Hands-On with the Dan Henry 1947

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Just a few months back, we had the pleasure of introducing you to the Dan Henry collection of watches. This suite of watches took us by surprise. A total of four different models, each coming in two variations, were named after years from which they pulled their designs. Homages of sorts, some had very clear references while others were more esoteric, referring to peculiar watches that the eponymous brand owner had collected over the years. The most surprising and perhaps enticing part? Their prices. Throughout the collection, DH maintained very approachable prices, bringing these interesting and iconic designs back into the world.

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Of the models we initially wrote about one really stood out to me, so I wanted to spend some more time with it. The 1947 model at $190, is the most affordable of the Dan Henrys, and while a time-only quartz, might punch higher than the rest in design and finish. This watch is all about the dial, which to my eyes is easily one of the best executed dials of recent memory.

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$190

Hands-On with the Dan Henry 1947

Case
Stainless Steel
Movement
Seiko VD78
Dial
Silver
Lume
No
Lens
Domed Mineral
Strap
leather and nylon
Water Resistance
50
Dimensions
40 x 48mm
Thickness
12mm
Lug Width
22mm
Crown
push-pull
Warranty
yes
Price
$190

The 1947 is based closely on an Omega Chronometer from the same year, recreating the dial nearly 1:1. The case is then said to be based on a Vacheron Constantin. Though the two come from different sources, they go together seamlessly. Before getting too into it, I’ll start with the caveat that the 1947 has been scaled up from the original (33mm I believe) to 40mm with 22mm lugs. Though still a very visually appealing watch that wears well, it’s far more casual than the dial perhaps suggests.

The case itself is simple and extremely well executed. From above, it has thin lugs with a slight contour and straight sides. The profile too is straightforward save an almost baroque detail on the lugs where the lines create a circular form, and a massive domed mineral crystal (with sapphire and AR coatings). What stands out is the finishing. The lines of the case are perfectly crisp, while all surfaces but the side of the bezel are brushed. The one line of polish creates a dark contrast that breaks up the case visually and simply looks great. Too many “dress” style watches are all polished, when in reality a mix of finishes is more attractive. Flipping the watch over also reveals a gorgeous case back with a deeply stamped maze design.

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The star of the show really is the dial. It’s not just the looks however, it’s the level of detail and finishing that are pulled off keeping in mind the price tag, that is really exceptional. The surface of the dial is matte silver with a light texture. Contrasting the matte is a thick circle that has been radially brushed, and serves as a back drop for the applied hour index. Before getting to the markers, it’s worth pointing out that the brushed area is outlined in black. This is the kind of detail that can easily go awry as there is zero room for error. A quarter millimeter off and you can see the overlap. Generally speaking, high precision costs more and details like this are avoided on affordable watches to save.

The applied markers, which are either in polished steel or rose gold depending on the model, alternate between little domes and roman numerals. This is simply a very attractive design detail, especially in rose gold, that further belies the price tag. Moving outwards, there is a gap followed by an enclosed minute index of thin black lines. Also a detail from the original, this adds a technical feel to the dial, and brings focus inwards towards the hour index. The center of the dial is then marked with a cross-hair, and features a sub-second dial at 6.

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Another well executed feature, the sub-seconds actually is a layer beneath the main dial, creating a step down. The edge of the cutout is slightly beveled and polished, which adds some contrast, while the sub-dial surface itself has classic concentric circle graining. All in all, a lot of attractive detail in a small area. For hour and minute hands, DH stayed true to the Omega and went with an elegant leaf shape that is slightly domed. They are fully polished and come in either rose gold or steel depending on the model. Once again, they just look high quality. The sub-seconds hand is then a blued stick on both models.

On the wrist the 1947 looks great. At 40 x 48 x 12mm, it’s definitely larger than one would expect for the style, which is a bit of a drawback. That said, it’s not obnoxiously large, and actually fits my 7” wrist rather well. As is, it’s more of a business-casual watch than a dress watch. Honestly, the only dimension I dislike is the 22mm lug width. It just feels a bit heavy.

dan_henry_1947_8

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The increased size also gives the dial more real estate, and as should be clear by now, the dial is particularly gorgeous. It’s very well balanced and doesn’t feel like it has an excess of empty space. The rose gold variety is especially attractive. The case is then a subtle back drop that adds texture up close, but doesn’t over shine the dial.

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In the end, what you have for $190 is a watch that looks like one that costs far more, because some parts of it are made like they do cost more. Sure, it’s quartz and has a mineral crystal, but they had to get to that price some how. And I think it’s a smart way to go about it. It’s easy to see dials as all equal, after all many very expensive watches have very simple, printed dials. Here, you have a level of complexity and detailing that you really don’t find often in dials (which also makes the fact that the original is from 1947 pretty amazing), and is unheard of under $200… or under $1000. Furthermore, $190 is a very forgiving price point. While I would also commend the dial if this watch was $1,000 with a mechanical (well, a Peseux 7001 might cost more than that) I would also be more critical of the sizing, etc. At $190, it’s sort of hard to pass up if the aesthetic appeals to you.


For more info or to pick one up, head to: Dan Henry 1947

Images from this post:
Zach is the co-founder and Executive Editor of worn&wound. Before diving head first into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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  • Beefalope

    From the pictures, this looks like the best price-to-finishing ratio I’ve ever seen in a watch. For a $200 watch, the finishing is outstanding — much better than what I’ve seen in watches that are far more expensive. I’m not a quartz fan, but I would definitely consider this.

    • I’ve had Pateks and Vacherons whose dials don’t have this level of detail and care. Well done, Dan!

    • Никита

      Indeed. If only it had a mechanical movement (7001 or SW215-1)…

      • Beefalope

        That would be fantastic, but then of course the price would probably be at least three times as much, and probably four. I looked past the quartz movement and bought one anyway because of the finishing.

        • Никита

          I’m considering it myself, even though I decided that no more (simple) quartz for me.. I wonder how they managed to deliver such kind of finishing, when most of watches ~200 have poor dials.

  • The Reclusive Boogur T. Wang

    Just amazing.
    Might have to add one of these to the collection.
    One can always use another dress watch – especially after having so many “divers”/beaters.

  • nunomaiaGMR

    Amazing dial indeed. Dan Henry deserves a lot of praise. I only hope business grows well for them to consider moving to mechanical offers (although one of the watches in the collection is already mechanical).
    For me, perfection would be an interpretation of this dial, in a smaller size and with a Miyota 8425 inside. I would buy it at 500€ or more.

  • egznyc

    Really nice dial, though I wish the hands were more easily distinguishable. I’ve never really liked leaf hands in general, for that matter. Great contrasts of finishing on the case too. A shame it’s not powered by a reasonably priced Japanese mechanical movement.

  • Sylvio Bertoli

    Well done, Dan. A good classy watch at an affordable price.