Watchmaker Dan Henry’s latest release is so affordable you might want to pick one up in both colors. Created to commemorate the Allied victory in World War II, the new Dan Henry 1945 Pilot Chronograph features a retro dial with sub-dials in your choice of silver or black, a coin-lined GMT bezel and modern touches, including tough sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment and reliable mecha-quartz movement inside.
Dan Henry’s motto is “vintage watches for all collectors,” and his new military chronograph stays true to that ethos by offering a collector’s worthy watch at $280, which is a truly remarkable price. Inspired by his extensive collection of vintage watchesHenry translates unobtainable or prohibitively expensive vintage watch designs and creates new interpretations, each design named after the year that inspired it.
This year also dictates the number of watches that will be made – 1945 pieces, in this case – and once they sell out, they’re gone. For inexpensive watches to begin with, Dan Henry watches increase in value on the second-hand market once their initial run is over. So there is virtually no risk in buying one.
Watches from the World War II era reflect the technological changes accelerated by the war. In the release notes for this watch, Henry points out that the war was a time of rapid technological development, as engineers and designers from different countries raced to gain the upper hand. As a result, wristwatches of the time became tougher, more accurate and more reliable. And as they improved, they became even more indispensable tools. “Timepieces have increasingly acted as powerful problem solvers in times of war or peace, turning the wristwatch into a the man’s accessory,” he wrote.
On the wrist, the 41.7mm 316L stainless steel case would suit a wider wrist, although it’s only 13.8 millimeters thick due to the quartz movement, so it doesn’t feel bulky. The GMT bezel lets you watch a different time zone, and it has a nice solid click every hour when you rotate it.
There are two versions of the watch: a black dial version that comes with a black leather strap and an “evil panda” version with silver sub-dials on a black background that comes with a textured brown leather strap. Both share the same “cathedral” hands reminiscent of aircraft instruments of the time, and they light up at night thanks to the SuperLuminova treatment. The cathedral detail on the hour hands, in particular, is a nice visual touch.
The dial contains an enormous amount of detail: three sub-dials for hours, seconds and decimal seconds, which are initiated by the upper pusher and reset with the lower pusher. Printed on the dial itself is an intricate rangefinder and tachymeter in red and cream, all adding up to what Henry describes as “a cockpit instrument for the wrist”.
Inside the watch, the mecha-quartz movement is a hybrid between mechanical and quartz. The battery should last about four years, so you don’t have to worry about resetting it every time you wear it like you would with a hand-wound watch or automatic watch if left out of the box too long. wrist. The seconds tick away one at a time like a quartz watch, but when you engage the chronograph, you get a continuous sweep of “smooth seconds” with the large second hand, just like you would with a mechanical movement.
On the back of his watches, Henry always includes a cool engraving of a vintage car or airplane, and this one is particularly cool – on the screw-in case back of the 1945 is a low-relief Supermarine Spitfire. The watch is water resistant to 50 meters, although it is unlikely that anyone would get these watches wet on purpose.
You can buy each version – the all black or the evil panda – with or without a date, although the undated versions have an advantage when it comes to elegance. A leather and canvas watch roll and goatskin quick release strap are included, with six other strap options available separately on danhenry.com.