Damasko x Timeless Luxury DB 1 – 4 LE Review

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Several months ago, Timeless Luxury Watches of Texas lent us their limited edition Nomos Club to review. It was an amazing piece by one of our favorite brands. But more than that, it was a cool opportunity to get something unique at a relatively reasonable price. Luxury brands are all about boutique editions, coming out with new ones seemingly weekly. But at the price point we discuss on w&w, it’s far rarer. First off all, there aren’t many retailers out there that carry the watches we discuss, but even fewer that would do anything interesting if they had the chance.

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So, I was beyond excited when I found out that Timeless was doing another LE with yet another one of our favorite brands, Damasko. One of the great tool watch brands currently in business, Damasko makes tech-driven timepieces that are built to take a beating. We’ve reviewed several before and a few of us own them as well. What struck me as being really cool about this collaboration is that while Nomos might not have the brand recognition of Rolex, Damasko is practically unheard of. So, by making a LE with their watches, Timeless is putting a spotlight on a brand that we too think should more widely known.

For the collaboration, Timeless made not one, but four models with the same core aesthetic concept, each limited to 50 units. They are the DB 1, 2, 3 and, yup, 4. They utilize two different types of case, each in both steel and Damasko’s Damest black coating. They are all powered by modified ETA 2836-2s, feature a slew of Damasko’s case tech, and come in at a range from $1,300 to $1,595.

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$1300

Damasko x Timeless Luxury DB 1 – 4 LE Review

Case
Hardened Steel
Movement
ETA 2836-2
Dial
Black
Lume
Khaki SuperLuminova
Lens
Sapphire w/ AR
Strap
Leather
Water Resistance
100m
Dimensions
40/42 x 48mm
Thickness
12.2mm
Lug Width
mm
Crown
6.3 x 5mm
Warranty
Yes
Price
$1300

Cases

When talking about Damasko, one can get blue in the face describing all of the tech and engineering that goes into one of their cases. A fact that is easily belied by the relative simplicity of the designs aesthetically. We’ve gone over them fairly extensively before in our reviews of the DC66, DA36 and DA44, so I’ll just give a quick run down here. The cases are made of proprietary nickel-free ice-hardened steel that is 710 vickers straight through for great durability and scratch resistance. The PVD models further feature their “Damest” coating in addition, which is a multi-layer black coating with an even more increased hardness. They feature a patented crown system with screw in tubes, self-lubricating cells and multiple viton gaskets. The movements are then protected from magnetic fields with an inner case. So yeah, they put a lot into their cases.

For the DB series, Timeless chose two of Damasko’s cases, their classic 40mm and their newer 42mm. The 40mm is what was featured on the DA36 Ilya previously reviewed. It’s simple with an elegance that comes from its sheer utility. Measuring 40 x 48 x 12.2mm, it’s well sized for an everyday sport watch. The design is straightforward with a thick bezel, slender contoured lugs, chunky crown guards and a long crown. What makes it so successful is the quality of the machining and finishing. Every line is perfectly crisp and the satin matte sheen of the black or steel cases has just the right luster.

The newer 42mm design clearly shares DNA with the 40, but takes things into a slightly more aggressive territory. Measuring 42 x 48 x 12.2mm, the case only grew in width, but by beefing up the lugs and spacing them further out, it appears more massive. Unlike the DC66, which is 42mm without the bezel, but features the same strongly contoured lug design as the 40mm case, the 42mm’s lugs are wider, with a less visible curve. It’s certainly attractive, giving the watches a more contemporary look, especially in black. Unfortunately, they got rid of the drilled lug holes, which I think is a great detail on any sport watch.

Flipping the watches over, you have a modified version of Damasko’s text heavy case back. They removed some of the details to make room for a large “Timeless Limited Edition” graphic, below which is the number of the watch, each 1 of 50.

Dials

Across all four watches, Timeless went with a unique riff on Damasko’s classic pilot design, adding a curious chapter ring on the 42mm versions. It’s a bold, legible layout with just enough unique elements to have its own character. The primary index features large numerals all around, save at 12 where there is a pilot-standard triangle. Around the numerals is a seconds/minutes index of squares every 5 units and lines in between. At 3 is Damasko’s signature off-set date windows and logo. This is a simple, but great detail that shows how Damasko goes a little further than most in their efforts as it requires modifying the movement.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the design is the cross-hair running from 12-6 and 3 -9. It adds just enough extra graphics to make the watches not feel too much like classic fliegers, and have their own unique feel. It also helps break up the dial, making sure there are no empty feeling areas.

DAMASKO_TIMELESS_DB2_DB4_1

In addition to everything above, the 42mm models feature a wide chapter ring with a decidedly minimal design. On their main-line models, the chapter rings feature a rather busy secondary minutes/seconds index with numerals every 5 units, long lines between them and contrasting highlight colors at the quarter hour. Perhaps this was just too intense for the Timeless team, but I think they made a wise and certainly interesting choice in stripping the chapter ring down to just four triangles of equal size at 12, 3, 6 and 9, echoing the cross-hairs. This keeps the focus on the main dial surface, which is all you need to tell the time.

