When I started this blog, it was just for fun. I really liked watches and wanted to write about them to educate people and help them choose the right watches. As a watch enthusiast myself I always found that some microbrands don’t have any reviews or anything and so you don’t know if the watch you want to buy is good or not as you can’t go into a watch shop and see the watch in person and try it on. At first, I was writing about my personal watches which I bought and invested my money in. When some companies started to notice me, they reached out to me and sent me watches to review and then after some time I reached out to them and my blog is what it is right now. But never in my life, I thought that I can get my hands on a watch from Dietrich watch company. I remember when I was looking at their Organic Time (OT) collection watches and thought that it is a very cool and crazy design. I don’t know if other watch enthusiasts consider this company a luxury watch company, but I consider it that as I’ve seen Dietrich watches in my local luxury watch dealer and in other countries I’ve been to. I have to say Big Thank You to Emmanuel and thanks for a chance to check out your watches, it is an honour that company like your’s saw something in my blog and sent me a watch for a review!
Dietrich watch company was founded in January 2014 by Besançon-born designer Emmanuel Dietrich who offers affordable luxury watches. The unique selling point of the brand I think are their unique designs. The atypical hexagonal case style throughout their watches and the sapphire glass which is custom-made for the brand—is very distinctive and pretty know in my opinion. The credit for these designs goes to Emmanuel Dietrich himself, whose resume counts in many watch and furniture projects for high-end companies, from Ligne Roset to Hermès. Before we dig more into the TC watch that we have today in for review, I prepared an interview with the man himself Mr.Dietrich.
I was born in 1969 in the watchmaking city of Besançon, France. I always wanted to re-design everything around me, produce my own items, and that led me to be an industrial designer since 1993. I have worked for a lot of luxury brands (Hermès, Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Ruinart…), but also in the furniture field (Roset, Rosenthal, Haworth…). Watches were always a strong part of my design activities, and since I knew this industry well and always loved timekeepers, I decided to focus on this field when starting my own brand.
What started your watch passion?
The watch I received for my seventh birthday, the so-called “reasonable age” in France. It was a small diver hand wounded watch from the local brand Cupillard Rième. I loved it and spent hours looking at the second hand slowly moving or playing with the rotative bezel. Then, a friend of my parents, a watch prototypist at the Lip factory taught me a lot about this new passion and I learned the basics of watchmaking with him.
What makes a good wristwatch to you?
The first glance and the last. It should catch your eyes immediately, having a coherent and obvious design that you remind in a second, but it should last the proof of time, of thousands of looks at every detail, and continue to procure the same joy indefinitely.
What watches do you have in your personal collection?
I am not a collector at all. I don’t like to own items that I don’t really use. I have only watches that I have designed. I still wear the Hermès “Harnais” watch that was one of my first watch design, but I mainly have Dietrich’s today. I am my best customer.
What is the idea behind the TC watch collection?
I always wanted to give my personal interpretation of the Stainless Steel sport watch and pay tribute to this great tradition initiated by Rolex, Tudor… and Gerald Genta. I also was convinced that we needed a more classical alternative to our OT watch range (that will be replaced this autumn). This led me to start looking for a design that keeps our DNA -particularly the hexagonal case shape- and sketch until I had a bracelet strong enough to distinguish ourselves. If you look at the watch, almost every detail is six-sided. I tried to be as coherent as possible, while staying harmonious. That was the biggest challenge.
Who is your ideal customer?
One who looks for a watch that defines him as an independent mind. We don’t provide reassurance, we provide strong statements for strong individuals. For reassurance, look at the crown.
Tell about what you like to do outside of watches. Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I love to walk in cities, especially Zürich and Paris, but also hiking or climbing in the beautiful mountains of Switzerland. I ride motorcycle passionately. For me, this is the highest feeling of freedom. I read a lot, look at thousands of images and I was always a dreamer. All these experiences nourish my inspiration for sure, but creation remains a mystery, it just happens.
How do you see your watch brand in the future?
The future is always a surprise, and I love it this way.
Are there any other new watches coming out anytime soon?
Yes, a new range will be presented this year, that will replace the Organic Time that was our start. I am very excited and impatient !!
What was the hardest part of creating a watch company?
Managing all the operational and financial aspects of it. I am a designer, I had to learn so much…
Any suggestions to someone who wants to start making their own watches?
