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…).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.