DWISS RS1-SL Automatic (review) + short interview with founder

Today we are gonna talk about another microbrand that I wanted to review for some time now and finally got one sample in for a review. The company is called DWISS. It was founded in 2011 by Rafael Simoes Miranda, who has been designing watches since 2006, with a portfolio of hundreds of watches designed for more than 15 different brands, winner of important international design awards, like the Red Dot Design Award, and a former watch design teacher in Milan, Italy. So the watches he makes are very design and innovation focused, and very stunning to look at. All that can be seen from what awards they have received over the years. DWISS won its first IDA (International Design Award) in 2012, just one year after its foundation with the world’s first Niobium watch. The second IDA came in 2016 when DWISS created its signature time display system. It won the ePDA (European Product Design Award) in 2017, granted at a ceremony held at the European Parliament, and the second ePDA in 2018. DWISS has also participated in some of the most important watch fairs: Baselworld (2014 and 2015) and Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair (2014 and 2015). The watch that Rafael sent me is the RS1-SL Automatic, but before we take a closer look at it, let’s have a little chat with Rafael:

1. Introduce yourself

I’m an industrial designer specialised in luxury and watch design, I started working in furniture design in 2002 and changed my career in 2006 designing watches. I designed thousands of watches and also had been a watch designer teacher in Milan before opening DWISS in 2011.

2. What started your watch passion?

I always use watches, but I never tough about designing them, since one day in 2006 started designing for Giorgio Galli, a great designer in Milan who’s studio is now is part of Timex group. From there I started learning and studying watches, I made courses in Switzerland, lived some years in Geneva and open my own design studio in 2009.

3. I know that you are a designer and that you designed many watches for other brands, maybe you can call your favourite designs you’ve made?

I think one of the nicest ones was Bulova Accutron, Sir Richard Branson Limited Edition 63b159, is not the design I like the most, but because it’s for the man himself.

4. What makes a good wristwatch to you?

Good wearability, innovation and taste. I don’t like copycats at all.

5. How much watches do you have in your personal collection?

I lost my last counting but will be around 100, mostly the ones I had designed and a special one a 50’s Calatrava from my grandfather.

6. Who is your ideal customer?

Customers that understand about watchmaking, not only trend followers but people who understand the quality.

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

I get a lot of inspirations from architecture and furniture design.

8. How do you see your watch brand in the future?

Using modified by us movements or even our own movement.

9. Are there any other new watches coming out in the next years?

That’s a surprise 🙂

10. What was the hardest part of creating a watch company?

The financial part is difficult if you go to luxury watches, production is expensive and minimum quantities are high.

11. Any suggestions to someone who wants to start their own watch company?

Do it with passion and create something new, we are full of watch brands around just creating copies will take you nowhere.

 

So let’s take a look at the RS1-SL Automatic that DWISS sent me. I actually at first didn’t like the design but saw that it had some cool ideas of how to display time and it didn’t look like something I have seen before. And after reading about it and seeing some reviews I started to like it more and more so, in the end, I reached out to DWISS and they kindly sent me one sample for review. Note that the watch was sent without the box, if you really want to see how the box looks, you can check their Instagram acc or just search in google, there are plenty of photos and video on that subject. First impressions were that it is big, maybe a bit bigger than I like my watches, but it suits my wrist. I also really like how the time is displayed, at first, it takes a bit of time till you get used to it after that it is as easy like to read analogue display.

So the case of RS1 is made of 316L stainless steel. The case has a  7-part multilayer structure with a lot of design elements. The case is very well machined, feels like a high-end watch to me, all the lines are sharp, can’t see any problems with that. The case diameter is 49,8mm (including the crown), the thickness is 13,2mm, from lug to lug it measures at 50,8mm. As you can see the watch is pretty big and that is probably the only problem I have with the watch overall, I just like smaller watches, but despite the size, it is pretty wearable. The RS1 has a mix of polished and brushed finishes. The finishing is done quite good. As previously mentioned, the case has 7 parts. The lugs themselves are skeletonized and can be seen through sides. On the right side where the crown is there crown guards with that slat design which continues all around the watch. The screw down crown is on the right side and has a blue rubber ring around it for extra grip. In my opinion, it is not needed and in the long term that isn’t the best solution as rubber tends to get sticky and rub off after some time. But despite all that, the crown has a very nice grip and it has a very smooth action to it. The crown is signed with the DWISS logo on the side. Another great design touch is the bezel which is attached with four small screws. I really like when a company aligns the screws and don’t just randomly screw them in, it really gives you that higher-end feel when a company gives attention to even the smallest details. The screw in case back has a see-through window where you can see the movement. On the case back you will find some specifications and also your watches number because each colour version is made in only 199 pieces, mine, for example, is 44. Also engraved around the case back you will see words “Veni, vidi, vici” which from Latin translates to “I came, I saw, I conquered”. The crystal used on the case back is a flat sapphire crystal and on the front, you also have a flat sapphire crystal with AR coating which actually works pretty good. The water resistance on this one is 200m (20ATM) so you can easily go swimming with it, but just remember to take it off the leather strap and change it for a nato or silicone strap, or if you got the version with bracelet, go with that.

