Now there is a watch review title that makes you wonder; what does it mean? DM1936 is a military themed Asian watch company that currently offers four lines of watches under the names Air Force, Army, Navy and Tourbillon. For this review I have the Air Force model BV-138-BLE. BLE refers to the blue face and leather strap. BV appears to refer to the watches somewhat unique movement, called a Regulator. From what I have been able to determine, this type of movement dates back to the 18th century and was commonly used by watch companies as reference timepieces to calibrate more conventional watches. The movement has separate smaller sub dials dials for hours and seconds and a centrally mounted full face dial for minutes.
The movement in this watch is a clone of a Swiss made Unitas manual wind movement. This type of movement was commonly used in pocket watches and appears to be currently or previously available in watches from Bell & Ross, Chronoswiss, Wittnauer, Tissot and even Patek Phillipe. This particular movement is 21 jewels, 21,600 bph with a 36 hour reserve. The exhibition screw down back of this watch shows amazing decoration and finishing that I have never seen in any watch at this price point. The machined stainless steel portion of the exhibition case back is nicely engraved with information about the watch including, to my surprise, that this watch is number 41 of only 60 pieces! The watch also has a screw down conical style crown and it is rated 10 ATM w/r, which I would not expect on a watch with this type of movement.
On the face of the watch there is a 12 o’clock subdial that uses a small pontife style of white hour hand. The 6 o’clock subdial uses what I think believe to be a Rolex style of small white second hand. And finally the large centrally mounted minute hand uses a white Breguet style of hand. The minute markers are the most prominent, being white on blue with larger markers and numbers at five minute intervals, where they will fit around the subdials. Above the 12 o’clock hour subdial there is an upward facing triangle with a dot on either side, which original was used as a form of watch dial orientation in pilot watches. There is no lume on the watch. To the left of center on the dial is the watch series model number in white with “REGULATEUR” in red below it.
The prominent stainless brushed and polished gear edge bezel is 47 mm across. It has a downward facing bright red triangle at 12 o’clock, small machined rectangles at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock and small machined circles at the eight additional hour points. Both of the crystals, front and back, are slightly raised, beveled, flat, hardened mineral crystal. I measure the watch to be about 13 mm thick. It is 50.5 mm across the crown, 54 mm lug to lug and 23.5 mm between the lugs. The thick, blue alligator embossed leather strap is about 22 mm across and it has a large brushed signed buckle and one fixed loop and one moveable loop. The strap is very securely attached to both lugs with two stainless rivets apiece. The 316L stainless case and downward curved tubular shaped lugs have a nicely blasted smooth finish. The 8 x 3.5 mm stainless steel crown is polished in a design commonly used on IWC Pilot watches.
This is a large watch for sure that is beautifully finished with excellent attention to detail in a design and movement that is not common. What really surprises me the most is the watch is sold on their website for only $445 and if the numbers on the case back are correct, each version of this watch is being made in extremely limited quantities. I cannot find any other watch brand offering a watch with this type of movement and attention to detail and quality for anywhere near this price, which in my book makes this watch an outstanding value. dm1936.com
Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.