The D1 Milano is a mash-up of classic Gerald Genta designs that amounts to something more unique than just a homage to any particular watch.
In classic Genta style, nearly every surface is brushed, angular, and octagonal. There are echoes of the Bulgari Octo in the hollow handset, hints of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in the octagonal case and angular lugs, and a square bracelet link very much like the Patek Philippe Nautilus. But the D1 Milano has it’s own personality. By combining all these classic elements—for example the bezel is smooth and screwless like a Patek, but angular like the AP—the D1 Milano comes across as a modernist interpretation of these icons.
Everything about this watch is very flat. The sides of the octagonal case drop straight down to yet another octagon surrounding the sapphire case back. The lugs jut out at sharp 45-degree angles into an integrated rubber strap, which makes for an excellent fit—tight and flat, just like the rest of the watch—but the non-standard attachment will eliminate aftermarket strap options.
Like the Royal Oak, yet another octagon operates the hand-wound movement. The angular crown is easy to work and screws down smoothly for added water resistance. You’ll be unscrewing it frequently as the manual Miyota 8N33 only has around 40 hours in the tank. The heavily skeletonized movement has a modern look that complements the D1 Milano’s contemporary case. Despite the lack of decoration, the cut-away bridges give the movement a finished look.
If you look closely, you can see right through the boney movement to the other side of the dial. Each hour marker is just a slit in the dial, so the hour markers are actually glimpses of the movement or, in a few cases, your wrist. The result is subtle but effective, even in low light despite the lack of any lume. The hollowed handset harmonizes the angular and skeletonized themes and makes this a Genta trifecta, but a little bit of lume would have been useful on the hands.
The D1 Milano is modern and brash and angular. While not for everyone or every occasion, if it fits your style it is a very versatile piece. The low overall height—9.5 mm—and flat profile make for a subdued wearing experience and the all black version I tired out had a contemporary elegance (despite its rubber strap). The only real downside is the price—$749 for the rubber strap mechanical I tried, all the way up to $899 for a Miyota automatic movement and open-worked dial. Cheaper options are available if you are willing to cross over to quartz. On the electronic side, you have two case choices: ultra-thin stainless (6 mm) or polycarbonate that start at $199. Whichever version you pick, you’re getting a well-built contemporary design for thousands less than the icons that inspired it. d1milano.com
D1 Milano (A-MC03)
- Price: $749USD (MSRP)
- Who’s it for? Modernist with a moderate budget.
- Would I wear it? It’s a neat change of pace.
- What I’d change? Add a bit of lume.
- Standout feature? A thrifty Genta-esque option that isn’t a replica.
Tech Specs from D1 Milano
- Case Material: Stainless steel
- Case Dimensions: 41.5 mm x 9.5 mm
- Lug Width: N/A
- Movement: Miyota 8N33 manual
- Crystal: Sapphire w/ anti-reflective coating
- Strap: Rubber strap with pin buckle
- Water Resistance: 5 bar (50 m)
2 thoughts on “A modern Genta: Hands-on with the D1 Milano”
Not a bad look overall, but it concerns me when someone removes so much material from the bridges of a movement that was not designed from Day 1 by the movement manufacturer to be skeletonized. That’s a lot of material that’s been removed from one of the main supporting structures of the movement. It gets worse when you’ve got an automatic rotor putting constant stress on the bridge. I’d be worried that the movement may start experiencing problems down the road with metal fatigue.
The 8N33 comes sliced and diced from Miyota. I don’t think Milano removes any material. Fatigue could still be an issue, but I haven’t heard any horror stories about the movement.