Damasko DC 58 Black Review
Damasko is revitalizing their lineup with a variety of new dial and hand colors. They've already added an update to their most popular model, the three hand, black dial DA 36, with the addition of a blue seconds hand. Today, their most popular chronograph, the DC 56 receives the same treatment, adding a much needed dose of color to the very serious tool watch. Read on to learn everything there is to know about the new DC 58 Black.
The new DC 58 is a version of a prototypical tool watch chronograph, the DC 56, but with a bit more colorful flair. This seems to be part of a strategy on Damasko's part to lighten up their collection, which has traditionally been among the most serious, and most characteristically Germanic, of any company out there.
Of course, colorful seconds hands are nothing new to Damasko, having long been a fan of red and, on occasion, yellow seconds hands, although these tend to come off as extremely sporty. That's a good look for a Damasko, but the soft blue hands seen here and the DA 38 are definitely a change of pace as these are notably less serious.
Naturally, being a Damasko, the DC 58 Black has a super hard steel case, made even harder with the addition of the black Damest coating. The Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement receives extra magnetic protection and long-term water resistance thanks to high quality seals.
The changes in the DC 58 take place in the chronograph seconds hand, but in case you're not already closely familiar with the DC 56, I'm going to walk you through the entire watch, starting with the dial.
To begin with, the dial is truly matte black. This is about as non-reflective as a dial can get. Typically this can cause glare problems, but Damasko's double anti-reflective coating works very well here. For instance, I typically have to edit the reflection of my camera out of the crystal on dark dials, but on the DC 58, it's a merely a subtle haze. The matte black dial isn't just for looks, it provides a super high contrast backdrop for the white hands and markers, making the watch more legible.
The hands, with the exception of the chronograph seconds hand, are standard for Damasko black dials. They are, sans their base (which is also matte black), completely covered in white paint, which makes them incredibly visible against the black dial. The blue seconds hand is the modification that takes it from the DC 56 and makes it a DC 58, and I really like it. For one thing, I love blue in my watches, but for another it does soften it up a bit, making it quite a bit less serious than it would have been with the white, or even a red or yellow, seconds hand. It should be noted that, like all Damasko hands, this is painted, but it's important to remember this isn't a faux-blued hand. You couldn't use a blued seconds hand on a dark black dial as it would be practically invisible, looking borderline black from many angles. Thus Damasko wisely chose a lighter painted blue.
The three subdials of this Valjoux 7750 chronograph are very utilitarian. For instance, look at the sub-seconds at 9:00. Here Damasko expects the user to need fairly little precision as this is usually just used to zero the seconds for setting the time. Thus there are only the cardinal markers. The minute and hour chronograph subdials, however, have scales of much greater granularity. It's a simple, but thoughtful, design.
The writing, in keeping with the theme of ultimate legibility, is formed of extremely bold white Arabic numerals. Graciously, Damasko has omitted the 6:00 marker as it would have been annihilated by the subdial. In typical flieger fashion, the 12:00 has been replaced by a luminescent triangle.
I'm always interested in Damasko's date placement, or in this case, the day-date placement. Damasko loves to put position complications slightly off centered, but this is also well balanced with the Damasko logo. I really like this change. It probably has no meaningful affect, but when you see literally hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of dials with identical layouts thanks to the Valjoux 7750, it's great to mix it up a little.
The bright green lume is easy to see against the matte black dial and the hands, being entirely coated in the stuff, are actually surprisingly bright. Instead of luminescent numerals we have simple hour markers. As is the case in almost all chronographs, the subdials are not luminescent. The lume here is very good for a chronograph, but serious fans of lume should look to their white dialed models which are some of the brightest out there. As usual, the color and intensity of the lume in this photo has not been altered digitally or using extremely long exposure times. This is close to what your eyes would see in real life.
All in all, nothing too surprising, excepting the seconds hand, of course, in terms of the dial. If you're a fan of fliegers and an extremely functional aesthetic generally you'll find a lot to like here. Personally, I do like the blue seconds hand and I'd take it over the DC 56 in a heartbeat.
The case is usually a lot less interesting than the dial, or sometimes the movement, in watches of this sort, but Damasko actually puts a great deal of effort into making their cases phenomenally tough. At 40mm, it's an ideal all-around size and the relatively short lugs make this one of the more comfortable watches to wear in my experience. It's 13.8mm tall, which in theory is somewhat thick (no doubt necessitated by the substantial 7750 movement), but I've found it wears surprisingly small in this regard.
