Look but don’t touch is the message from the Döttling Gallery safe. Behind 30mm-thick bulletproof glass, one’s precious watches can be visually appreciated but not accessed, which must be particularly infuriating for would-be thieves. That is the reason behind its “Gallery” name, but just as watches are so much more to us than just for telling the time, the Döttling products are more than ways to simply store, protect, and display watches.
First, the safe itself is meant to be appreciated as a luxury item. Family-run since its founding in 1919, Döttling is now in its fourth generation and situated in the presumably quaint town of Sindelfingen, which is near Stuttgart in South-Western Germany (I googled it). The brand emphasizes their tradition, craftsmanship (“handcraft”), and engineering – and as we know, these are all things watch lovers appreciate.
The Döttling Gallery watch winder safe is intended to be a piece of decorative and stylish furniture or functional art, as are most products Döttling makes. Compared to other items from the company, many of which are somewhat ostentatious, and some of which we have written about here, the Döttling Gallery is relatively reserved. The design of the Döttling Gallery is related to the brand’s Bel-Air line and inspired by “overseas travel cases from the Roaring Twenties,” with high-gloss nickel fittings and calfskin sides. All this along with the glass display door is lovely, but there is one trick that gives the Döttling Gallery that extra little touch so necessary to standing out.
Here’s the coolest part: the glass on the door can be toggled between transparent and opaque by remote control. I’m not clear on if the transition is sudden or occurs in a fade, or if you can control the level of opacity – but either way, it seems fun. The first thing you will think is, they should put that on a watch! Someone did, with the Revelation R03 Chronograph (reviewed and explained here) that used a glass treatment called polarization to go from a black to transparent dial, revealing the movement underneath by rotating the bezel. It seems there exist different technologies to achieve this effect that are cumulatively called smart glass, according to Wikipedia, though I’m not sure which one Döttling is using. I must say that, in this age of reducing the number of remote controls laying around, this seems like something you should be able to control from an app on your phone. But I can definitely imagine just standing there with the remote and switching it back and forth.
For an even more dramatic reveal, or simply for day-to-day enjoyment, dimmable LED spotlights highlight the watches behind the glass. There is a lot of control and interaction possible with the Döttling Gallery, and Döttling’s “Touch & Move” individually programmable watch winder system is available as an option for customers, offering even more control. Actually, it seems that consultation is part of the purchasing process, and it probably goes without saying that you could probably have various aspects customized. You’ll have to choose your favorite 24 watches to be displayed in the 24 watch winders, while the rest can go in the safe’s drawers and secret compartments, along with your other valuable stuff. The safe’s interior sports Alcantara leather and black-stained Japanese Tamo Ash – sounds exotic.
Don’t forget that Döttling primarily is a maker of safes, so security is actually the central element. Does a fingerprint scan to unlock it sound secure enough to you? The brand notes that the bolt work was a particular technical challenge due to the need to work in a very confined space around the glass. Speaking of space, the actual dimensions of the Döttling Gallery are 150cm tall by 75cm wide by 60cm deep, and it weighs about 600kg. So, as one can also surmise from the images, it’s about the size of (and perhaps slightly resembles) a small refrigerator.
I’ve always thought that watch winders should be as much about display as about winding – I just wish the the decent-looking ones weren’t so often the prices of watches themselves. If you can afford this Döttling Gallery, or even have the need for such a safe, it means you probably have some awesome watches to keep in it. So, congratulations on that. This Döttling Gallery really seems to be very elegant and thoroughly thought out to offer the best of all worlds, so it seems like a good option if it matches your decor, personal taste, and budget. Don’t be like me and keep your watches in a pile on your desk!
Many of the delicate ultra haute-horology watches we cover here on aBlogtoWatch will, perhaps, never be worn. That’s a shame but understandable, when a ding on a doorway could mean who knows how many thousands of dollars off its value or in servicing. But you should at least still be able to admire that automatic tourbillon easily while at the same time keeping it in pristine condition. Prices for the Döttling Gallery start at €130,000 before tax and shipping. doettling.com