American readers may not be familiar with Dreyfuss & Co. They are part of Rotary, one of the oldest independent Swiss watchmakers, a giant in British watch market, and come to think of it, also likely a complete unknown to most American watch enthusiasts. This is a shame because they produce a wide range of Swiss made automatic and quartz timepieces like the £525 (@ $814 USD) Dreyfuss & Co. Dual Time I am reviewing today.
Rotary Watches Ltd. was established by Moise Dreyfuss in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1895. In the 1920's, Georges and Sylvain Dreyfuss began importing Rotary into Great Britain and René Dreyfuss established Dreyfuss Fils, which would later become Dreyfuss & Co. and produce watches for the next several decades. In 2005, Robert Dreyfuss, then-Chairman and great-grandson of Moise Dreyfuss reestablished the Dreyfuss & Co. brand with several model lines, each paying homage to a particular era in the company's history by incorporating vintage design cues. All are hand-made and individually numbered.
The Dual Time measures 40mm wide and 12mm thick. The polished case has curved sides and rounded lugs, capped off by a convex bezel and slightly domed sapphire crystal. The overall effect is pleasantly soft with a panoply of interesting reflections. It is secured with a glossy black crocodile print strap on a signed deployant clasp. A 40mm watch would have been considered huge for most of Dreyfuss' history, but it is a reasonable mid-size today. To my eye, it is about as large as a dress watch should be. It wears true to size, sitting comfortably on my 6.5" wrist and slipping easily under a shirt cuff.
Like all Dreyfuss & Co. watches, the Dual Time uses a Swiss movement. In this case, it is a Ronda 4220B, gold plated, 7 jewel quartz with a big date, small seconds, and a second time zone. To set the reference time, you pull the crown to its third position and advance the hands by depressing a button near the crown.
The dial is midnight blue with a guilloche pattern that shifts the tone with the light. Tiny Roman hour markers are incorporated into a railroad track index at the perimeter, allowing ample room for the two recessed registers. The second time zone on the left has larger Roman numerals and an inner railroad index. On the right, the small seconds contains the brand name and logo (both tastefully discreet) and wears its index on the outside. Polished and beveled lance hands handle the primary timekeeping duties and small seconds, while small feuille hands show the second zone – in a rose gold finish. It is a subtle touch that looks quite dapper against the inky surface.
Flipping the watch over, you will find a solid, polished case back secured with four screws. It is engraved, numbered, and decorated with the company logo that also adorns the coin-edged, push-pull crown. Water resistance is a bit curious as Dreyfuss & Co. does not provide standard depth or pressure ratings. Instead, they cite their own "Seafarer standard" that warrants the watch is suitable for "a range of water sports ... [f]rom swimming and diving, to snorkeling, windsurfing, and waterskiing." They caution that it is not equipped for diving. It reminds me of the way Rolls-Royce used to declare their cars' horsepower as "adequate." We are left to guess what the precise rating might be, but like the Rolls, it really doesn't matter. The Dual Time is a dress watch after all, not a dive watch. If it can survive surface swimming then that is more than sufficient.
The Dual Time is an attractive piece. It can be quite challenging to squeeze multiple complications onto a dress watch, but this one has succeeded. The layout displays the two registers and date without appearing cluttered or fussy and even features some fun details like the applied logo in the small seconds register. Like many dress watches, the hands can get lost against the dark dial in low light situations, but this is mitigated by their beveled surfaces.
Overall, the Dreyfuss & Co. Dual Time is a lovely watch made even more appealing by its elegant case, domed sapphire, and useful water resistance. It is not cheap, but it is a quality piece from top to bottom and not one you will see on every wrist, at least not here in the States.
For more information see the Dreyfuss & Co. website.
Pro: Beautiful design.
Con: Priced above my usual comfort zone for a quartz.