One of the most notoriously difficult to find German watch brands is Damasko. They tend to make cool, high-function tool watches for a fair price. If you are a fan of Sinn, you'll also like Damasko - and it goes without saying that Damasko's designs are highly inspired by Sinn timepieces (which are also less than ironically hard to find).
If I could give some advice to Sinn and Damasko it would be to understand that pieces such as this would do much better in America if anyone in the US could ever find them. Let's talk distribution people! Sometimes I don't understand how these businesses operate without basic notions of doing business outside of Europe. But I digress!
New for Damasko is a model called the DA44 which will come in both a 42mm wide bead-blasted steel case and a black-coated steel case. This is when it starts to get interesting. The steel they use is one of those very hard materials that they claim is ice-hardened and nickel-free. It goes through a range of hardening techniques that I hear work pretty well. That and the steel is supposed to be really corrosion-resistant. The black coated model is said to be coated in "Damast." Not sure what that is, but I suspect it is some special PVD treatment. See more details below in the tech specs.
Style of the DA44 is heavily based on the Sinn U2 range. They aren't exactly one-to-one copies but it is clear what Damasko was going for. I haven't compared the two side by side, but I can say that the DA44 is about $1000 cheaper than the Sinn U2. Both are German brands, and I believe both use German-made cases.
The DA44 case is water resistant to 1000 meters and has a sapphire crystal. There are a number of special lubricants and seals that Damakso discusses to indicate how bad-ass the watch is. The Sinn U2 is more water resistant actually - to about 2000 meters. The dial and bezel design are very much U2, but they still look really nice. I like the thin-style of rotating bezel, but that it is still very functional. The dial is clean and chic looking with the cross-hairs and tabs of red. The hands and hour indicators should be bathed in SuperLumiNova. If you read the tech specs carefully you'll notice that various elements of the watch are customizable. For example you can indicate the type of AR coating you want, as well as the type of bezel insert.
Inside the DA44 is a Damasko regulated Swiss ETA 2836 automatic movement. Pictures I saw of it in the watch reveal that it is quite nicely decorated. The watch has the day/date indicators on the dial, and thankfully Damasko uses black discs for those indicators. Attached to the case is a form-fitted leather strap with red stitching or a rubber strap. Really a nice little collection of watches from Damasko and a steal at $1,490 in steel and $1,590 in black-coated steel. You can get them online from Gnomon Watches here.
Tech Specs from Damasko:
• ETA 2836-2, self-winding, mechanical movement
• -25 jewels
• 28,800 bph
• Shockproof according to DIN 8308
• Anti-magnetic according to DIN 8309
• Hour, minute, permanent small sweep second
• Day/Date window with new, modified position
• Regulated and Adjusted by Damasko
DA 44 Functions:
• Hour, minute, central second
• Weekday and date in new position
• Stainless steel, bead-blasted, nickel-free,
• Ice-hardened to 60 HRC or hardened to 710 HV
• Magnetic field protection up to 80,000 A/m or 100 mT integrated in casing
• Sapphire glass, bilateral anti-glare, unilateral anti-glare on request
• Glass gasket UV-resistant
• Bottom screwed with full thread, Viton O-ring gasket
• Crown sealing elements with permanent lubrication
• Viton sealing elements with maximum chemical resistance
• Crown screwable, with crown protection, crown hardened with mechanics – almost indestructable
• Crown tube screwed to casing with “System Damasko”
• Bezel hardened, rotatable in both directions with exact, ceramic-bedded minute detent, mechanics patented
• Protected from dust penetration by the sealing element
• Bezel insert hardened, PVD-coated, scratch-proof
• Choice of two swivel inserts: 60-minute countdown or 12-hour ring (in acc. with U.S.
• Waterproof as set out in DIN 8310, pressure-proof up to 100 bar/100 meters
• Vacuum-proof fitted glass
Matt black, hour indices with white luminous compound, red index at 12
Hour and minute with white luminous compound
Seconds hand painted with special colour in red
• Hand made, water resistant, and silicone rubber lined black leather strap
• Bead blasted Damasko hardened buckle
• Case diameter:42.00 mm
• Overall height: 12.40 mm
• Lug width: 20.00 mm
• Weight without strap: 99 grams