The new Dubey & Schaldenbrand Grand Shar DB (ref. GSAR-ST-BKW-LS) chronograph that the Swiss-based watchmaker is going to pull the proverbial wraps off during the upcoming Baselworld 2011 trade show offers a time-proven Swiss-made automatic movement in a mildly oversized, yet ergonomically shaped case.
I am not sure whether it is technically correct to call the Swiss-based company a “micro-brand” (after all, this is a not a publicly-traded company and they neither don’t have nor are particularly inclined to share information about their market share and sale numbers,) but I am more or less confident that, being an independent brand -a dying breed in this era of continuous “market consolidation”- Dubey & Schaldenbrand is destined to either stick to their strategy of offering unique, easily recognizable timekeepers or slowly fade into oblivion like dozens of brands before them.
While this new “Grand Shar DB” collection with its unusual design probably won’t enjoy an instant success among millions of enthusiasts, I am almost positive that the same unusual design will let them attract attention of serious customers who are mature enough to buy a watch that is actually interesting instead of yet another Rolex.
Judging by the corporate website, at the time of writing this brief review the collection will be available not only in a stainless steel case (pictured,) which is going to be a mass-produced job, but also in a limited edition yellow gold (150 pieces) and steel with its bezel adorned with 45 ceramic baguettes (50 pieces.)
Beating inside the large 44 mm case is the well-known ETA Valjoux 7750 caliber. Very popular both among watchmakers and enthusiasts, the natural-born chronograph movement offers superb reliability, easy serviceability, and adequate accuracy.
It must be noted, however, that the choice of movement somewhat diminishes the long-term value of the Grand Shar DB, since timekeepers powered by standard calibers are rarely popular among serious collectors and tend to lose their value over time.
As you can see in the photo, the watch is stylistically close to their new Grand Dome DT chronograph. Although its dial layout is more standard, the theme of intersecting circles is still supported here. The presence of stylized Roman numerals makes the dial look just a trifle busy, but also increases the Grand Shar DB’s legibility. The sword-shaped hour and minute hands are coated with white Superluminova making it easier to tell the time in darkness.
There is still no info on the timekeeper’s price, but it will surely be expensive*.
See also: Louis Moinet Geograph Limited Edition
* UPDATE ON PRICE: The version in stainless steel that is reviewed here is going to be offered at fairly impressive $10,250 USD, while a version in 18-karat yellow gold will be predictably even more expensive at $31,000.
Photos: Dubey & Schaldenbrand
Dubey & Schaldenbrand Grand Shar DB (ref. GSAR-ST-BKW-LS) specification
Price: $10,250 USD
Movement: Automatic, Caliber ETA Valjoux 7750, 25 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Circular ribbed decoration, open-worked and DS-personalized rotor
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case: Yellow gold / Stainless steel
Bezel: Yellow gold / Stainless steel / Stainless steel with ceramic baguettes
Size: 44.00 mm
Dial: Black, Cotes de Geneve decoration
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black Louisiana alligator leather with folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, convex, antireflective