Before starting this, I want to clarify that all above brands and models are absolutely great and stunning. No doubt about that and choosing one out of these upon another is very subjective.
Research criteria was: 3 hands watch with manufacture caliber, simple but effective. A timeless sporty dress watch. Not too sporty, not too dressy and very good readability as my eyes getting older.
First I had to determinate which is my favorite brand. And that’s not easy at all. I have a lot of sympathy for JLC and Omega. Rolex is the strongest one and TAG give a lot of “wrist presence” for the bucks. That said, Damasko, as a very small german manufacture (in true sense of the word), independant and family owned is something very special these days. When you consider that they produce on their manufacture caliber models up to 90 percent of a watch themselves! Other micro-brands are "shoping" in far-east for exemple and I suspect even few swiss brands doing the same...
For very long time Rolex was my favorite with the OP39 in blue or red. Especially the “red grape” flashes out. Now there is a problem. It’s a Rolex! I mean for me there was 2 problems. First the sell out and not easy at all to get one, not even to try one out and secondly, well a Rolex is maybe too pretentious for a guy coming from the working class. And I had to save another 2 years or more to afford it…
So I looked at Omega, as my father is big fan of this brand and I like the Aqua Terra collection very much. OK I tried it on and it looked great, great movement as well, but don’t ask me why, it makes not “click” in the head. I was afraid to spend more than 4000 bucks for a nice watch but felled not really worth the price. And in all honesty, the James Bond hype around the brand and especially the Seamaster gets me off.
Next was JLC Master Control Date. A nice brand with huge history. The Master control fitted perfectly into my search criteria and once again after putting on, it looked nice but nothing more. OK you have then a JLC with their gorgerous movements and a brand history second to none, but still, I had the impression just buying into the brand if you know what I mean. And if you "deal" with LVMH customer service, they are not even able to provide you a paper catalogue. I asked 3x and had a chat with one guy. I expected in Switzerland (Le Sentier), but no, it was Amsterdam...What happens when the watch needs a service? Or worse a warranty claim? Remember we are talking about a watch 5000 €+. With better marketing and customer relation, who knows maybe there was a chance to convince me. I still have alot of respect for JLC as brand and manufacturer. For LVMH I have no words... Propably I had to move to Le Sentier to get well served. And price point was too much. Lets says 3500 € as a maximum I would spend on this nice watch.
Finally I remembered Damasko for the DK105. I own since years a DA36 and I love it. You may ask why not at first glance? Well this was about the small second. I was not a fan at all about it, I like big seconds much more, at least I thought so. My AD of Damasko had a show in his shop so I went there to put in on. And NOW it made “CLICK”. I wanted that watch and the good thing is: its half price of a Rolex or JLC so I could afford it quickly for X-mass last year. And now I’m into the small but fine DK105 owner club. I can tell you this particular watch has it all to compete the big players. Maybe not yet the prestige of JLC or Omega, this will come on day, I’m sure about that. It’s like Konrad Damasko says: an honest genuine German product. As for Rolex, I want to quote JC Biver: “If you want compete Rolex, It’s like watching into the sun without sunglasses. You get blinded and cannot see anymore where you are and what you do. It’s good to have them, but you cannot compete them”.
BTW, TAG Heuer was out in this particular search as I wanted a manufacture caliber on a 3 hands watch. Maybe later I will consider an Aquaracer and this one will compete with a Damasko DSUB2 but this will be another story in the future.
Another competitor, which I don't had on my radar is Grand Seiko. On a bigger price point yes, but I seen live a few GS in their shop after ordering the DK105 and I feel these watches are even a bit better finished, especially polished. Now it’s clear that Damasko with their ice hardened steel case are objectively better on a daily use. I mean there is little chance to get scratches. GS are even more stunning, but how long will this polished case and bracelet stay without scratches? Not sooo long on a daily use.
On lower price point I have that Damasko DA36. It still looks brand new, after 5-6 years of nearly daily use. Perfect working horse, perfect readability and built like a german panzer. This should be the modern James Bond watch. With steel bracelet its literally a weapon haha.
In my collection I have also a Breitling Chronomat which I own since 20 years. I still like it, but guess what watches I wear more often?
Thank you for your attention and comments are welcome. Cheers, Patrick.