Following up, slightly less hot on the heels of my last review (there are many in the pipeline) I have had an excellent opportunity to review a brand new 2015 watch from Dreyfuss & Co, first shown at Baselworld this year.
The 1946 Duo Timezone is part of the Series 1946 family, which were created to celebrate the marriage of Georgette and René’s first daughter Janine, in the Swiss Alps. This latest edition is an elegant dual time complication quartz dress watch, with sapphire glass presented in a stainless steel case.
Dreyfuss & Co – The Company
Initially I would like to provide some background to Dreyfuss & Co for those whom are unfamiliar with the brand. Dreyfuss & Co is the continuing legacy of René Dreyfuss, a master horologist and son of Moise Dreyfuss the creator of Rotary Watches Ltd. Rotary was established at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1895 and has a rich pedigree in watch making. The company operates under the Dreyfuss Group, which contains the Rotary, Dreyfuss & Co and J & T Windmills watch brands.
The legacy of René Dreyfuss, is celebrated with Dreyfuss & Co, a collection of hand-made Swiss timepieces. Steeped in tradition and inspired by historical events in the life of Rene Dreyfuss, each Dreyfuss & Co timepiece is meticulously handcrafted to ensure that every piece is as individual as the wearer.
The collection is split into families that are named after key dates in René’s life and each family is differentiated by refining features such as domed dials or slim-line cases. Each individually numbered Dreyfuss & Co watch has been hand-made to ensure the perfect standards of the Dreyfuss & Co family are met. Its aim is to provide a hand-made, Swiss watch that will last for generations and a treasured family object that can be passed on with its own story to tell.
1946 Duo Timezone – Summary
Case: Polished stainless steel
Case, Bezel & Crystal
The case is of a clean and elegant design that sits well with a series that put itself squarely in the dress watch category. Coming in at 40 mm with a thickness of 12 mm, it is not of a size that would have classically be considered a dress watch, but with the continuing shift to larger watch sizes – part-driven by industry and current fashion – it does not look out of place on the wrist (A Blog To Watch has a nice article on the increase of watch sizes if you are interested). I personally consider it a good size for a dress watch, with large enough real estate to show off its design and have room for its complications without feeling cluttered. If I was to be picky I would say I would prefer it to be slightly thinner maybe at 10 mm, but I am not going to quibble over 2 mm.
The crystal on the Duo Timezone is domed sapphire, the doming in very slight but effective and has no appreciable distortion effect. I am not sure if it has an anti-reflective coating, but either way very little reflection can be seen in day-to-day use indicating a high quality of sapphire was used. Sapphire would be expected in a watch at this price point and it is always pleasing to have the added scratch protection this brings.
The case itself is made of stainless steel and is polished to a high quality mirror finish throughout, the bezel is plainly finished and curves downwards at a soft angle away from the crystal. Just as it meets the case there is a light chamfered edge that gives a defined distinction between case and bezel and it sits about 1 mm short of the case on all sides. The same effect is found where the case meets the caseback. This combined with the case being softly curved backwards towards the back, reduces in profile the look of how thick the case is. This is effective and does make the watch feel thinner than its form. The watch lugs arch downwards from the case just under the bevel and smooth to a rounded end, they extend far enough to support a straight edged strap but are sufficiently understated to not make the watch feel oversized.
The crown is set at the 3 o’clock position, it is signed with the Dreyfuss & Co logo in silver set into a deep black surround, the crown is coin cut and has two adjustment positions and does not screw down. At the 4 o’clock position there is a subtle recessed pusher that is operated by the supplied tool, somewhat akin to a metal stylus with a plastic nib (One could imagine that you could use a small screwdriver or plastic pusher should you not have the tool on you but I would advise against this lest you damage the watch). This is the slightly eccentric method by which you set the secondary time zone, I admit when used with the tool it is easy to operate (with the watch off the wrist). It does have a marked improvement in the aesthetics of the watch as there is no need for a visible pusher (it is a dress watch after all) but it does limit the practicality of changing the secondary timezone if you are on the road (or unless you carry the tool with you). For me it is not a deal-breaking problem and I like the quirkiness of it, plus this is a dress watch, not a pilot or sports watch so in this respect I can take a little form over function.
The caseback is a solid polished stainless steel construction, it is held in place by four screws that overreach into the lugs and sit beyond the natural curve of the watch. Engraved in the centre of the caseback we again see the Dreyfuss & Co logo, set around this is engraved Handmade Switzerland, Sapphire and Seafarer. Also engraved is the individual issue number of the watch. Most of the engravings are self-explanatory however the Seafarer requires a little more explanation. The Seafarer Standard is Dreyfuss & Co’s inhouse waterproofing process, this appears to closely mirror Rotary’s Dolphin Standard, which is their moniker for what is ostensibly the same standard.
