#LookCloser – Dietrich DD-1 and the Man Behind the Brand

Marshall

What does your watch mean to you? What does it tell the world about you?

I have always believed that in a man’s lifetime, one other meaningful relationship apart from the one with his lady, brothers, and family, is the one with the watch on his wrist. As far as I am concerned, that has been true all my life. Watches are like blank canvases, despite a watch being brand new or vintage, you will always have an opportunity to tell your story with your watch. Like a companion, it will follow you through the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. To me, that is my philosophy/approach to watch collecting.

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“After all these years, I am just happy to see the unwavering Dietrich DNA in all their designs, they succeeded in remaining true to themselves, because Emmanuel just made what he believed in, what he loved.”

My Dietrich TC-1 (1 of 2 in the world) has been with me through it all for the past 2 years, i.e getting called to the Bar in the United Kingdom in 2018, subsequently in Malaysia earlier this year, and eventually my first job interview etc. You can read all about it here.

Firstly, I would like to raise a glass to monsieur Emmanuel Dietrich, the brilliant mind and designer behind the Dietrich DNA. It has been my greatest blessing to have been able to follow him closely along this journey ever since I was first introduced to the brand at Salon QP London back in 2015. Fast forward to this day, that memory is still very much vivid and fresh in my mind when I was first introduced to Emmanuel at his booth. I was just a young lad with big dreams in trying to establish the blog’s footing within the community, I was embraced by the brand so very quickly as the journey and the story of this man resonated with me to my very core. It has been 5 years since that very day, and it all became very clear to me what being a part of this journey meant to me on a personal level as a watch enthusiast, an aspiring writer and a human being.

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Impressions

I think one of the keywords here is “metamorphosis”. It seemed like it was the most appropriate word to describe this transcending process of the brand, also partially due to its somewhat ‘organic’ DNA that is most prominent on every single model under the Dietrich arm.

Upon a closer look, the Dietrich Device 1 (DD-1) would reveal a much slimmer and sleeker case profile in comparison to the earlier Organic Time models. You will notice the ‘thinner’ (if you compare to the earlier models) overall profile as you put it on your wrist, a full-on sapphire glass as the primary display and along with several stylistic alterations to the dial. The case also now features a polished surface. Thankfully, the convenient strap-change system and the integrated curved-lugs that we all love remained the same. Overall, what we have here is a very handsome upgrade to the previous version and one that definitely would turn heads.

Aesthetics and Design Language

Like many of its previous models, when you run your fingers over the smooth polished case of the new DD-1, I still feel that very strong sense of familiarity – weighty, robust and yet ornate. After handling many Dietrich watches over the past 5 years, there is no mistake that the DD-1’s aesthetics is probably the sexiest amongst what Dietrich has to offer so far. There is just something about the DD-1 that tucks on my heartstrings, Emmanuel’s approach has always been focused on the more unconventional side of the spectrum, where he explores unusual ideas and goes beyond the comfort zone of most micro/indie brands. And I have to say, it seemed like his designs had somehow taken a life of its own over the span of the last decade.

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I have said this countless of times but I am not afraid to say it again – when I look at a Dietrich, the first thing I always see is a designer, in his workshop, diligently carving a piece of wood. Focused, intense and adventurous – courageously exploring the boundaries of his existing concepts and discovering new idealistic extensions of his designs, which would eventually go on to become the ethos of the Dietrich DNA. Emmanuel told me once that he loves being in his workshop, because it allows him to enter into this state of utmost concentration, and he is then able to freely immerse himself in an environment in seek of that inner silence which is essential to his creative process.

Looking at the entire range of Dietrich watches today, I think I have eventually come to understand what that inner silence meant to Emmanuel and his designs. From an aesthetic standpoint, you would also immediately notice the design cues of its previous predecessors, and I think he has done a great job in materializing the spirit of a watch being a part of who you are as an individual. If I compare it to all the other watches in the micro/indie market today, it is simply one of its kind. It is a very liberal design, with no geometrical constraints apart from the Dietrich hexagonal case and bezel. During my conversation with Emmanuel, he made it clear that he did not want to keep his ideas restricted to his previous designs and what was available in the market and what was acceptable, which allowed him to think freely without any design constraints. So again, he started from scratch, with a blank canvas. After all these years, I am just happy to see the unwavering Dietrich DNA in all their designs, they succeeded in remaining true to themselves, because Emmanuel just made what he believed in, what he loved.

Emotional Connection

When you own a Dietrich, the enjoyment extends beyond that just mere physical ownership, it is more than that. The great part about that is that it does not take a lot to just understand what owning a Dietrich meant, you don’t have to be a watch aficionado. As long as you take the time to listen to his story about his journey, you will gradually come to understand, the reason and nuances of every single detail, design cues, and its inspiration. I am privileged to have been given this opportunity to do so. And hopefully, I will be able to continue to do so.

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Epilogue

As always, Dietrich has its own way in keeping things interesting, and after bearing witness to their rise ever since the beginning, I dare say they have yet to fail in doing so. Emmanuel has a way of uniting all the elements that made Dietrich – Dietrich. I find that especially interesting and compelling in today’s world of micro/indie brands, it is never a bad idea to remain true to your vision and your roots – something I believe that is severely lacking in micro/indie watch scene today.

Because of Emmanuel’s ‘free’ and non-restrictive approach to his designs, I can only imagine what the future holds for the Dietrich brand. No boundaries, no limits, only passion and creativity.

Salute to Dietrich, for creating such a beautiful piece of wearable art. I hope the DD-1 would carry on the will of its designer through the next coming years, and also will continue to allow me to be a part of its story.

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P.S – the pictures here do not do the DD-1 justice.

The Dietrich Device 1 retails for 1840 CHF, more information and visuals can be found here.

For Team Matick,

Marshall

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