July 24, 2012
by Ariel Adams
Urban dwellers looking for an interesting new timepiece design may very well be taken by this fresh collection from Dzmitry Samal. The former car designer now has a line of timepieces and eye wear. His unique designs mirror dual influences from big city life and pop art culture. Each of these aesthetics is richly represented in the new watch collection which have the very first timepieces I have seen with actual concrete cases.
According to Dzmitry Samal, the cases involve a patented new process with specially machined and polished concrete. Dzmitry Samal intentionally chose this “megalopolis inspired” material given its ubiquitous presence in city life. The concrete cases come in two forms and are cut into interesting shapes. The inner watch cases are in steel. Both cases are 42mm wide and attached to them are rubber straps.
While Dzmitry Samal is French, the watches are said to be Swiss made. He does not claim that concrete is inherently a luxury material. He does however feel that their use in watches represents an urban fashion ideal, as well as concrete being a “modern, honest, and robust material.” The watches are water resistant to 50 meters and the crystals are AR coated sapphire. At least I think it is sapphire. The Dzmitry Samal website seems to contradict itself on whether the crystal is sapphire or mineral glass. So who knows what it is? His website is attractive, but not very well written. I am very curious about the type of concrete used for the case, and the finishing used. I have a feeling it is well-polished and smooth to the touch versus overly porous and rough.
Rather than having names, the watches are just given numeric names between the One and the Eight. Yes, there are eight models total in the first limited edition set. The dials play with monochromatic colors and hints of blue, red, yellow, and green. The dial designs look like creative fusions of maps, buildings, and blueprints. The hands all look like buildings or building spires. It is well done, and certainly well evocative of a theme. I like that some of the dials themselves are produced from cut and then engraved concrete, that is pretty cool.
I recommend you also check out the Dzmitry Samal eye wear collection. They are certainly interesting if anything else – and if you like pixels or 8-bit era video games, they will be right up your alley. Check them out on his website to see what I mean. Anyhow, the watches all contain the same Swiss quartz chronograph movement. Here is where you start to see the super fashion side of the watch. I don’t mind that a watch like this is quartz, given its modern persona, but if you are going to have a chronograph, at least give the subsidiary hands actual dials or markers. With maybe just vague markers for any of the chronograph subdials, that feature is more or less there just for show. The time is easier to read, but I am mourning the “almost” useful chronograph that we see on the dials. Dzmitry Samal even went so far as to create elements on the dials that look like subdials, but he didn’t go far enough to add clear markers or anything like that for the hands.
Each of the watches have bull-head style pushers with the crown being on the top of the case. The designs are overall very interesting and I like that Dzmitry Samal braved using a material that you really don’t see in timepieces. For urban living or design lovers, these Dzmitry Samal’s will be of particular interest. Each of the eight watches will be limited to either 100 or 150 pieces, and will be available on Dzmitry Samal’s website at prices of between 980-1240 Euros each. Available for pre-order now, look for a November 2012 release.