What makes this RS1 design so unique is the dial. DWISS really well made the multilayer design. With a raised outer dial and a smaller lower dial, this watch is visually stunning to me. The only thing that kind of resembles the look of a classic watch hand is the minute hand. Instead of hands, this watch uses discs. The second’s disc does not point at anything, it just rotates around to show some sign of life. The minute hand/pointer thingy rotates inside the smaller dial and points the small cutout minute markers. The hour disc makes things very interesting. Half of the disc is coloured in blue. As the disc rotates around dial you can tell the hour by which segment is filling up. At first, it takes some time to get used to but after some time you get used to it. Also through the middle, you can see the movement, it would be cool if they had a skeletonized middle so that you can see the movement. All around the dial, you can see there are specifications written, in my opinion, that isn’t the best solution as it fills up space and makes the dial a bit busy. The lume on the dial is pretty good and as I’ve been told by the founder of the company, my white/blue version looks the best in the night, and I have to agree, it really gives a nice glow. At 3 o’clock you also have a square date window.

DWISS uses an ETA 2824-2 Elabore movement in their RS1 models. This movement provides Incabloc shockproof protection which is done by using a spring-loaded mounting system for the jewelled bearings that support the balance wheel. This will provide some protection if the watch if banged around or dropped. The movement itself is fairly simple-looking with the exception of the customer rotor. It is a very commonly used movement in the watch world. ETA has been making movements for years and this movement has been in the watch world for some time and gained a pretty good reputation over the years due to how simple it is to service it and how precise it is. My version runs at about +3 to +5 seconds a day which is pretty good. The movement isn’t the most interesting to look at through the exhibition case back, but they at least did engrave the rotor with their logo and some design elements.

My RS1 came with a white leather strap with dark blue contrasting stitching. It’s a very nice strap that is made in Italy. The leather is really soft. The stitching is one really good. It has a very nice taper from 24mm to 20mm. And this is another company that built in the quick release spring bars (as my readers will know, it is the thing that I want everyone to do, it just makes a ton of difference in changing straps). The buckle is just a regular tang style buckle with a DWISS logo engraved on the tip. On the wrist, the watch wears very comfortably. But remember that it takes a bit of time for the strap to wear in, as the leather is pretty stiff. The only problem for a white strap is that it tends to get dirty very fast, so be wise when you choose the strap, I would probably go with the bracelet as it makes it look better, but it could make the watch look even bigger on the wrist.

Overall I really like the design of the RS1 and how the time is displayed. Rarely I see in microbrands where the design is original, usually, microbrands tend to homage design or something like that. The quality is there, all the machine work and finishing are done to high standards. And the price isn’t that big for what the watch is, as you get a quality Swiss made timepiece with an original award-winning design from a watch designer that has been designing watches for some time for other brands. The RS1 design comes in many colour variations. They also have an RC1 collection which basically has the same design as RS1, but with Roman numerals. The RS1 also comes in a tourbillion version which has the Caliber Concepto 8950 inside for just under 19000$ which is a steal when it comes to tourbillions.

Price: 1390$ @ dwiss.com

Dimension  
45,0 mm diameter
13,0 mm thickness

Movement
Swiss made – Automatic movement
ETA 2824-2 (Elabore or Top Grade)
Shockproof protection Incabloc®
Number of jewels: 25
Frequency 4Hz – 28’800
Power reserve: approximately 42h

Case
316L Stainless Steel, with a 7-part multilayer structure
See-through case back

Dial
White dial with blue accents and the exclusive design-awarded DWISS signature time display system

Glass (crystal) 
Sapphire with anti-reflection

Strap
Italian made leather strap
DWISS exclusive Stainless Steel buckle

Water resistant
20 ATM – 200 meters

 

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