First Look: Dan Henry 1972 Alarm Chronograph

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Homages in the watchmaking world tend to be a point of contention. It’s easy enough when someone tries to emulate an existing design to level accusations of unoriginality or outright plagiarism. On the other hand, when it’s done right, an homage can be a great way to bring a rare or long gone watch to today’s customer, especially at a time when vintage prices are only climbing. Dan Henry seems to understand exactly how to do this. 

Over the past two years, Dan Henry has captured the essence of several classic styles without directly copying any specific piece, and it’s been a highly successful formula. With their latest watch, the 1972 Alarm Chronograph, Dan Henry is changing the playbook.

Introducing the Dan Henry 1971 Alarm Chronograph.

Rather than a blend of elements, there’s one clear inspiration this time around: the world’s first black PVD watch, the Orfina Porsche Design Chronograph I (or the Heuer Pasadena, or the LeJour 7000, depending on your branding preferences). Nevertheless, Dan Henry still takes quite a few leaps with this classic design, effectively reinventing the style and adding functionality. How well does this reinvention work? Let’s take a closer look.

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At first glance, the case of the Dan Henry 1972 is a near-exact copy of the Porsche Design Chronograph I, but small details here and there give it its own identity. The overall blocky, hooded-lug shape is as timelessly sporty now as it was in 1972, offering masculine presence while remaining simple and tool-watch clean. A slight upsize from 40 to 41 millimeters across shouldn’t change the way it feels on the wrist, and overall the design should still wear quite compact thanks to a tempered 45.7-millimeter lug-to-lug length. 

The other major giveaway that this is something new comes at seven o’clock, where a crown for the alarm function quietly juts out. You pull it out to turn on the alarm function and push it in to turn it off.

Around back is the other great departure from the original, a gorgeously stamped case back featuring the classic Ducati 750 Imola Desmo racing motorcycle.
For those eagle-eyed enough to spot it, there is one other change from the source material, namely a switch to a sapphire crystal over the original mineral glass.

The dial is where the 1972 really comes into its own. Like the case, it starts with a basic layout pulled from the Porsche Design Chronograph I—lume covered stick hands, a 6/9/12 chronograph sub-dial layout, small rectangular indices, a clean chapter ring with a widely spaced tachymeter, and a needle seconds hand—but the 1972 Alarm Chronograph also stamps its originality here boldly. For starters, this is a sandwich dial, keeping the lumed indices on a second lower level to add depth. And, of course, the 1972’s party piece is the alarm complication, expressed here with a skeletonized and lumed triangle on a stick and an unobtrusive on/off indicator between 7 and 8 o’clock. Overall, it offers slick functionality without compromising the aesthetic. 

Sandwich dial and Tachymeter scale.
Alarm on/off indicator.
Alarm hand.

Inside the Dan Henry 1972 Alarm Chronograph is a bit of an oddity. The Miyota 0S80 quartz movement is rarely seen, but after all how often does one see a three-register alarm chronograph in today’s market? While some purists may bemoan the use of quartz, there simply isn’t a mechanical movement in the current field that could handle this combination for anything less than ten times the price.

Dan Henry pairs the 1972 with a matching H-link bracelet and deployant buckle. It flows smoothly into the hooded lugs and keeps the aggressive sporty vibe going.

Even for opponents of homage watches, it’s difficult to find fault with the 1972 Alarm Chronograph. While the style is instantly recognizable, Dan Henry clearly isn’t trying to trick anyone with this one, and brings substantial changes with added functionality to this classic design. Both the PVD and matte stainless variants are available in a limited run of 1972 pieces, and at a price of only $350 they’re sure to move very fast indeed. Dan Henry

Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection. He is also the Feature Editor and Videographer for Speed Revolutions.
seanpaullorentzen
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