In Review: Dan Henry Watches — The 1970 Automatic Diver
A good, everyday watch should be something that every guy has. While some men tend to prefer larger watch collections, others are happier with more modest, and minimal collections. Whichever the case, though, having at least one, very solid, everyday watch is a must. No outfit is truly complete without something on your wrist. Plus, the wristwatch is the one area that men truly get to express themselves with accessories. While women have all sorts of pieces of jewelry, each with a story behind it, men really only have watches. So, investing a few more dollars into a watch that you love and will wear with pride each day is something we wholeheartedly can get behind.
Recently, Dan Henry emerged onto the scene. They make really solid quality watches at affordable — but still not quite cheap — prices. Think about it, maybe, like the SuitSupply of watches. Their styles are homage to vintage styled watches, without being tacky. They’re original, unique, and beautiful designs, and there is a tremendous attention to detail shown in their construction. Still, they don’t have a ton of offerings (yet), and most all of them are quartz, leaving those (like me) that prefer an automatic with not too many options to choose from. That all being said, I fell in love with the one automatic that they do offer — the Dan Henry 1970 Automatic Diver ($250) — and recently finally pulled the trigger on it. Here is what I think of this watch:
Packaging & Experience
Dan Henry’s site is quite nice. It’s well made, there are some awesome product shots, and they do a real good job of selling their watches. Checkout is also fast and easy, allowing you to pay through Amazon if you so choose. Shipping is pretty quick, and you get an emailed tracking number. There is an easy 7-day return policy (which is a bit short, but it is watches we are talking about, not a t-shirt, so there is less of a chance you won’t like it if you just dropped the money on it). It shows up in a standard cardboard box, but the watch itself is housed in a super cool, twist black tube container (it took a second to figure out how to open it). On top of that, the watch comes with a free, leather and canvas watch roll that can hold up to 3 watches, and is the perfect travel companion. The watch also comes with a great 12 month warranty. Overall, the buying experience was quite solid and premium, and I don’t have any complaints. A
Style & Design
I went with the grey ring design in the 40mm size. I went back and forth for a while whether I’d prefer the grey or the orange, but, in the end, as I have two other watches with orange details, went with the grey. The 40mm was an easier choice. 44mm is just too large for a watch face in my opinion. The 40mm is absolutely perfect, though. The overall look of this watch is wonderful. It’s vintage without being too vintage, and modern without being too modern all at the same time. The casing is not too thick, nor too thin. The color and detail on the dial is beautiful, and the tan colored accents are a fantastic touch (and even makes its way to the second hand). In the light, this watch has almost a navy tint to it, as all the vibrancy of the watch face shines through. The date window is a nice addition as well, and the diver-inspired timer ring around the whole watch is the perfect finish.
The crown(s) is finished with a texture, and the back of the watch shows a cool octopus design. The strap is a wonderful-looking rubber that the website does not do justice to. It looks even better in person, with a slight weave look to it, and almost racer-like holes that give it a great overall look. This watch is clean, elegant, sporty, refined, modern, and vintage all at once. That is a hard thing to come by, no doubt, but this watch pull it off in flying colors. This watch will go great with everything from a tee and jeans, to dressed up with a blazer and button down. It truly is the perfect everyday watch, with personality. Swap the easy-switch strap out for something fancier — like a link bracelet or leather — and you might even get away with wearing this guy with a full suit. A+
Quality & Constriction
I will just come out with it. For the price, this watch is exceptionally well made. I don’t have a single complaint. It feels sturdy, every single details is meticulously refined and perfected, not to mention all the coolest elements about this watch. For one, the automatic movement is the Seiko Caliber NH35 with a 41 hour reserve, and the sweeping motion is quite clean and smooth. The bottom crown screws down to help with further water resistance, while the top one — and this is perhaps the coolest feature of this watch — twist the numbers dial to set your timer. That’s right! As you twist the top dial, the outer ring of the watch turns with it. This is a complication on a watch that I don’t see very often, but it’s quite clever and super cool, not to mention functional and easy, to use.
Then, of course, you have the 660 feet water resistance, as well as the easy-change strap (meaning you just pull a small, protruding pin to swap out the strap, as opposed to needing a special tool to do it, making swapping the strap for a new look super easy). The rubber strap itself is also very well made, and does not, in my experience, collect lint or dust like so many cheaper rubber straps do. This is a watch that is sure to last a really long time, and, for the price, feels like something at least twice as expensive. A+
Value & Conclusion
Dan Henry 1970 Automatic Diver — $250: This price is certainly not cheap for a watch. It’s for sure passed Timex, and even the lower end Seiko territory. Still, for a few bucks more you are getting a whole lot in the way of quality. This watch is super well made, and more unique than a typical Timex or Seiko. When it comes to watches, you want them to tell a story. These are pieces that have real meaning and lasting value. Investing a little more will really pay off. Even if you don’t love this diver watch, check out some of the other awesome timepieces Dan Henry offers. As far as watches goes, the $2-300 range is actually quite inexpensive in the scheme of things. But it’s also the perfect price bracket to start just getting your feet wet with the world of nicer watches. I really, really love this watch, and expect to have it around, on one strap or another, for many years to come. When you think of it that way — as a workhorse, perfect for every day timepiece — then the $250 price tag actually seems quite inexpensive. Final Grade: A+