Hands-On with the Dan Henry 1947
Just a few months back, we had the pleasure of introducing you to the Dan Henry collection of replica watches. This suite of replica watches took us by surprise. A total of four different models, each coming in two variations, were named after years from which they pulled their designs. Homages of sorts, some had very clear references while others were more esoteric, referring to peculiar replica watches that the eponymous brand owner had collected over the years. The most surprising and perhaps enticing part? Their prices. Throughout the collection, DH maintained very approachable prices, bringing these interesting and iconic designs back into the world.
Of the models we initially wrote about one really stood out to me, so I wanted to spend some more time with it. The 1947 model at $190, is the most affordable of the Dan Henrys, and while a time-only quartz, might punch higher than the rest in design and finish. This replica watch is all about the dial, which to my eyes is easily one of the best executed dials of recent memory.
The 1947 is based closely on an Omega Chronometer from the same year, recreating the dial nearly 1:1. The case is then said to be based on a Vacheron Constantin. Though the two come from different sources, they go together seamlessly. Before getting too into it, I’ll start with the caveat that the 1947 has been scaled up from the original (33mm I believe) to 40mm with 22mm lugs. Though still a very visually appealing replica watch that wears well, it’s far more casual than the dial perhaps suggests.
The case itself is simple and extremely well executed. From above, it has thin lugs with a slight contour and straight sides. The profile too is straightforward save an almost baroque detail on the lugs where the lines create a circular form, and a massive domed mineral crystal (with sapphire and AR coatings). What stands out is the finishing. The lines of the case are perfectly crisp, while all surfaces but the side of the bezel are brushed. The one line of polish creates a dark contrast that breaks up the case visually and simply looks great. Too many “dress” style replica watches are all polished, when in reality a mix of finishes is more attractive. Flipping the replica watch over also reveals a gorgeous case back with a deeply stamped maze design.
The star of the show really is the dial. It’s not just the looks however, it’s the level of detail and finishing that are pulled off keeping in mind the price tag, that is really exceptional. The surface of the dial is matte silver with a light texture. Contrasting the matte is a thick circle that has been radially brushed, and serves as a back drop for the applied hour index. Before getting to the markers, it’s worth pointing out that the brushed area is outlined in black. This is the kind of detail that can easily go awry as there is zero room for error. A quarter millimeter off and you can see the overlap. Generally speaking, high precision costs more and details like this are avoided on affordable replica watches to save.
The applied markers, which are either in polished steel or rose gold depending on the model, alternate between little domes and roman numerals. This is simply a very attractive design detail, especially in rose gold, that further belies the price tag. Moving outwards, there is a gap followed by an enclosed minute index of thin black lines. Also a detail from the original, this adds a technical feel to the dial, and brings focus inwards towards the hour index. The center of the dial is then marked with a cross-hair, and features a sub-second dial at 6.
Another well executed feature, the sub-seconds actually is a layer beneath the main dial, creating a step down. The edge of the cutout is slightly beveled and polished, which adds some contrast, while the sub-dial surface itself has classic concentric circle graining. All in all, a lot of attractive detail in a small area. For hour and minute hands, DH stayed true to the Omega and went with an elegant leaf shape that is slightly domed. They are fully polished and come in either rose gold or steel depending on the model. Once again, they just look high quality. The sub-seconds hand is then a blued stick on both models.
On the wrist the 1947 looks great. At 40 x 48 x 12mm, it’s definitely larger than one would expect for the style, which is a bit of a drawback. That said, it’s not obnoxiously large, and actually fits my 7” wrist rather well. As is, it’s more of a business-casual replica watch than a dress replica watch. Honestly, the only dimension I dislike is the 22mm lug width. It just feels a bit heavy.
The increased size also gives the dial more real estate, and as should be clear by now, the dial is particularly gorgeous. It’s very well balanced and doesn’t feel like it has an excess of empty space. The rose gold variety is especially attractive. The case is then a subtle back drop that adds texture up close, but doesn’t over shine the dial.
In the end, what you have for $190 is a replica watch that looks like one that costs far more, because some parts of it are made like they do cost more. Sure, it’s quartz and has a mineral crystal, but they had to get to that price some how. And I think it’s a smart way to go about it. It’s easy to see dials as all equal, after all many very expensive replica watches have very simple, printed dials. Here, you have a level of complexity and detailing that you really don’t find often in dials (which also makes the fact that the original is from 1947 pretty amazing), and is unheard of under $200… or under $1000. Furthermore, $190 is a very forgiving price point. While I would also commend the dial if this replica watch was $1,000 with a mechanical (well, a Peseux 7001 might cost more than that) I would also be more critical of the sizing, etc. At $190, it’s sort of hard to pass up if the aesthetic appeals to you.