In a finely made, polished and brushed stainless steel case, the Brellum Duobox Chronometer is a reasonable 41.8mm wide and 16.2mm thick with 50m of water resistance. It has traditional lines matched with a professional level of fit and finish you’d come to expect from any decent “premium-grade” Swiss watch for at least double or triple the money.
The “Duobox” name comes from the style of the AR-coated sapphire crystal, which is “box style” and meant to emulate the look of once acrylic crystals that sat like a bowl over dials – as opposed to being framed by a metal bezel. Everything about the case and dial design is meant to look historic – from the plunger-style chronograph pushers to the hands and applied hour markers. The style today is maturely conservative, which has elements of sportiness, but is refined enough for more formal attire. Perhaps one small item to point out is the use of a pulsometer (for measuring someone’s pulse) around the periphery of the dial as opposed to something like a tachymeter scale. Aside from preferring the date disc to match the dial color, it’s a really nice dial with good size proportions all around.
Brellum currently offers four dial colors for the Duobox; black, gray, silver, and this metallic blue. This particular version is the reference DB.CH.112 on the Milanese mesh steel bracelet, and it also comes as the DB.CH.111 in a brown strap. Each of the dial colors is rather nice, and the one you choose is going to depend on your style. I’ll say that the most classic is probably the silver dial. The gray is going to be the most contemporary given that gray dials seem to be in now. Blue is for those who want their watches to be a bit more eye-catching and black is a catch-all when all else fails.
Little details on the case impress even seasoned watch lovers from the quality of polishing to the relief-engraved logo (that is super Swiss-looking) in the crown. While the watches are not limited editions, they do have individual serial numbers located on the back of the case. Inside the watch is the tried and true Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph. Running at 4Hz (28,800bph) with about 46 hours of power reserve. Brellum refers to the movement as their caliber BR-750-1.
To add value to the movement it is first nicely decorated with Côtes de Genève polishing and blued screws. Brellum also goes the extra distance (and cost) to have the movement COSC Chronometer certified (and provides the certificate as well). This is a measure of accuracy and helps further the traditional “fine accurate Swiss watch” element of the purchasing equation. The movement can be viewed through the sapphire crystal caseback.
So much of this focus on traditional presentation and design expectation helps one understand the intended customer. Seasoned watch lovers who expect novelty will have likely experienced most of what the Brellum Duobox has to offer early on in their watch loving lives. Though, if you are a watch lover who has never had a watch of this style and type, and are attracted to it, this is a good way to go. Then there is where I think Brellum has its sweet spot, and that is for the horologically fresh, or those who want a traditional Swiss watch ownership experience but probably aren’t planning on owning a lot of watches. Brellum encapsulates a refined and traditional experience into a good-quality product that is Swiss in the movement, design, and presentation… but not the buying experience.
Brellum belongs to a new crop of brands whose success I applaud. They are braving it on their own seeking to sell to and find customers without relying on the traditional distribution model or retailers. The internet of today is the domain of this brand which is seemingly from yesterday. It will find success locating and appealing to those who want a piece of tradition, who have trust for new and passionate brands, and who want to purchase their products online directly from the company making them. Price for the Brellum Duobox Chronometer is 2,390 CHF on the leather strap and 2,450 CHF on the steel Milanese-style bracelet. brellum.swiss
>Model: Duobox Chronometer
>Price: 2,390 – 2,450 CHF
>Size: 41.8mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Fresh and eager watch lovers interested more in design and passionate brands than big names and established prestige.
>Best characteristic of watch: Good value for the money from a small company that clearly cares about quality and presenting a mechanical watch to customers in the way Swiss timepieces have been historically.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Seasoned watch lovers will find a lack of novelty and might not form desire despite having respect for the brand. Crystal style tends to attract skin oils so it needs to be wiped a lot. Buyers might enjoy third-party straps more than the stock ones offered by the brand (but that is not a bad thing per se).