Review was transfered from html to forum script, so if something went wrong: sorry for that. Enjoy reading and remember: The review was written in 2004.
A Mike Stuffler Watch Review
Watch Review by: Mike Stuffler, Bonn, Germany
Watch Brand: DAMASKO
Watch Model: DC 56 Chronograph (Valjoux 7750)
Serial No.: DC56-0012
Owned Since: 18.05.04
Retail Price: 1090 Euro (incl. VAT 16%)
Written: 01 June 2004
As most of you know I own many mechanical watches, including some chronographs. Most of them are powered by the well known Valjoux 7750, and there is only one which houses the hand wounded counterpart 7760.
Since I saw the first drawings on the net the Damasko chronograph (DC 56) became No. 1 on my watch wish list. More or less consequently I tried to follow the steps of development so I very soon realized that this watch was a „must have“ for me.
In December 2003 I started a German watch related quiz on Watchuseek/German Watches Forum. In order to make this quiz possible I contacted most of the German watch producers by mail or letter in order to find sponsors and the enthusiastic Konrad DAMASKO spontaneously phoned me and donated a DC 56, which became the first prize of our quiz. For a very short time I had the DC 56 in my hands and was immediately and again convinced that this watch has to be added to my collection.
After reading some recommending reviews (Micha Fokkens & Tom Bewley) the DC 56 was ordered.
After wearing the DC 56 for quite a while I thought it would be worth to write a small review on this spectacular and valuable watch. Another reason for writing this review was based on my observation(s) that the Damasko watches deserve more public attention. This is my first watch review in a foreign language so I would be very glad to get a feed back (whatever your concerns are……)
The name “Damasko” is known to the watch world here in Germany since 1994 and was always connected with the terms of technical research and development. For some time DAMASKO and SINN had been in co-operation. In the end of 2002 they discontinued their joint venture. Sinn became engaged in the SUG, Damasko went its own way.
Case, Crown & Pushers
The perfectly dark-silver looking case is a complete in-house product and is the absolute highlight of the DC 56. Case, crown and pushers are designed, worked out and at least produced by Damasko and accordingly “Made in Germany”. The case is made of bead-blasted stainless steel and according to Damasko`s statement it is absolutely nickel-free. It is beautiful made and very solid. From what I understand the case is superbly scratch resistant due to a special technique of hardening which is called „ice-hardening“ and patented by Damasko. The case is four times harder than every other steel currently used in the watch industry.
The 40 mm diameter case - 44 mm with crown, and about 46 mm lug to lug - is similar or close to the size of my Rolex Submariner, Sinn 103 St Hd Ha, Glashütte original Flieger Chrono) and looks great even on a smaller wrist. With 14,00 mm height (to be correct: 13,70 mm) the watch will fit easily under every shirt cuff. It’s a big watch but could be worn very comfortably by everyone.
The case reminds me of another German watch, the Sinn 756. The explanation therefore is that until 2002/2003 “Damasko Metallurgy” was supplier to Sinn. The current case of the 756 II is made by SUG (Sächsische Uhrentechnologie GmbH), Glashütte/Germany.
The Damasko has been on my wrist for two weeks now and “survived” a lot of different situations a police officer has to face (training, outdoor shooting, driving instructions, task force operations). The watch is still looking like the watch never left the box.<p>
The screwed down and corrugated crown fits perfectly between the guards, is easy to grip and operates very smooth. The crown is signed with the Damasko “D”.
The crown itself feels solid enough to overcome thousands and thousands of pull out / push in operations.
On the contrary to my Sinn 103 the pushers of the DC 56 are not screwed down. The advantage of screwed down pushers is that they prevent unintentional running of the subcounters. But the daily use of my DC 56 proved that there was no unintentional run at all within the last two weeks.
The crown system of the DC 56 got patented. All gaskets are made of Viton. If somebody wants to gather more information regarding the patented crown system I would like to refer to the website of Damasko.
The solid case back is screwed in and marked “Made in Germany”. The case is rated WR 100m /10 bar.
Dial and hands
The dial is typical for military style watches and appears matt black with white numerals. There are no numerals on the 6 and 12 position in order to provide enough space for the subdials which is a benefit to readability.
Due to the construction of the Valjoux 7750 movement the subdials are placed at 12 (minutes), 6 (hours) and 9 (permanent running second). As to be seen on the picture the chapters for each of the subdials are executed differently.
Hour markers and the little triangle at 12 are coated with luminous compound which is Luminova C1 (white) which provides a sufficient readability at night. For the “real night owls” Damasko offers the DC 57 with full luminous dial.
