Often, when you’re searching for a dressier watch, you find the same designs and combinations, often in a three-hand style. While there’s nothing wrong with that style (it’s a classic for a reason), it’s nice now and again to have something a bit different come up – and that’s what we have today from Dubey & Schaldenbrand.
Their watch, the Grand Dome DT, is definitely a break from that round case, three-hander norm. Let’s start with the case (our sample was in stainless steel). It’s a rounded rectangular shape (37mm wide by 52mm tall), which wears a tad larger than the width might suggest. This is due to the additional height the watch picks up from the convex sapphire crystal that tops the case. They’ve done an excellent job with the AR coating on this crystal, as I really didn’t have any issues with glare or readability that you can sometimes pick up with curved crystals.
Under that crystal, you see the next area that breaks from the dress-watch norm – this watch features quite a few complications. Driven by a movement that starts life as a Valjoux 7751, the Grand Dome offers day, month, and date displays, as well as a moonphase indicator. Oh, and if that weren’t enough? You also get a chronograph. In short, this is a watch that covers many of the horological bases, making it for a fairly flexible piece.
To accommodate all of those functions, Dubey & Schaldenbrand came up with a repeating circle design. The most predominant circle, of course, would be the track that marks out the hours and minutes. Then, going from top to bottom on the dial, you have the chronograph minutes (with the day and month displays), then the date display, and finally the chronograph hours (as well as the moonphase display).
While each of the circles are a slightly different size, this creates an eye-pleasing symmetry (of sorts) that just plain works well. It does also make the empty space at the edges a bit more predominant, but that’s the price you pay for a rectangular case most often.
In terms of using all of these functions, they all work as advertised. The day and month are quickly readable, although the central day indicator can be a bit tricky to read (or perhaps that’s just my eyes), as you need to pick out that hand (with the semi-circular tip) from amongst the others mounted on the central arbor.
The chronograph also worked as advertised, and the registers worked as you would expect. I would have liked to see a slightly longer hand on the hours register, but that’s more for aesthetics – functionally, it works just fine. While we’re in that register, let’s talk about the moon phase indicator.
This, quite obviously, is a function that not many people rely on these days. Here, it’s adding a bit of design interest, even though it’s just a simple, but polished, circle for the moon. Many times with a moonphase, you’ll have an almost photo-realistic representation of the moon, or something that’s a bit of an artistic abstraction. Here, you’ve got a plain, silvery disc that mimics what you might see in the sky, and it works well within the overall design of the piece.
The last major break from dress-watch conventions comes into play with the main handset – they’re skeletonized (ok, that’s normal), but they’re also filled with SuperLuminova. This is by no means necessary for a dress piece, but it’s something that I certainly appreciate. In well-lit situations, the white lume helps to pick out the hands, and in the dark, well, the lume does what it does best.
Paired to the polished case, you have a black alligator strap (with tonal stitching) that features a large script-style ‘D’ topping the deployant clasp. With the style of the buckle on the deployant, it’s a little snug threading the strap through. However, once you have it in place, it’s locked in tightly, and the deployant itself latches firmly.
All told, I really enjoyed wearing this watch. It presents a style that I don’t see cross my desk too often, while maintaining a refined look through the finishing and muted color palette utilized. While this isn’t the watch some may picture when they go looking for a dress watch, I think the Grand Dome actually presents a more flexible style, with the chronograph and 50m water resistance rating make it perfectly acceptable for treks into the office, as well as an evening out. Coming in at a price of $11,300 (steel), this is a watch that you won’t want to keep locked away in a drawer for special occasions. Could it be your “one” watch? Perhaps not, as it’s not quite geared for banging around outdoors. That said, it certainly gets most of the way to that status – or at least it could, for me – perhaps one of, say, two or three. dubeywatch.com
>Brand: Dubey & Schaldenbrand
>Model: Grand Dome DT
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Indeed!
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone looking for a higher-end piece that works in everyday situations, but wants to stay away from the sportier stuff.
>Best characteristic of watch: The combination of complications and overall polished style
>Worst characteristic of watch: Given the “white space” around the central registers, the branding at the top of the dial can seem obtrusive
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