All well-informed watch lovers should know about pieces like this GMT Red/Blue (ref. DW-02.07) watch by Debaufre. It might have a nondescript name, but this Rolex GMT Master “Pepsi” clone offers a solid value and good looks. Put it on your list of Rolex homages to look at if you aren’t in Rolex price buying bracket.
A very serious Rolex guy made an interesting comment on this watch when seeing it a few months ago. “So that is what the Rolex GMT Master would look like if it was 42mm wide? Yea, that fits nicely. Rolex should make that.” This was of course before Baselworld 2010 when Rolex released a 42mm wide version of their Explorer II. Apparently Rolex also agrees that today their sport watch range is ready for 42mm versus 40mm. Still, the Pepsi dial is not only 40mm wide – so if that size is too small and people want the same look, there is quality stuff like this.
The case is in steel and water resistant to 300 meters. It has an AR coated sapphire crystal and is detailed nicely for the price. I would say that for the price there isn’t much better, and the finishing is more than acceptable. The reason I mention all this is because I see watches like this as “bar setters.” There are timepieces that are double the cost and half as nicely finished. I am not claiming that the GMT Red/Blue rivals Rolex’s immaculate watch presentation, but rather that $600 gets you a lot of watch in this instance.
The dial is pretty much modeled about its Rolex counterpart. The hour indicators are applied and they (along with the hands) are coated in SuperLumiNova. The dial is a very matte black and is easy to read. Of course it isn’t the exact same as the Rolex, but is charmingly “reminiscent.” Unlike many GMT bezels, this one only spins in one direction, but has a nice action to it that feels secure. If you don’t want the red/blue “Pan Am” bezel, Debaufre has black bezels or black and red bezels available.
You can also get a 39mm wide version of the case. But stick with the 42mm wide as it offers the most bold look. It I can say one final thing about the case is that the polish and finishing make for a very pleasant tactile experience. Operating the watch is further hassle free and logical. One difference between this watch and the Rolex are the bracelet. Of course on direct comparison there are tons of differences, but what I mean here is that while the Rolex bracelet tapers, this one does not. What you like better is a matter of taste to be honest. Though I think on a day to day basis tapered bracelets are slightly more comfortable. They are also much more expensive to make.
The bracelet on the GMT is totally fine. It is like a Toyota Camry. Looks nice without going over the top and does what you expect it to do. No surprises, no let downs. It has a locking deployment clasp with diver’s extension. The Debaufre “D” logo is engraved in the buckle, while the watch crown has the Debaufre star logo engraved there.
From a comfort perspective the watch sits nicely on the wrist. The screw-down caseback is rather flat and it sits securely in position. Inside the watch is a Swiss ETA 2893-2 automatic GMT movement. This popular GMT movement has the time, date, and GMT hand that adjusts in one our segments. There are timepieces that are many times the price of this GMT with the same movement in it.
Really, the more I think about it the more this feels like the Camry of watches. So how much does it cost? They could easily charge double and sell enough of them. With the nice case, sapphire crystal, and Swiss 2893-2 automatic movement, the Debaufre GMT collection of watches retails for $625 and you can get them online. A killer deal and a great supplement to anyone’s collection of daily-wear timepieces.