The second week of Baselworld is much more relaxed than the first, there are less people and the staff feel less under pressure. This usually means more time spent with the watches and the chance to ask more questions.
DeWitt is of course not a an entirely new name in the market, but having been founded in the last five years they have come a long way. Their products are not always widely distributed so you might struggle to find a shop near to you, but if you have a supplier I would recommend looking them up.
Previously my major interaction with the brand has been that their factory is on my way to work at the radio station; it’s a largely anonymous grey/blue building in an industrial estate, but with the wonderful DeWitt branding of wheels and cogs on the side of it.
For my money the new Twenty-8-eight (shown above), so-called because it was designed on August 28th, is the highlight of this year’s new offerings. The proportions seem right, the ratio of height to diameter is good, the weight is excellent, not too heavy and dial’s just fantastic.
The guilloche is of the finest quality having been created by the in-house team on 18th and 19th century tools. I think these give a far superior finish compared to modern machines, deeper and crisper. This is finished off with a black gold which brings out the ridges and valleys into higher relief. You have a choice between a tourbillon or a straight automatic, and personally I would go with the automatic. DeWitt calls it an “urban classic” and I would have to agree with that, it’s a very classy timepiece.
Whilst still highly attractive the tourbillon is just a little less appealing in my eyes and the bump in price certainly makes it seem not as good value for money. A nice touch though is the tribute to the founder with the guilloche in a beautiful “W” pattern.
DeWitt’s superb Academia Tourbillon Force Constante A Chain
One of the more unique aspects of the brand’s approach to manufacturing is that each watch is assembled by one watchmaker from start to finish, and to mark this, each watch sports a plate with the engraved signature of the maker. So if you are the owner of one of DeWitt’s fine watches you can even go and meet the person who made it and perhaps shake their hand.
A trend that has to be taken seriously over the next few years is the use of constant force. The tourbillon isn’t quite ready to step down as the high complication of choice, but most constant force movements are considerably cheaper to manufacture if a little less flashy. The other big development at this year’s Baselworld is the use of the chain and as a technical “tour de force” DeWitt have put all three into one watch; the Academia Tourbillon Force Constante A Chaine.
The in-house built tourbillon passes power to the constant force mechanism from where the force is provided to the movement at the same level regardless of the amount of winding. The chain, made from 192 individual parts, is assembled by machine; this is a very difficult thing to accomplish as the force used to bind the chain must remain constant for each link otherwise the chain will buckle and stick during operation. The chain operates an intermediate wheel which, when the watch is wound, moves the power reserve indicator which slides against an enameled scale.
The Final Word
The future looks good for DeWitt, the new models appear to feature the right functions coming to the market at the right time. I hope sometime in the near future to take a trip around the factory, maybe on my way home from work one summer’s evening.
Category: Basel World