Be honest to yourself. Know your limits and your strength, and try to focus on what you are truly good at. And don’t launch production before everybody wants to buy the prototype on your wrist!
The watch that we are looking at today is from the TC (Time Companion) line and it is basically a sports watch that is meant for every occasion. The Time Companion is meant to be a Royal Oak or Nautilus for a new generation that does not appreciate the price range of traditional Swiss giants. And I definitely can see the appeal of that as I would never have that much money to buy Nautilus or Royal Oak. The TC right now comes in five colour variations: stainless steel colour case with black and blue dials or a black PVD coated case with blue, grey and black dials. The one we have here is the black PVD coated one with a blue dial which is super cool and futuristic looking watch!
The watch arrived very well packaged with nice Dietrich signed wrapping paper, I felt that I was unboxing something really special! I was pretty surprised to see that it didn’t come in a very big box but in a rather small travel pouch. When I asked Emmanuel why did he choose to ship in a small pouch, he replied: “I know the box is an important item in term of perceived value, especially in certain cultures. But personally, I am always annoyed by the waste of material and energy that this represents, mostly to end up in a drawer forever. That is why on the TC, I decided to put all the money and energy in the watch itself and to deliver it with a minimal pouch that is also designed as a travel item, to protect your watch in your luggage. I like to produce useful things!!” And I totally understand this, so many companies waste so much money and materials on the box that they forget about the watch itself and usually, the box is even better than the watch itself. Anycase as you can see the travel pouch is shaped just like the watch and is signed with Dietrich logo. Inside you will find just the watch. Very minimalistic packaging and I like it! The first impressions were just wow! The bracelet is a work of art and I only can imagine how much time and engineering it took for it to work and hold together, not even talking about how expensive it is to manufacture the bracelet in Switzerland!. And the blue colour on the dial is crazy as it changes colours in the sun and has that very deep blue look to it. Also, it was satisfying to take off the plastic as it had a lot of it, haha.
The case of the TC is made of 316L stainless steel. The case is very well machined to the smallest details. The whole case, bezel, back, screws and bracelet are coated in black PVD coating. The coating is done also to the highest Swiss standards. I have knocked the watch two times accidentally on some furniture and on the watch there isn’t a scratch. It is good to know that after 20 or so years the watch will still be black and won’t show the stainless steel colour through. The case shape is hexagonal which is Dietrich’s signature shape to use for cases, and I really like that no other company that I know uses this shape and you can immediately identify which company it is! And in modern times it is really hard to make watches that are recognizable from far. The finishing on the case is brushed and polished. The case is 43,8mm wide, in length, it is 42mm and the thickness is 9,3 mm. The case dimensions are super good due to its shape and that integrated bracelet design it wears like a 40mm case watch, despite it being bigger. On top of the case, you will find a fixed bezel which is screwed on and kind of reminds me of the fixed bezels on the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or Patek Phillipe Nautilus. At 3 o’clock we have a screw down crown which also has that hexagonal shape and is signed with deeply engraved Dietrich logo on top. The crown is a bit hard to screw back as it is a bit slippery, but you still can manage to screw it back in. When it comes to winding it or setting the time/date it works flawlessly. The solid case back is also in that hexagonal shape and is held on with 6 small screws. On the case back, there is some specifications and Dietrich logo engraved. Over the dial, we have a hexagonal flat sapphire crystal with AR coating which works really well! I just can’t imagine what were the manufacturing costs of such shaped crystal. The water resistance is only 5ATM (50m) which is a bit disappointing, but still livable as you can probably swim with it in the pool as it has screw down crown and solid case back so you are basically safe.
The hexagonal dial of the TC is really a masterpiece, especially the blue one we have here. Indoors the dial looks almost black or super dark blue, but when you go outside in the sun, it just shows it’s true colours as you can see from the photos. The dial also is very interesting in my opinion, I like that centre hexagonal pattern on the dial, it just gives some detail to it as it is pretty simple. I also like how Emmanuel designed the hour markers, especially the shape of them and the date window at 3 o’clock is also very well integrated. I’m not a big fan of dates on the dials, but this one is done right and I don’t even mind that the date wheel isn’t colour matched with the dial as the white colour fills it and almost gives an illusion that there is another hour marker. The hour markers are filled with blue Super-Luminova. The iconic Gerald Genta hands have been modernized by Mr.Dietrich in a satisfying and original manner. They have kept that classic Genta look, but with sharper lines. The hands are filled with green Super-Luminova. The lume shot on this watch is probably one of the coolest ones I’ve seen this year and it is very legible! The lume shines for about 5-6 hours which is really good! The Dietrich logo and model branding are on the top and bottom and aren’t that flashy plus I like how the Dietrich logo looks!