Not to miss the forest for the trees, the main difference in the Timeless designs is the use of khaki lume instead of white. Sometimes called “old rhadium”, sometimes not, the lume adds a bit of a vintage, tropical feel to the watches, but I think the goal was really to make them more outdoorsy, more rustic (Damasko did their own vintage-y version with the DA20). The khaki is less startling than the white, giving the black surface a softer, more earthy feel. It’s an attractive color that looks great with the cases and the straps (more on those later). They even went so far as to match the type on the date wheels with the lume.

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In addition to the khaki, they went with the striking blue seconds hand of the DA38. This nullifies the vintage feel, as the color is so saturated and modern. I’m a bit torn with this detail. I like the blue, it’s a nice color, and it doesn’t conflict with the khaki… but it doesn’t quite go with it either. It’s a bit too synthetic, clashing with the earthiness I mentioned before, which is what I find most appealing about the palette. Rusty orange, dark red or the olive on Damasko’s new DH 1.0 might have clicked a bit more.

The hour and minute hands retain the same roman sword design as their stock version, but have the same khaki lume. They look good and are well proportioned, though I couldn’t help but notice that the lume was a bit heavily applied, giving them an almost lumpy look. In the dark, the hours, squares on the outer index, hour and minute hands, and the chapter ring on the 42mm model, all glow. The lume is decent, glowing an acidic green color. As with any watch we’ve encountered with khaki lume, they are not as bright as other varieties.

Straps

When I first removed the Damaskos from their shipping package, what caught my eye was actually the straps. Admittedly I have an unhealthy obsession with straps given that we manufacture them, but that aside, the ones that come on the DB watches are utterly perfect. They are custom Di-Modell pilot-style straps in a tan/wheat colored oiled nubuck leather. I’m a fan of the Di-Modell pilot to begin with (I even threw one on my DC66 for review), but if there was a negative about the strap, it was the unexciting leather options. This nubuck is gorgeous, with a rich color, nice texture and nap that accentuates the coloring of the watches. They compliment the tan leather with black and off-white thread, which brings the dial into the strap even more.

DAMASKO_TIMELESS_STRAP_1

Aside from the leather, what makes this strap work so well on the Damaskos is the cutout design by the lugs. The straps flare out right after the lugs about 2mm each side, continuing the flow of the case and adding material for a more aggressive look. They then taper 6mm down to the buckle giving them a very striking shape. In addition, they also have very visible padding, wrapped edges, buckle guards (an easy way to tell if a strap is a Di-Modell) and a black, perhaps water resistant lining.

Wearability

DB1 + DB2 (40mm)

When a watch wears well, you know it immediately, and that’s the case with the 40mm Damaskos. As said, it’s a pretty perfect everyday size for a rugged sports watch, at least as far as my 7” wrist is concerned. It’s comfortable, neither too small or too big, and extremely legible. Aesthetically, they are very nice modern alternatives to flieger watches. They have the same mil-based, no-nonsense approach, but thanks to the cross-hairs, contrast hand, off-set date, etc, they have a different and more stylized feel. The custom coloring for the Timeless models furthers this, giving the watches a bit more personality. If there is a negative about some Damaskos, including the DC66, it’s that they are a bit sterile. The earthy, outdoorsy palette of the DBs eliminates that entirely.

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DB3 + DB4 (42mm)

I remember when I first saw that Damasko released new 42mm three-hand no-bezel models, my reaction was just, why? They already had a great 40mm platform, then bezel models in both chrono and 3-hand with 42mm diameters (44 at the bezel), so why go up when smaller seemed to be more lacking? While that question still remains, having now tried the new 42, I can say that it still wears well. In fact, since the lug-to-lug and height are the same, it doesn’t really feel that much bigger, so much as bolder. There is a lot more dial to look at, more metal on the case and a wider strap, giving it increased mass. This is the tank version, the armor plated version of the 40mm case. There’s no questioning that this is a rugged tool watch. The 40mm is more discreet and in disguise, which is great, but for people who something more in your face, the 42 is a better option.

Conclusion

The great thing about limited editions and collaborations is that they tend to be a bit riskier than what a brand normally releases. If the goal is only to sell a handful rather than many, why not play around a bit more with colors, straps, etc… And that’s exactly what Timeless did with the DB1 – 4. They took existing watches and had some fun with them. They didn’t go crazy or make something you wouldn’t want, it’s just different from the standard. By adding khaki lume, a blue hand and a great nubuck strap, they took the rigid, classic Damasko designs and gave them some more personality, or at least a different personality. They feel less like pilots watches, and more like general outdoors watches… trail watches, if you will. And that I like, as honestly, my feet spend more time on the ground than anywhere else.

 

DAMASKO_TIMELESS_DB1_DB2_1

Limited to a mere 50/style, the DB1 – 4 are unlikely to last long. Because each one is a little different, they also all have different prices… the DB1 (40mm, steel) is $1,300, the DB2 (40mm, black) is $1,420, the DB3 (42mm, steel) is $1,480 and lastly the DB4 (42mm, black) is $1,595. As with all Damaskos, they are a good value given the tech of the cases, modified ETA 2836-2 movements and overall excellent build qualities, even if they are not cheap. Now, if I had to pick just one… I think I’d go with the DB2. In the end, I prefer the 40mm size and I love how the tan lume and strap go with the black Damest coated case.

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst 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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