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My Dornblueth Concept

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1 My Dornblueth Concept on Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:43 pm

First of all, let me say hello. I introduced myself on the new member forum, but this is my first "real" post.

I've been a fan of German watches for the past several years and have owned several Stowas, Tutimas & Sinns. I own a Stowa MOLE II, which is my first marine-style watch. I love its black dial and recently began exploring a lighter-colored dial to complement it. As a result, I've begun to consider seriously purchasing a Dornblueth.

I am very intrigued by the power reserve indicator, and found it very useful on my Sinn 956 Klassik. I also really like a date complication , so the 99.3 has been high on the list of watches I am considering. However, I'm afraid that that 3 sub-dials make the watch appear too busy. I prefer the 2 sub-dial look, which nicely balances the watch dial. This presented me with a choice of either the power reserve indicator or the date complication. A difficult choice, although for all practical purposes, the date complication would most likely be the most useful to me.

The other day, another option occurred to me: What if the watch used a central seconds hand? This would allow the balanced 2 sub-dial approach, without sacrificing the additional complications I'm after.

I sent an email to Dirk a little while ago and presented him the idea. Frankly, I expected him to tell me I was crazy, or tell me it would not be possible. But today, I received a most encouraging email from him.

thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

I have checked the possibilities and it would be possible to fulfill your wish, but we need some time to construct the movement, Further we need to create the new dial. The idea I have is to place the power reserve at 9 o’clock position and date stays at 3 o’clock.

During the next two weeks we will be closed for summer vacation, but after our arrival I will send you picture of the dial.

I am ecstatic! I am not sure if this is the ideal layout, or if I would prefer the dials oriented at 12 and 6, similar to the Regulator. Suffice it to say I will discuss that with Dirk when he returns from his vacation.

In the meanwhile, do any of you have any thoughts on the concept? Aesthetically, do you prefer one over the other (or none at all)?

I hope you'll forgive me if I'm rambling - I'm quite excited about the prospects and the idea of working with watchmakers of the Dornblueths' ability to create a unique timepiece is intoxicating, to say the least.


James Partridge

Last edited by TimeZero on Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:58 pm; edited 1 time in total

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2 Could this be the new "99.5"? on Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:20 pm

Very exciting James. Very exciting!

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3 Re: My Dornblueth Concept on Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:45 am

James, the concept is great. It is hard to visualize the different layouts (9-3 vs 12-6), at least in detail. I'm sure Dirk can provide you some drawings when the holiday is over.

That said, I'd like the 12-6 layout better. Couple reasons:

- the design of the PR subdial makes it appear smaller than the date subdial, so putting them left/right looks unbalanced to my mind's eye.

- the calibers that put the PR at 12 use a smaller subdial that to me, looks the perfect size. PR is not something you look at every hour, so the less obtrusive, the better.

- date subdial at 6 is used historically by a number of manufacturers - albeit usually incorporating a moonphase - and in this case it won't be confused with the seconds subdial since you'll have the big sweeping center hand.

- I think is might be possible to design a 12-6 layout so that fewer numerals get 'eaten' by the subdials. You can decide if the 'eaten' 10,2,4,8 of the 9-3 layout bothers you, but I'd think with a 12-6, you could get away with only the 6 missing.


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4 Re: My Dornblueth Concept on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:47 pm

This sounds very interesting- please do share the picture with us when Dirk & Co return from their holidays.

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5 The Lang & Heyne example on Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:05 pm

Hi all, posted this on WUS, but I thought I'd repeat it here to see if there are any comments:

Been thinking about this layout problem posed above some more: how can you incorporate power reserve, center second, and date....

Well, Lang & Heyne have done such a piece. I believe it is called the Heinrich. Along with the pointer date feature, the center seconds has been added, and is also deadbeat. Remarkably, the case size is a shade under 40 mm. Sterling silver dial with grainy silver finish.

I believe L&H employs the Unitas ebauche as does Dornblüth, but the enhancements and finishing make it well-nigh unrecognizable!

Out of Dresden, as German as you can get!


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6 Re: My Dornblueth Concept on Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:56 pm

What a remarkably simple and clean dial, considering all it has going on. The movement is stunningly executed as well.

On another note, I heard from Dirk today, who provided me a beautiful illustration of his proposed dial configuration. I would like to share it to help advance the discussion, but want to make sure it's OK with Dirk before I post his image. I hope for a reply to my request shortly.

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7 Re: My Dornblueth Concept on Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:06 am

TimeZero wrote:What a remarkably simple and clean dial, considering all it has going on. The movement is stunningly executed as well.

On another note, I heard from Dirk today, who provided me a beautiful illustration of his proposed dial configuration. I would like to share it to help advance the discussion, but want to make sure it's OK with Dirk before I post his image. I hope for a reply to my request shortly.

I hope you get the OK, James, I'm really excited at the prospect of seeing the design.

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8 Re: My Dornblueth Concept on Sat Jul 31, 2010 4:13 am

I received a response from Dirk today. He apologized for the delay in responding (which really wasn't a long delay at all) and explained he has been swamped since he got back from vacation.

Unfortunately, he requested that I not post the image (at least not until the movement is completed) and explained his reasons. I understand his explanation and will respect his wishes. So, I'm sorry to report that until the movement is ready for unveiling, we're all going to have to continue to use our imaginations a little more. ;-) He expects the watch to take about a 9 months to a year to complete.

I'm still not certain that I will pull the trigger on this design (and I explained this to Dirk), and may ultimately elect to buy a 99.2 or 99.3 instead (or even a regulator - are there any bad choices?). But I am leaning heavily in this direction. :-)

More to come - I hope!


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9 Re: My Dornblueth Concept on Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:44 am

I'm really, really intrigued by this concept.

The prospect of adding to my Dornblueth collection is becoming more and more compelling...

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10 Lang & Heyne on Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:28 am

Yesterday I visited a dealer who showed me a few of the Lang & Heyne pieces. They are remarkable, to say the least.

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11 Dude, I'm gettin' a Dornblüth! on Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:13 am

It is now official - I wrote to Dirk this morning and gave him the news that I want to proceed with having him build the custom movement and dial for me. This was not an easy decision, and (since I've never seen a Dornblüth in person) I am taking a huge leap of faith. But I've scoured the web and read all I can about the house of Dornblüth and am confident that Dirk will not disappoint.

I want to thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I have given each of them deep consideration, and explored many of your viewpoints, and some more of my own crazy ideas, with Dirk in my many (many!) emails to him. The Regulator-style layout was cost-prohibitive, as was another option I presented: a coin-edge style bezel similar to the one on the Gorch-Fock. I even discussed creating a Regulator with a date window at 9 (almost in the style of a 3-register chronograph), but the re-tooling costs would have been insane.

In the end, I elected to opt for my original design concept: central seconds, power reserve at 9, and date window at 3. When it is complete, it will be the single most expensive piece I own. But it will also be the most special and one that I hope will adorn the wrists of one of my grandchildren, who will treasure it as much as I will.

I will keep you all updated as news becomes available.


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