Yes, you are reading this right. Not only is this our FIRST partnered review, which we are incredibly excited about, but it is also the first article where more than one of us are contributing, and the reason for this is as follows. About a month ago, we were contacted by a subscriber and follower of us, Mr Sergio Godoy Di Renzo. Sergio is a Switzerland based architect and watch designer, as well as being a fan of ours (which is just awesome). He reached out to ask us if we would be interested in getting our hands on a pre-release of his latest watch, the DRZ_02. Of course we did not need persuading, and in the past few weeks, both Calum and myself have had a chance to wear the watch for around a week, to properly get a feel for the piece and better inform this article!
This watch was released on Kickstarter this past week, and got fully funded in just three seconds, which we think is no surprise considering how brilliant the watch is. To quote Direnzo founder Sergio, the best way to describe this watch is as follows: "a unique and innovative piece whose aesthetics connect with both the past and the future. This is why the term “retro-futuristic” perhaps best describes the style of this timepiece." Having spent a few weeks with the watch, I think we are both in agreement in saying that this sums the watch up pretty well!! Now, before we get to the important bit, what Cal and I think of this watch, let me take you through some of the specifications, as there are some very cool and interesting design cue's that you should definitely be aware of!!
The dial is a sandwich dial. This is where the dial is made of two layers: a top layer with the hour markers cut out and a base plate which can only be seen through the areas of the top dial that are cut out. These cut outs therefore define the minute markers around the outside. However, sandwich dials, made famous by Panerai, offer such depth and character, as you can see below. There are four dial variations available: Matt Black, Sunburst Blue, Sunbust Green and Sunburts Light Grey. We were lucky enough to get our hands on the sunburts blue, which I think you can agree is just gorgeous. The hour markings are a combination of dots, a triangle and lines which give the dial an almost extra-terrestrial vibe. This coupled with the "H. Moser" style, blue, sunburst dial gives this piece a very unique and striking presence that changes as the light hits it at different angles.
Now this is where the cool influences into this watch start. The case has been inspired by the futuristic curves of Bugatti's from the 1930's. This gives the watch a subtle sports style, without being too overbaringly sporty. It is almost impossible to describe just how cool the case on this watch is. At every possible angle you look at it you get to see what could easily be a completely different watch. These fantastic and high quality photo's provided by Sergio go someway to demonstrating this. My favourite part is the case is exceptionally thin and the bevelling of the case allows it to wear even thinner. As a result this piece wears very well with a suit, sliding effortlessly under the cuff. This combined with the style of the dial and the sporty Tonneau shape of the case means that this watch is very versatile and can be worn with a suit and with joggers and a hoodie hungover in Tescos looking for Bacon and Innocent Smoothie. The corners of the case are lightly polished, contrasting nicely with brushed front of the case and amplifying the bevelling of the front of the case and the contrasting concaved side of the case. One thing I think would improve the overall finish and amplify the lines of the case would be to add more sharpness to case as it flows down into the lugs. This is because the polishing of the front of the case tries to achieve this alone and it does a good job but i think a solid edge would be the final touch. Something between the slight edge of the lugs found on a Grand Seiko and the polished/brushed combination found on the lugs of the Speedmaster and Seamaster. However, obviously the cost of production between the DRZ_02 and these two is very different. Also I do greatly enjoy the case shape and lines I just feel a slightly sharper edge would be the final touch.
The particular piece we were lucky to spend time with had the PVD case. The quality of the PVD coating is excellent and feels faultlessly smooth and scratch proof. Far better than that found on a Sevenfirday, which retail for more! This, we quickly realised, was a theme through out the watch: exceptional value for money when it comes to build quality, movement and design. There are watches out there in this price range which do not compete and pieces that exceed this price range and struggle to match this. The piece has that substantial weight that resonates with quality. Especially n a thin watch like this. Again this piece weighs more than a Sevenfriday but is thinner and better constructed. Furthermore, the screw in case back is also PVD. A pet hate of mine is when the case is PVD or gold plated and then the case back is steel or chrome. This piece's case really ticks a lot of boxes for me. And that isn't just being nice.
The bezel is exactly the same as the one used on the DRZ_Type_250F, which you can see below. The clever thing about the bezel used on these watches is that it is Counter-Sloping. This means that the overall height of the case to be visually reduced. It is also a continuation of the curvature of the saphire, so that the transition between the crystal, bezel and case are seemless.
Now, lets get down to the innards, gizzards and inner workings of the watch. We are not going to cover the never ending argument about whether aesthetics or movement are the most valuable part of a watch, but this is definitely an important consideration for anyone who is looking to purchase a new watch, or more specifically, a Direnzo watch. The movement used here, unsurprisingly, is a Swiss made Sellita SW-200, which is the main competitor to the ETA 2824 workhorse movement found in pretty much every ETA based time only watch. The fiat 500 of entry level watch movements if you will. It is a high quality movement, despite maybe not having the best reputation. It is a hacking 28,800 Bph movement with a manual wind and a power reserve of 38 hours, all of which found on the more expensive ETA2824. This movement also has a screw in crown which I found a really nice touch considering, again Sevenfriday do not use screw in crowns. I think this just adds to the overall feeling of quality, value and robustness. The base movement comes with either a Date, or not, both options are also offered within this particular line of Direnzo watches.
One small improvement I would suggest would be on the presentation of the movement its self. I am a huge fan of display casebacks. Tick. However I think one simple addition to the movement could make such a huge difference. This is simply the addition of some kind of finishing on the rotor. I am not suggesting anything major but I felt that an unfinished rotor on display is a bit like a abercrobie model with a dad bod- just isn't that exciting. Maybe matching the colour of the rotor with the dial colour? Maybe a PVD rotor on the PVD models? Maybe just a bit more finishing on the plain steel rotor? I know, such a small detail but I think, like the case/ lug shapes would really just finish this watch off perfectly.
Straps, presentation box and Accessories
The other thing that you get along with your watch are a number of accessories. Not only do you get a lovely leather rally strap with quick release spring bars; probably the most heavely invention ever, you also get a very lovely leather watch roll to store your other watches alongside your Direnzo DR-02. What I really like about Direnzo's offering is that instead of getting a bulky watch box that will take up space collecting dust, and you will end up holding onto it in some weird form of sentimentality, you get a lovely watch roll that you can actually use.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Sergio for this fantastic opportunity. This watch is really superb. The unusual case shape and fantastic dial make for a brilliant and eye catching piece. We have loved being able to have it in for review, and get to experience a new and up and coming brand which I am sure will be very successful in the years to come. Below are the links to both the website and the kickstarter campaign, as well as a promotional video which shows off the watch in all its glory.
Link to the Kickstarter campaign:
Editors and Co-Founders