(I apologize in advance for the poor photo) Shown with Chronograph in operation. "Airplane" hand is the "jumping minute" hand
that "jumps" to the next minute when the long yellow seconds hand crosses 12.
The sub-dial at 9 is the standard "small seconds" hand. At 3 is the 24 hour dial. At 6 is the 12 hour Chronograph sub-dial.
A Damasko Custom DC86 Chronograph Review to Share with the Forum
Not quite as long a read as ‘War and Peace’ but here we go . . .
Hoping that you enthusiasts here will enjoy my sharing of what recently arrived - a custom-ordered Damasko DC86 Chronograph. It was ordered from Germany through Watchmann, an Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, Damasko intermediary. They are also a Damasko-certified service center.
Damasko is an amazing manufacturer with many patents in the metallurgical and watch-technology arenas. It is a small, family owned and run company, manufacturing watches since 1994. Many fine models are offered, and Damasko even accepts ‘custom-build’ orders – within reason.
I thought it would be informative to share a nice Damasko item, and to show other watch enthusiasts some of what you can do via a custom-build-order.
I really like the Green-hands and Orange-hands of DC86 models Damasko offers, but felt I wanted something a little out of the ordinary. So . . . a ‘potential’ custom order was made and ultimately sent off to Watchmann. Custom orders are forwarded to Germany for approval. Note that a good-faith deposit by the intermediary is required for <accepted> special orders.
The plan for the custom watch was that the chrono indicator hands all matched -separately from the standard hands- and I also wanted a custom color. I chose yellow because it is so visible, and asked that the 12-hour hand, central chronograph second’s hand, and the elapsed minute ‘jump’ (*) hand all be that color. That nicely and quickly differentiates the chronograph hands per my desires.
(*) An interesting feature is as the chronograph seconds hand sweeps across 12 after 60 seconds, the ‘jump’ hand snaps to the next minute. The DC86 chronograph counts 60 minutes, instead of the usual 30 minutes as found on most chronographs.
The 24-hour indicator hand, standard hour, minute and small seconds hands ultimately were to remain white, along with the dial markings. (I had asked for specific color modifications to the dial sub-dials, but learned Damasko would not implement that. This was not a deal breaker as the hands’ color was the most important factor to me.)
Also desired was a “non-DC86-standard date wheel,” utilizing reversed print. The disc was to be white, with black date numerals. The date would then stand out slightly more from the dial, which is something I desired, but probably not of most owners’ preference or concern. But - - - Damasko was unable able to incorporate the reverse wheel. Sigh.
The bezel marker was ordered as yellow. It glows quite nicely - unlike the no-lume red marker on my DK11.
The lasered and hardened bezel insert (with bezel markings advertised as “chip-proof”) was ordered as the 5-55 Timer [count-up] as I do a lot of timing for grilling, timing other various shorter events. 1-11 Hour/GMT and 55-5 [count-down] bezels are also available. I prefer the 5-55 count-up bezels - merely as I am used to them on my Rolex and Tudor divers. (Many prefer the 1-11 bezel as the numbers directly indicate actual hours, of which the dial itself has none printed.)
The strap ordered was a Damasko 22mm black leather with double stitching in white / neon green- yellow with a steel color bead blasted pin buckle (black available for a black-cased watch.) The yellow strap stitching matches the watch hands color.
EDIT APRIL 06 2021 TO CORRECT MY ERROR: The Nickel-free specially treated/hardened steel case (standard) can be ‘Damest-treated’ to at least 60 HRC. (My watch shown does not have the Damest treatment.) The ‘Damest’ proprietary multi-layer black composite coating protects the watch via a unique technology, unlike other treatments, and creates “a virtually wear-proof surface” per Damasko’s advertising. Watch-scratching is apparently a non-issue per their engineering information, with steel four times as hard as most watches. My DK11 shows no wear and I do not baby my watches.
The Nickel-free <standard> steel case is ‘ice hardened.’ Watch-scratching is apparently a non-issue per their engineering information, with steel four times as hard as most watches. My DK11 shows no wear and I do not baby my watches.
The coarsely notched <30-notch> bezel ring is also ‘Damest’-hardened and features three ceramic detents within grooves. This design ensures exact bezel position and is advertised as “wearproof.”
My double-cambered crystal has double-sided AR. Inside-only AR is standard. Damasko utilizes some sort of extremely scratch-resistant AR for enhanced durability. This is my only watch with outer AR, so any ‘wear’ will have to be noted over the passage of years.
The Sapphire crystal <implemented on every Damasko> has a UV-resistant seal.
The watch cost includes a strap as standard. A Damasko metal bracelet was ordered too. I love the remarkable bracelet on my DK11 and wanted to have both a strap and bracelet for the DC86.
Damasko bracelets are Nickel-free, clever in design, and implement easy-to-use Titanium T6 Torx screws/bushings. No drive pins, collars, etc., nor screwdriver slippage as the Torx sockets do a great job of securely retaining the tool. A very nice well-made steel DAMASKO T6 Torx tool with pouch is included. The screws on both my DK11 and DC86 were very tightly installed.
The non-tapered 22mm bracelet is at least 60 HRC hardened steel and incorporates Titanium “joining” parts. Four larger links are additionally supplied for mixing and matching with the normal ones for sizing needs. There are more removable links in Damasko bracelets than you may see in other brands. This works out well for my small flattish arm of ~165mm (~ 6.5”.) I was able to obtain a perfect fit. The <‘Butterfly’ type of design> bracelet is very comfortable and there is no hair pinching since the design precludes that. There is no obvious clasp seen on the bracelet, appearing to be a continuous loop of links. The 8 clasp detents are of the ceramic ball bearing type. Durable, consistent action, and highly secure, since there are no tabs to catch on objects.
The DC86’s automatic movement [aka C51-6] is a “heavily modified by Damasko watchmakers” Valjoux 7750 Reglage TOP performance. Timekeeping per day with the chrono ON is specified within 3 sec, and with the chrono OFF is within 1 sec. (Naturally, that does not imply actual use.)
C51-6 Chronograph technology: Cam and lever aka oscillating pinion (= horizontal clutch.)
The C51-6 has 27 jewels, 28,800 bph (4 Hz), is shockproof (to DIN 8308), anti-magnetic (DIN 8309) to 100mT (80,000 A/m) via a magnetic cage – aka “case within a case.” It also has a 50-hour Power Reserve, is regulated in 5 positions, and has a rotor with 5 ceramic lube-free bearings.
The date is a quick-correction set and quick switching.
The hardened screw-down crown, with a pinion-releasing feature for shock protection - and its related working pieces - incorporate Damasko’s patented ‘lubrication cell’ device for permanent lubrication of those mechanics. A smoother tactile feel results; but most importantly, engineered reduction of gasket wear and thus better long-term water/dirt intrusion protection, is the result.
The chronograph’s pushers <also hardened> are multiple-sealed, non-screw-down, and can even be used underwater(!) To each their own needs?
Tough Viton seals are implemented throughout their line of watches.
Watch dimensions: 42mm (1.65”) width, 14.4mm (0.567”) thick, 50mm (1.97”) lug/lug, with a bracelet lug width of 22mm (0.866”.) The slightly overhanging bezel diameter is 43.30mm (1.70”.)
Bracelet lugs are short and sharply down-turned close to the case for a good fit to smaller arms . . . a bit more of Damasko’s attention to design detail here.
Dial width: The ‘viewable’ area across the dial is 33.3mm (1.31”)
Water resistance: 10 bar / 100m / 330 feet / or 55 fathoms just for grins.
Low-Pressure resistance: Low-pressure resistant, certified/tested at negative pressure and acceleration per military standards. This is a feature used in many -but not all- of their watches.
Lume: The dial hour markers are of Superluminova X1 GL C1. The hubs of the hands are painted black, and the hour and minute hands are coated with “special luminous paint.” I have no idea as to why the dial and hands lumes are described differently. It is likely lume is all the same. (The hands seem to glow brighter than the dial indices. Perhaps the dial indices do not offer as much glow because the lume application may be thinner?) Just my thought there.
Model and serial number, along with other technology features, are engraved in German on the screw-down rear cover.
Once again, as mentioned elsewhere above, Damasko watches and bracelets are Nickel-free should you have concerns for a Nickel allergy issue.
The weight of the 22mm Ice-Hardened [full] bracelet is 105 grams = 3.70 ounces = ~0.23 pound
The weight of the DC86 watch head [strapless] is 103 grams = 3.63 ounces = ~0.23 pound
The weight of the DC86 [with full bracelet] is 208 grams = 7.33 ounces = 0.46 pound
As you can see just from the several various technologies previously mentioned, this is an innovative company that continually strives to go the extra mile regarding engineering.
Damasko DAY wheels -where used on specific models- are available in German and English.
Damasko also manufactures their own superb in-house movements, besides implementing modified Valjoux and ETA movements.
I use the chronograph for real and various timing purposes, unlike -I suspect- most chronographs. It is a VERY readable chronograph, in contrast to some other brands.
Excellent dial readability is an inherent / constant design feature across the entire Damasko line.
My DC86 was ordered on November 04, 2020, and arrived 3-1/2 months later. <There was a delay due Germany’s January 2021 COVID shutdown.> Kudo’s to Watchmann, and to Damasko in Barbing, Germany. They made the purchasing and modification requests easy and worry-free. <My custom DK11 order some time back took only 8 weeks.>
The superb engineering quality, readability and durability of Damasko watches is beyond reproach. Their site contains quite a bit of information regarding Damasko history, and of their many patented innovative metallurgical and horological technologies.
Damasko prices are more than extremely reasonable for the technological quality and durability provided by their products. I am astounded by what they are able to offer for the cost.
The DC86 chronograph is fun, interesting and useful. At least it is for me. Being my only chronograph, it brings something different into the collection.
I trust this posting has added something of value to the Damasko Watches section.
(If you think you have seen my watch before, you are close. I ‘stole’ most of my design parameters from Mike Stuffler’s custom DC86 watch. Mine would have been quite a bit different, though, had Damasko been able to implement all of my requests.)
Disclaimer: I am not an employee of, investor in, nor family relation to Damasko, just a big <unpaid!> fan.