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Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 Watch Review

Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Dreyfuss & Co. is mostly known for more budget-themed timepieces, but over the years certain select models have seen the company stepping up their game a bit. Almost out of nowhere came this pretty nice, circa $1,200, vintage-pilot-style watch they call the Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 reference ‎DGS00164/19 limited edition. Overall, I like this watch a lot given its pricepoint and design – but it isn’t without its quirks. Also notable is language and terminology used on the brand’s website that should probably be changed – especially if they are attempting to attract a more sophisticated watch buyer audience.

The Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 is based on the design of early aviation watches, and you can see similar designs in timepieces that are a lot more expensive. So this is in many ways among the lowest-priced ways of getting a watch with this style (think Zenith). Here, that means a semi-glossy black dial with raised stylized Arabic numeral hour markers that are painted with a decent level of luminant. You also have quite decently broad hour and minute hands which are properly sized and together make for an excellent level of legibility. It also helps that the sapphire crystal over the dial is AR-coated on both sides which does away with a lot of nasty glare (oh, how I loathe glare on watches…).

Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Enthusiasts will appreciate various design decisions such as the lack of a date window, and devotees of “traditional” manually wound watches will appreciate that this is hand-wound version of a movement series that is typically presented in an automatic-winding execution (when I saw it previously).

Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The name of the watch, the dial of the watch, and the movement in the watch all have the “Calibre 39” name designation that will allow no one to forget that inside of this Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 is indeed a Swiss Eterna-made Calibre 39 4Hz (28,800bph) automatic movement with 65 hours of power reserve. That is about two and a half days between when you need to wind it. You can view the decently attractive movement through the exhibition window on the rear of the case. Personally, I would have far preferred an automatic movement as I’m not a particular fan of manually wound movements. Though, some people are, and for them this might be a particularly good choice.

Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

As a manually wound watch, you will need to wind the crown on a regular basis, of course, and in the Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 that isn’t the most pleasant experience. I’ve handled two of the watches, so I think it is an issue with the entire collection. There are two issues, though neither should be considered a deal-breaker. First is the fact the screw-down crown (which is good for water-resistance) is hard to screw back down once it is unscrewed. Basically, the threading on the crown stem doesn’t easily catch into the case, and I personally have to “play” with it considerably for it properly catch and screw down.

Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Not screwing down the crown is unhealthy for the movement as water (including moisture) and dust can enter. Moreover, the wobbly crown is susceptible to damage if it is hit in the wrong way when it is not screwed down. Another issue related to winding is that for some reason this caliber 39 movement style has a mushy, almost absent feedback when manually winding the movement. It’s not awful or anything, but it falls a bit short of what I typically expect from a decent Swiss movement.

Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 (which, as of writing, is not even represented on Dreyfuss & Co.’s own website) looks attractive and, more importantly, is comfortable on the wrist. If my favorite part of the watch is the dial, my second favorite part is the case. In steel and 45mm wide, the case has a double bezel design with the inner one being polished and the outer one being brushed, like the rest of the case. The case shape is, for the most part, bowl-shaped, which means that it is narrower where it sits on your wrist, and that makes it feel smaller than it is. You have a nice relief-style brand logo on the easy-to-grip crown, and the prominent lugs are given a nice shape as well as the added detail of exterior strap screws.

Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Dreyfuss & Co. Series 1924 Calibre 39 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Attached to the case is an attractive alligator-style black leather aviator-style strap with contrast stitching. Like some other pilot watches (such as the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph produced by IWC), the strap tapers about an inch down past the case, which is both attractive and makes for added comfort when on the wrist. While little of the actual design of the Series 1924 Calibre 39 is original to Dreyfuss & Co., this is a price-competitive, attractive offering that delivers a style a lot of people are looking for.



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  • Word Merchant

    Daft marketing aside (and see the previous RJ Super Mario article for proof of efficacy), if I wanted a watch with this sort of olde worlde military look, this appears to be a reasonable package.

    For these sorts of watches that are clearly ‘paying homage’ (I am feeling polite after a lovely weekend with the good Doctor WM), I’d like ABTW to review homage-paying watches of particular styles and various price points alongside each other. Any chance of this?

    • johnwithanh

      I second this idea as a “price of entry” series for styles of watch.

  • MEddie90

    Alot to like there, the styling is quite attractive and as mentioned not over used to the point of saturation, manual wind is a nice feature on a watch that is historically inspired and the price seems reasonable for a decently finished cal 39 equipped watch.

    That being said the size is a little bold for my tastes (any ides how thick the watch is?) and given that it’s a manual wind I would expect a pleasurable experience winding it, nothing worse than crowns that are hard to screw down and an anemic feeling operation, fix these issues and I may be interested.

    I appreciate that Arial has done some digging here and come up with a few criticisms. It’s often easy to see articles as almost advertisements with the constant heaping on of praise so it’s nice to see ABTW step up their game and cut through some of the marketing instead of parroting it.The WR and hand-made issue is well explored and the criticism of the winding operation is a useful piece of information to the potential consumer that many would have missed. More articles like this please.

  • Nothing objectionable and a reasonable price. But nothing noteworthy either. While the price may be fair overall, the noted shortcomings are more than a a little off-putting. I can ignore the marketing BS but if winding on a manual watch is unpleasant, then owning/wearing the watch is unpleasant unless there are other compelling features to offset that (and there don’t appear to be any on this watch). I do wish them well and hope they clean up their website and look into the winding & crown issues.

  • Luciano

    Design wise it’s just a clone of the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special, so nothing wrong with it. The issues with the winding are a problem though… probably it would have been better if they had just used a manual movement.

    • Despite the conflicting statements within the post, from the photos this clearly is a manual wind variant within the Eterna Caliber 39 family of movements (other of which are automatics and even chronographs). Cheers.

      • Luciano

        Thanks. From the text it looked like they were using the automatic version with the rotor removed. But being a manual movement it’s a bit strange that the winding experience is apparently bad.

  • ndre

    Honestly the BS claims would be enough to keep me away. Pair it with the crown issues… the watch does look nice though.

  • Julian Chan

    Looks ok I guess, but that faux gator strap looks so horribly cheap and bad that I cringed as soon as I saw it. Yuck!

  • Framlucasse

    The watch and the price are ok, but I seriously doubt the “Hand made – Swizerland”.
    At this price, most of the components (like case and dial) are probably China Made, even if the 60% value Swissness is respected.

  • One of the more honest reviews in a while. I especially like how you said, “It’s a Zenith knockoff with quality control issues and questionable marketing practices” without outright saying “It’s a Zenith knockoff with quality control issues and questionable marketing practices.”

    A man of diplomacy you are, sir.

  • SuperStrapper

    Kill it with fire.

  • Mischa

    A Zenith-knockoff for $1k. Looks pretty decent to me. Nice review.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    Thoroughly enjoyed the review by Ariel there. As for the watch. I used to really like these Zenith pilot type watches, but as seems to have happened to Ariel, I’ve gone off them.
    One difference from the Zenith, is that they’re not Cathedral hands, they just look very similar. Another, is that considering the size of the watch, they’ve not gone with the traditional style carbuncle onion crown. At this price I’m sure the leather is good quality in the strap, but it doesn’t look it.


    I think they did a decent job. it is not ginormous, it uses a good movement and it is priced within reason. the crown issue may have been a one off who knows how many people have man handled that thing but threading issues on a hand wound watch is not good and will only get worse. so Dreyfuss whomever you are, fix it. the strap looks like dog shite but you can always get a new one. “Handmade” does not bother me but it is a tad misleading. Overall a decent effort in my book.

  • Mark1884

    Just a less sophisticated Zenith knock off. Too many red flags.
    Can’t think of a good reason to spend money on this watch.

  • DanW94

    Kudos to Dreyfuss for making a nice looking homage to the Zenith Type 20, but a definite thumbs down for the dubious language on the dial and case back. Watch people pick right up on that. All in all not bad but that winding issue certainly gives you pause. And as far as pilot watches go, I prefer the B-uhr style rather than this style Zenith ushered in the early 20th century.

    • egznyc

      I like the B-uhr style too (one of my favorite watches in my collection is that style and oddly while it feels sporty it also works well for more dressy affairs). But I do also really like the Zenith style we see here. Just wish they didn’t play fast and loose with their advertising claims – on the dial and off. Like Ariel said, it’s kind of ridiculous.

      • DanW94

        The sleight of hand wording I guess I could live with, it’s the threading issue with the screw down crown that’s more problematic for me. Otherwise I think they made a decent homage here.

        • egznyc

          Yeah, the threading issue is also a concern. Particularly as it’s a hand-wound caliber so I’d frequently need to unscrew and screw it.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Thanks Ariel for a nice honest review, (not that any in the past haven’t been, this was just a bit more honest and in depth, refreshing ). Something smells fishy here. I have to agree with the masses that this is less a homage ( hate that word ) and more a Zenith knock off. I can imagine the situation, from a distance this could be mistaken for a Zenith ( a long distance ) someone comes for a closer look. looks at the watch, looks at you and walks off mumbling something about a cheapskate,……….not good.

  • BILL

    Also looks like a Blancpain Leman.

  • TheChuphta

    Reminds me of when I was 7 and I first saw a Pontiac Fiero.

    Cool, a Ferrari!

    • Mark1884

      Hey, I had a Fiero… should probably not admit that 🙁

  • sfbaydawg221

    Fix the crown, get rid stuff like “Hand Made” etc. from the dial. The fact that it looks like a Zenith shouldn’t be a deal breaker to someone who buys watches in the 2k USD or less price range, since all budget Fliegers pay “homage” to an IWC or some other original pilot watch manufacturer from the past.

  • Beefalope

    More than anything, I see a wasted opportunity here. I don’t have a problem with the reality that it’s an obvious Zenith homage. I also think the movement finishing is strong for a watch at this price point. But the watch is too big (just like the Zenith it’s based on), the quality control issues are too substantial and the advertising claims are just downright insulting. This company simply didn’t go far enough in its quality control and went too far in the claims it made.

