The story of how Dutch watchmaker Laurens de Rijke started his watch company is already a very interesting one. His take on the Driver’s Watch is rather interesting and resulted in the funky cool De RIjke & Co Amalfi Series 1. This watch comes in a few variants and this new version pays homage to the vehicle he made an 11,000-kilometre road-trip on. Along with a new dial colour, a few updates make this watch even sharper as a product, something we can only applaud! We go hands-on with the De Rijke & Co Amalfi Series 1S with new Vespa White dial.
Laurens de Rijke isn’t your typical youngster trying to make his mark whatever the cost. No, he is an interesting chap with a love for the old. In watchmaking, he likes traditional craftsmanship and tools, and in life, he enjoys driving a vintage Lancia or travelling across Europe on a vintage Yamaha XT600 motorbike. Combine those two loves and you end up with a rather unique watch that doesn’t break the bank but would be a welcome addition to any watch collection.
In previous articles, we’ve mentioned his endeavours riding a restored classical Vespa moped through Eastern Europe and Central Asia which sparked his interest in watches. The idea to travel to Mongolia on said Vespa was cut short due to a frame that almost split in half under the stress. At that moment he was in Kyrgyzstan, several thousands of kilometres from home. During his trip, he made a stop at a flea market in Tbilisi, Georgia, where a picked up an unpolished, brass-cased Vostok for next to nothing that became his trusted timing companion for the wrist. That very watch eventually lead to his decision to graduate from the university by making one himself. But one with a twist, literally.
Through trial and error he eventually nailed it with his Amalfi Series I, a watch that features a central case that can be rotated 90 degrees, set in an outer case that can be secured to the wrist like any other watch. The rotation of the case allows the wearer to position the dial perfectly towards him and thus eliminates the need to rotate the wrist in certain situations and still be able to read the time perfectly. For instance when riding your (vintage) bike or car through Europe, or simply travelling to and from the grocery store which I had the chance to enjoy for this review due to the pandemic.
His first watch – the Amalfi Series I – was launched only a couple of years ago but things have changed a little since then. Laurens has made a valiant effort to perfect his watch in terms of quality and finish. Not that it was bad, to begin with, but he has updated some features to achieve a better standard of quality. This also means outsourcing some of the production of the parts to suppliers that can deliver constant quality. On the other side of the spectrum, he has also experimented with various bespoke versions for clients, which results in unique versions of the Amalfi Series I. One of the coolest bespoke versions comes with a honeycomb black over brass sandwich dial and plaque in honour of the Peking to Dakar rally (see below).
In the current collection of De Rijke & Co, there are three versions of the Amalfi Series 1S; the limited Amalfi Series 1S with open hands and markers, the Amalfi Series 1S with Super-LumiNova on the hands and hour markers (numbered, not limited) and now the Vespa White version (again, numbered, not limited). Something that is on the horizon is a small limited run of the honeycomb dial without the Peking to Paris plaque on it, as response on that bespoke model was strong.
On the technical side, not much has changed in the De Rijke & Co Amalfi Series 1S Vespa White, other than the development and investment in quality and finishing. The watch still features that rotatable centre case inside an outer cradle, creating such an original and interesting watch. Turning the centre case is a firm but smooth action, similar to a diving bezel in feel. It allows you to choose any position over a 90-degree track. In theory, you could wear it on your leg if you exchange the strap for an extra-long one and thus it becomes the ultimate versatile driver’s watch.
The caseband on the movement module is engraved with “Amalfi Series 1S” on one side of the crown and an identification number on the other side. The crown is now screw-down to ensure a tight fit and improve water resistance. It also helps to rotate the case as it is a natural point on the watch to grip so a strong construction is key here. It does result in a slightly taller crown compared to the previous one but it doesn’t compromise comfort one bit.
The steel case measures 38mm in diameter and has a very slim bezel, allowing for a dial as large as possible underneath an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. That dial is placed close to the crystal, to reduce distortion. The lugs on the Amalfi Series 1S are fixed – not only a design element, but it also provides rigidity to the outer case. The fixed lugs necessitate a stylish solution and De Rijke & Co doesn’t disappoint. The slim leather strap-ends wrap around the lugs, back through a leather keeper and are secured with a small stud. It is easy to use, allows for easy strap changes and wears very comfortable on the wrist. In addition to the standard cognac colour strap, De RIjke & Co offers new colours for the straps in British Racing Green, Lancia Blue and Bordeaux Red.
For this Vespa White version, the dial is done in a lovely, creamy-white colour inspired by… Vespa, of course! The colour for this dial is modelled after the Vespa Laurens rode in his epic road-trip through Eastern Europe and parts of Asia. It offers a cool, bright look to the watch and pairs well with the luminous filled markers and hands. These markers are laser cut by a specialised company, one of the steps in production Laurens has now outsourced to achieve consistent quality. The hour and minute hands match the hour markers in terms of style, while the red central seconds hand offers a touch of colour. The outer minute track and branding on the dial is pad printed in black.
Inside the De RIjke & Co Amalfi Series 1S Vespa White ticks a top-grade Sellita SW 300-1 automatic movement, visible through the sapphire caseback, nicely finished with perlage and Côtes de Genève. It is nothing overly fancy from a technical point of view, but it is a reliable choice, which can be serviced by most watchmakers if needed. It also keeps the watch reasonably priced, at EUR 2,309 before taxes. As said, the De RIjke & Co Amalfi Series 1S Vespa White is a numbered edition, but not a limited one.
More information at De RIjke & Co.