Divers looking for treasure - a review of D1 Milano Sandblast Green

As soon as I snapped the bracelet of the brand new D1 Milano Sandblast Green on my arm, I immediately remembered the legendary Gerald Genta. No copying the classic! Only a real hommage, as a creative reflection and continuation of his ideas. Recognizable Genta style, but with a very modern approach.

Speaking of Gerald Genta. At one time, not without pleasure, I learned that the designer and I, in addition to watches, have another common interest - the underwater world. I remember, at the age of seven, while relaxing on the Caspian Sea in a place called Zagulba, not far from Baku, I saw a diver come out of the water onto the shore. In a baggy suit made of rubberized fabric, with a large bronze helmet that shone brightly in the sun, for me - a first-grader boy - he looked cooler than an astronaut on a black-and-white TV.

Growing up, I became interested in diving and more than once dived to a depth of 30 meters to the sunken ships. A similar incident happened with Genta. One day, little Gerald was crossing the Mont Blanc bridge in Geneva and, as you might guess, he saw a man in a diving suit in the Rhone River. Only his helmet with octagonal glass on large bolts was visible above the water. I don’t know if Genta became an avid diver, but this bright image definitely sunk into his soul and many years later was beaten by the designer in various watch models. For example, in the incredible Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus.

When the “watch crisis” broke out in Switzerland in 1970, associated with the massive entry into the market of cheap Japanese models with quartz movements, Georges Golet, then head of Audemars Piguet, turned to Genta with a request to create watches that would save the company from ruin. That is, a model with a unique design and unsurpassed Swiss quality, but at an affordable price. Gerald accepted the challenge and, remembering childhood experiences and inspired by the oak hull of the historic British Navy ship HMS Royal Oak (the model of which was in his office on the closet), he drew a new prototype overnight.

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The result was a bright watch with an octagonal (hello to the Geneva diver!) bezel, fixed with eight hexagonal screws. An important "trick" was that their case was made of stainless steel, which had not previously been used for watches of this class. The unique design and affordability of the model made a splash, and excellent sales allowed Audemars Piguet to survive the hard times.

I immediately remembered two models of the great designer (Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Nautilus, created for Patek Phillipe) when I got a D1 Milano Sandblast Green watch for a test drive. Are you already familiar with this brand? For those who haven't yet, I'll tell you more.

D1 Milano is a well-known Italian watch house founded in Milan in 2013 and led by 30-year-old Dario Spallone, who has already become a member of the Italian Forbes 30 Under 30 rating during this time. When asked how the idea of ​​a watch brand came about, Dario shrugs .

“The media always pays a lot of attention to how the idea was born, as if in order to start a successful business, there must be a story worthy of the founder of Apple. For me, the executive part and the team are important. And even more important, when you have to take stock and admit that you made some mistakes. Everyone says that failure is part of any success, and it's true. Success is achieved by people who have time to react, and not by those who rest on their laurels. I believe that the real motivation that unites me and my team is the innate desire to do something better every day, to win, to grow, to be successful and finally to be recognized ... "

Based in Milan, Dubai and Hong Kong, D1 Milano has a presence in 31 countries (over 650 stores in total, including the flagship store at Via Mercato 3 in Milan, opened in early December 2020). What are the secrets of his success? Focused on reimagining the watchmaking art of the 70s, D1 Milano watches are sold at an affordable price. Add to this Italian design with global trends and attention to the smallest details, and you will understand why more than 100 copies of such watches are sold worldwide every year. And the brand is recognized as one of the most dynamic and fastest growing watch companies in the world.

But back to the model. The dark gray case with PVD coating (chromium oxide was used) and polished bezel edges immediately attract attention. Finishing and machining are top notch - the case slides easily under shirt cuffs, and looks great even with a formal suit. The anti-reflective sapphire crystal is highly transparent, allowing the skeletonized dial to be clearly seen. The hexagonal screw-down crown is easy to use and provides a great grip. The transparent case back is fastened with 8 screws (another reference to the heritage of the respected master) and through it you can observe the work of the clock mechanism.

The bracelet, fully integrated into the case, is perhaps one of the best that I have seen for watches in this price segment. Each link is made with millimeter precision. Completely matte, as a guarantee that it will remain without scratches for a long time. Due to the relatively small size of the links, the bracelet perfectly wraps the hand, providing a comfortable fit for both narrow and wide wrists. The comfort of wearing the watch is enhanced by the presence of a hidden butterfly clasp. True, the clasp is a little tight and you need to get used to unfastening it. To be honest, I didn’t succeed right away, but then I did it without thinking.

The fact that surprised me is that the water resistance is only 50 meters, although with a screw-down crown and a tightly fastened case back, it could have been more. On the other hand, no one is going to swim in such watches (for this you can get a shabby vintage Rolex Daytona, Panerai Luminor or your favorite U-Boat U-42 ​​Unicum from the shelf), and heavy rain cannot damage them.

Behind the graceful skeletonized dial hides the same skeletonized clockwork. Readability is good due to the fact that the matte light gray hands contrast with the dark gray, almost black dial.

The heart of the watch is the Seiko NH70A automatic skeleton caliber, known for its reliability and durability. The movement has 24 jewels, a frequency of 21600 semi-oscillations per hour, a rather large power reserve of 41 hours and a rotor decorated with Côtes de Genève engraving. The perfect workhorse and looks really good.

The model deserves a solid 10 on a ten-point scale of coolness (if such a thing existed). They fit perfectly on the arm and go with any look.

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