While I’m no big fan of batteries in watches, even if they looks absolutely cool, our contributor Robin doesn’t know these kind of inhibitions. He share his views on the Devon Thread 1 and who knows, maybe there will be a review some day 😉
Scott Devon, a genuine all-round entrepreneur and heir to frozen-food millions, is living the good life. Pretty much doing everything he sets his mind to, Scott Devon started a racing team, tried but failed to purchase the Viper-brand, went on to develop a record breaking sports car, designed and built motorcycles, launched a denim clothing line, and has ventured into the watch world a number of years ago. And boy did he come out swinging!
Launched in 2010 the Devon Tread 1 quite literally took the watch world by storm. The unique design and concept of the timepiece was received with great enthusiasm by critics and watch aficionados. Scott Devon worked alongside designer Jason Wilbur, responsible for the concept of the watch and employed by Honda at the time, to create the chunky thing. When Scott first learned about the concept he was convinced it was a winner, and I couldn’t agree more.
Developing the timepiece, Scott and his team did not turn to the traditional Swiss manufacturers for parts or purchase an existing movement trying to adapt it to the concept. No, Scott turned to the aerospace industry and decided that everything about this brand and its timepieces should be American.
The steel case features a polycarbonate crystal wrapped around the movement, and is a hefty 53.3mm wide, 47mm tall and 19mm thick. Though this might be considered huge in the watch world, I feel it totally fits the concept of the Tread 1. It doesn’t hug the wrist like a traditional case and lug structure would do, it more or less rests on top of the wearers wrist. Being this big, the Tread 1 might not be wearable on just any occasion, or with just any outfit. Can you imagine trying to fit this beast under a sharp cut suit? But when you do wear this, it has more than just stunning looks to grab the attention!
Certainly the biggest feat of engineering isn’t the monster sized case, it’s that what’s inside that really impresses! A central chassis on which the moving parts are mounted, creates the illusion that the mechanics are somewhat floating inside the case. A thin (steel?) cut-out placed on top of the four belts acts like a guide to read the time through squared ‘windows’. Four carefully crafted motors, moving one step at a time, controlled by a central electronic processor, move the four separate belts used to tell the time.
The belts are made from reinforced nylon, and are wrapped around the one step motors. One belt is used for the seconds indicator, and this rotates almost constantly. Two slightly broader belts are used for the minutes indicator, one for every ten minutes and one for the single minutes. These belts are placed at an angle, adding to the incredible look of the machine. The final belt is of course the hour belt and is placed horizontally. The numerals on the belts are very legible, even down to the seconds belt. One very cool feature is that you can really hear this thing. It makes a very noticeable ticking sound when moving the belts, drawing attention in quiet situations. Our respected colleagues at Watchismo also made a nice video where you can really hear it tick. Luckily the watch does have an off-mode when you need some peace and tranquility.
But it doesn’t end there. It even has a power reserve mode, but once again not in the traditional way. When turning the watch completely off, the belts move to 12 o’clock and the seconds belt jumps to anywhere from 0 to 10 with 0 being empty, 10 off course meaning fully charged. Charging it requires you to place it on the charging unit supplied when purchasing the watch. The back plate of the case is an induction charging plate so you don’t actually have to plug it in or anything. Just place it onto the charging unit and power will be restored. On a full charge, the battery will last about 2 weeks. Different kind of settings allow you to lengthen the lifespan of a single charge, turning it completely off, or just the seconds belt. When you compare this to other battery powered watches, it is ludicrously short, but you should compare it to mechanical watches if you ask me. The complexity of the Devon Tread 1 is much more in the line of mechanical watches.
And how about a joystick for a crown? Big, bold, and featuring a Devon logo, it can be used to set the time. Push it in to set it, or to stop/start the movement from ticking. Move it to the left or to the right to adjust the hour and minutes, but it doesn’t rotate full circle like most other crowns. One more design element, standing out from the crowd.
The Tread 1 is available in a variety of finishes for case and movement ranging from brushed and polished steel to a full DLC-blackened version. The Version F is available on leather strap with orange stitching, matching the orange numerals. Other than that, all the models come on a thick rubber strap.
The fact that the Devon Tread 1 isn’t mechanical might be a tad difficult to overcome (like for our executive editor, Frank), even more when you take the $17.000,- price tag into consideration. A successor to the Tread 1 is in the works, obviously named the Tread 2. This will be a bit smaller, and will be available for around $ 10,000 USD. Later more about the Devon Tread 2, however in the mean time you can preorder one at our friends of Watchismo here.
Oh, and if you might be wondering what I think is the absolute best thing about the Devon Tread 1? The fact that you can see right into the movement, and actually see the motors turn the belts, and hear it work. This thing makes keeping track of time perceptible!
So Scott, my dear friend, if you read this, I would be more than happy to extensively review a Tread 2 for you!
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The first two photos are from Ariel Adams from aBlogtoRead.