Swiss watch brand DWISS (Design Watch Independent Switzerland) offers a collection of watches that focuses on unique methods of displaying time. They also employ intricate case designs and innovative uses of materials such as the first watch case to have been made of Niobium. Founder, Rafael Simoes Miranda, has been designing watches since 2006. He holds a portfolio of hundreds of watches designed for more than 15 different brands, and in 2011 launched his own brand with DWISS. Since then, the brand has released a number of different collections and has collected a number of design awards for itself. It has also innovated the design process with its 2020 Watch Design Club that contributed to the design of the brand's M3W wandering hours watch.
Starting at $990, the R2 collection with floating hours is the current entry point to the brand. The collection consists of the IP black case with black and red "dial" R2-BB, and this blue and orange R2-Sl model. Despite being the most affordable DWISS watch series, it still offers an intricate case design, and of course a unique method of displaying the time. When the brand offered to send me one for review for our friends at WatchCharts.com, I was interested to check it out (this is a repost of the same article)!
The Floating Hours Display
The unique method with which the R2 displays the time is fairly simple, but also quite legible. A sapphire disc takes the place of an hour hand (and replaces a traditional dial). A large luminous triangle printed on the disc points to the current hour, displayed on a dark blue ring that sits outside the sapphire disc’s perimeter.
Minutes and seconds are displayed by more traditional hands that point to a 60 second/minute track in white with orange numerals on the outer edge of the “dial.” This white ring is recessed slightly below the hour ring, giving the dial a three-dimensional quality. Minutes and fractions of seconds are marked with small hashes.
Bright orange paint on all indicators ensures good legibility, and all of them feature Super-LumiNova BG W9 inserts, glowing blue in the dark.
At first glance, I missed that the R2 also has a clever date display. Using matching orange text, the entire month can be seen hidden under the frosted hour disc. A white square jumps each night to highlight the current date. Given how polarized the watch community can be towards date windows, I feel that this is a clean way to integrate the useful date display without disturbing the floating hour design. The only minor complaint about the date is that the numbers are fairly small, so the date can be difficult to read in low light.
Inboard of the date, another clear disc suspends a DWISS word mark, and a DWISS logo replaces the 12th hour. Besides the requisite "Swiss Made" text under the 30-minute marker, this is the only text on the dial or caseback. Watch lovers will appreciate that DWISS refrained from writing a novel on the dial!
Despite its unconventional method of displaying the time, the DWISS R2 is still quite legible. The orange hands and outline of the hour triangle contrast well against the frosted dial. Also, the white triangle on the skeletonized minute hand triangle overlaps the dark blue hour ring, making it easy to locate. A thicker application of lume would help the low-light visibility, but this also isn't a tool watch.
Available in IP black, or the stainless steel version pictured here, the R2 case features an interesting mix of shapes. The bezel and case top surfaces are vertically brushed, with the edge of the bezel, and bezel screws being polished. When viewed from the top, the case has a strong, squared-off look with substantial lugs. A thick bezel (concentric brushing on its top with polished sides) adds to the visual heft. My personal preference would be a more contoured case, but DWISS watches tend to feature bolder designs.
The bezel features four captive hexagonal screws like those on another famous sports watch. Unlike with that watch they do not secure the caseback, which is the traditional screw-down type. While the watch is clearly its own design and gives off no illusion of being an homage, I don’t feel that the screws improve its design. They do give the watch a more expensive look and also help to break up the large bezel, my tastes are typically just for cleaner designs.
A crown featuring the DWISS logo finishes off the package. The crown is large enough to be easy to grip, but never dug into my wrist while wearing it.
Wearing the Dwiss R2
Because of the visual tricks listed above, photos lead me to believe that the R2 would be quite a large watch. Then I read the dimensions, and the watch is actually a very wearable 40mm wide, and is only 10.5mm thick (including 1.6mm of crystal). The lug to lug distance is 47mm, making it wearable for almost any wrist size.
DWISS also designed the caseback to bubble out, allowing the side of the case to be quite thin. The result is a watch that also appears visually slimmer (6.8mm at the caseband to be exact) when viewed from the side. Add lugs that curve down, and you have a watch that packs a larger visual punch (looking like a 42-43mm watch) but is very comfortable to wear.
The bracelet is another element of the watch that shares a few cues with the Royal Oak. It features vertical brushing, with dual connector links between each major link. Top surfaces are vertically brushed, with polished chamfers on all pieces. A signed butterfly clasp finishes off the look.
The clasp does not have any micro-adjust capability, and no half links were included. Removing three full links made it the perfect size for my roughly 7-inch wrist, so it was not a concern for me. Since the watch is well-balanced, it shouldn't flop around if worn a bit loose. It's just something to be aware of if you're picky about bracelet fitment.
DWISS also sent me a blue silicone rubber rally-style strap. Orange stitching ties in well with the dial, and it features a nicely finished and signed clasp. The silicone picked up a bit of dust after wearing it, but it is quite comfortable.
If you're having trouble deciding between the two, I recommend the bracelet. It gives the watch a refined look, and 22mm lug width means that you could swap in your favorite straps. Luckily both options feature quick-release spring bars!
The frosted dial also gives a partial view of the movement powering the R2. For this model, Dwiss uses a Peseux P224, which is a Swiss clone of the ETA 2824. As with the ETA, it features 28 jewels, beats at 28,800vph, and runs for approximately 38 hours on full wind. A mineral crystal caseback affords of view of its full decoration with perlage and cote de Geneve stripes.
The ~$1000 space puts the R2 against a lot of competition from entry-level major Swiss brands, plus there is no shortage of microbrand watches that are priced similarly, or less expensive. They typically don't have as unique of a time display method as DWISS uses, however, and many microbrands are not Swiss Made. If having a combination of unique elements, and a Swiss movement is important to you, then DWISS is worth checking out.
At $990 on the strap and $1,140 on the bracelet, DWISS has applied its strategy of unique methods of time display in a more affordable package. The use of a sapphire disc to replace the hour hand gives the watch character without adding a more complex module like the brand's $2,000 wandering hours M3W. With the R2 series, it provided yet another unique and bold option for its customers.
Only 500 pieces of the R2 will be produced. To learn more about the DWISS R2-SL, visit the brand's website.
What are your thoughts about the DWISS R2, and its unique time display? We'd love to hear in the comments.
Name: Dwiss R2-SL
Reference Number: N/A
Price: $990 (Strap)/$1,140 (Bracelet)
Dimensions: 40mm diameter, 47mm lug-to-lug, 10.5mm thick, 22mm lug width
Movement: Peseux P224 (ETA 2824 clone)
Water Resistance: 100m
Crystal: Double domed sapphire with anti-reflective coating on the inside
Bezel: Stainless steel, fixed
Strap/Bracelet: Silicone rubber/stainless steel, both with quick release