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Detroit Watch Company 1701 Pontchartrain Blue GMT Dual Timezone Watch

Detroit Watch Company 1701 Pontchartrain Blue GMT Dual Timezone Watch Watch Releases

There isn’t too much going on in Michigan when it comes to homegrown watchmaking companies, but Detroit Watchmaking Company (the “Pride of Detroit”) is still going strong, six years after foundation in 2013. With 10 models available in a range of colors, the collection has a fair bit too offer without straying too far from its original concept of providing watches with a timeless design composed of globally sourced components assembled in Detroit. The Detroit Watch Company 1701 Pontchartrain Blue GMT Dual Timezone watch is a very slight update to a model we’ve reviewed on aBlogtoWatch before, but its new dial layout significantly changes its appearance, bringing it up to date with a current trend for vertical axis symmetry, with which many brands seem to be experimenting.

Detroit Watch Company 1701 Pontchartrain Blue GMT Dual Timezone Watch Watch Releases

The redesign has moved the date window from the more traditional 3 o’clock position down to 6 o’clock. As a result, changes to the logo, the “1701” marker, and GMT text have been implemented. The wordmark remains arched between the 51 and 09 minute markers above the minute track. The old “D for Detroit” logo is now acting as the counterpoise for the seconds hand. In its place is a much less ornate Fleur de Lis. As a counterpoise, the Gothic-script “D” is surprisingly effective. Everything I know about watch design is telling me it shouldn’t really work, but I really don’t mind the end result, especially on the silver seconds hand. (On the blue hand, I think it looks a bit overpowering, as one might have expected it to).

Detroit Watch Company 1701 Pontchartrain Blue GMT Dual Timezone Watch Watch Releases

The 1701 text had featured at 9 o’clock on the original model (to provide balance along the horizontal axis) but has now been shifted to a more run-of-the-mill position below the Fleur de Lis. Below that is the GMT text, which has relocated from 3 o’clock. One of my favorite aspects of this new design is that the 6 o’clock Arabic numeral has been replaced by the word “SIX” printed below the newly positioned date window.

Detroit Watch Company 1701 Pontchartrain Blue GMT Dual Timezone Watch Watch Releases

While I very much enjoy a bit of vertical symmetry, myself, the offset logo and wordmark on the original model was distinctly more characterful. I do think this new update looks far more contemporary and certainly more mainstream, but I kind of miss the quirkiness of the original. In addition to the slight tweaks to the dial layout, Detroit Watch Company has three extra years of experience under its belt, which really counts when it comes to getting the best out of your abilities, budget, and manufacturing partners.

Detroit Watch Company 1701 Pontchartrain Blue GMT Dual Timezone Watch Watch Releases

The new Detroit Watch Company 1701 Pontchartrain Blue GMT Dual Timezone watch is limited to 100 pieces and carries a retail price of $1,495 in either a blue or a white dial. For that price, you get a 42mm stainless steel watch with 22mm-wide lugs, water resistance down to 50 meters, and a Swiss-made ETA 2893-2 GMT caliber inside. At just 9.7mm-thick, this latest offering from one of North America’s newer brands is a solid watch for the smartly dressed traveler who wants to reward a fledgling company’s efforts. Learn more at detroitwatchco.com.

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  • DanW94

    Nicely done. This company has some good looking offerings in their catalog. As for this watch, it has some interesting touches. That might be the first time I’ve seen all arabic numbers and then a single number spelled out like they did with the six. I also like the small circle indices. The two large decorative touches on the second hand and GMT hand is a bit overkill, cluttering up that central axis area but overall a sharp looking effort.

  • AlbieC

    The periphery of the dial is so involved that you almost don’t notice that the indices and numerals are pushed slightly toward the center… so even though the date window is actually about a third of the way in toward the center and away from the normally ideal periphery of the dial, it doesn’t actually look that out of place… but I do notice… neat dial arrangement trick to conceal the small movement/large case situation.

    I think this is why dive watches are being pushed out right now… you get to put more widely available smaller movements into cases with the popular large 40mm+ size, and still use a smaller dial proportional to the movement, since a large portion of the front of the watch is necessarily covered by bezel… I don’t think there’s a real demand for dive watches. Divers are just easier to make look right.

  • Jared

    if you look on their contact page, their location is a P.O. Box.

    I’m going to go ahead and guess that there is nothing American about this company except for the owner. Most likely just chinese made cases assembled with Swiss movements in China

    • WAMM

      understand 90% of the watch industry uses Chinese made cases
      If you owned a business run out of your home I sure you would use a PO box as well
      Do you even know what movements are used in the watch?
      Clearly all you are doing is guessing so I will GUESS you don’t know a lot about the production cost considerations in the watch industry

  • SuperStrapper

    Actually a lot to like about this piece, especially the blue dial. I’d still never consider a watch that says Detroit on the dial (although I’d certainly prefer this to a Shinola), but I like this handset (minus the zit at the end of the GMT hand) and how the dial is marked (less the superfluous “GMT” note). Maybe a little dear in price compared to someone there options out there, but pricing isn’t horrible.

  • WAMM

    I am a proud owner of this piece, we all like to receive value for dollar spent. This watch has exactly that hand assembled in Michigan, Hand built to order, clean easy to read dial and a high grade swiss movement. The strap offerings are well made Hadley Roma custom offerings as are the deployment clasp. The attention to detail is excellent. This is a husband and wife operation, the response to inquiries have been quick and to the point. In short this quality at this price for something that is in limited release because they are created in small lots with a distinctive style really is a solid value.
    To understand the watch industry, is to understand there are differing grades of swiss movements. There are swiss movements assembled in China, cases made in China for Hamilton and Tissot, how do you think they can sell a swiss made automatic or mechanical watch for $550
    Cost is a huge considerations for all manufacturers
    The watch industry is the candy store of life to do nothing but run down on a brand that is trying to build a following when you have no
    understanding of the industry is pointless these are watches, these are fun these are not issues of national security
    and to Patrick and Amy thank you but don’t go into politics…

    • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

      Thanks for the lesson and your opinion.

  • Paul

    I don’t mind this watch, but for my taste it’s a bit try-hard. eg the fleur-de-lis on the GMT hand is awkward and clutters up an already cluttered central area. The D logo is a bit too big and obtrusive, especially on the white dial. And there is too much happening on the periphery – too many concentric circles, round indices superimposed on the railway track, too much random text. The central area is cluttered, especially with the GMT text squeezed in.

    While I do like the watch overall, I believe it would benefit greatly from simplification. Sometimes less really is more.

  • Ugo

    i think it’s a good start and the overall design is good.
    as others i think the fleur and the D on the hands are some kind of overdoing: just choose one and simplify the other hand.
    also i think they should drop the “six” and the “swiss caliber” (c’mon…) on the dial, but a t least they seems very tiny…
    the area that leaves me more puzzled is the chapter ring and the connection between the dial and the case: i think they could try to find a better solution, maybe a ring with the 24h markings on it instead than on the dial…

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    Cluttered and overpriced.
    Fast pass.

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