It’s no secret that Damasko is one of my favorite watch brands. That legendary German precision or bare design mystifyingly attracts me. This doesn’t concern just watch, but also cars or typical „Bauhaus“ architecture. But what actually enchants me so much? I will try to explain it in my review of Damasko DA 343 black.
Damasko brand is quite young, it celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. It was founded by Mr. Konrad Damasko and his wife Petra Damasko. It’s basically a small family business, as apart from other employees, their two daughters and son work for the company as well.
They have done a great deal of work in the last 20 years. The brand owns more than 70 patents and product design. The highest model series DK10-15 and DK100-101 using their own in-house calibers (i.e. manufactured) A35 or H35, are manufactured up to 90% by Damasko. Barely any other brand can boast with such share, not even world known brands such as Breitling or Omega. We will come back to mentioned calibers later, as they deserve a separate chapter. Let’s now have a look at model DA 343 black.
Labeling of individual model series at Damasko bears a certain transparency and hierarchy. Triple-figure label of model DA 343 black comes out from the design of a smaller model DA 34 black, while the main differences are in a size of case and related internal lunette, which seems to be filling up the size difference of DA 343 and DA 34 black dial, which does not have this internal lunette/bezel. Here is a picture of DA 34 black for comparison:
So, Model DA 343 black has bigger, 42 mm case, comparing to 40 mm case of DA 34 black. Internal bezel of 343 model could be ordered in two types, with numbers 1 to 11 or 5 to 55, depending if you prefer faster reading of the hours or minutes.
Otherwise, the dial is very clear, optically divided with lines into four parts and apart from date window; you can also see a date ring with a display of a day in a week. Great thing for „forgetfuls“... At night, hands and watch indices covered in Superliminova help a lot. Beautiful, red seconds hand will remind you of how rigorously the time flies. Together with other red elements, in contrast with black case and watch band, it creates a sport, even „racing“impression. The glass is domed sapphire, with antireflection. Underneath, there is a sealing rubber which is UV resistant. It’s very interesting, that a glass could be ordered also without external antireflection.
Common users will appreciate that the case is very durable. It was a long time dream of Konrad, to create a very resistant watch with high precision and low maintenance for the future. It’s all not just marketing, and it will be proved by the technical specifications of the case. So called martensitic steel, patented in Denmark in 1994 and its subsequent surface treatment , is up to 3-4 times more resistant than usual 316 L stainless steel. In terms of chemistry, we talk about 60-62 HRC or 710 to 740 HV (based on Vickers), depending on a model. Those who understand knifes know, that such steel is used for the top quality knifes, so they won’t become blunt so fast.
Moreover, the case is nickel free, so the watch is safe for allergic people as well. In case of model DA 343 black, the case is covered in so called „Damest coating“ in black color. It’s some kind of multiple layer of PVD or DLC, where one coating has approximately 5 to 7 microns. However, I don’t know the exact composition...
The watch has a screwing crown, what assures better waterproofness. In this case, it’s 100 meters, which will even allow you to swim. Diving is not recommended; still it’s not a diving watch. Those who have experience with it know, that screwing crown is usually a sticking point as sometimes people in haste screw the crown in inclined position which could cause the thread gets intersected. But in Damasko it would be 4 time more difficult, as the same kind of steel has been used for the crown.
Moreover, the system of crown has another patented technology – permanent crown lubrication. Company Damasko has developed a mechanism of crown that disconnects from the shaft when screwing, i.e. the body of the crown could be finely screwed to the shaft of the crown without the need to wind up the watch mechanism. The suitable internal dimensions of the crown tube and selection of suitable materials offers crown with valuable lifetime. Using the Viton gasket (material many times more resistant against chemicals, comparing to nitrile) also helps the shaft.
Shaft is equipped with a lubrication chamber, patented by Damasko, which allows smooth gliding of the crown shaft and in such way decreases the amount of friction to minimum or even to zero. The crown tube is screwed into the watch case with a special spanner and it’s not pressed into it, as done by other manufacturers. This crown is legally protected and patented by Damasko.
The caseback is steel and functionally covered with different data about watch, while the main information is the mark of the model and serial number of the watch, which is specific for each model.
Under the caseback, there is the same Viton gasket that is used in the crown. The watch lifetime is improved with increased resistance against chemicals and sweat. If you unscrew the caseback, you will find Swiss automatic movement ETA2836 ticking underneath, with a frequency of 28800 half cycles per hour. If we divide it with number of seconds per hour, we found out that the balance wheel oscilates 4 times per second into one side and same to the other side. And this is that exact detail admired by all mechanical watch lovers. The clockwork is separated from the case with terminative antimagnetic ring, which should prevent movement from magnetizing. Moreover, the movement itself is antimagnetic and „antishock“, in compliance with German standard DIN8308 and DIN8309.
Normally, the watch is delivered on a calf leather strap, but other straps could be ordered – based on your wish. However, I wouldn’t do that. Part of the reason is this one fits perfectly and moreover, this watch strap is top-quality and very comfortable. The buckle has an engraved D and it has the same surface treatment as the watch case. Those who like quick release clasp can pay some extra money to get safety deployment clasp.
From the bottom part, the watch strap is gummed, what assures perfect resistance against water and sweat, moreover it wears very comfortably. Beautiful detail that reflects the Damasko sense of detail, is leather seam placed under the buckle. It’s to prevent the buckle from pinching you!
I dare to say, that Damasko, at least such as Steinhart which is favorite thanks to its favorable rate of price/quality,brings unbeatable rate of price and quality. Because when you read the entire article, you could realize that for a bit more than thousand EUR you will get more than any other brand could give your for several times higher price.
At the end, several pictures of the real usage:
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Photographs - Marián Svítek www.mariansvitek.com