Soon arriving to a boutique near you in a signature tonneau-shaped case and featuring an interesting (at least, not very customary) dial layout with four vertically aligned interlacing rhodium-plated circles, the new Dubey & Schaldenbrand Grand Dome DT (ref. GDOM-ST-BKS-LS) automatic chronograph wristwatch offers all the usual functionality and bullet-proof reliability that comes courtesy of its ETA Valjoux caliber.
While chronographs with linear alignment of their sub-dials are not particularly uncommon (Eberhard & Co. with its Chrono4 BADBOY collection is, perhaps, the first brand that comes to mind here, but there are more,) one can rarely see the layout combined with other indicators.
Although the watch is fairly expensive (the ref. GDOM-ST-BKS-LS that is reviewed here is currently offered at approximately $11,000 depending on your location) for a mere chronograph offered in a stainless steel body, the Swiss watchmaker for some reason decided not to mess too deeply with mechanical guts of the base movement. As you can see on the picture below, in this particular case they simply removed the 24-hour sub-dial at 9 hours instantly getting a lot more symmetrical look and further cementing it with a new chapter ring done in the same style as rings on other indicators.
They also changed stock pointers (the calendar indicator, for example, is now significantly shorter than the original pointing at dates printed on smaller rings in the central part of the dial). As on the base model, each chronograph sub-dial is combined with some other function regarding the timekeeper’s full calendar complication.
For example, the 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock comes together with the day of week and month apertures, while the 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock is united with the moonphase indicator. And the central chronograph seconds hand stays on the same axis with the hour and minute hands and the date display (alas, the normal seconds hand was lost together with the 24-hour sub-dial.) The whole setup is placed on a background of checkered guilloche and sunray satin finish. The 3D-rendering of the watch that we can see here is done not very well, but in real life the model must look quite appealing.
Truth be told, I am not particularly happy about usability here (how, for example, one is supposed to know which chronograph counter is where without reading that frigging manual?,) but that’s often the case with timekeepers that are primarily designed to look unusual and it doesn’t look like a deal breaker to me.
As for the technical side, the watch is powered by the well-known ETA Valjoux 7751 chronograph movement. While not very unique, the robust and easily serviceable movement brings you something that most of us really want: the good feeling of security that comes with a mechanism that, during its decades of service, was perfected to a degree where you just can’t a thing any better.
Photos: Dubey & Schaldenbrand
Dubey & Schaldenbrand Grand Dome DT (ref. GDOM-ST-BKS-LS) automatic chronograph watch specification
Price: $11,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber ETA Valjoux 7751, 25 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Branded rotor
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day of week, chronograph, moonphase
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Stainless steel
Case shape: Tonneau
Bezel shape: Tonneau
Case size: 37.00 mm x 52.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: No data
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather with folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, convex, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire