We’re always on the lookout for brands that offer especially good value for a mechanical watch. Especially if that watch happens to be Swiss made and powered by a high quality movement… and even more so if that movement happens to have an interesting complication, such as a GMT or chronograph. Davosa, a German brand established in 1993, specializes in offering such watches. Ranging from a few hundred to around $2,000, the Davosa watches have classic looks, high quality components and the build quality one would expect from a “Swiss Made” watch. Unfortunately, like many smaller European brands, you (if you’re in the US) might not have heard of them. Well… let’s change that.
Movement: ETA 2893-2
Lens: Sapphire with A/R coating
Strap: Black Leather
Water Res.: 50m
Thickness: 12 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Crown: 7 x 4 mm screw down
The Davosa Vigo Dual-Time is a watch that immediately caught my eye. Mixing familiar design elements with vintage appeal and some clever use of bold colors, the Vigo is classic yet unique. The added functionality of a 4th hand for tracking a second time zone is always welcome; adding more visual complexity to the dial, increasing over-all utility and thus increasing the value of the package. As far as components goes, the watch features a domed sapphire crystal, an ETA 2893-2 automatic GMT movement and a display case back. For a Swiss Made watch with these components $850 is a great price.
The Vigo has a very nicely proportioned steel case with a classic design. Measuring 40 x 46 x 12mm, the case is medium sized, which suits its mix of vintage and contemporary design. 40mm is not so small as to be petite, but not so large as to be oversized, making it suitable for all wrists. The case is primarily polished save the tops of the lugs, which have a lightly brushed finish. This gives them a more satin sheen that breaks up the reflections on the case nicely. The bezel is polished and at about 2mm thick, well proportioned to the case. This leads the eye into the slightly domed anti-reflective sapphire crystal.
The crown for the watch has a nice design that is a little different than what we normally find. It measure 7mm in diameter and stands off of the case about 4mm, but rather than being a straight cylinder it stands off of the case by about 1mm and then has a thinner area to grasp. This is a nice design both aesthetically and functionally as it lets you pull the crown out easily for adjusting time. On the end of the crown is a star shape that refers to Davosa’s logo.
The case back of the watch has a large display window and is held on by 4 screws. Through the window, one gets a good view of the ETA 2893-2 21-jewel automatic GMT movement inside. One detail I quite liked about the case-back is that Davosa rounded everything off. From the backs of the lugs to the edge of the case, everything has very soft and fluid edges, which demonstrates a good attention to detail as well as simply makes it more comfortable to wear.
The dial of the Vigo clearly refers to designs seen in vintage Omega watches, namely the Railmaster. This look is defined by the long triangular hour markers and 12, 3, 6, 9 numerals. It’s a dramatic and very appealing design that mixes dress and sport, by seeming both decorative and a touch military inspired. The long triangular markers have a tooth-like appearance that draws the eyes in towards the center of the watch. Davosa mixes the look up though by adding two distinct features. One is the addition of the 24hr index as well as some detailing towards the center of the dial, and the other is the bright day-glow orange used for the numerals.
The face of the dial is matte black, but through some clever texturing, does not have a flat or dull appearance. The 24-hr dual time index at the center of the dial, which consist of white numerals for even hours and dots for odd, is printed on a ring that is set slightly below the main area of the dial. From there to the center of the dial is an even more depressed area with an embossed concentric circle pattern. The pattern reflects light differently than the rest of the dial creating a break in the matte surface. On the perimeter of the index is an embossed pattern of lines that while not functional is attractive.
The primary index of the watch consists of green lume triangles for the hours, white lines for the minutes/seconds and bright orange lume numerals for 12, 3, 6 and 9. The use of bright orange is unique and unexpected on this dial. The orange really pops out and seems to glow even in daylight. Since the color is a bit shocking, it might take away a bit from the watch’s dressiness, but it adds a lot of character. The mix of the vintage design elements with the nicely detailed and textured central area as well as the bright orange gives the Vigo a very distinct personality.
The hour and minute hands on the Vigo are roman sword style with bi-color lume. The tips of the hands have small orange lume triangles and the remainders of the hands are green. The hands are fairly slender for roman sword style, but proportional to the dial and they work nicely with the overall watch design. The second hand is a simple stick shape with orange lume covering about half of it. Lastly, the dual-time hand is thin stick with and equilateral triangle pointer that has a red border around green lume. This design makes the pointer sort of float on the dial, minimizing its overall weight on the dial. The design is also very distinct from the hour and minute hands, preventing any kind misread.
The lume itself glows, but not very strongly. It’s not nearly as bright as some dive watches we’ve seen, but it is certainly legible. The hands glow much brighter than the rest of the dial, which is common, and the green glows brighter than the orange. Overall, it’s a nice edition to this watch even if the lume isn’t the strongest.
Strap and Wearability
The Vigo comes mounted on a 20mm black croc-patterned leather strap with contrast white stitching. It’s a well made strap that suits the style of the watch. The leather has a dull sheen to it, which I was glad to see. A glossier strap would have been too dressy for this watch and thus inappropriate. The strap quite comfortable, requiring very little time to break in. As far as alternates go, I would be careful with color as the green and orange of the dial are quite prominent. That being said, a drab olive NATO could look pretty cool given the slightly aggressive and military style of the main hour index.
The watch itself also adds to the overall comfort. The 40 x 46mm case sits very nicely on the wrist. It’s definitely in that “golden” zone for a watch size as it is big enough to be bold and masculine but not oversized by any means. It’s also small enough to be comfortable and fit easily under a shirtsleeve, but hardly petite. The dial of the watch is proportionally fairly large, making the watch wear a bit larger than the 40mm diameter would suggest, which helps have good presence. It’s also fairly light, making it wearable for long periods.
The Vigo has a nice dress casual aesthetic to it that makes it easy to wear with just about anything. It’s basically a watch you just can throw on regardless of what you have to do that day. It’s not rugged, so I would avoid water or anything too active, but as far as normal work/life goes, it’s got you covered. That combined with the dual time functionality also makes this watch ideal for travelling/vacationing.
For $850 the Vigo is a great deal on something a bit unique that features quality components, namely an ETA 2893-2 movement. Aesthetically, there aren’t really any other watches, save vintage Omegas, that have a similar look and the mix of vintage and modern takes the watch somewhere altogether unique. The use of fluorescent orange on the dial gives the watch an unexpected twist that makes it a bit more youthful and energetic. Style aside, the watch is also well built with a good attention to detail. The dial in particular is very nicely executed, with some interesting texturing towards the center. The lume could have been a bit stronger, since there is quite a bit used, but regardless is a nice addition to the watch. Most importantly, the watch is simply great to wear, easy to read and cool looking. If you’re looking for a dual-time watch with different looks or a daily dress-casual watch, the Davosa Vigo could be right for you.
Review unit supplied by Davosa
By Zach Weiss