Powering the Dietrich Time Companion is a simple but great Swiss-made ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. It’s nothing special when it comes to horology, but it is a damn good and reliable movement. This 4Hz (28,800 bph), 42-hour power reserve automatic movement is the one I expected in this price range so I’m perfectly happy with it. I have this movement in one of my watches and I never had problems with it, even if something goes wrong, it is very easy to fix as parts are very accessible and most watchmakers can repair it without a problem.
The bracelet on the TC I think is a work of art! I asked Mr.Dietrich about it and he said that the bracelet was indeed a challenge, but it is all his experience and life as an industrial designer to know how to work with suppliers and adapt the design to technical constraints to make it possible. But it took a lot of time to find the perfect way to keep the bracelet together so it works well and sits very comfortable on the wrist. As you can see from the pictures the bracelet also has that hexagon shape in the middle links. The top side has brushed finishing, but the underside of all the links is rounded and polished so it doesn’t scratch your skin and wears more comfy on your wrist. The bracelet actually is very comfortable on the wrist, definitely one of my favourite bracelets on a watch. The bracelet has that integrated design so no strap changes unless you special order something from a strap maker, but I hope Dietrich is thinking of adding also some strap options for this watch, it would just give a little versatility to the watch. The removable links are held on with screws so resizing is a pretty easy thing to do. But my watchmaker had problems with removing the screws due to that PVD finishing, I guess it makes the hole smaller and the screw can’t go out so he needed to use some force and one of the screws got scratched a little, nothing visible, but still it is a little minus for the bracelet that is PVD coated. I asked around to some of my Instagram followers who have these watches and they said it happened to them too. So I hope that into the next iterations of this bracelet design that will be solved. The hidden butterfly clasp is pretty good and works great too! And it doesn’t dig into your wrist like others do.
So what can I say about this watch? Well, it is AMAZING! I’m not saying this because I got to review this watch or because of the price or something, I truly think it is an amazing watch and that unique hexagon design is very unique! The price of 1800CHF (roughly 1580€) for some may be a lot, but I think it is worth every cent! For the price you get a watch from an already established brand, unique design by a talented designer with some history, Swiss made quality of manufacturing, great ETA 2824-2 automatic movement which is very reliable, sapphire crystal and a work of art bracelet! Yes, for this price range you can get other sports watches from a bigger brand like Breitling, Colt or Tag-Heuer or even go used market, but they won’t be as unique as this one!
Dietrich also has a luxurious watch called Perception which is one of the coolest watches I have ever seen! The unique micro layered dial offers a stunning view into the brands first ever in house complication, a modified version of the automatic mechanical movement ETA 2824. The complication equips the timepiece with several functions including seconds display at 5 o clock and 24-hour indication at 9 o clock. And it shows time in a very cool way with such complications like wandering 24 hours and relative seconds! Definitely go and check that one out too!
Price: 1800CHF (~1580€) @ dietrich.com
• ETA 2824-2 mechanical automatic movement, 38 hours power reserve, 25 jewels, 28’800 oscillations per hour.
• Custom cut Sapphire glass with anti-glare coating both sides.
• Screwed crown., water resistant up to 50 meters / 5 ATM.
• Hands and indexes gun plated colour mirror polished.
• Blue dial, vertical brushed, graduations on a counter level, hexagonal prism’s field in the centre.
• White “Super-Luminova” on hands and indexes. Green luminescence on hands and blue on indexes.
• Multilink metal bracelet with hexagonal elements and secured double clasp.
• Length: 42 mm_/_1,65 in.
• Width of case: 43,8 mm_/_1,72 in.
• Total width including the crown: 46,2 mm_/_1,81 in.
• Height: 9,3 mm_/_0,35 in.
• Weight with metal bracelet: about 166 gr.