The first thing you notice about the Dietrich OT watches is the case, with a rounded hexagonal shape enclosing a deconstructed dial and four struts in an X-shape that seem to be supporting the central hour and minute hands. The extremities of the struts are close to four hexagonal screws on the bezel. The striking thing is that the struts look organic, with the smoothly rounded shapes of driftwood or bones, and this is designer Emmanuel Dietrich’s basic concept, “Organic Time” which gave the name to the watches. It could be compared to Zaha Hadid’s style of architecture, but I suspect that the underlying philosophy that brought Dietrich to this result is very different from her’s.
The case is in stainless steel, and the sandblasted finish makes it resistant to scratches as well as very attractive. The dial has four layers, in alternating sunray-brushed and vertically-brushed dark finish, with a screwed bridge bearing a section of a scale for continuous seconds, and another holding the indicator for the 24-hour time indication. It’s not a GMT watch, it just has the same time shown by a circular wheel with the hours, highlighted by an area of SuperLuminova just underneath.
The star-shaped wheels for seconds and 24-hour indicator have the same type of organic look, and below them, towards the lower centre of the dial, you can see parts of the movement, with the balance wheel in constant movement. The star-shaped wheel for the seconds rotates slowly, showing you that the watch is operating correctly. The hour and minute hands have areas of SuperLuminova on them; the indices are on the underside of the watchglass, also in green SuperLuminova. At 48 mm from top to bottom and 46 mm wide, thickness 13.7 mm, the watch is fairly large, but it sits very comfortably on the wrist.
The designer made some fairly radical choices in strap and caseback. The strap is a single piece, in reinforced nylon, that slips through the simple loops formed by the lugs. It’s easy to slide out and replace (there are leather straps available, in black or brown leather, with stitching matching the colour of the hands), and the fact that it covers the caseback isn’t a problem, because the caseback is solid. No sapphire window to see the oscillating weight and the movement. It’s as if the designer were saying that we can see the organic structure of the world and the universe, but we can only glimpse the mathematical and physical forces that set it all into motion. So instead of the total visibility offered by a transparent caseback, he gives us a tantalising hint of the movement on the dial side. But the watch isn’t just philosophy: it’s inherently practical, with scratch-resistant finish, a 50-metre water resistance, and a strap-fixing mechanism whose simplicity enables the user to replace the strap or even have two or three alternatives so that he can change the appearance of the watch when he wants. A solid caseback also helps keep price down, because the oscillating weight doesn’t have to be personalized.
The movement is the automatic Miyota 82-S-7 calibre, which runs at 21,600 vph, with a power reserve of about 40 hours, made in Japan.
Price and availability
The watch is available from retailers and online (http://www.dietrich.luxury/). The price of OT-01, OT-02 and OT-03 is €1,350, CHF 1,350. The three models differ according to the feature colour of hands and SuperLuminova, green, red, yellow, and also in the case finish. OT-4 will be released in September 2015, and it will have blue details and a case with a grey PVD finish giving it a slightly mottled, carbon-like finish. In the photo below, OT-1, OT-2 and OT-3.
Below, three photos of the OT watches that I took in a boutique: