The use of comic book characters or cartoon personalities in watchmaking isn’t new. However, we’ve recently seen a successful revival of the classical Character Watches. Watches incorporating Mickey Mouse, Snoopy or Popeye have become very popular lately, and we can surely expect more to come in the future. Small-time Dutch independent watchmaker De Rijke & Co. now enters this humorous field of watchmaking with something very, very cool: Nijntje, or “Miffy” for non-Dutch people. This iconic little rabbit created by Dick Bruna is known the world over and now finds its way into a mechanical watch for the very first time. And we have the exclusive world premiere of this very fun and limited De Rijke & Co. x Miffy Moonphase.
Dick Bruna & Nijntje/Miffy
To explain who or what Miffy is – for those who have no clue or need their memories refreshed – Miffy is a small rabbit-like character developed by Dick Bruna, perhaps the most famous Dutch graphic designer, illustrator and author of (mainly) children’s books. Back in 1955, he attempted to draw a rabbit after seeing one hopping about when on holiday at a seaside town. The first design resembled a toy animal but was already identifiable as a little rabbit. By 1963 the shape of Miffy had morphed into the basic design we still know today. Through the books, Miffy can be between the ages of 1 and 4, depending on the story.
Miffy’s heavy black outline, simple shapes and minimalist style and colours are iconic and make her instantly recognisable. During his career, Dick Bruna drew over 2,000 covers and more than 100 posters of Miffy. Over 120 books were published revolving around the fictional character and her family and friends. The stories of Miffy have gained a huge following, selling over 85 million books worldwide, with countless items of merchandise, and even flagship stores and online shops in multiple countries.
This incredible legacy is closely guarded by the Dick Bruna estate, under the management of a Dutch company founded by Dick Bruna’s close friend and fellow illustrator, Pieter Brattinga. This company issues official licensing for Nijntje/Miffy related products like stuffed animals, toys, puzzles, books, and other products. And we’re happy to inform you the De Rijke & Co x Miffy Moonphase is an officially licensed watch.
Laurens de Rijke, the founder of De Rijke & Co., came up with the idea to use Miffy, but not just to simply slap it on the dial and call it a day. Instead, the idea was to use it so that it adds character to a watch beyond the simple image of Miffy herself. The result is simple yet super cool, as Laurens has incorporated Miffy into the watch in a highly original manner.
An atypical case
From the outside, not much appears to have changed following the launch of the De Rijke & Co. Amalfi Series I. And part of that is true, but upon closer inspection, a few details are different. You still get the innovative rotatable inner case with 90 degrees of “play” to change the position of the dial relative to the rest of the watch. This allows you to wear it as a regular watch, as a driver’s watch, or whichever way pleases you along that 90-degree track.
The changes are mainly in the watch’s thickness, the solid caseback and the upgraded water-resistance. It still measures 38mm in diameter, but the height has increased to 10.5mm. This is to allow space for the added complication and is achieved with a higher domed sapphire crystal. The solid caseback, along with the new and improved screw-down crown, ensures a water-resistance of up to 100m, double what it used to be on the Amalfi Series I.
The moon phase indication, which literally cannot be missed, is, of course, the highlight of this watch. Laurens De Rijke cleverly used the official Miffy colours, resulting in a minimalist, bright blue base dial with a matching moon phase disc underneath. Time is indicated with the same set of hands and indices we saw on previous versions of the Amalfi Series, filled with Super-LumiNova.
The moon phase disc underneath the dial measures 20mm in diameter and is one of the larger moon phases available today. It reminds me of the Meistersinger Stratoscope, or even the Arnold & Son Perpetual Moon. The brass disc is chemically etched and laser-cut to reveal the moon and stars, and Miffy, of course. It’s then filled by hand and uses the exact Miffy colours to complete the image. Miffy can be seen straddling the moon and travelling across the “window” twice in the course of the 29.5-day lunar cycle. Using Super-LumiNova yet again, with various colours, results in a brilliant display at night.
Powering this delightful display is the Sellita SW288-1 automatic movement. This has proven to be a reliable alternative to ETA’s 2892 calibre. It uses 26 jewels, runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and provides a solid 38 hours of power reserve. Where normally the movement inside a De Rijke & Co. watch can be seen through the back, it’s now hidden under the solid caseback. This is decorated with a laser-engraved outline of Miffy. Often you would also find the individual number, but De Rijke & Co. makes full use of the rotatable inner case. On one side of the crown, it reads “Miffy moonphase”, and on the other “1 of 25”.
Just as the standard Amalfi Series I watches, the De Rijke & Co. Miffy Moonphase is worn on a cognac-coloured handmade leather strap with a steel pin buckle. The fixed lugs necessitate a studded strap, something that gives the watch a very distinct look. De Rijke & Co. offers additional colours as well, so if you prefer a change of style, you’re easily able to do so. It is presented as a limited edition of 25 pieces only, at a price of EUR 3,300 (incl. taxes). Starting from today, the Miffy Special Edition can be ordered directly from De Rijke & Co.
I’m stoked to see something this original, and quite frankly this cool, come from De Rijke & Co. Incorporating the iconic image of Miffy straddled on the moon is highly original in the same vein as a Gerald Genta Mickey Mouse watch. It offers more than just an image of a character, especially when executed so well. I’m sure the De Rijke & Co. x Miffy Moonphase will do very well and perhaps lead to more variations of the Miffy theme.
For more information, please visit DeRijkeandCo.com.