Usually you’ll find the day-date indication coming with a Valjoux 7750 on the 3 o’clock position; the DC 56 is a bit different, the day-date window is placed between 3 and 4. The day and date wheels are printed in white on black which improves the readability of the small day and date indications. As far as I know an English day wheel is already available.<p>
Between 2 and 3 the Damasko logo is printed in white.
All hands (!) are painted in matt black and do have the same luminous compound (Luminova C1 white). The sword hands (hour, minute) differ from the first DC 56, they got bigger which is another point to its legibility.
The minute hand is as long as it has to be, long enough to reach well into the minutes chapter. Same with the central second hand counter.
Dial and hands are very well executed and fit perfectly with the other specs in order to give this timepiece an overall military tool flavour.
The crystal is a flat sapphire crystal. The crystal on my DC 56 came with anti-reflective coating on the outside. An additional AR coating on the inside is available on special request (only) which I didn’t recognize when ordering my Damasko. But there is nothing wrong with a one side AR coating.
My DC 56 came with a well made water resistant white stitched black 20 mm leather strap and a bead-blasted steel pin buckle to match with the case. With app. 5 mm of domed padding and its contrasting white stitching it underlines the tool look of the DC 56.
The buckle itself is smaller than I thought it would be. Regarding the case dimensions and the overall look of this watch the buckle should be a bit bigger and I would have appreciated the buckle coming with a Damasko “D” sign on it too (like the Chronoswiss sign or the Rolex crown on vintage Rolexes for example).
Up to now a bracelet is not available (according to Damasko they will be available in October 2004) but there is nothing wrong with quality of the strap.
The Damasko DC 56 is powered by a Valjoux 7750 movement with day-date indication. This movement is known to provide a power reserve of 42 to 45 hours and is commonly known as a very reliable workhorse. The movement runs at a rate of 28.800 bph, which means 691.200 beats per day! The 7750 is shock proved (Incabloc) and anti-magnetic according to the German Industry Regulations (DIN=Deutsche Industrie Norm).
The Valjoux 7750 is utilized in hundreds of chronographs at all price levels (i.e.: Sinn, Breitling, Aristo, Limes, Mido, Tudor, Nivrel, Chronoswiss, Chronosport, Vollmer, Tutima, Paul Picot, Oris, Zeno, Longines, Tissot) so you can’t go wrong with a movement like this.
Until yet I didn’t open the case back to see if the movement is decorated or finished in some way. Regarding the other specifications I think there is no need of a decorated/finished movement because every Damasko watch has an anti-magnetic inner case which is explained on their website (“The case inside the case – The magnetic field protection”).
To my knowledge the movement is adjusted to 5 positions and mine was rated very well. I was wearing the watch day and night so that the watch was fully wounded all the time. When starting I “synchronized” my DC 56 with a radio controlled Junghans Mega clock. Timekeeping over the last 13 days was extraordinary – average gain +2/+4 sec/day (total: 42 sec).
Box and Manual
The DC 56 came in a nice wooden box with a white leather pillow.
Both, box and manual, are adequate to an instrumental watch and seem to follow the principle of “form follows function“, nothing really spectacolous though. But the DC 56 wasn`t made to stick in a box, this watch is made for wearing. Therefore the box was of minor interest to me.
Price is 1090,-- Euro including 16% VAT. Got mine directly from Damasko. The DC 57 retails for 1095,-- Euro.
Due to the European Community regulations the watch comes with a 2 years warranty.
Summary / Conclusions
For the price, I do believe that this watch does not have to fear its equals. It´s a pretty well manufactured and military inspired high quality wrist watch. I think Damasko has made a superb job making his philosophy come true. Regarding the price and the technical innovations coming with the watch I`d say it´s a bargain.
The DC 56 is a real eye catcher and I truly hope we are going to see more beaters from this brand. I am already convinced that the DC 66 will be another great bargain to the customer.
The only features I have missed are the screwed pushers, which imho always look better on a chronograph and a bigger buckle with the Damasko “D”.
Nevertheless my final conclusion and advice would be: PULL THE TRIGGER , you will not be disappointed. I would not hesitate to recommend this watch even to members of special forces all over the world – it is indeed a very serious tool for professionals. Maybe we will see the time coming that the DC56 / DC 57 or another Damasko will get the “official watch of…...
To own a Dasmasko still means to own something very special to me.
Moderator German Watches Forum on Watchuseek
June 1st, 2004
Thanks to Damasko for the pics I borrowed.