The new Doxa Chateau des Monts (ref. 620.10S.105.01) hand-wound wristwatch comes in a deliberately (perhaps, even in a slightly “calculated” way) exterior that is most commonly associated with vintage pocket watches that were produced in late-19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Although the watch is officially designated as a model celebrating the 120th anniversary of the brand, it is not exactly so. Here is why.
To be more precise, the brand Doxa was officially registered as a trademark only in 1910, which makes it “just” 89 years old.
In the year 1889 however, the company’s founding father Georges Ducommun opened his own watch repair workshop after about 8 years of working in a company that was making pocket watches. He was only 20 years old, by the way. So, even if technically there is still one more year to go even to the brand’s centennial, there is indeed at least some merit to their claim of being in the business of making luxury timekeepers for whole 120 years (and counting.)
To our sheep.
The new Doxa Chateau des Monts watch is styled like the famous among serious collectors Doxa Locle series of timekeepers that were produced in the 1920s.
Although those vintage watches usually had their small seconds dials placed at the 6 o’clock, this particular watch has the dial located at 9 hours.
Perhaps, the change of the dial layout is due to the fact that the new Doxa Chateau des Monts is powered by a new old stock (NOS) manually wound Unitas movement.
In its press release the Swiss company doesn’t go into details, but judging by the movement’s look and the timekeeper’ size specified by the watchmaker (it measures quite impressive 47 millimeters in diameter and clearly doesn’t make an impression of a wristwatch that is powered by some smaller caliber), it must be either the Unitas 6497 or the Unitas 6498 pocket watch calibers designed in the 1950s.
Also known as the ETA 6497/6498 (in the 1980s the brand was acquired by the famous manufacture ETA SA, which is owned by the monstrous Swatch group watchmaking conglomerate,) these ebauches are usually sold at a wholesale price below €100.
They can be found in such models as the Panerai Luminor Marina Militare, Hamilton Khaki Officer, Glycine Incursore Manual and in a great number of mechanical watches, both cheap and very expensive.
The mechanism, by the way, is very nicely decorated featuring diagonal Geneva Stripes, gears with something that resembles sunburst pattern and, of course, a set of polished and blued screw-heads. All you need to do to admire the engine, is to open the hunter-style case back cover that protects the sapphire crystal from scratches and other dangers.
Frankly, I think it would be more convenient if the engraved cover could be opened via a push-piece like premium pocket watches of the period, but even the tiny “bump” on the lower side of the part does the job well enough.
The Swiss company plans to sell this model in two lots limited to only 120 units each with dials available in black with white hands and indices, as well as white and (my favorite) ivory with blued hands and hour markers.
Doxa Chateau des Monts 120th Anniversary (ref. 620.10S.105.01) specification
Price range: 2500 CHF (MSRP)
Movement: ETA Unitas 6497, NOS, hand-wound, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock
Case material: Stainless steel, transparent caseback with sapphire crystal
Case dimensions: 47.00 mm
Dial: Black, white or ivory
Strap: Black or brown leather with buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflective, convex, with engraved “hunter” cover in steel