Brellum Duobox Classic Power Reserve LE.1 Watch

Brellum Duobox Classic Power Reserve LE.1 Watch

Brellum Duobox Classic Power Reserve LE.1 Watch Watch Releases

Brellum, an independent Swiss watch brand launched only in December 2016, has already begun adding to their debut Duobox collection with two new models. They are a two-tone steel and rose gold version of their original Duobox chronograph and, the subject of this article, the Brellum Duobox Classic Power Reserve LE.1. As the name suggests, it is a chronograph with a power reserve indicator, and it is made in an extremely limited run of only 8 watches. The "Duobox" in the name refers to the use of two "box-shaped" sapphire crystals on the front and back.

Founded by Sebastian Muller, a 4th-generation Swiss watchmaker with over 25 years of industry experience, Brellum debuted with the Duobox Classic chronograph watches. Some of the hallmarks of the brand include COSC-certification for every production watch along with the guarantee that each unit is assembled by the founder himself.

Brellum Duobox Classic Power Reserve LE.1 Watch Watch Releases

The base for the Duobox Power Reserve is the ubiquitous Valjoux 7750, a time-tested automatic chronograph movement which Muller has modified to add power reserve indicator functionality. Particularly appreciated in manual-wind watches, a power reserve display serves as a reminder to wind the watch as the mainspring winds down but is less important for an automatic watch - provided it is worn regularly by a reasonably active person, of course.

The movement offers 46 hours of power reserve and is also well-decorated with plenty of Geneva stripes, perlage, heat-blued screws, and a rotor that is black PVD-coated and engraved with the number of the watch. All of this is visible through a box sapphire crystal on the back which represents one half of the "Duobox" name.

Brellum Duobox Classic Power Reserve LE.1 Watch Watch Releases

One of the primary drawbacks to the Valjoux 7750 is the sheer thickness of the movement, which is apparent in the dimensions of most watch cases that house it. And it doesn't help that the power reserve indicator probably adds an additional millimeter or two of thickness. The Brellum Duobox Power Reserve LE.1 checks in at a rather thick 16.2mm and 42mm in width. Muller has attempted to hide a lot of this with clever design, such as the polished, angled bezel on the front and, most of all, the use of box sapphire crystals which help reduce the thickness of the actual case as well as the watch's visual thickness.

The raised crystals, which are often called "box-shaped," are mostly associated with acrylic crystals from before the era when sapphire was commonly used on watches. So, while more difficult to produce in sapphire than a domed or flat watch crystal, it has an old-school vibe to it that many people find attractive. You get that neat shape that adds an extra three-dimensional element to the watch face, but with all the scratch-proof durability of sapphire. The overall design of the steel case (water-resistant to 50m), however, is contemporary and familiar, completed with round pushers and a fluted crown.

Brellum Duobox Classic Power Reserve LE.1 Watch Watch Releases

Even at first glance, the dial suggests the 7750 movement thanks to the sub-dials at 3, 6, and 9 o'clock. I've always felt that the 7750-based chronographs look visually unbalanced because of this arrangement, and Brellum has addressed that by placing the power reserve indicator at 3 o'clock. While this indicator restores some visual balance to the dial, it did get in the way of a 2 o'clock hour marker that would have really helped the symmetry. The multiple sub-dials, date window at 6 o'clock, a pulsometer scale around the edge, and ample amounts of text may make the dial feel a little cluttered to some people.

All the current Brellum watches are chronographs, and all include a pulsometer scale rather than the far more common tachymeter. This can be used to measure someone's pulse, and chronographs that feature it are often marketed as watches designed specifically for medical professionals. While Brellum's materials do not note the specific reason for its use, we can just be satisfied that it is easily a more practical feature than the tachymeter - that, frankly, no one today actually uses to measure speed. Aesthetically, it probably serves the same purpose as a tachymeter, providing a technical and "instrument-y" look.

Brellum Duobox Classic Power Reserve LE.1 Watch Watch Releases

There is a lot of value offered for the price with the Brellum Duobox Classic Power Reserve LE.1 when you consider that you get a reliable, modified, significantly decorated, and COSC-certified movement with a watch that is assembled by one watchmaker and produced in a limited run of 8 watches. The Brellum Duobox Classic Power Reserve LE.1 on a brown leather strap is priced at CHF 2,675brellum.swiss 

What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (38)
  • I want it! (34)
  • I love it! (16)
  • Interesting (13)
  • Classy (5)
  • Luciano

    42mm x 16.2mm… there is a reason why the article doesn’t include a profile photo. This thing has a poorer width to height ratio than a hockey puck (which is 3:1).

    • Kuroji

      Yes, the reason is is the 16.2mm. It’s the thickness of a Planet Ocean, but only 50M water resistance. I think they should add a helium release valve.

      • Luciano

        Fully agree. A similar watch like the Chopard Mille Miglia Chronograph has also a 42mm case but only 12.3mm thickness. These 4mm lake a lot of difference in the elegance and wearability.

        https://www.chopard.com/intl/mille-miglia-chronograph-168511-3001

        • The Chopard you linked to uses an ETA 2894 which is 6.10 mm thick or it uses an ETA 2892 (3.60 mm) and a chronograph module. Mostly likely just a 2894 as it has that register/sub-dial layout). Either way, it is a thinner movement that a 7750 which is a whopping 7.90 mm thick before Mr Muller adds the power reserve indicator.

          Using base 7750 dimensions and ETAS suggested clearances and standard hand fitting heights (pinion heights which are not included in the “movement height”), you get at minimum a 13.59 mm thick watch using a 1.50 mm top crystal and a 1.00 mm case back.

          Cheers.

          • Luciano

            You’re right. But choosing a movement and the implications that come from that it’s part of the design process. So either you get it right, or you don’t. Chopard did it, Brellum didn’t.

          • Not to disagree (because I do agree about design choices) but Chopard also uses 7750 in a number of their chronographs. So your example is where they made one choice but as a brand they sometimes make other choices. Cheers.

  • BNABOD

    I actually like the brand’s other model much better. The date here sticks out like a sore thumb the PR feels too dressy for a sporty chrono. Don’t think it fits the style of the watch at all.
    The thickness is an issue could removing the rotor have made it a manual movement to allow for a lesser thickness ?

    • Gokart Mozart

      I am guessing yes as Habring makes manual would versions of all their watches.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    To pointy, jabby, cluttered , but i do like the lugs. The date window is awful . Moving on……

    • Yan Fin

      How much is ‘clunk’ license?

      • Raymond Wilkie

        To be honest Yan i didn’t even read the review. Am pretending i never saw it in the first place.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Always meant to ask you, by pointy do you mean too many protrusions, because of the pushers, or something else eg too many hands and they are all pointy shaped.

  • Sevenmack

    The movement is well-finished and the rotor is nicely engraved and shaped. The power reserve indicator at the 3 is lovely; it looks like an unfolded Chinese fan. The hands make sense for the dial and the layout. The date window needs to be properly bordered, but is otherwise fine and unobtrusive.

    Where the watch struggles is in the indices. The chunky Sixties-style markers just don’t work for the dial. Otherwise, I can’t find much fault with the watch and someone will enjoy it.

  • Word Merchant

    The dial is pleasingly crisp, but there are too many font styles and sizes on the dial. Not completely convinced by the shape and positioning of the power reserve – perhaps a 4th circular sub-dial might’ve been better. Finally – the Valjoux 7750. I remember this noisy old monster in a Breitling Chronomat I owned in the 80s. How to people rate it against the more ubiquitous ETAs and Sellitas we see everywhere now?

  • Mikita

    4 or 5 different fonts?! I especially like the phrase “Swiss Watchmaking”… Writing “Swiss Made” was not enough?

    • Yan Fin

      ‘Swiss made’ points to result. “Swiss Watchmaking” is a process. Process is much more important than result.?

      • Mikita

        Lol – I suggest to add “Swiss Planning” and “Swiss Chill Out” to the list.

      • Swiss cooking vs Swiss cuisine?

    • Saul Sloota

      Two questions: 1. Is the Power Gauge Swiss? and 2. How many Swiss pulsations equal 15 regular pulsations?

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I like this watch. I like the 7750. I know it’s noisy and the oscillatin mass makes vibrate your hand more than the hand of a a teenager discovering internet porn for the first time but at least you know, you wear a watch. The dial is not to boring not to noisy and the power reserve ads a little bit of character. And I really appreciate the pulsation scale, which is, oposed to tele- and tachymeters very usefull for doctors.
    Nice watch, good price. Well done.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Are the blue screws with the steel slot not just a poor man’s fully blued screw?