The Dreyfuss & Co Seafarer standard, gives reassurance that the wearer can enjoy a range of water sports without fear of damaging the watch. From swimming and diving, to snorkeling, wind surfing and water-skiing.
From this and what would be accepted standards for water resistance I can surmise that this would have a rating of from 10 to 15 Bar (100 / 150 meters). So as long as you are not scuba diving you will be fine. For a dress watch this is an excellent level of water resistance and most commendable when they could have opted for far less.
Dial & Hands
The presentation and form of the dial and hands are a standout feature of the Duo Timezone. The dial face is a deep blue and in certain light reminds me of the midnight blue colour used on the IWC Portugieser, (this is no bad comparison), it is decorated with an intricate white guilloche effect that draws the eye and to my mind reinforces the quality look of the Duo Timezone, it is a detailing that sits well with a dress watch.
Running round the outside edge of the dial is a railway track design which contains hour and minute markers, these are an understated affair, elegant, small and perfectly readable, hours are marked with roman numerals with simple track line dividers. The secondary timezone complication shares the railway track index, with an inner circle adorned with minute dividers and large roman numeral hour markers running on its outside edge, resulting in an easy-to-read secondary time. The small seconds complication again repeats the use of this index style insetting a count at 15 second intervals, also present on the dial is a silver raised Dreyfuss & Co logo displayed above the crisp white text of the Dreyfuss name and ‘Hand Made, Switzerland’.
Sitting slightly above the 6 o’clock is the large date display cut into the dial and adorned with a silver outline and mid divider, clear bold black numbers sit on a white background, making the date stylish and easy to read. I aesthetically enjoy the date at this position and it adds a better symmetry in my mind than the traditional 3 o’clock date register.
The hands on the Duo Timezone are a two style affair, beveled lance hands are used in the watch’s primary timezone, they are cut such that they easily catch the light and almost shimmer at the right angles. For the Duo’s secondary registers feuille (leaf) hands are employed, adding a level of elegance and contrast to the lance, a real treat and an added splash of colour is found in the rose gold hands of the secondary timezone.
The movement is a Ronda Caliber 4220.B analog quartz movement. It is Swiss made, has seven jewels and is gold plated.
Ronda weas formed in 1946 and has a good reputation for producing reliable quality quartz movements – there are many watch companies around the globe that use Ronda as their go-to quartz movement company. It manufactures movements in Switzerland and Hong Kong.
The 4220.B features a large date at the 6 o’clock, a small second dial to the 3 o’clock and the secondary timezone dial to the 9 o’clock. The movement features a quick set date at the first crown pull, with the second position adjusting the primary hands. A discrete custom pusher is at the 4 o’clock for setting the secondary timezone.
The standard battery life for the movement is four-and-a-half years but power consumption can be reduced by up to 70% when operating with a pulled out stem, useful for longer term storage. Being quartz you can expect the usual high level of accuracy that this style of movement provides, typically for the 4220.B this would be -15/+20 seconds per month.
The Duo Timezone sits on a premium black leather crocodile print strap, it is well stitched and I have found it easy to wear with no issues. The underside of the strap has Dreyfuss & Co carved into one side and the company’s logo on the other, the strap is finished with a stainless steel deployment clasp in the same polished finish as the case. Completing the strap is round adornment on the clasp that displays the company logo, a simple and elegant touch that adds to the feel of a quality timepiece.
I have had this watch on my wrist every day for almost a week now, something that even when reviewing is unusual for me to do, as I often wear a different watch each day in rotation (Special occasions or meetings aside). This is a sure sign that I am enjoying wearing this watch and that it works in a practical and aesthetic sense. I am sure I will go back to my rotation but I think this would be a go-to watch for any formal occasion or night out. It is not a perfect dress watch but it is close, I think the price is reasonable at £525 and you are getting a lot of watch for your money.
It has a slightly quirky method of setting the second timezone which will certainly not be to everyone’s taste and it is a little thick for a traditional dress watch but both of these are compromises I can forgive for a watch that I find pleasing to use and own. The complications are elegantly presented, they are uncluttered and easy to use, the fit and finish of the watch is excellent from start to finish, there are lots of small details that add to the overall feel of quality. There is the added bonus of a high level of water resistance, especially for a dress watch, whilst this is not strictly necessary it is again a nice touch and speaks of a quality approach to the design and features.
Overall I would be happy to recommend this watch to anyone who is after a dual timezone dress watch, I think it would be a fine addition to anyone’s collection.
For transparency the 1946 Duo Timezone was kindly provided by Dreyfuss Group for this review, no conditions or terms were requested and no editorial influence was asked for or given in the writing of this review.