DuBois et fils DBF005
A Fastidious Eye for Detail
The DuBois et fils DBF005 is a chronograph featuring a large date display. Angus Davies gets ‘hands-on’ with this timepiece which shows an almost obsessive attention to detail.
A friend of mine is fastidious about cleaning his cherished roadster. He has amassed an array of cleaning products for every known aspect of car valeting. He derives great pleasure from painstakingly removing each minute speck of soiling from his car’s bodywork, eager to re-establish its factory-fresh appearance. One example of his obsessive eye for detail is a vacuum device used to remove traces of water from the car’s bodywork post washing. Indeed, no detail is too small for my car-obsessed pal.
Thomas Steinemann, the owner of DuBois et fils, is equally obsessive about details when it comes to creating watches. This is manifest with his latest collection of timepieces, the DBF 005 series. Examining the DBF 005 reveals an amazing attention to detail. Indeed, such is the overwhelming admiration I have for this watch that I feel compelled to share my observations with ESCAPEMENT readers.
Typical of all DuBois et fils watches, the DBF 005 series comprises of an array of limited edition models. In this instance, there are five variants available with dials presented in a choice of black, white, brown, blue and green.
The DBF 005-01 with its black / anthracite dial is probably my favourite version of the watch, but with an impressive choice available, readers may have already erred towards a differently hued model.
The hour and minute hands on my preferred black dial version are partly open-worked near the fulcrum of the dial. Each hour is marked with a short, luminous baton. The chapter ring is adorned with Arabic numerals making it child’s play to read-off elapsed seconds.
Just below noon is the brand’s nomenclature and logo. Beneath the brand’s name is a Large Date display featuring bold numerals, proffering notable lucidity. Three snailed subdials populate the dial. A small seconds display sits at 3 o’clock, while a 12-hour chronograph register is positioned at 6 o’clock and a 30-minute chronograph register is located at 9 o’clock.
The subdials are interesting with their stepped profile. The outer circlet sits lower than the dial epidermis but higher than the central snailed area. It is a small detail but nevertheless contributes to the overall enjoyment derived.
The central chronograph seconds hand features one dominant shade which matches the hands on the subdials. The tip of the chronograph seconds hand is white, save for the brown dial version which has a red tip. The counterbalance of the central chronograph seconds hand is open-worked. The subtle variation of detail found with each model negates economies of scale, but makes each version of the DBF 005 feel special.
Beyond the obsessive attention to the minutiae, the prerequisite ease of read-off is capably delivered by this watch and, irrespective of colourway chosen, the clarity is matchless.
The case is constructed of 316L stainless steel and measures 42.5mm in diameter. The proportions are neutral proving neither too large nor too small.
A glassbox sapphire crystal alllows light to flood the dial and accords the watch with a slightly vintage feel to its appearance.
Encircling the dial, a tachymeter scale, used for calculating the speed of an object over a known distance, provides another useful role for the central chronograph seconds hand. The silver text on the black bezel delivers superb legibility.
DuBois et fils has paired a polished bezel surround and case-back with a satin-brushed case-band. The pushpieces and crown are also polished. This marriage of different surface treatments confers a very handsome aesthetic appearance.
The pushpieces are beautifully festooned with a tree-branch motif, while the brand’s fir-tree logo graces the vertical plane of the crown. The case-band features a stepped profile bestowing a sense that the case is extra special. Indeed, this attention to detail does make the watch feel extra-special and a cut above similarly priced timepieces.
The dorsal flank of the case features a pane of sapphire crystal conferring sight of the movement within. The screws retaining the case-back feature the brand’s fir tree logo in relief.
The movement consists of a calibre ETA 2892-DD4500, equipped with a Dubois Dépraz 4500 Big Date module.
Although the movement is modular, rather than the much coveted column-wheel type, the pushpieces operate with a pleasingly smooth action. Moreover, typical of Dubois et fils, the movement has been beautifully enhanced. The oscillating mass is open-worked and decorated with the brand’s logo. The bridges and main plate are adorned with perlage and blued screws abound.
This is an attractively packaged chronograph movement and, once again, shows the brand’s obsessive attention to detail.
The DBF005 shares much in common with the DBF 001, save for an alternative bezel design and the non-guilloché dial. However, despite these small changes, the character of the watch is very different and in my humble opinion the younger sibling is slightly better looking.
The DBF005 is imbued with a high quotient of style but this never gets in the way of imparting the time with a clear and crisp tone. Indeed, this is one of the easiest chronograph dials to decipher and all indications can be interpreted in the briefest of moments.
Where this watch truly triumphs is with the near-obsessional attention to detail and the impressive execution of each element of the specification. Considering the modest asking price, few watches surpass the DBF005 within this sector of the chronograph market.
I wonder if Thomas Steinemann is equally as fastidious when it comes to cleaning his car?
- Model: DuBois et fils DBF005-01
- Case: Stainless steel 316L; diameter 42.5mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; large date; chronograph.
- Movement: Calibre ETA 2892-DD4500, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 49 jewels; power reserve 42 hours.
- Strap: Calf leather strap, presented on a stainless steel pin buckle.
- Price: CHF 7,850 (RRP as at 6.4.2017)
- Limited Edition: 33 pieces