Done Watches Mechanica ME1A (Review) + Interview with founder

 

  1. Introduce yourself

My name is Thierry Clottu, I’m 38 years old and I live in Cormondrèche, a small village near Neuchâtel.  In 2004 I finished my studies as Microtechnical Engineer in Le Locle near La Chaux-de-Fonds. From 2004 to 2007 I worked for the brands Candino, Jaguar and Perrelet of Festina Group in a technical office. In 2008, I started a new experience as product development manager by TAG Heuer (for the Carrera collection). From 2009 to 2012, I started a real challenge by relaunching the famous brand L.LEROY as a product manager, technical manager, quality control manager, and others…. We were only 2 people on the product to restarting this marvellous historical brand repurchased by Miguel Rodriguez (founder of Festina Group).

It was so amazing… A unique experience.

For example, noted that from 1900 to 1989, L.Leroy developed the most complicated watch in the world “The Leroy 01”. From November 2012 until now, I work for me in a technical office in Cormondrèche named “TCL CONCEPT SARL”. I develop watches (external parts) for many famous Swiss watch brands.

In 2016 I decided to launch my own brand “DONE WATCHES” by using the crowdfunding principle on Kickstarter. It was a real success 🙂

  1. What started your watch passion?

My father offered me a mechanical watch when I was 18 years old and I was fascinated by the mechanism inside… For the rest, you know what is happened 🙂

  1. What makes a good wristwatch to you?

At first, the watch has to be precise, after that, the look has to be timeless (in 10 years your watch has to give the same “attraction”  (same as the first day you received it) and at the end, the comfort on the wrist has to be perfect.

  1. How much watches do you have in your collection? And maybe you could list them?

I have a problem with that because I would like a lot of watches but I don’t have enough money to buy them 🙂

  • Mechanica “all :)”
  • Tag Heuer Carrera CV2010
  • Perrelet Cushion A1021/1
  • Baume et Mercier (an old one)
  • Auguste Raymond Chronographe (an old one)
  • BRISTON “all black” 13140.PBAM.B.4.NB
  • BRISTON “Silber dial” 13140.SA.T.2.NK
  • Swatch full “white”
  • Swatch full “black”Jaguar j621
  • Jaguar j621
  1. Who is your ideal customer?

Any people who want to discover the fine Swiss watchmaking at an affordable price (without age limit).

  1. Tell about what you like to do outside of watches. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I like spending time with my family and do sports. Every Wednesday I don’t work because I take care of my daughters and it became my “inspiration day” (not stressed about the job and the time spent with my daughters during our promenades inspire me a lot :))

  1. How do you see DONE watch brand in future?

It’s difficult to respond to this question because I’m focusing on the present and I don’t want to grow too fast.

But I would like that DONE watches to stay a watch brand “very close” to the final customer, able to share the passion of watchmaking without any barrier.

  1. Are there any new watches coming anytime soon?

Yes, at the end of this year I have something cool planned.

Now that we are done with the interview, let’s start the review. As you learned from the interview we are gonna review one of DONE watches, particularly the Mechanica ME1A. So DONE watches is a young independent Swiss brand created late 2015 by Thierry Clottu, a microtechnology engineer. Based in Neuchâtel Switzerland, DONE watches have a calling to develop and produce competitively priced quality mechanical Swiss made watches. For its official launch in June 2016, DONE watches chose its model «Mechanica». Fitted with a hand-wound mechanical calibre (ETA 6497-1) and hand-decorated, it genuinely represents the spirit of the brand: mechanical, classic, plain, modern, timeless.
Why «DONE watches»? Its name represents both the challenge its founder set himself to achieve this project (it’s «DONE» !) and its source, as «DO» and «NE» are a reminder of the place where it all began: Neuchâtel, region dear to the brand. To launch DONE watches they used Kickstarter. And they were pretty successful and got funded by CHF 83,522 of CHF 35,000 goal.

So the watch arrived in this nice box composed of an additional leather travel-pouch and another strap (NATO). The travel pouch is really nice and will be useful on the road to securely travel with the watch. The first impressions unboxing the watch I can compare when I first unboxed my fathers Breitling. The quality, design and presenting was on the level. I got to say, I read everything about the movement and the watch and was waiting for this watch very impatiently to review. I took the watch out of the box and already can feel that this is far superior to any micro brand I held in my hands before, maybe the Ginault can only be comparable.

Actually, when I saw the watch I really was thinking where I saw a similar design, I went through my watch catalogues and found the Cimier Petite Seconde watch with a very similar design.

So the case is pretty big at 43,8mm in diameter, 11,3mm in thickness and lug to lug is 51mm. The watch is pretty big for most of the people, but that is because the ETA6497-1 movement which is pretty big. Despite the size, watch wears like 42mm and feels nice on the wrist. The case is made from 316L stainless steel and is finished in polished and brushed finishing. The finishing job is done really good, even better than on the Ginault. The machine work on the case is also pretty amazing, the lines are nice and sharp. The lugs curve a bit so the DONE watch really wraps your wrist nicely. The case back is see through with a small ring going around with the specifications. I really liked the icon with which they say the water resistance, the little fish for me was the small detail on a watch I like. The crystal on the case back is sapphire, but I guess at this price point it is normal. The crown is placed unusually on 15:30.The crown is signed and is big and easy to grab and wind the watch. I think overall the watch case has a very good design, it is simple and well balanced in size and how the watch feels on the wrist.

The dial is really cool in my opinion. I like the dual tone version better than the plain dials, cause it looks better for the eye. The plain versions are a bit boring for me. The dial is in silver and black colours. On 9:30 you will find a sub dial where the seconds are displayed. That’s why I like this movement, I like the subdial for the seconds because hours/minute only watch is a bit boring for me. I like when I see the second’s hand going. The hour and minutes hands have tapered index shape. The hands and hour markers are lumed with Superluminova C3. The lume is pretty good and in the night it shines for about 8 hours. Both the hands and hour markers are faceted and have what they call “diamond finish”, I guess that means how much they are polished. On top of the dial sits a domed sapphire crystal which has the AR coating on both sides. And finally, I can see good results with an AR coated crystal. On all past watches, the AR coating didn’t do a thing, but this really works.

Now comes the most exciting thing, at least for me. It is the movement. Particularly the ETA caliber 6497-1. The movement was interesting to me because some higher grades are used in the Panerai watches and that it was hand winding. Some Panerais even used this exact grade. This movement is very commonly used among other watch companies like Hamilton, Steinhart, Longines, Tissot, Glycine and many others. And DONE watches are no exception. You can read more detailed information about this movement on Watch Wiki. But yeah, the movement is decorated by hand beautifully. The barrel is signed with the DONE watches logo. And it has been running smoothly with about 6-9 seconds a day.

The strap is nice black leather with crocodile grain and contrast white stitching. Of course, it would awesome it to be the real crocodile leather, but that would be too much. The strap is soft and wraps the wrist nicely. The strap tapers from 22m to 18mm. But as you can see from the pictures it doesn’t have the holes for the buckle. That’s because the buckle doesn’t use holes to stay fixed. It just compresses against the strap and that’s how it stays fixed. That is a really neat design in my opinion. Because you can get a perfect fitment for each individual wrist. The buckle is machined nicely and is signed with DONE watches logo. The other Nato strap that they give to you is pretty good too. It is a bit rough to the touch because of the pattern of the fabric. The hardware is nice on these, good that they didn’t use the standard hardware. The buckle is also signed. I have been said that the quality of the straps will get better. But I think they are at a level already.

Overall the watch is really great. As we know the main goal was to make high-quality Swiss watches at affordable prices. And the price for this whole package is really great, only CHF 859.00 (CHF 795.37 Tax excl.). You won’t get a better deal than this, so I highly suggest to grab one! I also saw some concepts of future watches and I got to say, this company will be a future classic in my opinion. The mastermind Thierry who is behind this company really knows what he is doing! 

Price: CHF 859.00 (CHF 795.37 Tax excl.) @ donewatches.ch

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Watch reference: ME1A-A03
  • Dial colour: “Silver-Black”
  • Diameter: 43.8 mm
  • Thickness: 10.9 mm
  • Material: 316L stainless steel
  • Movement: Hand-wound Swiss mechanical movement ETA6497-1, hand-decorated
  • Crystal: Sapphire, domed with anti-reflective coating both side
  • Case back: Screwed with sapphire crystal and consecutive number
  • Water Resistance: 10 ATM (100 m)
  • Strap: Genuine leather with quick release spring bar system
  • Folding clasp: “Double-blade” with pushers, 316L stainless steel and engraved with “DONE” logo
  • Watch delivered in a special box, composed of an additional leather travel-pouch and a free NATO strap

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