design of the DelRay it can make the transition quite easily from the office to the weekend.  The original trench watches did look fantastic but remember what they were originally designed for, abuse!

I would have liked to see a screw down style crown on the DelRay, I believe it offers a bit more security against anything unwanted entering the watch. The strap is a bit hard from the get go and quite uncomfortable at first. It eventually loosens up some with wear. I would recommend the DelRay to anyone looking for a classic style watch that is very affordable. Affordable and offering a unique movement. It’s extremely comfortable and light on the wrist, so comfortable that you will forget it’s on your wrist. I want to personally thank McDowell Watches for the opportunity to review the DelRay. Thanks for reading!

wrist shot 7 1/2″

imageimageimage

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage