Watch Review: Duzu DW-D3 Prototype

A special review here for sure and it’s all thanks to this watch. Duzu Watches was kind enough to trust me with their new DW-D3 prototype! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Duzu, they are a proudly Western Australian watch brand. Their dive watches are used to promote the rugged natural beauty of the Western Australian ocean and coastline.

From Duzu, “We care about you and our reputation and pride ourselves on customer service. To us, quality watches go hand-in-hand with quality customer service.”

This watch, like all of Duzu’s dive watches, draws inspiration from sea life. I admire this about Duzu as they try to bring awareness to the precious life in the sea. The DW-D3 draws its inspiration from the Southern Right Whale.

For those of you who don’t know about Duzu, they are a proudly Western Australian watch brand. “Through our dive watches we endeavour to promote the rugged natural beauty of the Western Australian ocean and coastline.” I have been a fan of Duzu since their very first release and I have to say that the DW-D3 might be my favorite yet. I thoroughly enjoy watches brands progress and Duzu is no different. Each of their releases are a step in the right direction.

The entire watch was designed with the whale in mind throughout the entire process. I absolutely love this stunning dial. I have to say one thing though, as much as I love the unique position of the 3 and 9, the position of the 3 & the 9 will be changed to the traditional positioning. The hands are so uniquely beautiful and draw inspiration from the whale. The hour and minutes hands where designed with the whales jawbone as the inspiration. The hands are coated with BGW9 which depicts the markings on the whale’s head and the glow reflective of the Indian and Southern oceans. It’s those types of details that inspire me as a watch enthusiast. Taking cues from nature and putting a horological spin on them without making it look gimmicky. The large circular hour markers drew inspiration from the whale’s blowhole. I kept finding myself mesmerized by the sandwich style dial. I’m such a sucker for matte finish dials and this dial doesn’t disappoint. To the naked eye it’s just a matte dial, but in Duzu’s nature inspired eyes, the matte finish of the DW-D3 dial are finishes representing the skin tone of the whale. Horology inspired by nature, how can I not appreciate that!?!?

I went into battle with several Mondays with the DW-D3 prototype. Nothing like riding into battle on the back of a giant whale?!? I mean with a whale riding on my wrist. Right?!? I knew that you would agree! I wanted to highlight the case in the next series of pictures and explain how Duzu applied the whale inspiration on the case. I love that they are paying tribute to the endangered Southern Right Whale. More awareness needs to be brought to how we are destroying the water and sea life. The short lugs allow this watch to have a nice compact look and feel to it. The case is 42mm x 42mm with a thickness of 13.25mm. This watch is a great example of how details and design can give a watch strong wrist presence without having anything to do with its measurements. The matte finish on the case is a detail that I appreciate because a watch that’s geared for adventure shouldn’t have a shiny/high polished finish. That type of finish should be reserved for dress style watches.

The shape of the lugs emulate the shape and the form of whales flippers, yet doesn’t come across gimmicky. Duzu always manages to merge nature into their watch designs without it ever feeling “cheesy” or “gimmicky”. That’s one of the reasons why I appreciate their watches so much because not only are they trying to bring awareness to nature but their commitment to their design language & the execution of that design is so apparent. It’s actually inspiring to me as a nature lover, watch enthusiast, photographer and as a watch reviewer.

If you look at the case side you will see how Duzu engraved the case to give it the appearance of baleen bristles. This gives the case some nice depth of detail and is one of my favorite details on this watch. Duzu’s attention to detail can be seen in large detail and small detail. One of the smaller details is how they carried over the tail logo from the inner chapter ring to the crown that actually operates rotating the chapter ring.

Just curious what detail on this case is your favorite?

The lume white were some of the hardest photographs to capture out of all the tens of thousands of watch pictures I have taken over the past 2 and a half decades! Those of you who take killer lume shots, my hat is off to you. Nature photography is tricky enough, macrophotography is a challenge, and you throw in trying to get clear lume shots in the dark! It was fun though I have to admit even though it was a damn challenge. Thankfully the DW-D3 has some nice BGW9 lume that glows nice and bright. Duzu’s application of the lume and the layout of the lume on the dial allows for optimal legibility in the dark. I love that Duzu carried some lume application to the case, specifically on the two crowns. It’s a physical testament to Duzu’s dedication to design consistency. It’s an example of that horological cohesion between case and dial. Duzu did not disappoint here whatsoever with the cohesive design language on this “whale” of a watch. I even love how there is lume applied to the pinion cap.

Lume has never been a dealbreaker for me on a watch. In fact I never have really cared much about lume either way. I have to admit though that as I experience watches with nice lume, I find myself admiring it quite a bit. It is kind of cool coming in from outdoors and seeing your watch glowing with some day lume. Am I right?!? I was thinking about this watch in particular with it’s lume, and how cool would it be if they added lume to the whale on the case back? Maybe applying lume behind the whale so when it glows you see the silhouetto of a man! Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the Fandango! Sorry I couldn’t resist. As I was typing “that you would see the silhouette of the whale,” I was slapped across the case by the Bohemian Rhapsody 🤷🏻‍♂️ Damn you Wayne Cambell!

Aesthetically speaking, this watch definitely satisfies that side of my watch hunger, but what about the more important side of that hunger? That hunger for quality function?!? The crowns both function with good fluidity, both when I was unscrewing and screwing down each crown. It’s extremely easy to line them both up when returning them to a screwed down/closed position so the risk of cross threading is at a minimal risk. Duzu designed both crowns to be easy to grip because of the larger size and because of the deep machined channels/grooves. The responsiveness of both crown’s is spot on. When operating them for their intended purpose, both crowns function without flaw, whether it operating the inner chapter ring or when setting the time or when winding the movement. The movement keeps good time, which this prototype ran well inside of the +\- range for the Miyota 9039.

The dial on the DW-D3 is extremely legible to read. Duzu reports that the second hand on the production model will have applied lume. The 3 and 9 will be in placed into the traditional position instead of the unique position on the prototype, which for the record I prefer the unique position on this prototype. I always applaud a company that thinks outside of the box and I also appreciate that Duzu took a poll to see which position the majority would prefer. Even though I was in the minority here, I like the fact that Duzu took the time to hear out from both sides first before making a final decision.

I absolutely love how well this compact case wears. This is a watch that has such a fantastic design, which it wouldn’t matter to me if it was 38mm or 47mm, it would wear wonderfully, and have the same striking wrist presence. Case size is so irrelevant, a minute detail that doesn’t have any bearing on my watch buying decisions. I understand that people have preferences and I respect that, but the flip side to this is that you shouldn’t allow dimensions written on paper persuade you before giving a watch a chance. I see it way too much in the watch community. I see an unhealthy obsession with case size to the point of adults acting like children throwing tantrums over case size. Don’t believe me, go onto social media and read the whining rants over Blancpain’s upcoming watch that has a 47mm case and the new Longines watch.

DUZU did a fantastic job on these. After spending some quality time with this watch, I can honestly say that it’s their best release yet. I have nicknamed it Storm Shadow Trooper. It reminds me of a hybrid between a Storm Trooper from Star Wars and Storm Shadow from GI Joe. Duzu tells me that on kickstarter the DW-D3 will start at $329 for early bird and $349 standard. In April, it will retail for $495 USD. When the production pieces come out, I will update this review with how it compares to the prototype. This watch is absolutely packed full of details, from the dial to the case. When I think of the early bird price of $329 and what that buys, that is an incredible value which is incredibly important these days in my opinion.

Thank you for reading! I appreciate you taking the time to check out this review. Thank you to Wayne and Duzu for allowing me to spend some time with the DW-D3 prototype!

Spec sheet:



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