DuBois et fills, a French watchmaker that currently tries to reinvent itself, has offered a new DBF001 collection of automatic chronographs. Delivering a surprisingly satisfying mixture of sportiness and elegance, this may be their first step towards real success.
Available right now as a limited edition model (the company plans to make only 99 of them), the DuBois et fils DBF001-07 Automatic Chronograph is finally offered with a comfortable-looking multi-link bracelet. The bracelet is crafted from the same 316L surgical-grade steel and features a nice combination of machine-brushed and polished surfaces.
The texture of the band, as well as its complexity, perfectly matches an elaborated shape of the body that, too, features brushed and polished surfaces.
Speaking of body, I like the way it is sculpted. Although I may be biased in this respect, it has extremely well-chosen proportions. Just 41.50 millimeters in diameter and also relatively thin, the timepiece looks fine on a normal wrist and feels good with a tight-cuffed shirt and a business suit, which is essential for something which is -however sporty it wouldn’t look- essentially an expensive dress watch designed with executives in mind.
Although the timekeeper’s dial has some passing resemblance with affordable Japanese chronographs and despite the fact that there is something neurotic about all these minor details, you can see that looking at a watch as a whole, there is a well-developed logic to it.
For example, the bezel nicely matches in its thinness the small, but robust looking lugs. The sunray guilloche pattern on the outer edges of the dial is, on the other hand, echoed by the DBF001‘s notched bezel, which is, in its own turn, reiterated with the massive setting crown.
The hands, the luminous Arabic numerals, as well as some other “glossy” parts of the dial, are not simply polished, but also rhodium-plated, which gives the timekeeper an even more expensive appearance.
Since DuBois et fils lacks the ability to design and manufacture their own movement (and there is nothing wrong with it, too), the French company uses third-party caliber to power their watches.
The DBF001, for instance, is animated by caliber 2892-DD4500, which is based on ETA 2892 blank movement, but features a twin-disk Big Date indicator at 12 o’clock, a tri-compax chronograph, and is equipped with Nickel-plated oscillating weight with “DUBOIS et fils” pattern on it. Extra functionality, of course, comes courtesy of the Dubois Depraz 4500 add-on module.
What I am not sure, is the price. At this time, the company asks whopping CHF 9600 (approximately $10,600 USD) for a piece, which is, to my taste, a tad high at this moment. I mean, for this kind of money (give or take a thousand dollars) you can get a stainless steel chronograph from a lot more established brands like, say, Breitling, Cartier, IWC and even Rolex!
Well, I can only wish them well.
Build Quality: 4.5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
UPDATE 18/03/2015: Well, I have just performed a web search and it seems that the device is not selling out that well after all. Although limited to just 99 pieces, it is still marked as an ‘in-stock’ item by a number of shops. A well-known British retailer, for example, lists one at £7890, which is still a bit too steep to my taste.
Photos: DuBois et Fils
DuBois et fils DBF001-07 Automatic Chronograph with Big Date specification
Price: CHF 9600 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber 2892-DD4500 (base ETA 2892), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 49
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 44 hours
Movement decoration: Nickel-plated, open-worked oscillating weight with “DUBOIS et fils” pattern, perlage on bridges and mainplate
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, big date, chronograph
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 41.50 mm
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: 9-link bracelet made from high-quality surgical-grade 316L stainless steel with a pressure snap flip-lock
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides