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Damasko DA46: The German Chronometer Tour de Force
In case you weren't already aware, Gnomon has featured many German watches that are more towards the pilot style spectrum. It is a very common part of the watch market and the reaction of Damasko to this growing market is the DA46. Its rugged design, easy-to-read dial and wide sword-hand are the basis of the pilot's watch and the DA46 contains these features but with a few modifications to separate the Damasko offering from other watches.
The DA46 provides a readable dial that takes the basic ideology of standard pilot watches and adds some unique design features to set it apart from other traditional pilots. The dial has a cross hair marker that separates the dial into four sections, a yellow second hand, and a bezel marker has a lume plot, surrounded by a typical 12-hour triangle marker is almost a mirror image on the dial of the triangle, not something that you always see!
This choice in design seems to me to refresh the idea of what a pilot watch looks like and take a step from an established line and bring something new. Though typically, a typical pilot watch doesn't have a bezel, this one does (Could be in 60 minutes or 12 hours). The lume bezel plot at 12 is very bright as you'll see later in this review, but it also has smooth motion when rotating. Although I'm used to the relatively stiff bezel motion, the DA46 has a convincing click but feels like it "slides". The bezel has good grip, and is very quick to adjust in no time.
The DA46 provides an ice hardened coating which is measured up to 60 HRC, it will ward off most scratches and keep it looking brand new for everyday use. What I've seen from some brands is that the case will be hardened or coated, but the back case will stick with standard stainless steel. Damasko coats the entire watch, which isn't surprising, but it's great to see that they haven't cut corners on this watch case. The case has signature ball bearing system made of ceramic material (which is super unique to them). So it has a muted sound when turned and it’s even more solidly precise for the bezel motion, and also provides anti-magnetic resistance up to 80,000 A / m. As a side note, the straps pictured in this review are our own personal strap.
From the side, you can see that the watch is not very tall, it is 12.40 mm high which makes it very easy to wear and the watch weighs 75 grams (excluding the strap). With a diameter of 40mm, the watch should fit most wrists if you are looking for a watch that is modern in size. You can also see the height of the bezel, which is only 1.9mm high, and the grip on the side is very easy to use even with gloves on.
Lume, the party piece of this watch. This is a special paint used by Damasko and it is very bright. The lume plot on the bezel shines like a miniature sun, and the sword hand also has a lot of lume. What makes these watches easy to read at night is that they include a lume on each hour, not just the hour hands and 12 hour markers. So you don't have to guess where the minute hand lands. While I wish the second hand was lit too, the hour and minute hands provide enough light to actually see the rest of the dial.
Here's a shot of the DA46 wrist on my wrist, and I find the watch comfortable while the lugs are on the longer end. The legible dial, excellent lume, and refreshing look of the pilot's watch are so good, it's hard not to like anything on this watch for its simplicity but with the added elements that Damasko wants to include.
What I think is this watch is like the Pilot Watch +, it has the standard elements of a pilot's watch carried on top of the call of duty, and then some extra features to it. Damasko has been the one to add their own technology such as their own homemade gaskets, the Viton gasket, the ice harden coating that’s around 4 times stronger than normal stainless steel, and ceramic ball bearing system for the bezel to show that they can do not only in technology but also in design, and I find this fantastic.
Damasko DA 46 Details
Case, Crown & Pushers
A full in-house piece is the ideal dark silver case and is one of the highlights of the DA 46. The case, crown and bezel are designed, worked and at least manufactured by Damasko and are therefore "Made in Germany". The case is made of bead blasting stainless steel and is completely nickel free. It is beautifully crafted and extremely sturdy. I really like this metallic look. You don't have to be afraid to leave any fingerprints on the specially treated stainless steel case.
The 40mm diameter case - about 42.00mm with bezels (!) - looks great even on the smaller (6.5 '') wrist.
At 12.40 mm in height, the DA 46 is not as tall as a chronograph (13.70 mm) and will therefore be easy to attach to any shirt cuff.
Wavy threaded winding knob with a "D" engraving on it is perfectly positioned between the cases, easy to grip and very smooth operation.
On the outside of the box you will feel a little friction due to thread fixing but after a few operations the screw fixing process will become smoother and smoother, you will always feel when the knob is really tight. There are no problems at all and nothing for you to worry about. This is a grinding process and you will quickly get used to it.
The crown itself feels sturdy enough to withstand the thousands of pulls / pushes in operation.
Patented DC 46 crown system. All gaskets are made of Viton. If someone wants to gather more information on the patented crown system, I would like to refer to the Damasko website (title "technology").
The back of the sturdy case is screwed down and marked "Made in Germany". The case has a water resistance rating of 100m / 10 bar. The photo shows the back of DA 46-011, mine is DA 46-019.
Dial and hands
First and foremost: DA 46 is very easy to read. The dial is distinctive for military-style watches and appears in deep black with a white number larger than the one on the Damasko chronograph. The same holds for the luminous triangle. It's huge on DA 46.
The crosshair has become a sort of "trademark" of the Damasko watch, but it is purely decorative. Some find it redundant, some don't, it's more or less a matter of taste and we all know - flavors can't be discussed.
All hour markers as well as triangles in 12 are coated with a luminous compound, namely Luminova C1 (white). The Luminova C1 provides sufficient legibility at night.
The day date wheel is bilingual (German and English, alternately). You just have to set it to your preferred language and that's it. In the middle of the night, the wheel will pass through other languages
The Damasko logo is written in white, between 2 and 3.
The hour and minute hands are the same as the ones on the DA 36. These hands are just the right fit, are the perfect length and width. The yellow second hand contrasts sharply with the white hour and minute hands. For some time I was tempted to order colored hands for my DC 56. All hands are fully lined with Luminova.
The dial and hands are extremely well executed and match perfectly with other DA 46 specs to give this watch an overall military tool feel.
Of course the crystal is a sapphire crystal (flat). It is AR coated on both sides (Optionally you can choose to get ar-coating only on the inside). Because the anti-reflective coating sometimes gives you that "dark blue" effect.
My DA 46 comes with a waterproof 20mm black leather strap that is well sewn and a bead-blasting steel buckle pin to fit the case. With a thin silicone layer, the back of the leather strap is "sealed". This thin layer provides comfort: The watch is held in place and moisture / sweat cannot damage the skin. I think it will last longer than other leather straps, time will tell.
Damasko DA46 is powered by automatic ETA 2836-2 with date-day indication. This movement is known to provide a power reserve of +/- 40 hours and is commonly known for being a very reliable workhorse.
It's too early to give a full report on its accuracy because I don't use DA 46 day after day. However I am quite satisfied with the performance, it looks like the watch is working without fail, mine is around + 2 / + 4 per day.
Box and Manual
The box is typical German, in straightforward black piano style box with manual. The box and the manual suits the watch and definitely brings out the identity. I wear the watch, and I also admire the case.
Now I think I've said most of what I wanted to mention about my DA 46.
Exclusivity is a relative term. Some watch companies have an annual output of 1 million watches and are rated and accepted as exclusive watches.
How about a family run company with an output of 1000 watches or less. That's what I call the real deal. If this real deal is accompanied by technical features, the Damasko watch stands for actually getting the "real deal".
Regarding price, I am sure that this watch should not be afraid of being equal. This is a fairly well-produced and military-inspired, high-quality watch. Damasko has done another outstanding job in the field of tool watches.
The DA 46 is a fairly well made watch, by any standards. When talking to colleagues and friends (most of them non-WIS) I realized that the DA 46 is an eye catcher. Having Dasmasko still means having something very special to me. Take one if you have the chance. It's time to get your own Damasko DA46 on Gnomon Store!