      I thought the whole screw is not blued, but just the head is quickly blued.

      How is the blued screw on this watch done, and is it an easier way to have a blued screw compared to the fully blued screw.

      I have always wondered as ETA (based) movements and also Vulcain tend to use this type of screw, but higher end watches use full blue.

      • Sheez Gagoo

        No, steel slot screws are more complicated to produce:
        First you have to blue them with heat and then the whole screw becomes blue. Then you have to grind the slot and the sides again. I don`t know why high end brands use full blue, it`s actually cheaper to make.

        • Raymond Wilkie

          It can only be for the look. Being Scottish i would have thought blue screws were more expensive.

          • Chaz

            Now THAT……….was funny.

      • Sheez Gagoo
  • Saul Sloota
    • Sheez Gagoo

      The best “trolling” I have seen in my entire life. Oh my gooood! I learned how to prevent my family to eat weirdly coloured food with this film.

      • Saul Sloota

        I bet you also learned not to piss on hospitality.

  • SuperStrapper

    I guess it’s not terrible, but its not good either. PR indicators on automatic watches are superfluous junk: the article touts it as a dial balancer but its just further clutter on an already cluttered dial.

    It also looks like they used a lower quality sapphire, an odd choice for a COSC certified watch.

    • IanE

      I don’t reallly like it much but for Oldies a PR indicator can be good on an automatic – as a reminder that they need to move a bit more! [We’ll all be there sometime!]

  • Chaz

    It’s a Bremont! No…it’s a Chopard Miglia! No…it’s a Daytona (those hands!)!! No…it’s something, all right.

  • wallymann

    alot to like, very crisp and technical. needs the column-wheel 7750 to really finish it off.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Dear ABTW
    Their is an annoying wee glitch where the banner for the site comes down as i read the page.

    • mtnsicl

      Same here sometimes.

  • Andrew Buckley

    I don’t like it. But at least it’s priced honestly. (Bremont: take note).

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Why are you guys always dissing Bremont, they have planes to upkeep .

  • DanW94

    Not bad at all. Unclutter the dial a bit by doing away with the date window, the useless Swiss watchmaking text and the chronometer text. I like the pulsometer, if for nothing else other than it’s refreshing to see something besides that ubiquitous tachymeter for a change, as you mentioned in the article. And do my eyes deceive me or is that a dragon on the rotor? What’s the deal with that?

    • Saul Sloota

      Looks like the Wu-Tang Clan logo. I mean, dragons. Golf balls. What the hell is going on here, Dan?

      • DanW94

        ODB is part owner of Brellum?

        • Sheez Gagoo

          Isn’t ODB six feet down?

          • DanW94

            Just checked, yeah he is. I’m not exactly up to speed on whether rappers are dead or alive…..lol

          • Saul Sloota

            And THAT’s what I love most about you.

          • DanW94

            Tupac’s alive and selling insurance in Phoenix….Thug Life Indemnification, LLC….

          • Saul Sloota

            It’s a dry heat in Thugland.

          • Sheez Gagoo

            He wasn`t the worst. Look who`s rapping around here and you`ll whish…
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hCmUQdDGeE

          • DanW94

            That was just sad 🙁

        • Saul Sloota

          Give it 30 years and TGV will be the ODB of Horology.

          • DanW94

            TGV?

          • Saul Sloota

            You don’t know him? That’s good. It’s best kept that way.

          • DanW94

            Damn you! Lifestyle, culture AND horology?! Now I’m hooked…

  • John Stevens

    The angle of the power reserve text throws the already busy dial off, good price prefer their earlier model.

  • Let me get this straight: to compensate for “sheer thickness of the movement” the put box crystals on the front AND the back? Ummmm…..doesn’t that make it even thicker?

    • Sheez Gagoo

      The pulsometer is useful for doctors/nurses to measure other peoples pulse.

      • Right, I was aware of that, but I’m not a doctor! Kind of useless to me.

        • Sheez Gagoo

          Ok. I thought of all scales available the pulsometer is rather usefull…

  • Ross Diljohn

    Not bad. Strap has to go though.

