David Mason Watches DM1a & DM1b – Hands on Watch Review
Written by: D Constant for The Watch Review Site
We have been given the absolute pleasure in getting our hands on the inaugural David Mason Watches, the business is branded as David Mason London or sometimes DM London.
This young British watch brand/watchmaker has hit the market running with their first soiree into the watch world with two models the DM1a and DM1b an Oversized GMT Pilot Watch, both are solely available online from David Mason Watches direct at www.davidmasonwatches.co.uk
So let us begin our Hands on Watch Review in great tradition, by thanking David Mason Watches and David himself for sending us both the DM1 GMT Pilot Watches for review. Regular followers of The Watch Review Site on Facebook and Twitter you would have had a sneak peek at the DM1a and DM1b over the last couple of weeks, if your not following us on Twitter please do so @WatchReviewSite you can also follow David Mason Watches on Twitter at @DMasonWatches
Sorry for dragging that out a little, now onto the actual review, to start with this is mean’t to be an Oversized Pilot Watch, usually that means I’m weary to place it on my scrawny 6 1/2 inch wrists, yes only 6 1/2 inches… As the DM1a and b have a 46mm case diameter and 56mm in length or height from point to point (this being the two furthest points of the lugs) you would think that this watch will look ginormous on my wrists. I’ll let you decide (See photos below), but in my personal opinion it actually fits surprisingly well, it is unobtrusive whether whilst wearing under the cuff or with casualwear, even with its 12mm under cuff depth the DM1’s still feel perfectly balanced.
Here is the customary wrist shot of the DM1B.
On to the watch, this is a typical Pilot Watch per-say, exactly what you would expect it has the classic Pilot Watch shaped case with the added benefits of GMT. The GMT function comes to us on the DM1A and DM1B as an additional 24 hour ring and red hand with separate crown to set a home town time whilst abroad, so you are always aware of the time in two timezones at once. We found the 24 Hour ring works very well and is simple to adjust and set.
Both watches have a solid construction and the stainless steel case and engraved case backs give these quartz watches a weighty substance on the wrist, They are not too heavy and lead you to easily forget you are wearing a watch on your wrist even, that is even though it is a large and substantial piece of outerwear. As I always say a watch should be comfortable, you should be able to forget that it’s on your wrist until you need it and the DM1A and DM1B GMT Pilot Watch does just that.
Of the two models we really don’t have a preference, the DM1A is an all black number which portrays a modern twist to the David Mason Oversized Pilot Watch and comes with a black face, off white luminous hands, markers and numerals for greater visibility in low light conditions. You also have a separate red 24 hour hand for use with the GMT function. The black against the stainless steel case and white thick stitching on the black strap all add to the watches visual prowess.
As for the DM1B, this is perfect with a summer suit and just has that little classic vintage feel to it, with its off-white edging toward cream dial, with black numerals and markers. Unlike the DM1A the 1B does not have lumin on the markers and numerals, so low light usage is really limited and that is even with luminous hour and minute hands. The brown or tan leather strap really sets off the David Mason DM1B Pilot Watch very well, but to make it really good the strap needs to be thicker and less new, i.e needs to be vintage leather, grainy and rugged.
Both Models have two crowns, the lower crown at 4 o’clock is for the sole use of the 24 Hour outer ring, which is bi-directional. The standard screw in crown at 3 o’clock controls the date, 24 Hour indication and hour & minute hands, it also bears the DM logo etched into it. The two crowns differ in looks, some people like this other despise it, I’m in the first camp on these watches it works to define the different functions of each crown. Whilst discussing the logo we see its presence on the case-back and buckle of both the DM1A and DM1B Oversized GMT Pilot Watches along with the crown.
As for the functionality of these David Mason DM1 Pilot Watches, along with the already disvussed 24 hour 2nd timezone function of the DM1A and DM1B, we also have a date window at 4 o’clock, large thick markers and oversized Arabic numerals at 3, 6 and 9 and instead of the 12 we have the David Mason logo. For me I may have included a large 0 or 12 instead of the logo and omitted it entirely from the dial of the watch. As you know from reading this review I have mentioned the logo some four times in previous paragraph or two, this may portray a feeling that it is ‘in your face’ and a little bit overkill. In reality, it is not in the slightest. It appears that David Mason has put some thought into the positioning of all the logos and it is uncommon to have two logos in view at the same time. So its very well planned and executed. But again not that it defers from the watch but personally I may have not had a logo on the dial.
Moving on, we always talk about the names of watches and to be honest DM1A and DM1B are not the most imaginative names for a watch. What it does do is what it says on the tin, DM for David Mason I presume and 1 for the first in hopefully an ever increasing range of David Mason Watches. The A and B denomination differentiates between the White dial and black dial watches and can be deemed to be model numbers. What has come to light is the confusion in this instance as the David Mason Watches website classifies the DM1A as the Black and DM1B as white faced version, whereas the casebacks differ in as much as the DM1A is the white face brown Strap (pictured above) and DM1B the black face and black strap. Note to David Mason himself, please rectify. One other thing on the name next time give us something more to talk about please.
