Dwiss R1 Automatic – Futuristic, Colorful and Bold

By Frederik Drost
Dwiss R1 Automatic – Futuristic, Colorful and Bold
Agressive, sporty, colorful, futuristic, well built and simply a ton of fun wear! Checking the time is no longer a necessity, but something you do just to remind you of how cool the dial looks.


DWISS is launching a new timepiece on Kickstarter, and i really love it and highly recommend you go check it out here. It features a wandering hours display, which is just cool as hell!

In this review I will take a closer look at a watch from a brand that says they “tell time differently”. It doesn’t take long look at their website to see that this statement might be true. Funky dial setups and colors is truly their identity. 

But these watches do require some money to own, and the question most people will have when seeing this brand for the first time, is: are they worth the money? The short answer is yes, but please do continue to read to figure out why I believe that.

I present to you, the DWISS R1 Automatic.


Overall Design

It’s important to note that the dial on this watch is somewhat out of the ordinary, but it was surprisingly easy to get used to reading the time. This is rather important when considering this type of watch.

To put it in short terms: this is a very sporty, unique, industrial and colorful design. Those design seem to be very popular these days, if you consider Richard Mille popular, but i feel DWISS went a step further with how they display the time.

DWISS has won several design competitions, including the ePDA, IDA and the IAI. But that doesn’t say much except about it’s originality and function, so i will try to explain what i like about the design, and what i don’t like.


Design Strengths

The dial

The dial on this watch is what catches the eye at first! It has very good depth thanks to several layers and the indices almost seem to be floating above the dial. Those hours indices are very tall and protruding, which looks very cool when seeing the dial from an angle.

The central hand shows you the minutes and the green line shows you the hours. By following the direction of a normal watch hand, you can determine the correct edge of the green line that tells you the time. Quite an easy way of reading the time after a day or two.

I also enjoy the semi transparent plate at the bottom of the dial, reminding you this is still a mechanical watch. To keep the symmetry and circular design alive, you can also skim the date wheel through that plate.
But all of this doesn’t interfere with the rest of the dial. The bright white paint around the green minute hand makes sure it stands out amongst the madness.

The case

The case is almost as unique as the dial, with its untraditional cushion shape and “sandwich” construction. Sharp angles are tastefully mixed with the curved crownguard and the round bezel, making this watch less aggressive than it could be.  

I LOVE the hollow lugs, and this is something i rarely see on watches in this price range, mainly because it is hard to make and cost a lot more than traditional lugs. For reference, the 11.59 from Audemars Piguet has it (25.000 USD used) and i found a limited edition Citizen with some nice ones (5.500 USD).

The circular crown guards is another element that I love, especially since they are layered, with the middle being hollow. A nice throwback at the hollow lugs, and leaves the entire case looking and feeling lighter.

To seal the deal, they have a funky little plastic guard on the crown to remind you the second color of this watch if green, and some nice polished hexagonal screws on the bezel. Some could say they tried to piggyback ride the success of the Royal Oak line or some Hublot models with these screws, but I disagree. They have less screws that are placed in a different way, and they really help give the dark case some contrast and personality.


The strap

The strap is made out of some kind of hard woven fabric that almost looks like carbon fiber, and the stitches have a nice green color that is less bright than the one featured on the dial and crown. It’s always nice to have that secondary color of the watch come back on the strap and it gives the watch a very sporty look!

The strap buckle is probably one of the best, or coolest, buckles i have seen in a while. Not too big, not too small and with a lot of sharp angles, like the lugs of the case. A nice and wide pin sits comfortably and perfectly in the hole that was cut out for it.


Design Weaknesses

With this specific model, it can be quite hard to read the time in low light situations. The contrast with the green and the blac is simply not strong enough. But once you know the hours, following the minutes is a piece of cake. The watch does have lume, but it’s very hard to see if you simply rely on natural daylight to charge it.

The lume right after hard exposure to my lamp. The second hand is a bit grainy, and the lume fades quicly.

Also, this specific model features a black case and buckle, which makes it harder to see all those lovely angles and different polishes. On the steel version, they surely will pop out more, but i believe this is just a matter of opinion since i know a few people who love black metal watches.

My last complaint is probably also a matter of opinion. The strap sides should have been black if i was sitting in the designer’s chair. It’s just a little too much color, which of course is not a problem if you buy the steel bracelet model (their bracelets look great by the way).


Quality

The quality of this watch is as you would expect from this price range: No “too sharp” angles on the watch case, nice polish and brushed finishes and deeply engraved logo on the crown. The crown action is perfect and unscrews and tightens like butter. 200 meters water resistance is also to be expected at this price point, and is harder to achieve with a display case back. 

Also worth noting is how the strap hugs the case, which is something “cheaper” watch brands fails to consider.

On the dial, everything is perfectly aligned, just like the screws on the bezel and the crown and crown guards. The polished indices are well made too, nothing over the top like on a Grand Seiko, but definitely custom made and worth the close up look.

The only thing that looks a little cheap is the black minute track that sits right under the tip of the indices. It is metal of course, but the paint gives it a plastic look.

The strap is quick release and features nice and tight stitchings, laminated sides and a soft leather underside making it comfortable to wear. 

All in all, everything looks and feels solid, and you can definitely tell that this watch requires more machining and custom elements than the more “ordinary” watch. That is what you are paying for.


The movement

ETA 2428-2 Top Grade

The R1 Automatic is powered by an ETA 2824-2 (Elabore or Top Grade) with 28.800 beats per hour (4Hz or 8 ticks a second). Unfortunately you can’t really see how smooth the second hand is, due to its relatively small size. 

On their website, they state that it’s either an Elaboré or Top Grade, which does make a difference. This source states that the biggest jump in quality is from Elaboré to Top Grade, but this movement seems to be a Top Grade (i compared pictures on the web).  

This is the difference between the Elaboré and Top grades:

Elaboré

  • – adjusted in 3 positions: CH, 6H, 9H
  • – average daily rate: +/- 7 seconds
  • – maximum positional variation: 20 seconds
  • – isochronism between 0 and 24 hours: +/- 15 seconds

Top

  • – adjusted in 5 positions: CH, FH, 6H, 9H, 3H
  • – average daily rate: +/- 4 seconds
  • – maximum positional variation: 15 seconds
  • – isochronism between 0 and 24 hours: +/- 10 seconds


The see-through case back offers a great view to the movement, which is very well decorated with côtes de genève and perlage finishes, because of it’s Top Grade. It really looks good and is worth the extra close up look 🙂


Price

I think the price if fair

I had a hard time deciding, off the bat, if the price was fair. This is my first time with a Top Grade movement, so i had to do some research. This kind of movement costs around 300 USD, most likely a little less when buying bulk, which is still a lot. I have reviewed watches that cost the same. 

Taking into consideration the complicated case design, custom elements, overall quality and the movement, I can only conclude that the price is fair.


Conclusion

This watch is masculine, aggressive, colorful and futuristic, and simply a ton of fun to wear! It is the embodiment of the word “cool” and will definitely draw your attention to your wrist, as well as the attention of others.

This watch is however an acquired taste, but if you fall in love with the design, then you can rest assured: the quality of the watch matches the price and the sporty lifestyle it was designed to emulate.

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