  • Kuroji

    This needs a sanitized version with no text.
    Pulsometer… zomg, nobody does this. They use a clip-on or cuff.

  • Boris

    All 8 pieces were sold by the second day of Baselworld.

    • Saul Sloota

      If true, why have an article? Just to get BrelluM’s name out there I guess. It bugs me to have articles about watches that are sold out/unavailable.

      • Mikita

        Yeah – it’s like Hodinkee articles about all those Hodinkee edition Vacherons / Zeniths / etc, which are sold before the first commenter touches his keyboard.

      • Boris

        The pictures are press pictures and the writer may not have known. I know for two reasons, first, I got a Brellum for myself, second, I was present when the first 7 pieces sold on the first day of Baselworld, and the last piece sold the next day. That is why I know. I still like the article and I do not mind if people write about watches that are sold out. The trade works that way that you need to know people if you want to get certain watches. It has been like that forever. I call this networking… And reading most comments here, I doubt that anyone would have bought the watch anyhow, as everybody has something to criticize. I can tell you, I saw the watch live and shot live pictures, put it on my wrist, and I saw nothing I would criticize. But hey, who am I? Let the world criticize everything. If it makes the world happy…

        • mtnsicl

          I’d buy this! I don’t look at watches and pick out little flaws. Among other things, I decide if I like a watch based on its overall look. If you get OCD and start looking for any little flaw or thing that you didn’t like, a person could find something that they didn’t like with every watch out there. Now, if I were designing a watch, that would be different. But, know one is designing a watch for me. So, I’m ok with them not being 100% perfect.

          Out of curiosity, do you know if the 8 sold at a premium because of such a limited edition?

          • Boris

            @mtnsicl Great comment. I am like you. If I decide I like a watch, I just go for it. You are absolutely right, we could find a flaw with every watch if you look closely. I am dreaming of designing a watch myself some day.

            I am confident that the 8 pieces did not sell at a premium. I have met Sebastien Muller, founder of Brellum, twice. He is a very kind and humble person and not at all the type to hype his watch. What he does is offering a genuine and honest high quality product. I have talked to him for probably 2-3 hours alltogether. He comes from a watchmaking family, he is very experienced in what he does. I wrote about him in my own blog. Part of what makes me buy independent timepieces are the personalities behind them.

            I would expect that we see another power reserve Brellum soon, maybe a different dial color. There are other type Brellums in the work as well, I just cannot yet talk about it.

            What I can talk about it is that the watch is fun to wear, and despite being quite high, it is not heavy and not digging the crown in your skin, so really comfortable to wear. I love mine. Happy camper.

          • mtnsicl

            Where is your blog?

          • Boris

            @mtnsicl:disqus
            Here is my blog contribution about the Brellum:
            http://www.watchesandart.com/brellum-duobox-swiss-made-a-new-hotshot-among-chronographs/

          • mtnsicl

            I’ll check it out!

        • Saul Sloota

          That’s great. Thanks for the insider info and I hope you’re loving your watch. Feel free to post pictures in the thread if you’d like. It would be cool to see it on the wrist. Have a good day Boris.

        • Shinytoys

          Congratulations ?

          • Boris

            Thank you.

  • Mischa

    Very nice, almost hit the spot. Dial is way too cluttered – do away with “Swiss watchmaking” and “Chronometer certified”. Center power reserve around 3 o’clock, bring back 2 o’clock marker (or do away with 10 o’clock marker). Does the central seconds hand really need that much counter-weight? I mean, it’s super long (nice!), but its tail further clutters/obstructs the dial.

    Good price for what’s on offer.

  • mtnsicl

    Although, I love this watch and the review, I just don’t see the point of featuring a watch with a limited edition of 8. It’s a watch that no matter how much money I have, I’ll never be able to own. It would be a miracle if you could ever find a used one for sale. Drop the price to $2399 and make at least 100 of them. I can understand very limited editions on the very high end. But, not at this price point. How can the watch maker make any money on such a limited edition? And guys, watches don’t have faces. People have faces, watches have dials. I would really like to see more watches that we can actually own.

  • Shinytoys

    May I have more, sir…?

  • Ulysses31

    Attractive and modern, but it gives me a quartz-vibe.