Back in the summer of 2021 we brought you a story about a little brand called DB Watches out of Bozeman, Montana. The Model I, the brand’s debut watch, was available in two flavors, both with heavy vintage vibes but completely different aesthetics. The brand is the brainchild of Dave Berghold, a watchmaker and the proprietor of The Last Wind Up, a watch shop in Bozeman that sells a variety of vintage and new pieces. We were pretty charmed by the Model I (it’s hard to beat the novelty of a watch signed “Bozeman, MT” on the dial) and are happy to report that Berghold is back with the aptly named Model II, a field watch that hits many of the same notes as Berghold’s first effort, but offers a few firsts for the new brand as well.
The thing about a field watch is that they’re simple by design, meant for easy legibility and disappearing until they’re needed. So it’s always interesting to see how brands play with the format and add their own little twists. Sometimes, modern field watches can run pretty far afield of what we usually think of when we consider field watch classics. Berghold’s interpretation is fairly traditional, but he distinguishes the Model II with the way he plays with color.
The white version of the DB Model II Field Watch features a white dial with matte finishing and blue Arabic numerals and hands, along with some subtle red accents. You’ll notice that the “Automatic” and “Bozeman MT” text are rendered in red, as is the “45” minute indicator, a special callout to Bozeman’s location at about 45 degrees north on a map. Legibility would appear to be excellent thanks to the high contrast color choices, and there’s just enough added visual flair to bring this watch out of tribute territory and make it DB’s own thing. The black version takes the same approach with its matte black dial and contrasting white numerals and minutes track. To my eye, the black field watch feels like the more historically accurate and traditional execution of a field watch, while the white is decidedly more contemporary. It’s also worth noting that the black dial has lumed hands and hour markers, while the white dial only has lumed hands.
Both watches come in stainless steel cases measuring 37mm in diameter, which is a classic field watch size. These watches were conceived as rugged tools, and would appear to have finishing that is mostly brushed, and not at all flashy. They have 50 meters of water resistance with a screw down crown, and run on an automatic Sellita SW200 movement with a custom DB signed rotor.
It’s a lot of fun to see a small brand like this evolve. The first watches were overtly inspired by historic watch motifs: cathedral hands and a pocket watch style dial layout on one version, while the other had clear Art Deco vibes. The new watches still borrow from the past, but feel more like modern creations to me, largely due to the color palette. Even the strap has a sporty appearance to it that leads one to think Berghold is actively looking to expand his audience for these watches. I think they hold a strong appeal to seasoned collectors who might be after something truly unique that feels personal. DB Watches is clearly a labor of love for Berghold, and the image these watches create in the mind of him working at his bench assembling each one still has a lot of charm.
The retail price on the DB Model II Field Watch is $1,250, and as you might expect, you can purchase them through The Last Wind Up’s website directly.