I don’t get to wear my 1701 from Detroit Watch Company, my wife stole it from me. Well, steal is a tough term. I really like the styling of the watch, but she isn’t into watches the same way I am, and she rarely comments on what I wear, let alone take an interest in one. That changed with this watch. So with domestic tranquility in mind, I allowed her to permanently borrow the watch. She is tall (almost 6 feet) and has always liked large watches, so this model worked for her. But if you are not into the look of a 44mm case that stands proud at 13.5mm, You now have options. The Detroit Company 1701 Ponchartrain and L’Horloge models are available for pre-order in 39 mm x 11-12 mm cases.
I think that they really nailed the look of both watches, but especially the Ponchartrain. With the smaller dial, a sub-second hand (on the Exhibition version) and a date window, the watch dial could have looked crowded. By doing away with the power reserve indicator, minimizing the branding, and going with a simple chapter ring, they were able to maintain the openness of the larger 1701 series watches without looking minimalist. Retained from the larger watch is the stylized D, both on the dial and as the counterweight on the second hand (on the non-exhibition version). Also retained is the partially skeletonized handset style, with a bit of lume on the tips. The watches also display the Detroit Fleur-de-Lys on the crown.
As mentioned, the watch is offered in two flavors, the regular and Exhibition versions. The regular is a three hander with date window in a choice of blue or black for the dial color, with a Sellita SW200 Swiss automatic movement. Both colors are offered on your choice of blue, black, brown or stingray-style calfskin leather straps with deployment buckles, and are equipped with an AR coated sapphire crystal. The Exhibition version uses a Sellita SW260 movement for the small seconds, with a blued second hand, and also adds an sapphire crystal exhibition caseback with a blued rotor. The Exhibition is offered on the same choice of straps with a white dial.
Also available for pre-order is the 1701 L’Horloge, similarly powered by the Sellita SW200 movement. The L’Horloge is available in two versions, with a lighter chapter ring and a darker chapter ring, both set against the white dial and both offered with a blued second hand (with the stylized D counterweight). As with the Ponchartrain, the watch has an AR-coated sapphire crystal and is available on any of the four leather strap options. The Ponchartrain and the L’Horloge are available as pre-orders for $1,195, and the Ponchartrain Exhibition is available for $1,250. All the watches are limited to a numbered edition of 50 in 2015, and you may select your number when you purchase. The watches are expected to be assembled in June or July of 2015. detroitwatchco.com
- Brand & Model: Detroit Watch Company 1701 Ponchartrain and L’Horloge
- Price: $1,195 or $1,250 for the Ponchartrain Exhibition
- Who we think it might be for: Someone looking for a sub-40mm watch with an American heritage and some European flair.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: The 39mm is too small for me, but they produce a very nice looking watch, so I would recommend it without hesitation..
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Give the Ponchartrain the blued second hand.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: It is small enough for most women with looking too dainty for a guy who wants a smaller watch.
Tech Specs from Detroit Watch Company
- Movement: Swiss Sellita SW200 automatic, Sellita SW260 in the Ponchartrain Exhibition
- Functions: Three hand with date
- Case: Stainless steel
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Water resistance: 5 ATM
- Lug width: Not specified
- Straps: Calfskin leather in blue, black, brown or stingray.
- Diameter: 39 mm
- Case Height: 11 mm, 12 mm for the Ponchartrain Exhibition