  • IG
    • The Eterna Caliber 39 is a family of movements. The non-chronographs are thinner than the chronographs and this hand wound version is thinner still. One could argue that these are better 7750 movements, with which they share diameter, having more options and features at the high end. But with a design that also supports versions with fewer features and correspondingly more svelte thickness. All without add-on modules – even though this is a “modular” design in concept but not in construction.

      • Sheez Gagoo

        In a way the Eterna movement choice makes perfect sense: This brand is part of the Dreyfuss Group. The boss of the Dreyfuss Group is Robert Dreyfuss, former CEO of Eterna. (recently fired and replaced by the boss of Corum, which is also ruled by Citychamp like Eterna). So this brand is a kind of Eterna spin of.

        • Thanks for the insight. I hear Eterna is not doing well as a watch brand just now. I hope their movement production remains uneffected.

          • Sheez Gagoo

            I don`t think so. Eterna is an incredible chaos. They replace their CEO and staff once a year and the COO of the movement part left recently and went to Bucherer. Last news was the firing of Dreyfuss and Eterna didn`t pay their bills (700 000 CHF). The CEO of Citychamp seemes very angry due to an interview with the NZZ. It`s probably one of the most disastrous brands (and there are a lot). Even the newly hired Communication Directrice left. And there are cultural issues with the Chinese: They want to make profits and the Eterna crew behaves like there`s no crisis and the recipes from yesterday still work today.

          • Really sad to hear. But thanks for the update.

  • mtnsicl

    If you look at the pictures carefully, the build quality and attention to detail are very good on this watch. And, I’ll bet it looks even better in person. I think it’s a very nice watch for the price.

  • If you all will remember, the Zenith Radio Corporation held the trade name whilst many of you were in diapers. To think that anything is a knock off of the Zenith Radio Corporation you would have to traverse back many many years, during which time Zenith watches were never sold in the U.S. Zenith Watch is a modern day anomaly. They have not been around the U.S. for long enough to have anything copied.

    • Zenith as a watch company has been around since 1865 and has used the name since 1911. The Type 20 Extra Special (of which the watch in this article is a near visual copy) was introduced in by Zenith in 2014 based on their design from 1939. Dreyfuss is a Swiss Company launched in 2005. Neither Zenith nor Dreyfus are US manufacturers.

      So what any of that has to do with the Zenith Radio Company, founded in 1918 and bought by LG in 1999, is sort of puzzling.

      • I am perhaps to focused on the U.S. market. Zenith Radio effectively prohibited Zenith watch from selling product in the U.S. due to trademark issues until 2000. So there are many people in the U.S. who are not aware of the brand.

        • Yep, when I first got into watches and heard the name Zenith, I immediately thought of the old TV manufacturer (which was one of the top makers when I was a kid – my parent even had a Zenith TV). And not having heard of the watchmaking concern before that, I had to wonder if they had any connection (which I doubted) and also wondered if there were trademark issues. Thanks for the info Mark.

  • Richard Baptist

    I was interested in this watch, I thought the dial was good quality and I like the hand wound eterna movement. However the same issues with the language on the dial and the website wording was brought to my attention previously. Also with the issues with the screw down crown and the winding feel in this review, I’ll just pass. There are other options out there. This is a pity because I think it’s a great looking watch.

  • commentator bob

    Looking at large size hand wind watches brings up the many watches powered by the ETA/Unitas 6497/6498 and its clones: For this money one can get a chronometer certified Tissot. For half this money one can get a Hamilton, Steinhart or Glycine (Incursore or KMU 48). For about $100 someone can get a Sea-Gull powered Stuhrling or Parnis.

    It’s interesting to see someone use the Eterna hand wind movement. However, it is not a particularly attractive movement (with somewhat goofy shaped plates due to modularity). And if Ariel had a bad experience winding the watch, well, that’s not good in a hand wind watch. Even the ~$100 Chinese clone versions of the Unitas have a great winding feel.

  • Yan Fin

    To me it looks really attractive. If the crown issue is one-time off or can be fixed, and they can shave 3-4 mm in diameter, I would consider it. But, probably it would be a different watch. Thanks for a deep review,Ariel!

  • 4tens

    So… really, Etrna wins again… caliber 39, the go to movement.

  • Ulysses31

    It’s a thing of beauty. More stylish and less tank-like than the Zenith people say it is inspired by. That bowl-shaped case and the legible stylised hour numerals really work for me. Say what you will about the brand, a good watch is a good watch.

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  • @ilplife

    This watch is too small for me bruh

  • Ian john horwood

    a wobbly crown is a no no go from the very start.

  • Azhigaliyev Maksat

    WOW! Nice watch, love the resemblance to Zenith, if only they would removed the words hand made from the dial, it would look more better!

  • Julian Chan

    “Attractive strap”? This strap looks horribly cheap. Without a shadow of the doubt to even the least discerning of eyes, this is a ridiculously cheap, embossed, sorry excuse for a leather strap. So no, it isn’t attractive at all.

  • korbindallis
  • JopSmith

    I’ve found this watch on sale in the UK at £399. Despite some of the comments in Ariel’s review, would you consider this to be a good buy for a novice watch collector?

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