Fred Dingemans of d.m.h on Making his Own Hand-Made Watches
Dingemans Mechanische Horloges could well be the first micro brand, well before Kickstarter ever existed
More than ten years ago Fred Dingemans started making watches, in the shed in his garden, using a self-restored lathe that has an interesting history. Since Fred limits his production to a maximum of twenty-four watches a year, the waiting list for one of his watches exceeds twelve months and I’d be fair to state that his watches are quite rare. Every watch is first designed with the client and subsequently build entirely in Fred’s atelier; a process that he shares with the client. Many years after my first visit to Fred Dingemans, we went back with the video crew, to film how Fred makes his watches.
Fred’s watches are made under the name d.m.h and if you’re wondering, this is without capitals on purpose. This abbreviation, d.m.h, stands for Dingemans Mechanische Horloges, which translates to Dingemans Mechanical Watches. Fred’s watches are pretty unique, both in design as well as in construction. For starters, he always uses New Old Stock Tenor Dorley movements, either with jumping hour indication or three centrally placed hands. The case and case-back are machined from a single block of steel and the movement can be fitted flush into the case; no movement ring is necessary.
The crown and entire crown construction are designed and manufactured by Fred and this is again one of the unique characteristics of his watches. His unique approach to building his own watches is so ‘refreshing’ and so down to earth. O-rings can be bought at the local hardware store and, according to Fred, there’s no need to source special o-rings from supplier to the watch industry. Rather use generic and very strong o-rings that are used around the globe by many. Similarly, for screws, he uses the standard stainless steel screws from the hardware shop.
I’ve bought my d.m.h many years ago and still, from time to time, I wear it and always really enjoy wearing it and looking at it. Mine is of the very first generation that came without the wire-lugs that have been used in the past 10+ years. It actually used to be Fred’s own watch, and when he switched to using wire-lugs, he prefered to wear one that represented his new watches, hence the old one could go… an opportunity that I didn’t want to miss out on.
Some additional info as there have been some comments and emails about the screw heads. Most watches photographed here and filmed are either prototypes or old watches that served as prototypes, so they have been taken apart and put back together many times, which explains the screw heads. Here’s one photo of Fred’s latest watch that is ready for shipping to a client. Please note that the diamond-pattern on the crown locking device is now machined, while before it was stamped. The machined pattern is much finer and has a much higher degree of precision.
More info at dingemansmechanischehorloges.nl
i think i interviewed Fred on skype for web tv from toronto , very good time doing the interview
thx for reminding me about this down to earth chap
Very interested in these ‘old sock’ movements……
OMG – have you seen the two screws on the dial in the first image, what was he using, the end of a kitchen knife !!
now correct, thanks for pointing out the old sock.
I too have noticed the screws on the dial, but maybe it’s a prototype. I wish I could do the same thing as Fred, I have some of the skills needed but not all and certainly not the tools needed. I think it is super cool.
Is that your Porsche leaving in the end Frank?
It is, indeed, Raffaello. And I also think that what Fred does is very cool. The watches are no new watches to be delivered to clients and these are older prototypes.
I really love my d.m.h. jump hour. It stands out in my collection as a lovingly handmade piece, with flourishes like the stepped bezel and unique crown. No one else in the world is making watches quite like Fred. The watch feels quite steampunk in the best possible way.