The one thing I must take David to task on, is his choice of straps for both watches, not the fit of the strap but simply the feel. Yes, they are real leather and have the added feature of the contrasting white stitching, which is great. But the leather is too crisp, too shiny and too rigid for my liking, something a little softer with a bit more of a worn feeling and a little more malleable would be more to my liking. Maybe even an RAF/NATO Braided Strap could work well. As I mentioned before the strap on the DM1B or Brown Leather strap is actually a nicer strap but still a little too fresh for me, that’s all down to taste though.
The natural flow from the strap is to the buckle, this is a straight forward buckle and using it, is obviously simple. It is made of stainless steel with a small David Mason DM logo to the right and feels well constructed and solid, no spindly little hook here.
The caseback is stainless steel and is again engraved with the logo, watch model number i.e. DM1A and the customary water resistance rating, in this instance 10 atm or 100 meters. We alos have the unique numbered serial number which indicates this is a limited edition series of 100 timepieces for each model.
To the heart of a watch and the last thing we need to look at is at on the David Mason Over-sized GMT Pilot Watch is the movement, well it is a Quartz movement made by Ronda a Swiss Quartz Wristwatch Movement manufacturer, David Mason opted to use the Swiss Parts Ronda 515 movement with GMT abilities, probably wouldn’t be my personal choice. As this is a Swiss Parts movement David Mason Watches cannot say that the DM1A and DM1B are Swiss Made, but the parts are the same parts as used in the Swiss Made Ronda 515 movement, what differentiates it is where it is constructed by Ronda outside of Switzerland, actually Ronda Swiss Parts movements are all constructed in Thailand.
I would have definately liked to see a Swiss Made movement, giving David the ability to market the watches as Swiss Made, but there may be a very good reason for this and we will follow that up in our interview with David in the next week or so…
The Ronda 515 is a True GMT movement and is a very good quartz movement, which is used in a number of more expensive mainstream timepieces, it consists of 1 jewel (for anyone that is interested) and has a battery life of 45 months, that’s a good 3 1/2 years before you have to consider getting the battery replaced, a simple job for any jeweller.
As we have mentioned, we will be undertaking an interview with the man behind David Mason Watches. If you have any questions you would like to put to him, please let us know through the comments box below. We are hoping to get the interview online on The Watch Review Site within the next two weeks (both parties schedules allowing). I will be asking him which watch is the DM1A and which is the DM1B as there seems to be some confusion, in this hands on watch review we have used the classification as per the website, but on the watches we had for review the caseback implies that they should be the other way around. This is a tiny niggle which can be easily rectified if need be by amending the website to match the caseback engravings.
The overall feel of the David Mason DM1A & DM1B GMT Pilot Watch is great, its well balanced, comfortable and fits very well on the wrist, anyone who has had the pleasure of purchasing one has got themselves a very nice watch that can be worn daily and for different occasions. When you add the fact that these watches are currently retailing via www.davidmasonwatches.co.uk at a mere £120.00, yes you got it right only £120.00 and at that level I’ll be keeping one of these for myself I think… Update September 2012 they are now £160.00 still cheap as chips…
One Last thing that makes owning either of the DM1A or DM1B David Mason Oversized GMT Pilot Watches is the fact that they are manufactured in a numbered limited edition of 100 pieces each. Yes a limited edition, weighty, nice, well built timepiece for only £120.00 at the price I really think you will be hard pushed to find anything better out there. It’s accepted you can get better automatic mechanical movement pieces, but they came in at a lot more than the David Mason DM1a & DM1b Oversized GMT Pilot Watch.
As with all our hands on watch reviews here at The Watch Review Site we have provided a little gallery of photos of the David Mason DM1a & DM1b Oversized GMT Pilot Watch after the technical details.
David Mason DM1A & DM1B Oversized GMT Pilot Watch – Technical Details
Ronda 515 Swiss parts movement, True GMT Movement
24 hour indication GMT hand , 3 hands (Hours, Minutes & Seconds), Date at 4 o’clock
24 hour ring activated by separate crown
Water resistance – 10 atm, 100m
Stainless steel case
Case Diameter – 46mm
Case Height – 56mm from two furthest lug points
Inner Lug to Lug width- 22mm
Case Back Stainless Steel, Unique engraved with DM Logo and individual serial numbers
Screw-in crown and separate 24 hour GMT crown
Strap – DM1A – Black leather strap with nu-buck lining and thick stitching
Strap – DM1B – Light brown oil leather strap with nu-buck lining and thick stitching
Steel buckle with DM (David Mason) etched logo
Limited Edition of 100 numbered pieces of each DM1a and DM1b
Oh and here are some Photographs of the David Mason DM1a & DM1b GMT Oversized Pilot Watch