Truly, the first thing I felt when wearing the Dietrich OT-3 watch for the first time was how it fit on the wrist, and nothing about its patently avant-garde design or unique value proposition. Even with all of Dietrich’s effort to create something new in terms of design and case construction, here I was distracted by something so simple and basic – case wearing comfort.
Indeed, the Dietrich OT-3 and the other Dietrich “Organic Time” family of watches are a pleasure to strap on. This isn’t perhaps so much an issue to those who have only worn comfortable watches, but trust me that I’ve put on enough “novel” case designs to know that “new” doesn’t always mean “better.” A lot of designers with fresh ideas come into the watch arena thinking that they can do it better than all those before them. Yes, there is sometimes an extra thick dosage of arrogance in those who want to “shakeup” the watch design arena. Most are all talk, some are sympathetic souls who have tried and failed – only to be eaten up by the dangerous trap which is wrist watch design, where so many tiny elements must be right for consumers to offer their valuable “thumbs up” of support when it comes to evaluating things that are new.
There are all those people, but then there are also the few successful ones out there that seem to defy the odds and truly offer something a little bit new which also feels like an improvement. At least, their products “feel” that way. I sort of feel that way about Dietrich because it is one of those younger watch brands that exist only because of a passion for design and not wanting to do things the exact same way. Dietrich, like its natural rival SevenFriday each represent a new class of watch brand. They are watch makers who are typified by things like ownership and design from Europe with mostly Asian manufacturing, relatively small productions, and a distinct willingness to appeal to enthusiasts, but with products that are very aggressively priced, yet not aggressively priced enough to make a big impact with the mainstream.
A cool watch on aBlogtoWatch can cost $10,000 or $100,000. Very cool watches much less frequently cost a bit over $1,000 to $2,000. Dietrich and SevenFriday are two brands that offer such products, but I have a feeling that they are increasingly going to be the only ones. Even though these timepieces are cool and fun, they are still artful wearables with a price of over $1,000. So, naturally, they exist in a sort of “luxury limbo,” with those strictly “in the know” able to, first, be aware of them, and second, to form an opinion about them. We even mentioned Dietrich in our list of Top 10 Affordable Watch that Get A Nod From Snobs article.
There is no point in discussing whether the Dietrich OT collection or the SevenFriday P Series are better or worse watches than one another. Their prices are relatively similar and their overall value proposition is on par. Each of these watches even share the same movement which is the Japanese-made Miyota mechanical automatic caliber 82S7. Here is, perhaps, the “real distinction” between the Dietrich OT and its “more” European cousins which contain Swiss mechanical movements.
Are you selling yourself short by getting a “European-style” mechanical watch with a Japanese movement? That really depends on how you look at it. The 82S7 is going to be more simple, not as finely decorated, and probably not as accurate over time as higher-end Swiss mechanical watch movements. Nevertheless, it allows watches to cost a fraction of the price. I can’t see the Dietrich OT-3 being anything less than double its current price if it were to contain a Swiss movement. I suppose the inclusion of such a movement would increase its prestige value, but would it really offer too much more functionality? I think that is a question which is up for debate, and a question that at least a fair number of watch lovers have answered with “I think for the money, the value of watches like the Dietrich OT-3 is certainly there.”
The Miyota 82S7 automatic movement has the time with off-centered subsidiary seconds disc (shaped like geometric star on the Dietrich OT-3) and another subsidiary disc which acts as a 24-hour indicator. There is also a small window through the watch face which allows you to view the balance wheel in action. Even though the watch dial is all about being unique and organic looking, the hour and minute hands are very pleasant to read. The other information is a bit harder to read, but it isn’t going to be relied on as much when you wear the watch.
Feeling like a cousin to the dial of the SevenFriday P-Series (reviewed here) – although a cousin raised in a very different place – Dietrich imbued the OT with a lot of details, finishes, and layers. The result is a wonderfully “deep” dial with a lot of unique elements to observe and hopefully appreciate. Even though it is industrial, the finishing on the dial is very good for the price, and the overall composition feels fresh yet something meant to live in the world of watches.
Further details of note on the dial are the hour and minute indicators printed on the bottom of the sapphire crystal, the luminant for night viewing, and the unique shape of the sapphire crystal. It is great that despite the unorthodox shape of the crystal, Dietrich decided that it should be sapphire – but it does have some distortion which occurs when viewing the dial from angles through the crystal.
On the wrist, the dimensions of the Dietrich OT watch are difficult to explain because of how the case is designed. For example, the case flares out in the middle and goes from about 46mm wide to 49mm wide. The case is 48mm tall. This is also a unique situation where the watch is wider where it touches your arm than at the top of the bezel. The case is further curved a bit for comfort. What makes the watch so comfortable is really not only the shape, but how the strap attaches. Also, the Dietrich OT cases are water resistant to 50 meters.
All of the Dietrich OT watch straps are a single piece and threaded through the stationary lug loops. This means that the strap essentially sits under the watch and the watch is attached on top of it. This is in contrast to a strap that attached in the middle of case and holds it to your wrist. The difference might be slight, but since the Dietrich strap can attach to your wrist with a watch being attached to it or not, it is different than other watch straps – and in this instance, it is a good thing. I’ve worn the Dietrich OT-3 on both the included fabric strap or the also available cool-looking custom rubber strap (which is of a good quality as well).
Dietrich currently offers the Organic Time watch collection as the Dietrich OT-1, OT-2, OT-3, and OT-4. What makes these models different is the case finishing as well as dial colors. The OT-4, however, is priced more because it has a black carbon case. The Dietrich OT-3 has an all-steel case that has some lightly polished elements but is mostly satin-finished (light bead-blasted too). The matte finishing aides in the visual appreciation of the many interesting shapes and curves which make up the case design. This is not only a very special overall watch case, but the Dietrich OT is a very special watch case at a rather surprisingly good price. As I mentioned in the video, I also appreciate the name of the specific model of the watch written both on the lower part of the watch dial as well as on the left side of the case.
Choosing the right Dietrich OT model for you is simply a matter of choosing the color scheme that appeals to you the most. What is more important, in my opinion, is wanting the watch in the first place. I first debuted the Dietrich OT collection (it was previously named the OTC collection) here in 2014 and immediately felt affection for the product. Later, when I eventually got one of the watches, I was really pleasantly surprised because so much could have gone wrong between seeing early computer designs of the watch and the final product. Emmanuel Dietrich didn’t let me down, and if you are compelled by the design, I would certainly give one of these timepieces a shot. Oh, and the “69” logo on the crown refers to 1969, which is the year Emmanuel Dietrich was born. Price for the Dietrich OT-3 watch is 1,350 Swiss Francs. dietrich.luxury
>Model: OT (OT-3 as reviewed)
>Price: 1,350 Swiss Francs
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Budget or novice watch lover looking for something fun and distinct.
>Best characteristic of watch: Lots of watch for the money with a bold and fresh character. Very comfortable on the wrist.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Crystal distorts dial when seen from angles. Still priced in an area some consumers feel is too expensive for a timepiece they might not wear on a daily basis.