Itís not too often we come across a watch that is really unlike anything weíve seen before. Most designs play by at least some set of rules, and really wild things tend to be either very cheap or very expensive. Well, a few months ago I got the chance to meet Emmanuel Dietrich, founder of Dietrich Watches, and check out his designs, which were profoundly different. The watch had an odd shape, with crazy curves and geometry that spoke to a different idea about how watches should look and feel. The case alone really drew me in, with parts that veered greatly from the standard, and require very good manufacturing to pull off. The dial then had some wild things going on that simply pulled me in further.
The concept behind the watches correspond to Dietrichís idea of organic design. Rather than drawing more from watches themselves or more man-made things (think automobiles and architecture) the design draws from nature. This isnít a new concept to design with people like Ross Lovegrove practicing similar concepts in products and Zaha Hadid pursuing them in architecture, but it is one that is rarely implemented in watches.

Today, weíre going to look at the first in their series of watches, the OT-1, OT for ďOrganic TimeĒ. Before getting too into it, itís worth noting these are weird watches. They arenít going to be liked by everyone. I myself am on the fence as to whether I find them attractive or not, but I know I find them fascinating, especially from a manufacturing standpoint. The OT-1 features a mix of steel and PVD finishing with green highlights, a sapphire crystal (a crazy one at that), a Miyota 82S7 automatic movement and a price tag of $1,215.
Dietrich OT-1 Review

Case: Steel, Mixed Finishes
Movement: Miyota 82S7
Dial: Mixed Materials
Lume: Yes
Lens: Domed Sapphire Crystal
Strap: Leather
Water Resistance: 50m
Dimensions: 46mm X 47mm
Thickness: 14.5 mm
Lug Width: Passthrough
Crown: Pull Out
Warranty: 2 Year
Price: $1,215

To say the case of the Dietrich OT-1 is different is an understatement. Itís one of the most unique case designs Iíve come across featuring odd shapes, multiple parts and remarkably complex geometry that only work thanks to skilled manufacturing. To me, the case is really the star of the show. Itís a bit tricky to get an exact measurement of its dimensions, given itís undulating shapes and odd structure, but itís in the neighborhood of 46mm wide by about 48mm long at itís longest point and about 14.5mm tall from the case back to the top of the domed crystal. While not a small watch, the fluid shapes and ergonomics of the design make it wear shockingly well.

The shape is somewhere between a hexagon that is melting and a barrel. When you look at it straight on, you seen that geometry, but with something almost shadow-like underneath. The bezel holds the 6-sides, though their corners are softened to a point of formlessness, while the lug-chassis flows completely freely. The construction of the case is different than the typical 3-piece. Here you have a bezel, central case, lug-chassis as well as crystal and case back.
The lug-chassis is the outlier and perhaps the most exceptional item on the watch. Itís a screw on component that has no flat moments. It flows and undulates in these beautiful and complex ways, holding the watch up, mounting to the wrist, and giving the watch a profile of something that wants to speed away. It also provides a flat surface for a strap to passthrough, as this watch does not feature springbars. They even mill a flat portion on the side with an OT-1 badge, which seems like a detail that simply complicates things, but for the sake of looking cool. From a manufacturing standpoint, itís a complex piece that had to be machined from all sides, creating completely smooth forms and tight tolerances where it mounts.

The bezel is worthy of closer inspection too. On this model, itís presented in matte steel, for a sating sheen all around. The surfaces are all super smooth, rounding on every edge. As the bezel approaches the crystal, it comes up a step, creating border for the crystal, which has a brushed finish for some contrast. There are also 4 large black screws going through the bezel, presumably holding it in place.
That brings us to the domed sapphire crystal. Sapphire in general are more pricy than other options, but odd shaped, super domed, boxed, etc designs are more and more costly. The one here is perhaps the weirdest Iíve seen. Mimicking the shape of the bezel, itís sort of six sided, but where the screws are set in the bezel, the crystal cuts in. So, the perimeter of the bezel is this constantly changing line. If the tolerances here had been off, they would be immediately noticeable, so there is no margin for error. On top of that, itís not like there is a standard gasket that would fit such a shape, yet the watch has a 50m water resistance. Lastly, the dial is etched on the internal side with markings that play into the dial. While it might get overlooked, make no mistake that this piece posed them a manufacturing challenge.

On the right side is a fairly traditional push-pull crown in black PVD. Itís 7.5 x 4mm, making it large and easy to grasp when needed. On the flat side of the crown is the number ď69Ē, which seems a bit out of place. Itís in fact the birth year of designer Emmanuel DietrichÖ but without knowing that one might just find itÖerÖ odd. Anyway, itís suitable crown, though I feel like itís the one piece that doesnít stick with the vocabulary of forms. Simply put, it looks too much like a watch part.

The dial trades the complex geometry of the case for layering, texturing and simply strange shapes. According to their description, itís a 4 layer dial, but to the eye, it actually seems like a lot more, building up and out from the movement, all the way to the crystal. The very bottom is actually the Miyota 82S7 movement. Here you can see the ticking of the escapement within. Iím not sure if I love this detail. The rest of the dial, which weíll get to, is abundantly finished, with no portion left un-detailed. The movement, however, is as it is out of the factory. So the steel is bright and undecorated. Meanwhile, you have the visible escapement which to me distracts a bit from other parts in motion.
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