The DeWitt Academia Double Fuseau GMT immediately captured my heart as it sat on my wrist. With a white gold case and mink coloured dial, I knew an article beckoned.
For many children attending school, the obligatory educational phase of their lives is a necessary passage to adulthood. Sadly for some, the allure of the journey home is the highlight of their day.
Before the onset of greying hair, when youthful wonderment frequented my daily life, I enjoyed the allure of academia. I recall studying for professional qualifications and attending university in post-graduate heaven.
The acquisition of knowledge with specialisation in a field of study can be addictive. As you ascend the academic mountain, treading on virgin snow and seeing sights few have enjoyed, you become increasingly drawn to the summit.
I recall completing a Masters degree back in 1994 and contemplating the prospect of a PhD. The temptation to continue in the world of academia was compelling. However, I knew that I needed to focus on my career and provide a future for my wife and family. Sadly, I never returned to university to embark on the PhD and there remains a small part of my soul which will feel frustrated at a potential not fully exploited.
It was therefore hearing of a watch with the nomen, “Academia” which piqued my interest and encouraged me to accept a kind invitation to visit DeWitt.
On the outskirts of Geneva, in Meyrin, is a modern edifice. It is the home to DeWitt Manufacture. The building may be modern, but it provides a haven for traditional craftsmanship. Yet, the counterpoise to the artisans craft is the innovation exampled by some of the neoteric timepieces conceived at the atelier.
The DeWitt models embrace a unique design language unlike any other timepieces I have previously seen. The danger of being innovative, embracing avant garde forms, is that they may not appeal to everyone. However, I immediately gravitated to several models.
A white gold watch with mink coloured dial caught my gaze and an article beckoned. The DeWitt Academia Double Fuseau GMT immediately captured my heart and sat admirably on my wrist.
Close examination of the mink coloured dial, revealed a sunray pattern imparting a joyous lustre of which I would never tire.
The silver coloured sword-shaped hour and minute hands are skeletonised, eloquently imparting time in a refined tone. This design is repeated for the GMT hand, albeit this is presented in a customary red hue.
The central second hand is slim and elegant. It points to the integers on the chapter ring with laser-like accuracy, enunciating seconds wonderfully.
Silvered Arabic numerals impart the hours in a traditional font avec serifs. Their simple form aids legibility and complements the whole, blending tastefully with the 18-carat white gold case.
A 24 hour display located beneath noon is presented in white with a snailed finish. It should prove useful function for the disorientated, sleep deprived traveller who is unsure when it is day or night.
The date is presented at 6 o’clock through a round aperture.
A case diameter of 43 mm is perfectly judged. It should have widespread appeal and suit the majority of wrists.
I placed the watch on my own wrist and found it proffered comfort, cosseting my arm pleasingly. The short horns allow the strap to embrace the wrist in secure union.
The bezel and caseband feature the brand’s signature design, 24 DeWitt imperial columns. This is a metaphor for Jerome de Witt’s aristocratic lineage. He is a direct descendent of Emperor Napolean Bonaparte, King Jérôme of Westphalia and King Leopold II of Belgium.
The motif depicted on the bezel and caseband are delightful. They toy with light and impart an individual appeal which I personally revere.
The crown at 3 o’clock is white gold, highly polished and features the brand’s “W” logo.
A push piece at 9 o’clock advances the GMT hand in one hour increments.
The caseback is secured with six screws and features a sapphire crystal to afford a view of the Manufacture movement.
The DW2001 self-winding movement is beautifully executed. The brand logo is shown on the rotor, adjacent a truncated facsimile of the bezel motif.
Circular graining features on the rotor and bridges. The slots on screws are beautifully defined.
Beyond the handsome aesthetics of the case and dial ensemble is a refined mechanical intellect. It is the product of good breeding, evidenced by the flawless finissage.
Having formed in 2003, DeWitt is a relatively young brand in watchmaking terms. However, it has already exampled its profound prowess by revealing many watches embracing numerous complications.
I recently spoke to the charismatic Jerome de Witt and was staggered to hear that he was not a trained watchmaker when he acquired DeWitt. However, on reflection it is the absence of a conventional apprenticeship which has made de Witt unique.
When studying, we acquire the ways of our teachers and adopt their methods of thinking. Entering the world of academia, we are encouraged to think for ourselves and embrace a different perspective on the world.
Jerome de Witt has not been shackled by the constraints of a formal method of approaching horology. His talent as an engineer has allowed him to conceive revolutionary timepieces such as the X-Watch. Yet, it is this relatively conventional watch which immediately captured my interest.
I restrict writing about watches I feel have virtue. Few watches are perfect and I seldom find a watch, which has no areas that justify some criticism, however minor these are. But, after a period of reflection, I cannot think of any area which detracts from the allure of the DeWitt Academia Double Fuseau GMT.
Jerome de Witt has clearly authenticated his horological talent with this watch and displayed an acquired knowledge which is deeply impressive.
Model: DeWitt Academia Double Fuseau GMT
Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 43.00 mm; height 12.00 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and rear.