It’s finally going to happen! After years of yearning, my Damasko DC66 is finally getting the bracelet that was promised for so long and in doing so will become the watch I’ve wanted for so long!
For the last 10 years four watches have sat at the top of my list: Rolex Sea Dweller 16600, Marathon CSAR, Tudor Pelagos, Damasko DC66.
The Rolex 16600 SD is a truly iconic, legend of a watch. Works with a suit, works with jeans, it’s elegant and tough. It was my only watch for about a decade, before I became a geek and horologically hooked. It’s taller and heavier than the Submariner and as such is a tad top-heavy, so it’s not the most comfortable watch out there but it’s pluses far out-weigh it’s minuses. So what put me off it? To a great extent the people I met who wore them! On forums like TZ-UK, probably 75% of the members owned one! That probably says something good about the watch but being part of the herd was never really my thing, especially not that particular herd. It’s also become a very recognised watch, even if most non-watch-nuts think it’s a Sub. With that recognition comes pre-conceptions and everyone seems to have one about people who wear a Rolex. Do I care? Not really but it was just another factor that put me off a bit. Another dampener is the way Rolex views it’s relationship to it’s customers. I won’t go into a rant but if you’ve ever dealt directly with Rolex you’ll know that their belief is that when you pay them £7k for a watch, you still don’t actually own the watch; they do. You pay money to wear the watch, not to own it so don’t ask them to do anything to the watch that they don’t want done because they’ll simply refuse. Want a blue bezel insert for your steel Sub? Don’t bother asking Rolex as they’ll tell you where to get off. There are many more reasons, too but needless to say I fell out of love with Rolex and the SD.
Then we come to the Marathon CSAR Pilot Chronograph. As a pilot myself, I was immediately drawn to this watch and aesthetically it’s my favourite watch of all time. In fact, I love everything about it except two things: size and weight. The diameter is 46.6mm, the height is 1.7cm and with the bracelet it’s over a quarter of a kilo. It’s not big, it’s not slightly oversized, it absolutely absurd! I once forgot to take it off at bedtime and almost knocked out my wife during an enthusiastic dream! If you have the wrists and body of a particularly large grizzly bear then fair enough. If you’re of human proportions this watch will simply look insane on your wrist. It’s the ultimate “tool watch” but frankly, with normal size wrists, you’ll need to be a tool to wear it. Now, I’ve had three of them so I guess that says something about me! If the CSAR was 42mm and 14mm tall I could want for nothing better. Unfortunately, it’s not, so my search continued.
My final choice was the Damasko DC66. It’s my third (plus a DC67) over the years. I loved each one of them but kept selling them for one reason only: no bracelet was available and I need a watch with a bracelet, ultimately. I was ticking along with the Tudor Pelages and had decided that this watch was to be my final watch, when Damasko finally released a bracelet for the DC66! I immediately sold the Tudor and bought another brand new DC66. Then I found out that in order to buy a bracelet from Damasko I needed to send the ruddy watch to them to have the bracelet professionally fitted. While I admire their attention to detail, this is a huge PITA and I simply haven’t got round to it in now over 12 months. The price is also a factor for many. 630 Euros is Rolex territory for a bracelet and whilst I’m sure it will be an astonishingly good bracelet, as with everything Damasko, to then ask me to pay a further 70 Euros to have it fitted is a tad cheeky, IMO. Well, I’ve finally swallowed the pill and my beloved DC66 will arrive with Damasko on Jan 7th, 2015 and will arrive back to me with a factory bracelet fitted. Finally, after 10 years of waiting, the watch I’ve always wanted will become reality and will remain with me until I expire. Well, unless Marathon produce a baby CSAR! Keep checking back for my review of the DC66 bracelet, which I’ll publish late January 2015.
After replacing my previous Tudor Pelagos almost a year ago, this has been my one and only watch. I wear it mostly on the vintage leather zulu strap pictured, except at the weekends when it goes on a standard black nylon zulu. I’ve been meaning to acquire the bracelet for it ever since it was released but the hassle of having to send the watch back to Damasko for fitting has thus far meant it’s not happened. I’ll probably grab it this Christmas when I have a couple of weeks off and can do without a watch on my wrist!
As you’d expect, there’s not a mark on it. It’s not been babied in the way I used to baby my other watches. Why? There’s no need… if I catch it on a doorway I don’t even bother to look if it’s scratched or chipped. It won’t be, rest assured. Easy to read, fantastic bezel, pilot’s chronograph and dive watch all in one, unless you need more than a 100m rating, which I don’t. So, any cons? One! The lume could be better. Yes, if you light it with a torch it’s fine for as long as you’ll need it but from daylight to night it doesn’t charge enough for my liking. That said, at some point I’ll get it relumed. No need to worry about devaluing the dial, as with a vintage Sub, just relume it, damn it!! Absolutely love this watch. Once the bracelet arrives I’ll post a full review with pics.
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The Damasko DC66 is a superb and extremely versatile watch. With the virtually impossible to scratch iced steel case, bomb-proof Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement, unrivalled bezel insert and bezel action, day/date and constant second dial it really is an incredible all round watch. At 42mm and 13.75mm high it’s the absolute sweet spot for my 7.25 inch wrist. Up until a few weeks ago my one and only watch was the Tudor Pelagos and I wrote a long review detailing why I’d chosen it. The reason it had come out on top over my previous DC66 was simply the lack of a Damasko bracelet option and I’d always said that if the DC66 came with a bracelet it would be my one and only watch and I’d be more than happy. Well, a few weeks ago, Damasko finally announced that a bracelet would soon be available for the DC66 (estimated March of 2014) and true to my word the Pelagos was sold and the DC66 is once again on my wrist, the bracelet on order.
The Damaskos do wear well on leather, however, with one personal caveat: I loathe the bundled pilot strap that comes with the DC66… In fact, in my experience, the DC66 is not an easy watch to get right, strap-wise. After four DC66s and many wasted pounds/dollars I’ve finally concluded that, for me, the perfect leather is a very dark (almost black) vintage leather where the brown just flecks through the patina. The above strap was custom made for me by DB10 Straps and is a one piece Zulu, about 2mm thick. Mel is currently making me a second two piece strap from the same piece of leather and I have to say, it’s going to be darned tough to better that Zulu!
This is undoubtedly my favourite of the G-Shock line-up, any price, particularly when paired with the superb GW-A1000FC resin bracelet, replacing the standard orange rubber strap. This bracelet is super comfy, very scratch resistant and better made than any of the older G-Shock bracelets I’ve encountered. The clasp, for example, is much heavier and robust. The dial colours remind me of the vintage Omega divers of the seventies (think PloProf), the hands are gorgeous and despite the dial complication it’s all very readable at a glance. This one will be the beater keeper I’ve been searching for!
The latest addition to our little family has just arrived and begun to settle in very well! Mango was taken in by the RSCPA after being abandoned by her previous owner(s). Like Dude, she’s a Chi Hua Hua cross but we’ve no idea what the other half might be. What we do know is she’s a tiny ball of feistiness who likes nothing better than ambushing and attacking her new Dad several times a minute.. and if anything is missing around the house we’ve now got a very good chance of guessing first time who the culprit is! Sunday afternoon naps are, apparently, not allowed in Mango world as when I attempted to take one earlier today she jumped on my head and licked my nose until I jolly well got up and played with her! Oh well, maybe tonight..
The Pelagos works with many different straps, though I’m personally not keen on the OEM rubber strap that utilises the end-links. I do like it on a Zulu, though..