June 8, 2018
by Ariel Adams
When I first put on the DuBois et fils DBF005 (specifically the DBF005-02), the words that immediately sprang to my mind were simply, “Nice watch.” For a while now, I’ve been eyeing this reemerging brand from afar with some curiosity. DuBois claims to be originally founded in 1785, which would make it the oldest watch manufacture in Switzerland, though I have a feeling that some brands might find that claim to be a bit dubious. However, it only recently “came back” in 2012. The brand offers a slew of handsome, traditional looking Swiss watches along with a range of engagement opportunities on their website that appear to be a manifestation of the “let’s see what works” mentality, which is usually absent from the typically conservative Swiss watch industry.
What do I mean by that? E-commerce is just the beginning for DuBois et fils. Through their website you can buy watches, pre-order watches, rent watches, and even buy shares in the company. Yes, at the time of writing, you can take advantage of a “special offer” to purchase 99 shares of DuBois et fils for 500 Swiss Francs. Why might you want shares in the company? That’s hard to say—I suppose you could cash in your shares one day if the company was ever sold, but it’s clearly an innovative way for the company raise capital. I’m not entirely sure if directly selling shares like Dubois et fils is doing is legal in all countries, but that’s a minor issue.
If you do choose to purchase 99 shares, you also get a few fringe benefits, including a 5 year warranty on watches purchased and a free watch service (but only in the year 2022).
DuBois et fils, from a design perspective, is about classic look curation. In other words, these watches are for people who want something familiar but with a little bit of a twist. This is an important point to make because I frequently get into discussions with passionate watch lovers who tend to fall either on the side of “I want something familiar” or “I want something that I’ve never seen before.” Many watch lovers seem to have tastes that fall more or less directly on one side the spectrum. A seemingly small number of watch collectors appear to be equally open-minded to both truly original designs as well as enduring classics.
As I mentioned, DuBois et fils falls into the design category of “that looks like something I’ve seen before, but perhaps not exactly like that.” The DBF005-02 (I really think their products need sexier names) is a vintage-themed sporty chronograph that pulls inspiration from a range of classic designs. This particular version (limited to just 33 pieces) offers a galvanized “white” dial with dark gray contrasting sub-dials. The red-colored chronograph seconds hand fits in very neatly given the theme.
DuBois et fils currently has five main collections (DBF001, DBF002,… DBF005), with distinct color variations under each collection. There are five variations of the DBF005 collection, which includes this DBF005-02. The different colors really do make the watches appear distinct from one another. At this time, most are sold out, but if you do purchase an available watch, you can select from available limited edition numbers (such as 22 of 33, for example).
Where DuBois et fils succeeds isn’t in the originality, but in the details. At 42.5mm wide and roughly 13mm thick in polished steel, the DBF005 wears very comfortably. Thanks to the rather stubby legs, the lug-to-lug distance is a relatively modest 45mm. In my opinion, that makes the DBF005 appropriate for most wrists.
Attached to the watch is a black calfskin strap that has a trendy look with the double over-stitching near where the straps connect to the lugs. Despite an outwardly pleasant appearance, the strap was too stiff, so it likely needs a long wear-in period. Since my wrists are also on the smaller size, I found the strap a bit too long. I think this watch would look great on a matching steel bracelet as well. My recommendation is that anyone getting one of these timepieces should strongly consider getting a different strap. My choice would be a dark gray alligator strap to match the color of the chronograph sub-dials. Note that the strap is 22mm wide where it attaches at the lugs and tapers down to 18mm wide at the buckle.