The most noteworthy aspect of Damasko cases is their hardening. Before I get into that, I want to note the lack of qualifiers. Unlike most companies which offer extremely hard cases, you don't pay any extra to get them on a Damasko. In fact, you can't avoid them. The most affordable Damasko all the way to their pricier in-house models feature the exact same hardened steel, so there is absolutely no corners cut on this model against, say, the more expensive Si Chronograph model. At any rate, Damasko ice-hardens all of their cases which makes them several times harder than the stainless steel you normally find in a watch case. In fact, the hardness of a Damasko case is roughly similar to that of a good knife steel. This all adds up to the fact that Damasko cases are among the hardest to scratch in the industry, and certainly in their price range.
The battle proven Valjoux 7750 is hidden behind the case back, protected from not only the elements, but also magnetism. This is due to an integrated anti-magnetic cage which protects the watch from up to 80,000 A/m. Even the gaskets are specially designed for this application, using Viton, a synthetic rubber that is highly resistant to chemicals. Viton is most often used in transporting fuel thanks to these properties, so it should be more than up to the task in keeping a wristwatch safe.
Today we're looking at the "Black" model. Nearly every Damasko watch is available in either a bead blasted steel finish or in this black variety. The black coating you get from Damasko is not like the PVD, or even DLC, you get elsewhere, however. This is Damasko's in-house Damest coating, which is not only harder than the steel underneath, but has been specially designed to resist being removed from its substrate. We've had many customers of Damasko black watches and the praise has been universal for the coating. This is also a good time to mention that the strap has been updated for the DC 58 with an exposed blue stitch. It's a minor touch, but it works well with the new seconds hand.
That coating extends to the crown and pushers. The crown, of course, screws down for 100 meters of water resistance, but even it has been enhanced by Damasko. Damasko crowns and pushers have a cell that surrounds them in the case that permanently lubricates them. This is held in place by dual Viton o-rings so it should be extremely durable. Furthermore, because Damasko crowns, unlike almost all others, decouple from winding the watch after a certain point, screwing them down is effortless. It's amazing when you compare a Damasko and another quality watch side by side in this regard. You'll be very surprised how much resistance the movement offers when screwing in the crown because you're also winding it at the same time.
All in all, the case is the component that makes this Damasko a tremendous value, whether you like it in the uncoated DC 58 version or this DC 58 Black.
Check out our video of the DC 58 black here.
The DC 58 is an addition to the DC 56, not a replacement, so those who preferred the more austere model can still get it. For me, however, I definitely prefer the watch with a little color in it. It's no longer so deadly serious but it really gives up very little in tool watch chic to accomplish that.
The watch offers little in the way of surprises, but given the success of the DC 56 and other Damaskos, this is likely a good thing. There are no untested variables here. Damasko has combined the most time tested chronograph movement ever made, the Valjoux 7750, with one of the toughest cases ever made. It's water resistant, chemical resistant, highly scratch resistant and anti-magnetic, meaning that you've got a reliable movement hidden behind a fortress. Despite its toughness, the watch is never feels bulky. I've found Damasko watches to be among the most comfortable out there, so unlike some other "hardcore" watches, it won't become a wrist anchor.
Despite all the improvements Damasko has made, the price is actually lower than many models that simply throw a 7750 into a case with no special features, making it a tremendous value. I don't normally discuss value propositions, because I think that watch collectors are best served by saving up and getting the watch they want. But with tool watches, the discussion is a little bit different, because you may actually want to wear something like this hiking or while working in the shop. Consequently, not only does it need to be tough, but it needs to not be so incredibly expensive that owners live in fear of putting it in harm's way. Because of its very reasonable price point, most luxury watch collectors needn't leave it in the case whenever they're doing something more active. Buy it, wear it and use it-that's what it's made for.
I'm interested to see what Damasko is coming up with next. Soon we'll be seeing the new Damasko DK 200, their first in-house GMT watch but we have already seen the recent tan-dialed DA20, a non-black/white dialed Damasko. It seems like the brand is opening up a little more to experimentation, a decision that, so long as they keep the core lineup intact (and by all appearances they are), should reach a broader audience. If you love how this watch looks but wish it weren't a chronograph, check out the DA 38, or if you wish it didn't have the blue hand, check out the DC 56. For myself, I think this is the best looking chronograph Damasko makes at the moment, so this would be my first pick in that category.