DAMASKO DA36 V.S. DA37 AUTOMATIC PILOT
The Damasko brothers were united for a brief showdown.
My Story (of no real significance to review)
I debated with myself long and hard when i purchased my first automatic watch. First between styles, then brands, and when i finally settled on the clean and functional Damasko, the hardest task became deciding between Damasko's two automatics, the DA36 and DA37. I finally settled on the white dialed goodness of the DA37, but now have the chance to compare the two side by side after grabbing the DA36 from a fellow Canadian forum member. With both watches in hand, picking one to keep is now that much harder!
History/Brand (of little significance to review)
See my short summary of Damasko watches here. Since purchasing the DA37 in the first months of 2010, Damasko has gone on to produce 2-3 other models of chronographs and an automatic with a minute bezel, all received with positive to rave reviews. What is most anticipated however, is the promised in-house movement that will sport Damasko's multiple patents in one hell of a watch.
(photos pulled from Damasko's website www.damasko.de)
-With Luminova™C1 (white) on hour markers, hour hands, and minute hands
-For other specs see DA37 review
The Case and Crown are exactly the same between DA36 and DA37, as are the moderately decorated workhorse ETA 2836-2 movement and slightly lacking Damasko leather strap. The sapphire crystal should also be indistinguishable between the two but i found that the anti-reflective coating on the DA36 appears particularly blue for some odd reason. Maybe it's the batch of coated sapphire, the distraction away from the matte black dial, or my fixation on the multiple hairline scratches on the AR, the blue reflection that i found somewhat appealing on the DA37 is now more of an annoyance and distraction on the used DA36. I was genuinely surprised at the scratches really, since i've been wearing my DA37 daily rather unceremoniously for the past 6 months and it still looks as good as new. Once i get my hands on some Polywatch, the AR on the DA36 is coming off.
It's not just a simple matter of choosing between black or white here. The first thing that grabs your attention on the DA36 is not the matte black dial and high contrast white hands. Rather, the focus is stolen by immediately by the unique yellow sweeping seconds hand. For all the naysayers of the yellow oddity, i would challenge that the majority will be won over if they get to see the watch first hand. Pictures really don't do the watch justice. I would say that it's a brighter, almost neon version of the fire-hydrant yellow NASA found to be the easiest color to spot in smoke. Under moderate ambient lighting the yellow sweeping hand is close enough to the erriely flat white minute and hour hands to not be intrusive. Under bright light, the yellow really stands out, yet falls in line with the high contrast motif of the dial. Red hands have nothing on the DA36's yellow!
High contrast is the main theme on this pilot style tool watch. Aside from the yellow hands the white on black is also quite noticeable. There is more to the white on black though. The depth that jumps out of the understated German design comes in layers. The white Arabic numerals, cross-hair, minute markers, and signature are painted (sitckered?) in a slightly reflective white. The pilot 12-hour triangle and hour markers are rounded and raised Luminova matte (bit off-) white. The hour and minute hands are the flattest, bright, bit plastic white i've seen yet. These 3 layers of white and the yellow second hands together set on the deep matte black dial simply pops right out at you.
(One day my photo-taking skills will improve enough to capture what i see... i hope!)
So which one wins out here?..... The DA37's black on white is less layered than the DA36 but draws your gaze in deep as oppose to hopping out to meet you. Both are quite elegant but the DA36 is more of an invite to marvel oppose to DA37's hidden depth. So which one!?!
This is where it's easier to decide the winner. Though Luminova C1 on both watches is nothing to be amazed about, whole dial lume is still miles ahead of hands and hour markers for readability. Pictures, in this case, can do the speaking/typing for me.
The jury's still out. I want to keep both. Opinions welcome.