There are a couple of American brands that we have been able to forge relationships with here at WWR, and I am proud to say that Detroit Watch Company is one of those. This is the second of their watches I have been able to check out in person, the first being the 1701. Let’s just say I liked that watch, so I had high hopes for the Detroit Watch Co M1 Woodward. At least for me, they are now 2-0 (can’t say the Lions are doing that well, sorry Patrick).This is the brand’s first chronograph, but it shares a lot of characteristics with the rest of the line-up. First, there are the small details, like the calligraphy D on the central second hand counter weight and the Fleur de Lys on the crown. The distinct handset is also shared across the line. Then you also have the 44mm case diameter, though there are a few smaller watches in the catalog. The watches also tend to be fairly tall on the wrist, with the M1 Woodward sitting at 14.5mm. It is a beefy watch. The 44mm diameter does balance out the height, so it never feels odd, but it is presence on the wrist. If you like tight cuffs on your long sleeve shirts, this may not work as your suit and tie watch.
I look at the watch as more of a dressy sports watch, not a pure dress watch. The watch namesake comes from the M1 Woodward Avenue in Detroit, one of the five main thoroughfares in the city modeled after the wide streets of Paris. The Avenue became a cruising and racing spot, and is the location of the Woodward Dream Cruise, the largest single day automotive event in the world. The Detroit Watch Co M1 Woodward would feel right at home in an event like that. The tachymeter printed on the outermost track on the dial in built for speed timing, but it is subtle enough to make it more a suggestion of something you might do, if you feel like opening up your two barrel carburetor.
There is a fair bit going on in the dial, but it does not feel busy or cramped. The second hand is moved to 9:00 against a contrasting blue background (white on the black and blue dial versions), and 30 minute and 12 hour counters are provided at 12:00 and 6:00, respectively. The red-tipped central second hand is used for the chronograph timing. Generous day and date windows are provided at 3:00, large enough to be useful even for my aging eyesight. The watch is subtly lumed, with the outer reaches of each hand painted with a stripe of lume, and a applied dot at each hour capped with lume.
The eyes at 12:00 and 6:00 are both slightly recessed, with the subdials sporting a pattern of concentric circles. More subtle is the way the subdial for the second hand at 9:00 is applied to the dial, raising it slightly. Driving the watch is one of two Swiss movements either an ETA 7750 or Sellita SW500. I suspect that the restricted supply of ETA movements forced them to keep their options open with the designation of movements, and I could not find any exterior markings detailing what was actually in the watch.
Wearing the watch is comfortable, and the butterfly deployment clasp is secure and works well. I am more sold on the concept of deployment clasps than the actual use of them, though this is a general comment, not a knock against the specific one use on the M1. The clasp is branded with the brand’s “D” (pardon the scratches, this was a review copy), and does a good job in keeping the watch in the correctly adjusted when taking the watch off or putting it on. The leather strap is nice and supple, in spite of the thickness. The strap needs to be fairly beefy, lest it look odd against the thickness of the case. The contrasting stitching shows off the sportier nature of the watch.
The watch is available in three version, with either a silver, black or blue dial, each for $1,850. All the watches are in pre-order, and I believe that these will all be first editions, limited to 75 pieces. The watch is definitely attractive, which my unsolicited request for information from a complete stranger can attest to. It is also big and bold, a perfect watch for the office if you can fit it under your shirt cuff, or perfect for weekends and date nights. detroitwatchco.com
- Brand & Model: Detroit Watch Co M1 Woodward
- Price: $1,850
- Who we think it might be for: Someone who owns (or wants to own) a vintage car with modern upgrades.
- Would I wear one myself based on what I’ve seen?: Definitely. I would pair it with a modern Shelby Cobra.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Blue the central second hand in the white dial version, and the sub dial second hand in the other two.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: It is just a pretty watch.
Tech Specs from Detroit Watch Co.:
- Movement: Sellita SW500 or ETA 7750 automatic chronograph
- Functions: Chronograph, day, date.
- Case: Stainless steel
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Water resistance: 5 ATM
- Lug width: 22 mm
- Straps: Leather with contrasting stitching and a deployment clasp
- Diameter: 44 mm
- Thickness: 14.5 mm
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