Bronze dive watches are all the rage—and for good reason. Bronze—and it’s copper cousin brass—are synonymous with the sea and a copper/tin alloy gives bronze cases a quick-forming custom patina. There are plenty of bronze dive watches at every price point, from the Tudor Black Bay Bronze to the Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition to the Ventus Mori Brass Diver (which is cheaper brass, not bronze). But bronze pilot watches are relatively rarer. The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Bronze and the Archimede Pilot 39 are perhaps the two best-known. Enter the David Paul DP-1. Wrapping up a Kickstarter campaign this week, it is a Swiss-powered automatic bronze pilot at a very reasonable AU$365 (~$273USD).

The DP-1 has a classic pilot watch look, with fleiger hands, big Arabic numbers, and B-uhr triangle/dots at the top. Lume is Super LumiNova and it looks ample, covering all the hands, numbers, and hour markers. The dial is a little busy with text, but David Paul has fixed that by deleting most of the surplusage in an alternative “DP-1-S ( simple )” version.

What really sets the DP-1 apart from the likes of the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Bronze or the Archimede Pilot 39 is the coin-edge bezel. It gives the watch a vintage look that should match the eventual patina nicely. It is also functional, rotating 120 clicks with a red pip that can be set to any of the three hands to measure elapsed time, or at some spot in the future as a count-down timer. There are no measurements on the bezel, so you’ll have to do the math yourself.

The 42mm x 13.5mm bronze case doesn’t take any risks or cut any corners, with a double-domed sapphire on top and a stainless exhibition case back showing off the basic but robust Sellita SW200-1. The crown screws down, giving you a solid 200 meters of water resistance. It sports a mostly standard NATO strap, in either leather or nylon—all with very non-standard bronze hardware. A nice touch.

Another thoughtful detail is the packaging. Instead of a useless watch box that can gather dust in your closet, the watch comes in a leather 5-watch storage roll. Every watch should come in functional packaging like this and a pyre of watch boxes should be burnt at the next Baselworld to cleanse our horological souls.

David Paul DP-1

  • Price: AU$365 (~$273USD) (Super Early Bird)
  • Who’s it for? Vintage aircraft aficionados with a secret longing for the sea.
  • Would I wear it? A bronze watch is on my wish list, maybe even this one.
  • What I’d change? Might be too thick at 13.5mm.
  • Standout feature? Patina, and you can time its arrival with the rotating bezel.

Tech Specs from David Paul

  • Case Material: CuSn8 Bronze/stainless case back
  • Case Size: 42mm x 13.5mm
  • Lug Width: 20 mm
  • Movement: Sellita SW200-1 Automatic
  • Crystal: Double-domed sapphire
  • Band Material: Nylon or Leather NATO, with bronze hardware
  • Water Resistance: 200m

ByJim Manley

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2 thoughts on “Up from the depths: the new David Paul DP-1 bronze pilot watch”
  1. I don’t care if they sell a million. The decision to have ‘DP’ on the dial was a poor one.

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