DeWitt Academia Chronostream II
The DeWitt Academia Chronostream II is an interesting fusion of elegance and masculinity, formality and sportiness. This high-end chronograph is presented in a sumptuously appointed case and features an in-house dial. Once again, this independent watch brand from Geneva demonstrates its impressive capacity to design thought-provoking watches, brimming with grandeur.
This detailed review of the DeWitt Academia Chronostream II includes live images, specification details and pricing.
Meyrin is located close to Geneva airport and is the home to several prestigious watch brands, including DeWitt. Within the confines of DeWitt’s modern atelier, incredible horological creations are brought to life.
This high-end watch company offers an extensive array of tourbillons, each imbued with peerless finishing and ground-breaking design. At the epicentre of the company’s DNA is the founder of the firm, Jérome de Witt. It is Mr de Witt’s fascination with engineering and, in particular, vintage cars which provides a new take on fine watchmaking. When conceiving a new movement, de Witt does not follow horological convention, preferring to apply technical solutions often used in other domains. It is de Witt’s lack of formal watchmaking training which confers freedom, allowing him to wholeheartedly embrace creativity and deliver something new.
DeWitt employs trained watchmakers and artisans to realise Mr de Witt’s ideas and distill them into pure, breathtaking objects of desire. Unusually, the Maison not only makes many of its own movements, it also has an incredible in-house expertise for making watch dials.
While I have a penchant for high complications, I have a particular fondness for chronographs. The two pushpieces, sates my desire to meddle by providing an unrivalled dialogue with numerous internal components. Recently, I had the opportunity to affix the DeWitt Academia Chronostream II to my wrist and indulge my various horological foibles.
The dial of the DeWitt Academia Chronostream II is rich in detail. There are no obvious concessions to serial production, each element is the pleasing consequence of patience. The sword-shaped hour and minute hands are openworked and formed of 18-carat rose gold.
Each hour is denoted with a combination of Arabic numerals as well as triangular shaped batons. At 3 and 9 o’clock, the triangular batons are supplanted by two registers, leading to the fitment of neat, truncated indices. Clearly, DeWitt has not settled for a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the indices, imbuing the dialscape with a becoming richness. It is the subtle dial details which reinforce the sense of quality. For example, the aforementioned triangular indices are faceted and highly polished on all surfaces, save for a recessed central section which is matt.
The hour and minute hands unite with the hour markers, proclaiming time clearly. The central chronograph seconds hand is traditionally blued, a characteristic it shares with the hands on the chronograph registers.
I have a weakness for bi-compax dials as they provide a becoming symmetry. A 30-minute chronograph register is positioned adjacent 3 o’clock, while the running seconds is displayed at 9 o’clock. Both counters are silvered and framed with gold-coloured circlets. The chapter ring encircling each subdial sits above the dial plane.
The black, central area of the dial is enriched with Clous de Paris decoration. This accords the dial with a magnificent texture, heightening its allure. Adjacent this pyramidal type motif is a tachymeter scale, underscoring the sporty character of the watch. DeWitt has chosen to present the tachymeter in a pale blue typeface.
A chemin de fer encircles the periphery of the dial. A combination of crisp markings and Arabic numerals grant ease of read-off. Positioned in between the chemin de fer and the tachymeter scale is an additional track, allowing the wearer to measure subsecond values.
Jérome de Witt is a direct descendent of Emperor Napoléon. DeWitt watches reference this fact by incorporating imperial columns on its watch cases. This dial also features a crenellated motif on its dial.
The 42.5mm 18-carat rose gold case predominantly features highly polished surfaces. However, despite the resplendence of its case, the DeWitt Academia Chronostream II remains elegant and tasteful.
The lugs incorporate recessed flanks which are satin brushed, granting agreeable contrast with neighbouring surfaces. The vertical flanks of the chronograph pushpieces are decorated with a series of squares, while the crown is embellished with the brand’s ‘W’ logo. It is the repeated use of different textures which makes the watch-head feel special.
DeWitt has imbued the Academia Chronostream II with an interesting persona. While the watch feels sporty, it also looks dressy. The caseband incorporates the previously mentioned Imperial columns, paying homage to the de Witt family history, but also utilises rubber inlays, granting the watch a contemporary disposition.
Unlike some of its siblings, the DeWitt Academia Chronostream II eschews an exhibition caseback in favour of a solid ‘W’ branded panel. I must confess that I was disappointed by the brand’s decision to hide the movement from view. Having witnessed first-hand the care and skill imparted to its movement, I know that the finissage behind this golden veneer will undoubtedly be impressive. It seems a shame that only the watchmaker will ever see the beauty residing within the case.
The self-winding movement, the Calibre DW6005, features 27 jewels and is capable of delivering 48 hours of autonomy. The frequency of the balance is 28,800 VpH (4Hz).
Owing to the solid caseback, it was not possible to appraise the execution of the movement.
The dial of the DeWitt Academia Chronostream II is festooned with delightful details. The Swiss firm has elevated the appearance of the dial with a multitude of textures and differing depths. Close examination of the dial reveals it is executed to a matchless standard. This quality justifies the rationale for making the dials in-house and provides a useful means of differentiating DeWitt’s watches from others.
One danger of equipping a dial with numerous details is that it can become ‘busy’, inhibiting interpretation. However, I am pleased to report that the dial of the DeWitt Academia Chronostream II is a paragon of lucidity.
Despite expending much time and energy on the dial, DeWitt has not neglected the case design. The black rubber detail on the caseband complements the rich tones of the 18-carat rose gold case, introducing a degree of modernity to the overall appearance of the watch. The mix of polished and satin-finished case surfaces bestow a handsome mien. The textures on the pushpieces and crown invite tactile encounters. Indeed, everything looks and feels superb.
While DeWitt has chosen to incorporate many design elements on both the dial and case, everything coexists happily. There is no dissonance between any of the elements employed.
DeWitt is the very antithesis of mass production. Each watch is ‘entirely assembled, set and inspected by a single master watchmaker’. The DeWitt Academia Chronostream II feels special. Indeed, this practitioner of fine watchmaking has, once again, produced a timepiece which is contemporary, individual and brimming with grandeur.
- Model: DeWitt Academia Chronostream II
- Reference: AC.CHR.001
- Case: 18-carat rose gold; diameter 42.5mm; height 14.2mm; sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback; water resistant to 3ATM (30 metres).
- Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds; chronograph
- Movement: Calibre DW6005; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 27 jewels; power reserve = 48 hours
- Strap: Alligator leather paired with a 18-carat gold folding clasp
- Price: CHF 38,000 excluding VAT (RRP as at 26.11.2018)