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Back in 2015, I had the opportunity to visit the watch manufacture of DeWitt in Geneva. The DeWitt brand has had its ups and downs over the years along with the global economy, but has recently really sorted out its organizational issues and is more than back on track to creating some of the most interesting and exclusive timepieces around – such as this quite rare DeWitt Academia Out Of Time collection. What makes DeWitt watches interesting and exclusive in my opinion? Well, in addition to producing a whole universe of very unique in-house made movements with some complications you won’t see anywhere else, DeWitt often employs designs and styles quite removed from the rest of the watch industry. With that said, DeWitt is still thoroughly a Swiss-born-and-bred watch company living in harmony with other unique niche luxury brands.
For now, I’d simply like to describe the DeWitt Academia Out Of Time watch and what makes this an interesting timepiece. I sort of feel bad for those people who cannot see this watch in person. You literally cannot understand what the dial looks like in action without seeing it operate. The main dial has two subdials with the left being a “flying time” indicator and the right being a “beat second” indicator. What is that all about? Well, the beat seconds hand is just a dead seconds hand. DeWitt is really into dead seconds complications, those are when an otherwise sweeping seconds hand on a mechanical movement “ticks” similar to how seconds hands operate on quartz watches. For watch lovers, the irony is wonderful (in addition to the history of the functionality).
What is very cool about the beat seconds hand is that it exists over a skeletonized view of the movement which allows you to see how this mechanism works. In fact, this is the first time I can think of that I’ve seen a dead seconds hand executed (with the view). I believe DeWitt designed the DeWitt Academia Out Of Time this way for two reasons. One is to offer a view of the particular contraption which allows the dead seconds hand to operate, and second is as a subtle reminder that “this is, indeed, not a quartz timepiece.”
To the left of the beat second hand is something else interesting. This is the “flying time” dial and it is really a sort of foudroyante hand. Some watches that have hands that make a full revolution each second, and we refer to those as “flying hands.” The reason is that they appear to move so quickly, watchmakers say they are “flying.” Rather than a traditional hand, DeWitt developed two overlapping discs. The discs have small holes, and when the upper disc moves, it creates a unique animation on the dial.
Jerome DeWitt explained that the purpose of the DeWitt Academia Out Of Time watch was to demonstrate the visual contrast between two different indicators that nevertheless operate each second. There is also the contrast between the slow and the fast. It is a poetic concept, and I have to admit that if I wore the DeWitt Academia Out Of Time on my wrist, I would probably be spending a lot of time idly staring at it.
Otherwise, the dial merely indicates the time, and much of the upper part of the face looks relatively stark compared to the bottom of the dial. It is also unique how DeWitt borders each of the two subdials separately. It makes for a dial which looks both asymmetrical and symmetrical at the same time – which is something I don’t recall ever saying before.
Perhaps my favorite version of the DeWitt Academia Out Of Time watch is the model with the royal blue dial. Boy, does that one look cool. The odd movements on the dial mixed with the distinctive case and loud dial make for a decidedly “courtly” wrist statement. Anything but conservative, I just find it cool in a sort of excessive “see what fun toys I can afford” way.
Above, I mentioned that DeWitt makes all of their own movements. It’s rather impressive what the small brand does at their factory, and true enough, they make all their own stuff. For that reason, their movements often have a very original look to them, even for those which are basic. Inside the DeWitt Academia Out Of Time is the DeWitt caliber DW1201 automatic. It features just the time with the two unique seconds hands, operating at a frequency of 21,600 (3Hz). Power reserve is a decent 65 hours, and the movement is made from 217 parts. I like the design of the movement which exposes the gears with a more grand view as compared to many others, and also has that cool art deco-style automatic rotor design with the castle-style crenelation around its edge to mimic the “columns” on the side of the watch case.
The DeWitt Academia Out Of Time comes only in 18k rose gold (for now) in a 42.5mm wide case. That actually makes it one of the smaller DeWitt watches out there (for men). The case is 12.85mm thick, and there is black rubber inlaid into the side of the case to further emphasize the “DeWitt imperial column” motif that is there. Or you could see the side of the case as looking like a row of angular (golden) robot teeth. Weird or not, I like details like that as well as the detailing and various finishing on the lugs.
For all its wonderful strangeness, you’ve got to love watches like the DeWitt Academia Out Of Time for the sheer effort to be successfully different. More so, I find that DeWitt watches are always so comfortably different, in that they aren’t trying to merely adapt existing aesthetic genres but that they are really just doing whatever they want from a design perspective. That is confidence, and the type of confidence I want to see in a brand whose motto is offering exclusive products to exclusive people. At least with a DeWitt on your wrist, you don’t need to feign personal originality. Price for the DeWitt Academia Out Of Time reference AC.OUT.001 watch is $63,700.
BRAND NEW WITH FULL DEWITT FACTORY WARRANTY!
Absolutely Stunning! Hard to believe but even nicer in person…and what a deal! Less than 1/3 of Retail…Brand New with DeWitt Warranty! You won’t be able to take your eyes off this amazing dial…unless you are looking at the Incredible Movement through the Sapphire Exhibition Case Back!!
MODEL: Academia Out of Time
MOVEMENT: Automatic – Dead-Beat Seconds Complication
CASE: 18k Rose Gold
DIAL: Blue Enamal Dial
CONDITION: Brand New – DeWitt Factory Warranty
BOXES/PAPERS: Complete DeWitt Box Set as shown in pictures
WATER RESISTANCE: – 50m
STRAP/BRACELET: – Original Brand New DeWitt black leather Strap with signed 18k Rose Gold buckle
Finally, With more than a decade in selling, trading and buying watches throughout the globe, there is an etiquette to this sport; “what’s your bottom/best price” doesn’t fit and is obnoxious. Yes, it makes the rest of us talk about you. Don’t be that guy… that guy is ignored.
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