An Independent Spirit: Dingemans Mechanische Horloges

Posted on July 26, 2011

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The impossible made possible: dmb 3 hands - classically elegant but still trend worthy

It’s always been a challenge to meld classic elegance with eye catching trendiness. In all honesty, I had already begun to believe that they were on polar opposites of the design spectrum. Enter d.m.h watches.

d.m.h is Dingemans Mechanische Horloges

This up and coming independent watch house is founded by Fred Dingemans. The namesake watchmaker and its owner is quite obviously a labour of love, Fred passionate about mechanical wrist watches and like many of us who grew up in the 70s, entirely fascinated by the glorious age of winding movements so horribly (and almost entirely) interrupted by the advent of Quartz.

This career mechanic went from watch hobbyist to watch manufacturer after he purchased some machinery to produce parts for watches- with case and crown construction designed in house, Fred Dingemans turned his attention to the heart of the watch- the movement.

Taking inspiration and re-tooling new old stock 1970s retro-futuristic Tenor Dorley movements, Fred disassembled, cleaned, re-oiled and re-assembled what we ebay fanatics dubbed N.O.S. or New Old Stock. Making or more accurately, customizing 24 watches a year, Dingemans Mechanische Horloges’ master watchmaker Frans de Groot gives the movement a once over while Fred handcrafts the other watch parts

Tenor Dorly Kelek is highly sought after by collectors in the know.

The movements used in d.m.h watches are new old stock Tenor Dorley movements. These movements where very popular in the 1970′s for jumping hour watches with a very futuristic design. The N.O.S. movements are entirely disassembled, cleaned, oiled and assembled again by master watchmaker Frans de Groot, before they are used. Each watch is designed and thus, as unique as its owner-customer as evidenced by the image gallery (images all shot by Fred on his patio no less).

Tenor Dorley?

Founded in the 1950s in Tramelan, Switzerland, Tenor-Dorly SA like many watchmakers of that era, produced more movements than watches under their own brand (Patek included), as a result Tenor-Dorly is much less known as a watch manufacturer and like many watch greats, they were slain by the proliferation of cheap quartz movements; but right before bankruptcy, Tenor-Dorly calibres were the backbone of the thin chronographs of the era- the analogue (hands) with “digital” display (numeral discs) were designed by Dubois-Depraz and made by Kelek becoming TD(B)K (Tenor-Dorly-Kelek) movement. If you can find one on e-Bay, let me know.

A Watch is Reborn: d.m.h Jump-Hour Watch

With Tenor Dorly pedigree movements given new life in all new d.m.h watch cases and parts made by the owner-horologist himself, these Jump-Hour watches are really something to look at. What I really love about d.m.h watches are that it avoids the usual kitsch that many similar “innovative” brands tend to exude; d.m.h’s simple design lends an air of quiet luxury and subtle style to the owner’s wrist, especially when the new d.m.h’s have titanium dials (made with Fred Dingemans own milling machine no less).

“waterdicht” means waterproof in Dutch

Hours, minutes sweeping seconds with date, 40mm Stainless steel case with crystal caseback. Resistant to 50 meters, equipped with Tenor Dorley automatic; all I know is- I’m in love with Dingemans Mechanische Horloges. [Visit them here – it’s still a work in progress]

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