Getting Modular with the Liberum DMD 001

As watch enthusiasts, we understand the desire to change up the look of our timepieces without breaking the bank. Thankfully, the market for third party straps and bracelets has exploded in recent years, and quick release options have made swapping them out a breeze. But sometimes, a new set of shoes just isn’t enough. Still, the options for a more dramatic swap have been somewhat limited until recently.

Brands like Formex offer an inventive quick bezel swap system and Hegid offers an interchangeable case system. Still these options leave a gap at a more attainable budget. Enter Liberum, an Italian microbrand with a new modular watch system that’s both fun-focused and budget-friendly, with a project that is ending soon on Kickstarter.


The watch features a modular design consisting of five different colored outer cases, one or two inner cases (depending on the package you select), and five integrated polyurethane rubber straps. These pieces seamlessly integrate with each other, allowing you to swap and combine them for 25 different color combinations. 

While some color combinations may work better than others, the Liberum watch lets you switch and swap until your heart’s content. Its genius lies in its simplicity: the durable TPE outer watch cases integrate seamlessly over a stainless steel inner case encapsulating the dial and movement in a sapphire sandwich, making the swap incredibly easy.

To change the case and strap, all you need to do is remove the quick-release straps, revealing two screws that secure the outer case to the inner. The modularity of this watch is truly its best selling point, and it’s clear that the designers worked hard to ensure that the process is as simple and effortless as possible.

The original colors of each piece are muted and earthy yet playful, making this watch fun and versatile. Liberum recently added more color choices to their stable at the base goal of their Kickstarter, and a stretch goal for a black case. Plus, they have ambitions to expand into different materials and colors, opening up a world of cool options in the future. The inner case is interchangeable with future options, providing a great base for endless iterations. One commenter on Instagram even suggested that this watch could be a cool base for owners to 3D print their own creative designs. The possibilities are truly endless.

Moving on to the individual pieces, the outer case is angular and familiar yet unique. It nods to popular designs by Audemars Piguet and Hublot but is playful and different enough to stand on its own. The dial features a minimalist design that makes it easy to read the time at a glance, with clean and uncluttered hour markers and hands. You can choose between two different dial colors or opt for both: a slightly taupe white color or a neutral medium gray. Each dial is protected by a sapphire crystal and is adorned by clean baton hands and indexes with a pop of red at the end of the seconds hand. The indexes and hands are lumed with C1 Super-LumiNova.

The inner case showcases the Seiko NH35A automatic movement with a custom rotor behind an exhibition sapphire crystal. The watch terminates into an integrated polyurethane strap with quick-release spring bars that fit cleanly into the case. The outer case is 42mm wide, 49mm lug to lug, and just under 12mm thick. 

Thanks to the TPE build and polyurethane strap, the watch is incredibly light and comfortable for everyday wear, making it the perfect companion for the playful and colorful design. On the wrist, the watch evokes a G-shock or moon-swatch feeling, with an added touch of heft, substance and refinement, unmistakably attributed to the selected materials, sapphire crystal and 316L steel inner case.

I do however have a handful of concerns, many of which are likely to be remedied before the production model ships.

The prototype currently has a hex head screw to pair the inner and outer case and comes with a purpose-built screwdriver. However, for convenience, I’d like to see something more common for owners who may lose the screwdriver (as did the person who reviewed the model on my wrist right now). Additionally, I would like to see the production models come with extra screws, as they are small and could easily be lost. 

The Liberum team has announced some exciting upgrades to the production model. The screw down crown and 100m of water resistance will be a welcome addition over the 50m of the prototype, especially considering the review sample’s slightly tricky crown for hacking. With the screw down crown, one can expect that affirmative pop and slight gap, which will make the process much easier. Also legibility on the white dial will be vastly improved. Currently the indexes are white on a white dial. The production model promises improved legibility by adding more contrast to the indexes and hands.

On another note, although I have a seven inch wrist, I’m one hole away from being sized out of this watch. The brand has promised to add more holes to accommodate smaller wrists.

Finally, let’s talk pricing. As of the moment, the Liberum Kickstarter campaign is about to end, and they are inching towards their goal. The base kit is priced at 199 Euros (about $217 USD). This includes one dial, five outer cases, and five straps. For those who want more variety, they also offer a double combo with both dials, five outer cases, and five straps, which is a steal at 259 Euros (about $283 USD). Liberum has promised that once funded, they will immediately start production and begin shipping to backers in September 2023. Liberum

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Stephen is a photographer from Houston better known as @talkingabouttime on instagram. He is a watch enthusiast that has an appreciation for big brands but is actively searching for sleeper microbrand hits.