The latest Swiss-Made and Swiss-designed Dietrich watch is the DD-1 (“Dietrich Device number 1”), and it’s a really cool timepiece. The reason I emphasize “Swiss Made” is because the DD-1 uses an adapted (not the same) case as the brand’s popular OT (Dietrich Organic Time) watch collection (aBlogtoWatch review here), which featured a Japanese-made Miyota automatic movement. At the time, the OT was designed to compete within the “SevenFriday product space,” which means a neat-looking watch with an affordable price made possible with a less expensive mechanical movement. After the OT watch collection, Dietrich started to use exclusively Swiss-made movements, and so, accordingly, the DD-1 houses a Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic mechanism.
The DD-1 watch (debuted on aBlogtoWatch here) follows the Dietrich TC (Time Companion, full aBlogtoWatch review here) as a distinctive looking, yet practical watch for daily wear. Prior (and other) Dietrich watches were “too weird” to be easily considered by most watch enthusiasts as daily wear items. Emmanuel Dietrich himself certainly admits that, while he is very happy with products like the OT and the roughly $25,000 Dietrich Perception models, they are not mainstream-friendly — which is what a brand needs these days. Thus, the TC and DD watches are a great hybrid between a comfortable and familiar daily wear and Emmanuel Dietrich’s appreciation for modern “organic” design as applied to the craft of making a traditional timepiece.
On the wrist, the DD-1 is super-comfortable and upgrades such as the full sapphire crystal over the bezel (as compared to the OT) are standout features. The watch wears smaller than it sounds and is 45mm-wide (48mm-wide with the screw-down crown), just over 13mm-thick, and 46mm from lug to lug. The case is further water resistant to 50 meters. The unique geometric hexagonal case is adopting a personality of its own, and its nice to see consistency in this shape between Dietrich models. This is important because, as the brand grows, it will benefit from visual distinction that allows people to spot the timepiece in a crowd or at a distance.
One of the major reasons the DD-1 case is comfortable is how the strap attaches to it. The strap slides through two fixed lugs similar in style (a bit) to the way a NATO-style strap attaches to a case. The stock strap that the DD-1 comes with is a black textile strap that looks great in images, but I much prefer the rubber or leather straps Dietrich offers. That is mainly because textile straps are a bit on the stiff side, and I like more pliable strap materials.
What Dietich did so well, in my opinion, is make the DD-1 watch dial appear novel but also traditionally legible. While there are neat design elements such as markers/indexes on different planes and a cool movement-style motif on the face, those elements do not distract from core legibility. Dietrich worked well with contrasting colors and textures to ensure that the DD-1 is original in aesthetics but traditionally functional when it comes to ease of reading the time. This type of effort is much easier-looking than it is to execute in practice.
On of the most interesting dial details is a feature rarely seen on modern watches, that being bent hands (the seconds hand in particular). The technique of bending hands is, by no means, new, but it is rare these days, and it is interesting to see it here versus a Patek Philippe or A. Lange & Sohne. Curved or bent hands can not only make dials more legible but also appear more elegant and uniform. Here Dietrich bends the seconds hand in order to better clear the various planes of the multi-layer dial design.
Going back to the design of the dial, I find it so cool how Dietrich blended a semi-skeletonized view of the movement with his unique design style. To do this, he not only needed to study the movement to decide what features make sense to display (such as the rubies, chatons, and some small gears) but also how to do so in a means that didn’t make the dial end up being a busy and confused mess (as we can find on countless other watches). Those who appreciate fine details and design effort will, no doubt, take pleasure in looking at a dial such as that of the DD-1 regularly.
The black PVD-coated steel case with the gold-ish and lume tones on the dial is just one aesthetic way to render the appeal of the DD-1’s style. Dietrich is certainly planning on other color versions of the DD-1 for the future, but this debut Dietrich Device No. 1 is really nice-looking in this form for 2019.
The future of the Dietrich brand is not only Swiss Made but also more products like the DD-1 that blend the brand’s unique DNA with practical wearing and pricing. In a world where $5,000 watches are routinely scrutinized for cost, it is refreshing when a Swiss brand is able to offer something unique for under $2,000. Coming in at a price lower than the TC (which has a full metal bracelet), the Dietrich DD-1 arrives with the reasonable retail price of $1,850 USD. Learn more at the Dietrich website here.
>Model: DD-1 (Dietrich Device No. 1) PVD Black Dial
>Price: $1,850 USD
>Size: 45mm-wide, 13.2mm-thick, and 46mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: Its a great watch to show off to other watch-lovers, as the Dietrich brand isn’t that well known yet. Tends to be a crowd-pleaser when someone gets to inspect the details and learns the price.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Modern design-lover interested in an astute daily wear that also tells the world they are a risk-taker and someone more interested in tomorrow while also respecting yesterday.
>Best characteristic of watch: A great middle ground between the daily appeal of the Dietrich TC and the originality of the OT. Excellent attention to detail, comfortable wearing experience, and highly legible dial.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Stock fabric strap isn’t the most comfortable choice. Distinctive design is not for everyone, although for fans of the look it also happens to be quite horologically sound as a timekeeping device.