This article was originally published by watchpalooza at MoT’s Watch Deal Forum on March 29, 2020.
Introducing Direnzo Watches
Direnzo watches was founded in 2016 by architect Sergio Godoy Di Renzo. From the start, Sergio infused the venture with a clear vision “to produce a range of uniquely exquisite watches inspired by the timeless aesthetics of mid-20th-century race cars and aircraft.” Sergio also injected a clear mandate of “providing quality without cutting any corners” to execute his vision. Direnzo is a luxury brand with the aspiration of having its watches appreciate in value over time like other well-known established luxury brands.
Like many up-and-comers, Sergio leveraged the red-hot crowdfunding scene to build his business. His first Kickstarter campaign in 2017 for the DRZ Type 250F achieved its funding goal on Kickstarter in under 4 hours. Sergio followed quickly with a second campaign in 2018 for the DRZ-02, reaching its funding goal in under 1 minute. Now Direnzo is offering their third model, the DRZ-03 (also funded in under 1 minute on KS). Clearly, Sergio is doing something right.
The Range: Models and Options
Sergio Godoy Di Renzo’s background as an architect is reflected across the range in what are very clean, iconic designs with a vintage flair and elements that conjure the racing aesthetic.
Direnzo currently offers three models, available in date and no-date versions and a variety of colorways.
DRZ Type 250F
The vital statistics across the range are:
- Case: 316L Stainless Steel
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Size: 48mm lug to lug
- Diameter without crown: 40mm (DRZ 250F), 41mm (DRZ-02 and DRZ-03)
- Thickness: 10.10mm (DRZ 250F), 11m (DRZ-02), 12.5mm (DRZ-03)
- Movement: Automatic Swiss Sellita SW-200-1 (DRZ-02 and DRZ-03), Automatic Seiko NH35 (Type 250)
- WR: 20 ATM (DRZ-03), 5 ATM (DRZ-02 and 250)
- Multiple strap and bracelet options
- 2 year warranty
For this review, Sergio sent two different configurations:
1) A blue colorway with date window on bracelet
2) A black and grey colorway without date window on a tropical rubber dive strap
Here they both are on the day I retrieved them from the Zollamt:
My first thoughts were “Wow, these are both incredibly beautiful and well-made.”.
The 316L stainless steel case on both models have high-quality satin brushing and mirror-polished beveled edges. Extra care was taken to ensure uniform and fine brushing, which is appreciated. The case is a classic shape, and measures 41mm without crown, 48mm lug-to-lug. A mid-sized watch by today’s standards, the DRZ-03 wears well and is not clunky. There is nothing innovative about the case shape, but it is of top quality manufacturing and finish.
The lugs are not drilled, but the springpin holes are far enough from the case to permit a variety of strap options without difficulty.
The Case Back
The screw-back caseback is a pleasant dome / clamshell shape, rather than the typical flat back. Like the rest of the watch, attention to detail is evident. It is finished with circular bushing, and is engraved with the Direnzo logo at center. The wrench slots are lugnut-like holes instead of grooves.
The grooved crown is signed (engraved) with the brand signature logo and is very easy to operate. Like another watch I reviewed recently, Sergio selected a crown with a slight ridge at the base that makes pulling it out to set the time very easy. The operation is very smooth and does not feel gritty or inconsistent.
The crystal is 1.5mm double-domed sapphire with anti-reflective coating. Clarity and scratch protection are both excellent. I rather like the slight dome shape vs a flat crystal, and the way it plays with light.
The dial on both of the watches I received are breathtaking. The colors are incredibly vivid and well-matched. To lend an “eclipse” effect, Sergio had to have the dials produced in two parts. There is a dark center circle with matte finish, and a lighter sunburst fumé outer circle that hosts the applied indices. Together the dial and indices give depth and lend a 3D effect. The indices are of notable high quality, each outlined in polished steel, contributing to the racecar aesthetic. The ones at 3, 6 and 9 are circular, the 12 o’clock is a triangle, and the remaining are small ovals. It is a very pleasant sonata and a very classy and clean look.
From Direnzo: “This kind of dial manufacture requires a CNC modelling process, unlike when producing a more conventional and simple flat disc. We are proud to say that this is probably the first dive watch to make use of this technique and shape.”
The blue colorway model I received also has a circular date window above the 6 o’clock index. It is a very balanced and minimalist design, and quite beautiful with or without the date indicator. The date wheel is not color-matched, but its black background is suitable and the number alignment is dead center and easy to read.
The hands are a great match to the overall design concept. The hour hand is an arrow stopping just short of the edge of the outer ring. The minutes hand is a spear shape with lume stopping at the endge of the outer ring and then finishing with polished steel. The second hand is needle with a mirror-polished circular / bubble counter balance, and another lumed circle that glides over the seem between the rings. It is a magnificent concert both in light and in darkness.
The one-way 120-click coin-edge rotating sapphire bezel is fully-lumed and very smooth to operate. The alignment on both watches was perfectly matched to the indices. It is color-matched to the dial, and is not overly wide. Its narrow composure draws the eye into the dial, furthering the 3D effect desired by its creator.
The DRZ-03 uses the high quality Swiss automatic Sellita SW-200-1 movement. I believe these are unmodified, and on the no-date prototype I received the “phantom” position was still present. Still, it is a wonderful power plant running at 28,800 A/h and provides 38 hours of power reserve. I am pleased to see Direnzo employ this movement rather than the more common NH35 or Miyota options.
The bezel and the indices are fully lumed on both models. The blue variant uses BGW9 Super-LumiNova, and the black / gray colorway employs old radium Super-LumiNova for a vintage effect. The lume is comparable to most watches and lasts several hours.
Direnzo ships the DRZ-03 standard with bracelet and nylon nato strap, and offers options for either a tropical rubber strap or brown vegetable tanned leather strap.
The braceleted model I received was fitted with a high-quality Oyster-style 316L stainless steel bracelet with fitted solid end-links and a signed diver extension clasp. The links are secured with screws, not push pins. It is brush-finished…even on the sides! Easily one of the nicest bracelets I have found…very impressive.
The black and gray colorway came with the tropical rubber diving strap option. It is of comparable quality to others. It is fairly soft and moderately dust resistant. The buckle on my prototype was unsigned, but the production version ships with one that is signed with the Direnzo logo.
Besides the nato strap, the DRZ-03 comes with a rich brown-colored leather passport wallet (watch roll) and warranty card with 2-year warranty.
The Direnzo Eclipse DRZ-03 is in Pre-Order at the moment for a price of €599, and will carry a regular price of €699 from October 2020.
With a Sellita SW-200, top quality finishing, and a gorgeous design I would suggest the DRZ-03 is well worth it. Sergio is quickly establishing Direnzo as a solid design house and maker of stylish timepieces with uncompromising quality that are breathtaking and can be appreciated for many years to come. While not quite as unique as the DRZ-02, if you have the money and there is room for a top quality diver in your collection…this is a watch worth owning.
Check out the launch announcement for the Eclipse DRZ-03 in our Crowdfunded Watches section here.
Visit the Direnzo website to learn more or place an order.