When you hear “Detroit,” you think “automobiles.” The Detroit Watch Company knows that. They build cheap replica watches that celebrate Detroit’s history and landmarks, and by extension, the culture of the automobile. I have just spent a few weeks “test-driving” the company’s latest offering, the M1-Woodward Timepiece Exhibition Caseback Edition.
The M1-Woodward Timepiece is a wristwatch with a polished 44-mm diameter case, 25 jewels and a Swiss automatic self-winding movement with a day/date window, and three subdials: 30-minute; hour; and seconds. A choice of five different face finishes are available. The calf leather band secures with a deployment buckle, and connects to the 14.5-mm deep case with a 22-mm wide lug. Its sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating. The watch’s crown is capped with a white Detroit Fleur-de-Lys on a black background.
The Exhibition Caseback Edition of the M1-Woodward is limited to 200 watches. The exhibition caseback is inset with sapphire crystal that exposes the internal movement of the watch behind the opaque watch face. The intricate timekeeping mechanism is fascinating to study and watch in operation – a definite bonus for the owner, and a delightful reveal. The watch is water resistant to 5 ATM. Immersion in water is not recommended, and the band is not designed for water use.
The M1-Woodward is named after Woodward Avenue, one of the major thoroughfares in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan. The Avenue was defined by city planner Augustus B. Woodward in 1805, and was designated as M1 in 1970. One of Detroit’s most popular and famous automotive events, the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise, takes place each August.
The metal band around the watch’s crystal back is engraved with the names of each city that Woodward Avenue passes through from Detroit to Pontiac, along with the watch’s three-digit serial number/200. Buyers can request a specific serial number when ordering their watch, subject to availability.
All Detroit watches are designed by Patrick & Amy Ayoub, the company’s husband and wife owners. Parts and movements are manufactured in Switzerland, Germany or Hong Kong, and all watches are hand assembled in Detroit. Each watch collection from the Detroit Watch Company is specifically limited in quantity.
My test watch arrived directly from the company, packed in a cardboard shipping box with shaped foam inserts. First out of the box was a framed original design sketch of the M1-Woodward timepiece – a nice keepsake for the collector. The watch itself was carefully protected in a presentation box.
Unpacking the M1, I was immediately struck by the watch’s heft and solid feel. With the band attached, it weighed in at 130 grams/4.6 ounces – the same weight as a lunchbox apple I had on my counter. The deployment buckle was easy to adjust for size, if a little fiddly the first few times I tried to engage it. The thick calfskin doesn’t bend easily, so it takes coordination to get it to slide in behind the stays. Within a few days of wear, the buckle no longer confounded me, and I appreciated the fit and feel.
My test watch wore a Gray Sunburst face and black band with white contrast stitching, which worked really well with the polished steel case and hands. The details really make this wholesale cheap replica watches work. The second hand wears an old English “D” on its shorter end, the same “D” that is on the face above the day/date window. The seconds subdial is black with white markings and a polished steel hand; the hour subdial and 30-minute subdial have red indicators. The name of the watch, “M1-Woodward Chronograph,” is printed on the face in white below the day/date window. Tiny jeweled markers stand at each hour mark.
I don’t wear a watch to attract attention, but I love it when friends and family admire my timepiece. The M1 is gorgeous, but not flashy. It drew positive comments from everyone I showed it to, without exception. And more than once, I found myself sitting and staring at the watch on my wrist, simply drinking in the design and craftsmanship.
The M1-Woodward sells directly from the Detroit Watch Company’s website (http://www.biao.org.uk/ ) for $1,850. The M1-Woodward with Exhibition Case Edition sells for a little more at $2,050. With the Detroit city connection, the automotive heritage, beautiful design and build quality, the price seems very reasonable. Time will tell whether a Detroit Watch Company watch is an investment watch or not; it is certainly a very wearable, attractive timepiece for everyday use or even special drive.